Vanuatu Education

PORT VILA

Education unfortunately there are no free public schools in Port Vila. There are a number of primary schools in Port Vila and some local villages also have small primary schools. Most Ni Vanuatu children do not continue their education beyond primary school. Due to low minimum wages, many local Ni Vanuatu children do not attend school or if they do attendance may not be continued. Port Vila International School offers local expat families an excellent education up until Grade 10, based on the Australian and New Zealand curriculum. Senior school education can be done by distance Education, however most expats families utilise boarding schools in Australia and New Zealand. Some expats, not just the French, enrol their children at The Lycee francais, for a multi lingual experience. Malapoa College is available for high school aged students who pass their final primary school exams.

The University of the South Pacific in Port Vila, is an educational institution co-owned by twelve Pacific countries. The Vanuatu campus is the only law school in the university, and it also teaches languages.

The APTC Australia-Pacific Technical College (School of Tourism and Hospitality and Health and Community Services) also operates in Port Vila. Offering vocational training for Ni Vanuatu.

 

Most resorts in Port Vila have internet access available and there are a variety of Internet Cafes in town. Port Vila hosts international and local banks including National Bank Vanuatu, ANZ, Westpac and Bred Bank with ATM located in town and at major supermarkets. Most stores accept credit card and offer eftpos services. The Port Vila Post Office can be found in the centre of town and offers internet facilities.

Vanuatu Telephone

and Internet Services

Call rates, internet rates and phone line rentals are high in Vanuatu, yet this does not stop “Everyone” from owning a mobile phone. Fast becoming a “must have” mobile phone usage has escalated over the past few years. Local and international call rates are high and mobile rates higher. You can have accounts or pre paid mobile accounts and you will find “top up” stalls on the side of the road everywhere in Port Vila. Skype is popular and although the connection is sometimes patchy this is cost effective alternative. It is not uncommon to encounter telephone or internet disruptions. Once again patience is required you are in the Pacific Islands where life is slow and easy.

$ Money $

Vatu (Vt or VUV) is the local currency and Foreign currency exchange in Port Vila is available at local banks, at the airport (low rates), many resorts and money exchangers. It is a good idea on cruise ship day to avoid exchanging any currency as the rates are usually poorer. Some shops accept Australian dollars and travellers cheques. Credit card use incurs a fee anywhere from 3 – 6.5%.

Vanuatu paper money

Doing business in Vanuatu

Visitors may not engage in any form of employment or business activities without a relevant visa. People wishing to reside or invest business in Vanuatu should first visit Vanuatu as a visitor and talk to the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority. This is the one – stop official source of information for anyone wishing to reside in Vanuatu – either for investment or retirement.

Why Invest BUSINESS in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is a declared tax haven. There is no income tax, no withholding tax, no capital gains tax, no death duties and no exchange controls. Money is easily transferred in all major currencies. There are many accountancy firms in Port Vila that can assist you with your investment enquiries.

 

Vanuatu lies squarely on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire and has nine active volcanoes, seven on land and two beneath the sea.

Read more to discover Vanuatu volcanos …

The most famous and most easily accessible, is Mt Yasur, on Tanna Island bringing thousands of tourists to Tanna Island each year. Mt Garet, on Gaua, is potentially the most dangerous and recently erupted in 2009 after many years of dormancy. Other Volcanoes less visited, can be found on the islands of Ambae, Ambrym, Lopevi.

A visit to Vanuatu is not complete without a tour to a live volcano.

Mt Yasur on Tanna Island is the most popular destination due to the easy access to the summit. 2010 has seen an unusual level of high activity from Mt Yasur and is being monitored closely by authorities. After a rather arduous 4wd drive adventure through unsealed roads, island villages, deep pot holes, flowing rivers and desolate ash plains, you arrive at the base of Mt Yasur. After a quick trip to the makeshift (door less) toilet, made roughly from local leaves, you are ready to follow your guide up a rocky path.

While the walk is a little rough and steep the climb only takes about 15 minutes. Then you are there, right at the mouth of the craters. It is the most amazing experience to feel the rumbling earth beneath your feet, hear the whizz of volcanic rock fly through the air and feel the heat from the explosion of fire before you. A tour at night is the most impressive, as you witness the sun setting, the air becomes really cold and windy, and with an inky sky as a back drop the lava seems even more vivid. Always go with a guide and follow their directions, they are trained and experienced to know the safest places for you to stand. Travel and tours can be arranged from Efate Port Vila Vanuatu by air.

Ambrym is known as the “black island” after the expansive ash plain covering the interior. This island is well known for its highly active volcanic activity that includes lava lake formations within the summit craters. Ambrym is the site of two active volcanic cones, Benbow and Marum and travel from Efate can be arranged by sea or air.

Lopevi is the most beautifully shaped Vanuatu volcano and has periodic eruptions. This volcano rises directly out of the ocean and has been belting out sulphurous ash since 2007, so this is a great chance to see the volcano is its active state. The island was previously inhabited until 1960, but is now deserted due to ongoing volcanic activity. Local customs prevent women from climbing the volcano. Last eruption was in 2008.

Mt Garet Volcano on Gaua Island, is one of the worlds most colourful and scenic volcanoes, with multi a coloured summit and a crater lake which creates an unforgettable landscape. The most recent eruption was in 2010 and evacuation plans for local villagers were considered. The authorities are watching this Volcano closely.

Ambae Island is physically characterized by the large Vanuatu volcano at its centre, Manaro. Manaro is regarded by authorities as one of the world’s top ten most dangerous volcanoes in terms of potential for a catastrophic eruption resulting in landslides that could cause major Tsunamis throughout Vanuatu. In 2005, after being dormant for 120 years, volcanic activity increased and eruptions become stronger, displacing half the islands 10 000 inhabitants and requiring the evacuation of two hospitals.

Public Holidays


There are many official public holidays in Vanuatu, and each Island also has its own special public holiday. Which means if you have staff from a variety of islands they will have additional public holidays throughout the year. It is also not uncommon for the prime minister to announce a close of business day at the beginning of the business day to honour the death of a prominent official. Throughout the year there are many local and international events, tournaments and celebrations. Let’s check VANUATU events…

Calendar of public holidays

and major VANUATU events

Jan

  • 1 New Year’s Day, nationwide

Feb

  • February 15 John Frum Day (cargo cult) is celebrated on Tanna Island
  • February 21 Lini Day is celebrated to honour the Father of Independence, nationwide

Mar

  • March 5 Custom Chiefs’ Day, nationwide
  • March or April Easter Good Friday and Easter Monday, nationwide
Apr
  • April – June, Nagol/Pentecost Land Diving, every Saturday, Pentecost Island

May

  • May 1 Labour Day, nationwide
  • May 5 Ascension Day, nationwide
  • May 23-29 Vanuatu Marlin Classic Competition, Port Vila, Efate
Jun
  • June 12 Vanuatu Ocean Swim, Port Vila, Efate
  • June 15 Espiritu Santo Vanuatu Ocean Swim, Santo
  • June 21 Fete de la Musique (in Port Vila and on Santo, Tanna and Malekula islands)
  • June 27 Le Meridien Swim Run, Efate
Jul
  • July 14 French National Day, Bastille Day, Efate
  • July 15 Kiwani’s Charity Race Ball, Efate
  • July 16 Kiwani’s Calcutta Night, Efate
  • July 17 Kiwani’s Horse Racing Day, Efate
  • July 23 Miss Vanuatu, Efate
  • July 24 Children’s Day, nationwide
  • July 25 Wilco Round Island Relay, Efate
  • July 30 Independence Day, nationwide
  • July 31- 6 August, Aniwa and Tanna Swim Safari. Aniwa and Tanna Islands
  • July 31 Vanuatu Half Marathon Run, Efate
Aug
  • August 3-8 Vanuatu Golf Open, held at Port Vila Golf and Country Club, Efate
  • August 11-18 Vanuatu kite surfing championships, Efate
  • August 15-20 National Sandroing, this sand drawing festival takes place each year at a different location, in the northern tropical islands of Vanuatu
  • August 16 Assumption Day, Nationwide
  • August 17 Tusker Vanuatu Golf Open, Efate
  • August 20-22 Adventure Race Vanuatu, Efate
  • August 25 Tok Tok Vanuatu, Efate
  • August 25-27 Back to my Roots festival, Ambrym Island
  • August 31 La Piste Bleu- Unelco Run, Efate
  • August TBA Le Meridien Fun Swim Run & Sprint, Efate
Sep
  • September 5 Vanuatu Game Fishing Dogtooth Competition, Efate
  • September 8 Tanna Trail, Tanna Island
  • September 9 Vanuatu Game Fishing, Efate
  • September 9-13 Lalina Mini Art Festival, Ambrym
  • September 19 Vanuatu Game Fishing, Tusker Tuna Shoot out, Efate
  • September TBA Tusker Triathlon Du Paradis, Efate
Oct
  • October 5th Constitution Day, nationwide
  • October 20 Fest Nalenga Stringband Festival, Efate
  • October 21-23 Fest Napuan Music Festival, Efate
  • October 22-26 World’s Greatest Shore Dive Festival, Santo
Nov
  • November Melbourne Cup day, Efate
  • November 6-11 Vanuatu Aniwa and Tanna Swim Safari, Aniwa and Tanna Islands
  • November 29 Unity Day, nationwide
Dec
  • Christmas carols by candlelight are held each December on the harbour front
  • December 25th Christmas Day, nationwide
  • December 26th Family Day, nationwide

 

Boating, Sailing and Kayaking

Local tour companies offer half day, full day, over night, night and sunset sailing charters, boat cruises and deep sea fishing charters around the harbour and the nearby islands. Join an ocean kayak tour and paddle to a small coral island and discover the beauty of the coral gardens. You can also review marine life from above in a glass bottom boat, and may even see a dugong!

Malo River Tour

vanuatu sailing

Vanuatu kayaking

Jet Ski Boat


For a heart-stopping ride of your life experience high-speed jet boating at its best on the harbour. Guaranteed to get your adrenalin pumping.

Jetboat Vanuatu

Surfing, Life Saving

Stand up Paddle Boarding

 

 

Stand up paddle at Vanuatu

You’ll hear “there’s no surf in Vanuatu” but there are some 4ft – 6ft waves to be found off Pango, Erator and Eratap which are suburbs close to the city of Port Vila. Just recently a surf school has begun operation at Pango and is proving popular for expat women and their children and local Ni Vanuatu children. Stand up paddle boarding is new to Vanuatu and with its calm clear waters it is gaining in popularity. Local expats have recently received some donations of surf life saving equipment and have begun their own version of “nippers”, proving a favourite with parents and children alike.

Ocean Swimming

The Port Vila Masterbathers, are a faithful group of Vila Residents who gather in the harbour each day at lunch time to swim for fitness, pleasure and training. Some are preparing for “The Vanuatu Ocean Swimming competition” held in Port Vila each year and others enjoy the social aspect.

Kite Surfing

Kite surfing is relatively new to Efate and increasing in popularity with locals and visitors alike. In 2007, The Imere International Kite Surfing Challenge was held on the peninsular near Hideaway Island. It was a great success with riders from Vanuatu, Australia, New Caledonia, France and New Zealand participating.

Parasailing

Fun, safe, and easy for all ages you will parasail 65 meters from behind the boat while enjoying the beautiful Port Vila harbor marine life and breathtaking views. No experience is necessary, your flight will last 8 to 10 minutes and you will stay high and remain dry.

Abseiling

Trek through lush rainforests and abseil safely down the cascading waterfall and cool off in the crystal clear blue water.

The Port Vila Golf and Country Club is presently the only 18 hole championship course in Vanuatu and the course provides a challenge to professionals and Amateurs alike. The country club hosts the premier international golfing event “The Tusker Vanuatu Golf Open” held each year that is sponsored by Tusker, Vanuatu’s own world-class beer. Nine Hole golf courses can be found at the Le Meridien and Le Lagon hotels and resorts.

Golf Vanuatu

Golf

Formerly the Botanical Gardens, these gardens are now managed by local Ni Vanuatu.

Discover Vanuatu’s early history, art work, wildlife, fauna and custom stories. Be aware that some of Vanuatu’s early history of blackbirding and cannibalism and custom stories are not suitable for all visitors.

Botanical Gardens

The Secret Gardens Cultural Centre and Native Reserve

Take an easy 20 minute drive from Port Vila to Blue Water Resort and view man made rock pools containing sharks, turtles and marine life.

Blue Water Shark, Turtle Feeding

Blue Water Shark, Turtle Feeding

Cultural Village Tours

A fantastic experience with a cultural village that is a ‘hands on’ experience. Enjoy custom dance, story telling, music and a traditional Melanesian Feast. Local hotels and resorts also offer cultural evenings and Melanesian Feasts including kava tasting. The Vanuatu Cultural Centre and Museum features a collection of historical artifacts from the island of Vanuatu.

vanuatu-string-band

 

vanuatu-village-learning

tanna-custom-dress

 

Hot Mineral Springs

Hot mineral springs are renowned in the South Pacific for their relaxing and therapeutic properties. Hidden away in the North East of Efate you will find a local Ni Vanuatu family slowly building a natural thermal pool. Don’t be put off by the “rotten egg” smell of the sulphur, your skin and muscles will thank you for the experience. Wear old bathers as the sulphur is hard on clothing.

Horse Riding

 

There are two excellent horse-riding ranches in Vanuatu – l’ Hippocampas (Sea Horse Ranch) and Club Hippique Adventure Park (CHAP), both about 15 minutes from Port Vila town. Half day and full day rides with guide available and include romantic sunset rides, rainforest treks and beach rides.

 

Discover Vanuatu from a higher perspective and take a helicopter or seaplane tour around Port Vila or land on deserted beaches for a romantic and private experience.

Seaplane, Helicopter Tours

Buggy Tours, Scooter and Motorbike Hire

Discover Efate on and off road on open buggies and quad bikes that are very easy to operate. Be your own tour guide, rent a car, scooter or motor bike and explore Efate at your leisure.

 

Travel fifteen minutes out of town and 3 minutes by Ferry and you will find yourself enjoying the beauty of Hideaway Island. Snorkel amongst amazing fish and marine life, including large clown fish colonies, dive off the reef, swim or sunbath or enjoy a great lunch. Make sure you post a postcard in the underwater post box.

Hideaway Island

Eco Tours

Kayaking, biking, hiking, swimming. If you are looking for a fun way to see the real Vanuatu, off the beaten tracks, then an Eco tour is for you. Discover the hidden beauty of the fabulous flora and fauna in its natural environment, learn about the history of the land and meet the locals and experience a day in their life.

Vanuatu Accommodation

Accommodation in Port Vila is as varied as her landscape. There is a certain rustic charm in sleeping under a natangora thatched roof, with walls and floors made of coral. If high rise accommodation is your thing, then the views over the harbour will please you. The reminders of a British and French rule from the past are evident in some of the older styles of accommodation. As Port Vila grows it attracts new investors who are building new, fresh and luxurious beach side resorts. Nearby islands offer private, peaceful and unique accommodation and more budget conscious options are also available. Whether you are travelling alone, with your partner, a family, friends or colleagues, you will find the perfect accommodation solution for you somewhere in Vanuatu.

01

Vanuatu Family Resorts and Hotels

Le Lagon and Holiday Inn are the major resorts in Port Vila and offer a full itinerary of children’s activities and babysitting within their kids club. Other family friendly resorts are: Le Melanesian (pool, bar, restaurant, kids club, self contained available), Poppy’s on the Lagoon (bar, restaurant, pool, spa, beach activities, self contained), Paradise Cove (bar, restaurant, pool, water activities, babysitting, Pacific Lagoon Resort (self contained, kayaks, babysitting), Benjor Beach Club (pool, bar, restaurant, water activities, golf), Island Magic Resort(pool, BBQ, reef snorkelling, sea pool, self contained).

02

Vanuatu Couples Hotels and Resorts

For a holiday free from children, catch the free ferry across from the Grand Hotel and Casino to Irririki Island Resort (day spa, restaurant, bar, beach activities and swimming pool). Other adult only resorts include: The Havannah (pool, day spa, restaurant), Breaka’s Beach Resort (pool, bar, restaurant, day spa), Mangoes Resort (bar, restaurant, pool, massage), Tamanu Beach Resort(restaurant and bar), Vila Chaumiers (restaurant, massage) and Sunset Bungalows (restaurant, massage, pool) has an over 18’s policy. Eratap Beach Resort (pool, restaurant, kayak, banana boats, massage services) offer adult only periods at certain times of the year. Le Meridien Resort and Casino (bar, restaurant, day spa, casino, catamaran, golf, and tennis) offer some “couples only” lagoon bungalows.

03

Vanuatu Self Contained Apartments

For a “home friendly” atmosphere, Port Vila offer many styles of self contained accommodation. Le Melanesian (pool, bar, restaurant, kids club, self contained available), Poppy’s on the Lagoon (bar, restaurant, pool, spa, beach activities, self contained), Pacific Lagoon Resort (self contained, kayaks, babysitting), Benjor Beach Club (pool, bar, restaurant, water activities, golf). Island Magic Resort (pool, BBQ, reef snorkelling, sea pool, self contained).

04

Vanuatu Holiday Houses

Local real estate agents offer a selection of fully furnished short term rentals located in town, on lagoons, and some with total beachfront access. These homes are available all year round and usually can accommodate more than one family.

05

Vanuatu Backpacker Accommodation

Budget accommodation and backpacker accommodation is available in Port Vila but is generally not well advertised. Budget accommodation can be very rustic, with tree top timber cabins with very basic amenities. Hotels and motels offer basic kitchen amenities and pool and BBQ area, some offer self contained rooms. Dormitory style accommodation is basic, rustic and has common bathroom and kitchen facilities. Fans or air conditioning are standard features.

06

Vanuatu BUSINESS HOTELS

Whether you are doing business on a budget or in style, there is a hotel in Port Vila to suit your needs. Located centrally or close to town these hotels offer business services including: well equipped meeting rooms, conference rooms, full room service or restaurant service, use of photo copying and fax machine, computer use and internet access, multilingual staff, currency exchange and laundry service.

07

Vanuatu Conference Resorts

Each year more businesses and companies are choosing Vanuatu as a venue to host their conferences, incentives and events as the travel from Australia and New Zealand is direct and with flying time just over 2 hours it’s a great choice for those last minute conferences where you just need to get the team away for three or four days. Many resorts offer competitive conference packages that include accommodation and food and a unique cultural atmosphere within which to conduct business. A novel idea for large groups is to spread their events across a number of the resorts and function centres. Often travelling from one venue to another by boat, ferry or car, this concept contains a certain element of surprise.

08

Vanuatu Wedding Resorts and Hotels

Whether you are celebrating a wedding for 2 or 200, onshore or on sea, there are many resorts and accommodation options to suit all budgets, numbers and styles. In the land where service is always delivered with a smile, you will be treated like King and Queen on your special day. Resorts are only too happy to provide wedding planners and celebrants, hair and beauty services, floral arrangements, music, food, drinks and decorations. For that special touch, replace the traditional walk up the aisle with a canoe trip across the lagoon with a local Ni Vanuatu chief. Whatever your needs, your Vanuatu resort or hotel will be only too happy to accommodate them.

09

Vanuatu Ultra Luxurious Accommodation

While Vanuatu offers a multitude of accommodation options, styles and packages, in comparison to Australian accommodation, there is only a small group of resorts that appear “luxurious”. From high rise, to boutique resorts these ultimate beach or lagoon front resorts offer high standards of service and facilities.