Back

Country Reports

Vanuatu Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

In general, trips to Vanuatu (formerly the Franco-British condominium of New Hebrides; population 267,000), a young republic located in the South Pacific, pose few problems to travelers. Keeping this in mind, visitors should still be aware of a few points before visiting the poor island nation, one of the least developed countries in the world according to the UN.

NATURAL RISKS

The country is located along an active volcanic belt (situated in the Pacific “Ring of Fire”) and frequently experiences earthquakes (e.g. a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck on May 27, 2010; a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that struck on August 6, 2013) and tidal waves. In June 2011, Mount Yasur (on Tanna Island) entered a phase of intense volcanic activity. In early September 2014, two of the archipelago’s most active volcanoes erupted, leading to concern among local authorities who subsequently raised the alert level for areas near Mount Ambrym (1334 meters) from 1 to 2, while Ambae volcano (northeast; 1500 meters) emitted large quantities of gases.

Cyclones (between November and April) and typhoons (between January and April) regularly strike the archipelago. There are regular reports of sharks around the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malakula.

SECURITY

It should be noted that crime rates are low and that tourist installations are decent (although rare outside of the capital Port Vila).

HEALTH

Visitors should be aware that medical facilities are scarce; in the event of a serious injury, a medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand should be considered.

It should also be noted that the number of dengue fever cases reported in the capital Port-Vila increased in early 2014 (15 cases officially diagnosed in mid-January). It is strongly recommended (prior to departing for Vanuatu) to sign up for a medical insurance program that includes medical fees and repatriation for medical care.

TRANSPORTATION

Foreign visitors should note that roads are only paved on the islands of Efate and Espiritu Santo. Due to geographic constraints, the majority of travel within the country is done by boat ‒ which can be unsafe ‒ or by air.

POLITICS

Presidential elections will be held in 2019, following by legislative elections in 2020.

OTHER

Residents of Vanuatu are staunchly Christian, even puritanical, and visitors should thus conduct themselves accordingly.

Climate

Vanuatu has a tropical climate. During the summer (November to March) the average temperature is 28°C and conditions are hot and humid. Winter lasts from April to October and the average high is 23°C; cyclones sometimes strike during this period.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +678 Police: 22 222 Fire Dept.: 22 333 Ambulance: 22 100

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

More