Traveling Luck for Vanuatu

Vanuatu is located in Oceania, group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean, about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Australia.

Land in Vanuatu is mostly mountainous islands of volcanic origin; narrow coastal plains.

Ni-Vanuatu land covers an area of 12200 square kilometers which is slightly larger than Connecticut

As for the Ni-Vanuatu climate; tropical; moderated by southeast trade winds from May to October; moderate rainfall from November to April; may be affected by cyclones from December to April.

Ni-Vanuatu (singular and plural) speak local languages (more than 100) 72.6%, pidgin (known as Bislama or Bichelama) 23.1%, English 1.9%, French 1.4%, other 0.3%, unspecified 0.7% (1999 Census).

Ni-Vanuatu National Map

Ni-Vanuatu Map

Regions of Vanuatu

The British and French, who settled the New Hebrides in the 19th century, agreed in 1906 to an Anglo-French Condominium, which administered the islands until independence in 1980.


Vanuatu Country Profile

This South Pacific island economy is based primarily on small-scale agriculture, which provides a living for 65% of the population. Fishing, offshore financial services, and tourism, with about 50,000 visitors in 2004, are other mainstays of the economy. Mineral deposits are negligible; the country has no known petroleum deposits. A small light industry sector caters to the local market. Tax revenues come mainly from import duties. Economic development is hindered by dependence on relatively few commodity exports, vulnerability to natural disasters, and long distances from main markets and between constituent islands. GDP growth rose less than 3% on average in the 1990s. In response to foreign concerns, the government has promised to tighten regulation of its offshore financial center. In mid-2002 the government stepped up efforts to boost tourism. Agriculture, especially livestock farming, is a second target for growth. Australia and New Zealand are the main suppliers of tourists and foreign aid.

Ni-Vanuatu natural resources include manganese, hardwood forests, fish

a Y-shaped chain of four main islands and 80 smaller islands; several of the islands have active volcanoes

Ni-Vanuatu religion is Presbyterian 31.4%, Anglican 13.4%, Roman Catholic 13.1%, Seventh-Day Adventist 10.8%, other Christian 13.8%, indigenous beliefs 5.6% (including Jon Frum cargo cult), other 9.6%, none 1%, unspecified 1.3% (1999 Census).

Natural hazards in Vanuatu include tropical cyclones or typhoons (January to April); volcanic eruption on Aoba (Ambae) island began 27 November 2005, volcanism also causes minor earthquakes; tsunamis.

Travel Advice on Vanuatu

Vanuatu

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary and Natural Disasters (tropical cyclone 04P).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • The British High Commission in Port Vila closed to the public on 21 October 2005. There is no longer any British consular representation in Port Vila.  Routine consular services for British nationals will be provided by the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila. The British High Commission in Fiji will be responsible for non-routine consular matters. Please see Travel Advice: Fiji for contact details.

  • Vanuatu lies on the Pacific 'Ring of Fire' and regularly experiences seismic and volcanic activity. Since Mount Manaro became active in November 2005, Vanuatu has recorded approximately 40 earthquakes of magnitudes between 4.0 and 6.5 across the archipelago.

  • We advise caution when considering travel to islands of Ambrym and Tanna, which are currently affected by volcanic activity.  While Mount Manaro on the island of Ambae has now become less active since erupting in November 2005, you should check with the Vanuatu Tourist Office for latest reports before travelling to the island (see Natural Disasters Section).

  • Violent crime is increasing and you should avoid visiting isolated locations alone.

  • Most visits to Vanuatu are trouble-free.  The main type of incidents for which British nationals require consular assistance in Vanuatu are for replacing lost or stolen passport and victims of petty crime.

  • The threat from terrorism is low.  But you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.

  • Tropical cyclone 04P is reported to be heading towards the southern Solomon Islands and is expected to make landfall on 2 December 2006. Tropical cyclone 04P may also affect northern Vanuatu.  The tropical cyclone season in Vanuatu normally runs from November to April.  Please see the Natural Disasters section of this Travel Advice and Hurricanes for more information.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

NATURAL DISASTERS

We advise caution when considering travel to the island of Ambrym, which is subject to periodic volcanic activity.  Since December 2005, explosive activity at the Mount Marum Volcano on Ambrym has resulted in an increase in the level of the lava lake.  This continues to cause ash to be deposited over the western and north western parts of the island.  There is potential for respiratory problems in the affected areas. Water and food supplies have also been affected.  Volcanic activity is being closely monitored by the Vanuatu Government’s Mines and Geology Department with a view to determining whether it indicates the start of significantly more dangerous activity.
There has also been a significant increase in volcanic activity at the Mount Yasur volcano on the island of Tanna.  The Government of Vanuatu has issued a warning, advising people not to go near the crater of Mount Yasur.  The Vanuatu Tourism Bureau has prepared a Liability Discharge, which must be signed by anyone wishing to undertake a close-up visit to the volcano.  You must be aware that there is no such thing as “zero hazard” when viewing an active volcano such as Yasur close up.
An underwater earthquake measuring 6.7 was reported off the coast of Vanuatu on 7 August 2006.
While Mount Manaro on the island of Ambae has now become less active since erupting in November 2005, you should check with the Vanuatu Tourist Office for latest reports before travelling to the island.
Vanuatu is prone to significant year round seismic and volcanic activity, with over 2000 seismic events reported each year.  Most events are small scale, although larger tremors and quakes of over 5 on the Richter Scale do occur on a regular basis.  Since Mount Manaro became active in November 2005, Vanuatu has recorded approximately 40 earthquakes of magnitudes between 4.0 and 6.5 across the archipelago.  These events can be disorientating and disturbing.  For more information on earthquakes and their effects, please visit:  www.earthquake.usgs.gov.
Tropical cyclone 04P is reported to be heading towards the southern Solomon Islands and is expected to make landfall on 2 December 2006. Tropical cyclone 04P may also affect northern Vanuatu.  The tropical cyclone season in Vanuatu normally runs from November to April.  You should monitor local and international weather updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO).  You can also access http://www.nhc.noaa.gov for updates.  Please also see Hurricanes for more detailed information about what to do if you are caught up in a tropical cyclone.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help.

The British High Commission in Port Vila closed to the public on 21 October 2005.  There is no longer any British consular representation in Port Vila.  Routine consular services for British nationals will be provided by the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila.  The British High Commission in Fiji will be responsible for non-routine consular matters.  Please see Travel Advice: Fiji for contact details.
If you plan to stay for an extended period in Vanuatu, you are strongly advised to register upon arrival with the New Zealand High Commission upon arrival (please see contact details below).  You should also inform the British High Commission in Suva of your arrival.
If you require a new passport, application forms can be downloaded from the Internet or obtained from the New Zealand High Commission.  You should send your completed passport application by courier to the British High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand (please see contact details below).  You should ensure that payment is made by either a bankers draft (made payable in NZ$ to the British High Commission) or by credit card by completing a payment slip.  You will also need to enclose a return international courier pack.  Where possible, you are advised to apply at least one month before your passport is due to expire.

We strongly advise you to keep a photocopy of the relevant pages of your passport, to avoid any complications.
In the event of an emergency, the New Zealand High Commission in Port Vila will issue emergency travel documents and will ask you to complete a lost/stolen report form.
There is a GSM mobile phone service in Vanuatu and you are advised to contact your service provider to establish whether your phone will work in Vanuatu.  Alternatively, SIM cards may be purchased from the local telephone company (TVL) for visitors to use in their mobile phones.
There are three "High Street" banks in Vanuatu – The National Bank of Vanuatu, ANZ and Westpac.  Both ANZ and Westpac offer ATM facilities covering most UK bankcards.  The use of credit cards is commonplace in Port Vila and Luganville but less so in the rest of Vanuatu, particularly away from tourist resorts. 


OTHER

Vanuatu Country Profile