What makes Vanuatu a unique country to travel to?
Vanuatu is located east of Australia and consists of more than 80 islands in a Y-shaped archipelago. It is an independent parliamentary democracy and a member of the British Commonwealth. Tourist facilities are limited outside the capital, Port Vila. The National Tourism Office of Vanuatu can be contacted at PO Box 209, Port Vila, Vanuatu, telephone (678) 22515, 22685, 22813, fax (678) 23889.
Although violent crime is rare in Vanuatu, there is a risk that you could be a victim of theft, burglary, sexual harassment, or sexual assault. Take reasonable precautions to avoid exposing yourself to undue risk, especially in tourist areas. Women should avoid going out alone at night or to isolated locations, especially on foot.
If you are a victim of crime in Vanuatu, contact the local police emergency line, which is 112 in Vanuatu, and the U.S. Embassy in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Local laws and penalties, including ones that appear to be harsh by U.S. standards, apply to you. If you violate Vanuatu’s laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Crimes related to illegal drugs in Vanuatu are severely penalized. Buying pirated goods, engaging in sexual conduct with children, or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
If you are arrested in Vanuatu, request that the police, prison officials, or otherauthorities alert the U.S. Embassy in Papua New Guinea immediately of your arrest.
Don’t buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are they illegal in the United States, you may also be breaking local law.
Medical Facilities and Health Information
Hospital and medical facilities in Vanuatu are limited. Costs for treatment, including for pharmaceuticals, can be expensive. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for their services. In the event of a serious illness or accident (including diving-related injuries), you would need a medical evacuation to a destination with appropriate facilities, usually Australia. A medical evacuation can cost tens of thousands of U.S. dollars. There is only one hyperbaric chamber for diving accidents in Vanuatu, located in Port Vila. Many of the popular dive sites are located on other islands, and it may take several hours or days to obtain medical assistance in the event of a diving accident.
Pharmacies are located only in urban centers and at missionary clinics. They are small and may be inadequately stocked; bring adequate supplies of medications for your stay in Vanuatu.
Safety and Security
Civil disorder in Vanuatu is rare; however, you should avoid public demonstrations and/or political rallies if they occur.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
In Vanuatu, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States.
In general, traffic in Vanuatu moves on the right side of the road. Travel can be hazardous. Always use your seatbelt. Roads are generally narrow and in poor repair. Only the capital city of Port Vila and the town of Luganville have consistently paved roads, which have a maximumspeed limit of 30 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour). On all roads, give way to traffic coming from the right, and to traffic coming from the left at round-abouts. To avoid trespassing, seek permission from local landowners before accessing non-public areas, including beaches. Some landowners may charge a fee for access.