Key facts about Vanuatu
Location Southwest Pacific, around 2250km northeast of Australia and 800km west of Fiji.
Area 12,190 sq km
Capital Port Vila (Efaté Island) (population 34,000)
Full country name Republic of Vanuatu (formerly called the New Hebrides)
Climate The climate varies between the tropical north and the subtropical south in Vanuatu's long stretch of islands. From January to July the average high varies between 24°C and 28°C. The dry season runs from May to October with an average temperature of 23°C. The cold season from June to August is ideal for walking and trekking the rainforest. The summer wet season lasts from November until April, with heavy rains in January and an average temperature of 28°C.
Time Zone Australian East Coast -20 hours
International dialling code +678
Currency Vatu (VUV)
Electricity 230 volts, 50hz. Australian-style three-pin plugs.
Tipping There is no tipping in Vanuatu. Instead, smile and say tank yu tumas – thank you!
Language Bislama (a Melanesian mixture of French and English), English and French
Try these Bislama phrases: plis – ‘please’; tangkyu – ‘thank you’; sori (sori tumas) – ‘sorry’ (sorry too much); Lukim yu/ tata – ‘see you later’.
Local etiquette Visitors are requested not to offend local sensibilities. Ask permission before taking photographs of local people. Vanuatu has strict and sensitive land ownership regulations, which should be considered when hiking through someone’s property – you may be asked to pay a ‘visitor fee’.
Tip Hats and sunscreen are a must and sneakers or sandals are advisable for walking and swimming around coral. If you cut yourself on coral pour lemon or lime juice over the wound to relieve the pain, or use hydrogen peroxide.