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Transportation in Vanuatu
There are no public transport systems in Vanuatu. Privately owned mini buses are common and run unspecified routes through the municipal areas. You need only board one heading in approximately the right direction and tell the driver where you wish to stop and you will get there, albeit by a circuitous and interesting route, but you will get there eventually!
Buses and taxis are great value with the added bonus of meeting the locals immediately.
This transportation in Vanuatu page will tell you all you need to know about travelling in and around Vanuatu. Use our Vanuatu Guide if you want to know more about travelling to Vanuatu, the ultimate island getaway.
Vanuatu Transportation Guide
Taxis are also plentiful and relatively inexpensive if there are more than one passenger. To get to other parts of Efate or in the other islands, utilities (4 wheel drive "utes" or "trucks") are licensed (or not, but that is not enforced) to carry passengers and can be found everywhere. Air Vanuatu Domestic airline offer services between islands, and there are a limited number of charter aircraft. Inter Island trading vessels also depart for the islands on a semi-regular basis (see Fresh Cargo). We do not recommend you use inter island cargo ships, as their timetable is quite unreliable, and they are not the safest means of transport, a few have sunk in the past years. If you must, ensure you have plenty of travel time before using ships..
Getting to Vanuatu
Vanuatu is serviced by six airlines:
Air Vanuatu - Telephone: +(678) 23878, Fax: +(678) 23250, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Air New Zealand - Telephone: +(678) 22666, Fax: +(678) 24275,
Air Pacific - Telephone: +(678) 22836, Fax: +(678) 23538, Email: email@example.com
Air Calin - Telephone: +(678) 22739, Fax: +(678) 24301, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pacific Blue - Telephone: +(678) 22836, Fax: +(678) 23538, Email: email@example.com
From Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Fiji and the Solomon Islands you may arrive at the Bauerfield (Port Vila) International Airport. There is also a direct flight from Brisbane flying into Pekoa Airport (Luganville) in Espiritu Santo Island.
There are no passenger ships apart from cruise ships on packaged holidays that visit Vanuatu and spend a day in Port Vila Bay. All taxes are included when you purchase your airline ticket.
Visit our partner Air Valid for Airline Reviews and Information about Vanuatu.
Transportation from the Airport
On arrival at the airport, you will have a surplus of local taxis to choose from to take you to your destination. Taxis have a "T". There are a few professional transfer operators but they are contracted to overseas travel wholesalers for pre-bought packaged holidays.
Please note that non "Airport accredited transfer buses" are not permitted to pick up arriving passengers from the International terminal. Airport accredited taxis are the only ones allowed to pick up international arriving passengers from the international terminal in Port Vila.
We can pre book very comfortable, economical, impeccably clean, air conditioned, mini taxi buses with highly experienced drivers to be waiting for you on arrival.
Fees below are per two (2) persons. AUD$7 per person thereafter. Maximum passengers per bus: 6 persons.
Anabru Pacific Lodge, Moorings Hotel, Chantillys on the Bay, Olympic Hotel, City Lodge, Iririki Island Resort, The Grand Hotel & Casino, The Melanesian Port Vila Hotel, Kaiviti Motel.
All the above: AUD$16
Holiday Motel, Palms Resort & Casino, Mangoes Resort, Poppys on the Lagoon, Laguna Vista, Tradewinds Resort, Seachange Lodge, Coconut Palms Resort, Worawia Resort Mele, Hideaway Island Resort
All the above: AUD$22
Le Lagon Resort, Erakor Island Resort, Pacific Lagoon Apartments, Sunset Bungalows Resort
All the above: AUD$24
Blue Pango Motel, Breakas Beach Resort
All the above: AUD$25
Benjor Beach Club - AUD$30 ; Paradise Cove Resort, Nirvana Resort - AUD$32
There is an understanding that independent travellers use the locals transport in order for NiVanuatu to benefit directly from tourism. A bus fare will cost you 150 vatu per person (approx. AUD$2.00) anywhere in city limits and 200 vatu outside this area. Most properties listed are in the city limits. Taxis will cost you roughly 10 times the price of a bus for the same distance.
Taxis in Vanuatu
In Vanuatu, any indigenous person with a driver's licence and a car can obtain a license to operate as a taxi or a bus, with very little regulatory oversight. Consequently, you have an over supply of self-regulated taxis and buses.
Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL) has taken the initiative with the enthusiastic support of the Vanuatu Hotels & Resorts Association, Vanuatu Tour Operators Association and the Vanuatu Tourism Office to raise the standards of taxis by introducing and coordinating a taxi accreditation scheme.
As travellers would be the largest sector of the community to utilize and benefit from an improved taxi service, we ask that you use as much as possible, taxis that have passed all their tests (customer service, safety, duty of care, hygiene, honesty, motor vehicle maintenance, English and French Language) in order to reward and further encourage other taxis to become accredited.
Accredited taxis are inspected regularly by AVL in order to maintain standards.
Airport Accredited Taxis as at 30 October 2008
5166 / 5463
Please look for this sign displayed on the front doors of the vehicle and on the windscreen.
All drivers wear photo ID's and have their car registration clearly displayed on the dashboard.
Should you have any comment or complaint in regards to taxis, please record the number plate and name of the driver and contact AVL on 25111 (manned 24 hours).
Thank you for your support in furthering professional tourism development in Vanuatu.
Getting around Vanuatu
Buses and taxis are great value with the added bonus of meeting the locals immediately. Wherever you come from, the driver is bound to ask you if you know his cousin living in your country and will enquire as to how many children you have! They all speak good English and many have some French. Don't be surprised on buses, if a passenger sits next to you with a live chicken sticking it's head out of a woven banana leaf basket!
As Port Vila City Centre is small, it's easy to walk from one end to the other in 30 minutes. NiVanuatu people will greet you and step out of the way to let you pass in gratitude for visiting their country. Walking at night is quite safe unless (like all cities) you're tempting fate by going to places that are obviously not frequented and unlit.
If you find a bus driver that you connect with, and his vehicle is sound, you can negotiate with him to hire his bus for half a day or a day. This is quite an economical way to see the country side especially for a small group. He will act as a driver-guide and will undoubtedly be proud to show you the Vanuatu that most tourists don't see. As a bonus, you're helping him to send his children to school.
Alternatively, you can hire a car or a scooter, although with scooters, you are limited to just outside the city parameters and you have to negotiate the pot holes as well as the other drivers on the road.
Car hire companies in Port Vila
Hertz Car Rental - Telephone: +(678) 22468 or 29677
Budget Rent a Car - Telephone: +(678) 23170
Discount Rentals - Telephone: +(678) 23242
Deou Motors - Telephone: +(678) 23387
Hanvan Motors - Telephone: +(678) 24616 / +(678) 45132
Laho Rent A Car - Telephone: +(678) 26639
World Car Rental - Telephone: +(678) 26515
Scooter hire companies in Port Vila
Nautilus - Telephone: +(678) 23398
Mirage - Telephone: +(678) 24182
Budget Rent a Car - Telephone: +(678) 23170
Car hire companies in Santo
Apex Car Rental - Telephone: +(678) 36061
Hotel Santo Car Rentals - Telephone: +(678) 36250
Santo 4WD Rentals Telephone: +(678) 37259.
Driving in Vanuatu
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road (well that's the general idea). Always give way to traffic coming from the right (and sometimes the left!). The speed limit in Vila and Luganville is 50km/h, but there are no restrictions out of town. Road conditions can be rough, so take care. Watch for people or animals on the road, especially in rural areas.
Some road signs have been destroyed or damaged by cyclones in parts of town and in the rural areas, so ask locals for directions if you are in doubt. There are several petrol service stations in town and they open till late. If you are driving out of town, be certain to check there is enough fuel in your tank for the whole journey. Hire cars are only available in Efate and Santo.
If driving out of Port Vila, one must be conscious that all land is traditionally owned by a family belonging to a tribe. Stopping to pick a ripe paw paw from a tree on the side of the road will be seen as stealing as the owner of the tree could be waiting for it to ripen. As there are no fences (except for livestock), all locals respect each others land. Here it is part of the rules of Kastom.
Stick to the road when passing through a village. If you want to enter, wait at the entrance for someone to come and see you. It will be seen as respecting kastom. It won't take long, the children would have surrounded you in order to be the first to greet you.