Is Vanuatu Cheap or Expensive? Spending Money Guide 2024

Spending Money Vanuatu

Set within the idyllic surroundings on the South Pacific Ocean, Vanuatu is a destination brimming with azure waters, lush forests, and vibrant cultures, making it the dream getaway for anyone looking to kick back and unwind. But before you start dreaming of relaxing by the ocean’s edge, it’s important to plan a travel budget for your trip to Vanuatu.

At Crown Currency Exchange, we’ve done the hard work for you. Below, you’ll find information on what you’ll need to budget for, along with average prices, making it easier than ever to start planning that perfect Vanuatu getaway.

How Much Spending Money Do I Need for Vanuatu?

The first thing to think about when figuring out how much spending money you’ll need for a trip to Vanuatu is what your personal travel style is. For instance, if you’re looking to stay at luxury resorts, you’re going to need to budget a lot more than you would if you were staying in a hostel.

To give you a better idea of how much spending money you’ll need, here’s a daily average across three different travel styles:

Budget Travellers

For holiday-makers looking to spend as little money as possible on a trip to Vanuatu, a daily budget of around VT 6,400 Vatu will provide you with comfortable accommodation in a hostel or guesthouse, meals at cafes and food stalls, and multiple trips on buses. You’ll also be able to enjoy some fantastic activities, including feeding baby turtles at Vanuatu Zoological and a shopping trip to Port Vila markets.

Mid-range Travellers

Those who would consider themselves as having a mid-range travel style should find that a daily budget of VT 34,000 Vatu will cover their preferred option. This includes a private hotel room or an entire apartment through Airbnb, meals at restaurants and grocery shopping, and travel by taxi or bicycle hire.

In terms of activities, those with a mid-range budget can enjoy wild swimming at Blue Lagoon or a boat ride and hike up Mount Hope Waterfall.

Luxury Travellers

For anyone with a luxury budget who wants to create a truly unforgettable experience, a daily cost of up to VT 107,000 Vatu will afford you a room in a luxury hotel or resort, meals at fine dining restaurants, and travel by car hire or ferry.

You’ll also be able to take part in some truly memorable activities as well, including hiking Mount Yasur and diving at Hideaway Island Marine Reserve.

What Goes into a Travel Budget?

Travel Budget Vanuatu
  • Accommodation: A large part of your costs will be your accommodation budget, as you’ll need to find somewhere to stay each night and to store your luggage when you’re out and about.
  • Food & Drink: You’ll also need to set aside a good chunk of money for food and drink, and with so many different things to try in Vanuatu, you’ll want enough cash to create a flexible dining budget.
  • Activities: There are some awesome activities to take part in when you visit Vanuatu, so a portion of your travel budget will also need to go towards exploring what’s on offer.
  • Transportation: It’s also essential to think about how you’re going to get around when visiting Vanuatu, so a portion of your budget will also need to go towards transportation costs.

What is the Cost of Accommodation in Vanuatu?

Cost of Accommodation in Vanuatu

Accommodation prices vary pretty dramatically in Vanuatu, depending on where you want to stay. The least expensive option is hostels, which cost up to VT 1,116 Vatu, while a night in a luxury hotel can cost as much as VT 38,275 Vatu.

  • Budget Travellers: A nightly budget of up to VT 2,100 Vatu will provide the most affordable options of accommodation, including backpacker hostels and guesthouses.
  • Mid-Range Travellers: Those with a slightly higher budget of up to VT 14,000 Vatu per night can enjoy private accommodation in a mid-range hotel or hire an entire apartment.
  • Luxury Travellers: A higher budget of up to VT 38,275 Vatu per night will get you luxury accommodation in a beach resort with access to high-end amenities.

Different Accommodation Options:

  • Backpacker Hostels: Ideal for the budget-friendly traveller, Vanuatu has backpacker hostels across several islands. Most are shared dormitories, although some have private rooms, and the average nightly price is VT 1,116 Vatu.
  • Guesthouses: For those who prefer the guarantee of privacy but still want to keep their budget low, a guesthouse or bed and breakfast is a great alternative. The average nightly price of staying in a guesthouse in Vanuatu is VT 2,100 Vatu.
  • Apartment Rental: Airbnb apartments make a great place to stay if you’re travelling in a group and would like to self-cater, and for an average price of VT 13,000 Vatu per night, you can rent an entire home or apartment.
  • Budget Hotels: A budget hotel room is a good choice if you want a comfortable place to spend the night and aren’t fussed about luxury amenities. You can expect to pay an average of VT 14,000 Vatu per night for a budget hotel room.
  • Eco-Resorts: As you might expect from their name, eco-resorts are focused on sustainability and offer an environmentally-friendly stay while blending luxury with the preservation of the surrounding area. They’re also surprisingly inexpensive, costing around VT 14,270 Vatu per night.
  • Luxury Hotels: Offering the epitome of relaxation and indulgence, a luxury hotel or resort is a good choice for luxury travellers looking to create a truly memorable holiday. Unsurprisingly, they are the most expensive option, and a single night will cost an average of VT 38,275 Vatu.

Our Money-Saving Tips for Accommodation Costs:

  • Travel Off-Peak: Just like most other popular tourist destinations, Vanuatu has an off-peak season, which runs from February to May. During this time, you may find that many hotels and resorts lower their prices to keep business moving.
  • Use Loyalty Programs: This is a good tip for frequent travellers, and if you have a preferred hotel chain sign, up for their loyalty program to see if you can get member discounts on your stay.

What is the Cost of Food in Vanuatu?

Cost of Food in Vanuatu

As you might expect from an island nation, food in Vanuatu is heavily centred around fish, vegetables, fruits, and coconuts. There are plenty of different places you can try traditional Vanuatu cuisine, including:

  • Food Trucks & Stalls: One of the best ways to sample local fare is by visiting a food truck or stall, which can be found throughout Vanuatu in popular tourist spots. It’s also an inexpensive option for eating, with the average price of a dish costing just VT 1,037 Vatu.
  • Local Restaurants: You can also sample traditional cuisine, such as “lap lap” (baked yam pudding), in local restaurants. They are also fairly inexpensive, with each dish costing an average of VT 1,595 Vatu while offering a place to sit and eat.
  • Cafes: Perfect for grabbing a light snack or a drink on the go, cafes are another inexpensive option for eating and drinking in Vanuatu. The average price of a coffee is just VT 399 Vatu, and you can grab a sandwich for an average of VT 800 Vatu.
  • Fine Dining: Usually found within luxury resorts, there are several fine dining restaurants throughout Vanuatu that make for an extra-special meal. Naturally, costs here are higher, and a three-course meal will cost around VT 3,250 Vatu per person.
  • Grocery Stores & Markets: You’ll also find grocery stores and markets throughout Vanuatu, which are ideal if you have access to self-catering facilities. For around VT 15,000 Vatu, you’ll be able to buy a week’s worth of groceries, including milk, bread, eggs, and cheese.

Our Money-Saving Tips for Food Costs:

  • Eat Local: One good way to save money on your food costs when you visit Vanuatu is to look where locals eat. These establishments often offer authentic meals at a lower price than tourist-oriented restaurants.
  • Look For Specials: You can also save money by looking for specials and ‘meal deals’, such as set menus, run by restaurants at certain times of the time.

What is the Cost of Transport in Vanuatu?

Cost of Transport in Vanuatu

Getting around Vanuatu is pretty easy, and with so much to do, it’s important that you know what your transport options are. Here are the most popular and convenient, along with their average costs:

  • Public Buses: You’ll find public buses and minibuses all over Vanuatu, although they are most common in Port Vila, and for VT 150 Vatu, you can hop aboard and follow the set schedule wherever you need to go.
  • Taxis: For destinations that are harder to reach by bus, a taxi ride is your next best bet, and they are easily found in areas such as Luganville and Port Vila. The starting price is usually around VT 155 Vatu and increases by VT 144 Vatu per kilometre.
  • The Vanuatu Ferry: As Vanuatu is an island nation, the best way to go island hopping is by taking the Vanuatu Ferry. Like buses, this runs to a set schedule but is a lot more expensive, averaging VT 5,000 Vatu for a one-way trip.
  • Biking: A really good way of exploring Vanuatu without relying on public transport is by bike, and you can hire a bicycle for around VT 2,000 Vatu for an entire day.
  • Car Hire: For those who prefer to stick to their own schedule, hiring a car is a great way of getting around Vanuatu. Car hire can be expensive, with the average cost coming in at VT 13,000 Vatu, but this will depend on the size and type of car you need.

Our Money-Saving Tips for Transportation Costs:

  • Negotiate Taxi Fares: Some taxi drivers may be open to negotiating a set fare before you head off on your journey, which will ultimately stop the meter from running and the price rising.
  • Explore Package Deals: When looking at your accommodation, see if you can find any package deals that include transport to and from your hostel or resort to certain destinations.

What is the Cost of Activities in Vanuatu?

Whether you’re looking to get a closer glimpse at Vanuatu’s amazing nature and scenery or you want to immerse yourself in local culture, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy.

  • Tour Mount Yasur: What could be more thrilling than hiking an active volcano?! For VT 38,910 Vatu, you can take guided tours of both Blue Cave and Mount Yasur, where you’ll be able to see the magma with your own eyes.
  • Go Diving At Hideaway Island Marine Reserve: A great day tour for anyone who loves snorkelling, VT 13,795 Vatu will get you a full day’s diving at Hideaway Island, where you’ll get up close and personal with some amazing marine life.
  • Hike Mount Hope Waterfall: Another one for the thrill-seeking adventurer, for VT 5,000 Vatu, you can hop on a boat and sail downriver towards Mount Hope. Once there, you’ll hike through the lush rainforest before swimming in the pool this magnificent waterfall tumbles into.
  • Go Shopping At Port Vila Markets: Ideal if you want to explore local culture and indulge in some retail therapy, the Port Vila Markets offer a variety of fresh fruit and local produce, as well as food and drinks stalls to enjoy.
  • Go Swimming At Blue Lagoon: The perfect day out for anyone who loves wild swimming, VT 9,400 Vatu will afford you a tour of Blue Lagoon and the Rarru Cascades in Port Vila, both of which you can swim and relax in.
  • Feed Baby Turtles At Vanuatu Zoological: An amazing day trip for animal lovers, for VT 2,300 Vatu you can visit Vanuatu Zoological and hand-feed baby turtles. You’ll also see some other rare animals and learn more about Vanuatu’s wildlife and conservation efforts.

Our Money-Saving Tips for Activity Costs:

  • Use Local Tour Operators: Some local tour operators may have special relationships with popular destinations, and this can result in a lower cost than using an international company.
  • Bundle Activities Together: Likewise, if you bundle your activities together using the same tour operator, you may be able to take advantage of multiple booking discounts.

Other Expenses to Consider for the Trip

Other Expenses to Consider for the Trip Vanuatu

While accommodation, food and drink, transport, and activities will make up the majority of your travel budget, there are some other things you’ll need to factor in, as well. These include:

  • Visa Fees: You’ll need to research how much a visa application is going to cost before you book a trip to Vanuatu and make sure you have enough money to cover this. Likewise, should your passport need renewing, you’ll need funds to cover the renewal fee.
  • Travel Insurance: While not particularly glamorous, travel insurance is incredibly important, and a good policy will cover you for lost luggage, cancelled activities, medical emergencies, and more.
  • Tipping: You should also put a little money aside to tip your waiter, taxi driver, or tour guide with. While this isn’t customary in all countries, it is always appreciated.
  • Souvenirs: Put some money aside for purchasing souvenirs and gifts as well, whether they’re for yourself or your friends and family.
  • Emergency Costs: It’s also a very good idea to allocate some money to an emergency fund, which will allow you to cover the costs of any unforeseen circumstances not covered by your travel insurance.

Most Cost-Effective Way to Take Vatu to Vanuatu

While taking cash to Vanuatu may seem a little ‘old fashioned’, it’s by far the most cost-effective way of taking spending money with you. This is because most banks and credit card issuers will charge you an ‘International Transaction Fee’ when you use a debit or credit card abroad, and throughout your holiday, these fees can soon add up!

At Crown Currency Exchange, you’ll find a team of friendly experts who will be able to talk you through exchanging AUD to VUV without any hidden fees and at highly competitive rates. You can find your closest Crown Currency Exchange store here.

FAQs

Is Vanuatu expensive to visit?

Vanuatu isn’t an overly expensive destination. However, the amount of money you’ll spend will ultimately depend on your preferred accommodation, dining, transport, and activities.

What currency does Vanuatu use?

The Vanuatu currency is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV).

Can I use cards to pay in Vanuatu?

It is possible to use debit cards and major credit cards to pay for goods and services in Vanuatu, but the most cost-effective way of paying is in cash.

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