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By No owner — last modified Oct 18, 2018 02:17 PM

 Vanuatu - General Info

Time Zone

UTC +11. Summer time UTC +12 end of September to end of March.

Yachting Essentials


Voltage: 230 V
Frequency: 50 Hz

Repair Services

Port Vila and Luganville are the two main centres with marine services for visiting yachts. Consult each port page for a full directory of services available (left hand side bar).


Duty-free diesel fuel can be ordered for delivery on clearing out both in Luganville and Port Vila.


Vanuatu has banned single use plastic bags, straws and takeaway food containers - so make sure you have suitable bags with you before going shopping.

The outer islands have an increasing number of stores and shops, stocked with basic items. However nothing will compare with the facilities available in Port Vila or Luganville (the Bon Marche supermarket is good value with a French influence and many Australian & European brands).

Many small island resorts are extremely helpful to yachts and one can arrange provisions as well as guides and tours through the local village chief. Cheap duty-free alcohol targeted at cruise ships can also be purchased on departure.


Vatu (Vt) of 100 centimes. Aus$ are widely accepted and credit card transactions are done in Aus$.


See Pacific List of Radio Nets

The Namba Net for cruisers operates on SSB 6516 at 0815 local Vanuatu time for vessels cruising New Caledonia and Vanuatu. (June 2012). Please note that the Namba net only operates when there are sufficient cruisers prepared to act as net controllers. Ideally 7 people but it usually starts with 4. It starts usually sometime in June and finishes in October. The 8 meg frequency covers Vanuatu. New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and the Louisaides.

The Vanuatu Cruising Net, operates daily at 2030UTC (0700 Vanuatu time) on 8230kHz USB daily between May and October.

International dialing code for Vanuatu is +678

Mobile Phones

There are two mobile telephone providers in Vanuatu, Digicel and Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL), and the reception is generally good (3G and 4G), although to ensure reception on all islands you may need a SIM from each provider. Digicel is generally regarded as the better provider, both providers offer Visitor packs.

Lini Highway Post Office
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 07:30-16:30; Sat 07:30-11:30. Public Holidays and when there is a cruise ship in port - 07:30-15:00.


Air Vanuatu
Tel: +678 26 591

Virgin Airways

World Car Rentals - Port Vila
Tel: +678 26 515

Budget Car and Truck Rental
(Next to Museum opposite Parliament House)
Tel:+678 23 170 Fax:+ 678 23 13

Diplomatic Missions


Events & Festivals June to December 2016

This is a list of festivals and events that have been recommended to us by cruisers. They may not all happen annually. Eric and Anne Simmons publication ‘All Ports Lead to Vanuatu’ (see Publications below) is probably the best place for up-to-date events and timings.


Land Divers of Pentecost Island - every Saturday from April to June.


Fête de la Musique, Port Vila & Luganville (FOC).


Ruan Cultural Festival (Our Way), Nobul, North Ambrym - first week of July, featuring initiation rites, mask dances, traditional dances and more.

Espiritu Santo, Big Bay Cultural Festival. For more information contact

Fanla Rom Dance Black Magic Festival, Fanla Village (oldest village in Ambrym).

Maskelynes Canoe Race and Festival, Peskarus Village, Maskelynes, South Malekula


Nalawan Festival, Malekula.
Contact Willie Isno (5366168) / Yegor Makhiboroda (5617845) for further information.

Port Sandwich Art and Culture Festival, Malekula Island.
Now called the Lamap Festival.

Pentecost to Ambrym Yacht Race
For all boats sailing north, this is the first year this race has been run. Organised by two Chiefs, prizes are being sponsored and there will be some amazing cultural activities happening alongside.

Back to Roots Festival - Olal Village, North Ambrym.

The Lakona Bay Kastom Festival

Toka Dance, Tanna Island.

Arts Festival & Island Yam Festival,Vureas Bay, SW side of Vanua Lava, Banks Group.

Rah Island Canoe Race, yachties welcome.


Saint Andrew Festival, Banks Region.
Christian festival infused with local indigenous traditions.
Three day event featuring food cooked by geothermal energy. Held every November 29.


Police Vila - Dial 22222
Police Santo - Dial 36222
Fire - Dial 22333
Ambulance - Dial 22100
Air/Sea Rescue - Dial 22371

Promedical Vanuatu
Stations in Port Vila and Luganville
Tel:+678 26996 during office hours / +678 25566 - for emergencies 24/7
International standard ambulance service with stations in Port Vila and Luganville. Paramedics qualified to Australian standards and are fully equipped to handle most problems. Able to assist in remote areas and can organise maritime rescue services. Charges apply. Evacuation to Australia, NZ or New Caledonia can cost between $5,000 and $70,000 AUD. Payment up front.


Imray & Adlard Coles Pilot Books can be purchased with an exclusive Noonsite discount of up to 15% by visiting our Imray store if shopping from the UK or Europe.
For North America and the rest of the world visit Bluewater Books & Charts. When ordering through Bluewater be sure to enter the coupon code NOON during checkout to save 10%.

All Ports lead to Vanuatu 2015
Anne and Eric Simmons volunteered as photo journalists May-October 2013. Together, they sailed around the islands of Vanuatu, working on yachting tourism for the Vanuatu Tourism Office and developing a Cruising Guide to promote Vanuatu’s outer islands as a destination for cruising yachts. This free publication with many anchorages and practical information can be found here -

Nautical Rocket Guide to Vanuatu
This interactive program offers aerial photographic views, chart overlays, waypoints, and points of interest for all major anchorages. The 2014 version has been updated with more anchorages and routes. The cruising guide comes with a companion program, the Rocket Guide to Vanuatu - a comprehensive tourism guide to Vanuatu with all the activities and points of interest of every Vanuatu island. The electronic cruising guide works on both Windows (XP or later) and MacIntosh (10.7 or later).
The Guides can be ordered online from

The Pacific Crossing Guide
By Kitty Van Hagen
3rd Edition October 2016
See The Pacific Crossing Guide 3rd Edition
See May 2018 updates here.

South Pacific Anchorages
By Warwick Clay
Publisher: Imray (2001)
DISCOUNTS available through Imray and Bluewater Books (see details and links above)
Details of harbours and anchorages in the pacific south of the equator between New Guinea and South America.

Vanuatu and New Caledonia (Lonely Planet Country Guide)
By Jocelyn Harewood, Tione Chinula, and Vincent Talbot
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications; 5th Revised edition (1 July 2006)
ISBN-13: 978-1741042962
A general travel guide that includes some information specific to yachts.

British Admiralty Pacific Islands Pilot Vol ll (The Central Groups)
Published by UK Admiralty and available from Imray Publications (11th edn 2006)
ISBN : 9780707718330 (ref. NP061)
This covers the islands of the South-West Part of the Pacific Ocean including: Nouvelle-Calédonie and îles Loyauté Vanuata, Banks and Torres Islands, Santa Cruz Islands, Fiji Islands, Samoa Islands, Tuvalu, Kiribati (Gilbert and Phoenix Groups), Marshall Islands.

Cruising/Yachting Links

Vanuatu Customs: Notice of Masters of Visiting Yachts

Cruising Guide Vanuatu
Nautical Guide to the Vanuatu Islands and Anchorages
Vanuatu Cruising is a resource centre for cruisers visiting or wishing to visit Vanuatu. It provides up to date news, current events and information to make cruising in Vanuatu more enjoyable. The facebook page supports the website where you will be able to find more detailed information.

Vanuatu Yacht & Superyacht Association
Facebook page:

MSM - Medical Sailing Ministries

Began in 2008 in response to the need for medical transport to remote villages in Vanuatu.  MSM currently operates using the 53 foot steel yacht Chimere, on loan from MSM members, (and brothers) Andrew and Robert Latimer. Their work involves meeting medical volunteers at pre-arranged locations and then transporting them, plus their gear, supplies and equipment, to remote islands, where clinics are conducted in village settings.  Last year this involved visiting 18 islands, running 48 separate clinics, seeing 4,220 patients, dispensing 2,500 pairs of spectacles and arranging 300 surgical procedures. Go to their website for more details on their latest mission and how to volunteer.

Other Useful Links

Vanuatu Visitors Bureau

Destination Vanuatu
Official tourism guide book/information resource.

Vanuatu Travel Guide

The Rocket Guide to Vanuatu
Fast and to the point.

Cruisers' Blogs

SY Wizard's Eye Trip through Vanuatu to the Solomon Islands

SY Tenaya - Tanna, Vanuatu, Sailing Back in Time

SY Tenaya - Kava, Cakes & Sewing Machines

Visual Film Clips of Vanuatu Islands
Shot by Noonsite regional editor Luc Callebaut who has spent 4 years cruising Vanuatu.

Essential Marine Services

Port Vila and Luganville are the two main centres with marine services for visiting yachts. Consult each port page for a full directory of services available (left hand side bar).

Update History

November 2018: Confirmed with Vanuatu Government Office the official 4 ports of entry which include Lenakel.
September 2018: Formalities checked and fees confirmed as correct by Yacht Elyse.
March 2017: Vanuatu profile, links and transport updates.
August 2016: Fees updated with assistance from Peter Wederell of Total Marine Solutions.
May 2016: All formalities and general info. updated by Tom Partridge of SY Adina.
September 2015: Update to clearance & Customs email from Fritze von Berswordt. Immigration update from WARC.
August 2015: Sola port re-opens for yacht clearance - information from Vanuatu Customs.
June 2015: Publications checked/updated.
September 2014: Official list of Ports of Entry checked & updated
September 2014: Customs section with details of permitted length of stay for visiting yachts updated with new info. from Customs website.
July 2014: Clearance and Customs updated with information from the main Customs website.
November 2012: Information on flying into Vanuatu from Jules of SV Sirius
November 2012: Clearance information update from Jason Trautz of SY Yolo.
September 2012: Up to date Fees passed on by John Neal of SY Mahina Tiare III.
March 2012: Amendment to Nautical Rocket Guide to Vanuatu on the Publications page.
March 2012: Immigration fees updated from data sent by Anna Huggett.
June 2011: Notification of Anelcauhat now a Port of Entry from Donald Bryden.

Noonsite welcomes information and updates especially regarding clearance, customs and immigration procedures from cruisers visiting this country.

Please E-mail noonsite with any new information, updates or corrections. Even just a short email confirming that the current data is accurate would be most helpful.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 22, 2019 02:17 PM

Simon in the Vanuatu Gov offices has confirmed the following places to clear into Vanuatu:

Espiritu Santo: Luganville

Efate: Port Vila

Tanna: Lenakel

Banks Islands: Sola

His number is +678 774 7513 for contact.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 31, 2018 12:53 PM

Clearance into Vanuatu - reported by SY Golden Glow October 8th, 2018:

We cleared immigration at Port Resolution in August with no problem, but customs had to be done in Port Vila when we got there some weeks later (the officials in Tanna told us not to worry about the delay and officials in Port Vila also had no problem with that).
Friends who tried to clear Vanuatu immigration into Tanna EITHER in Lenakel or Port Resolution a few weeks ago however, were told it is no longer possible. There was a sign on the door in Lenakel saying go to Port Vila.
So folks, check the currrent status before you go. Stanley in Port Resolution May have the answer +678 68791

gemma ross
gemma ross says:
Oct 12, 2018 11:51 PM

Loltong Bay- North Western Pentecost

We visited Loltong Bay which is a very secure sand bottom reef anchorage for any winds from the east. Note that the buffeting winds around the very tall steep mountains does cause accelerated bullets from all directions which jolt on the chain but provided you have set the anchor well is still secure (we had 40 knot gusts). It is important to note where the reef is on all sides & how close you will be if the wind comes from a different direction to how you set the anchor. While most of the western coasts of Maewo & Pentecost are affected by the south east swell wrapping around in developed conditions, Loltong Bay & Asanvari on SW Maewo are are calm & swell free.

The family that run the Vatulo Yacht Club here on the left hand side of Loltong Bay are Matthew & Marie (Tel: +678 5344714) with their 5 adopted children. They were the kindest & most welcoming people we have met here in the friendliest country on earth! The rest of the village were equally friendly.

In Sept 2018 both Maewo & Pentecost received heavy unseasonal rain & the Yacht club collapsed. They used to offer yachties meals, a book swap, and tour bookings, but with no physical shelter for the club they have put all services on hold.

While we were there Marie created a wonderful meal for us out of the tiny hut next door over a fire in exchange for help fixing their sailing dingy. We encouraged them to still offer meals to yachties despite not having a permanent shelter, so anyone visiting here please support them. Maybe they will have rebuilt already by next 2019 season but if not, I am sure that any help would be very much appreciated in getting them back on their feet. Also, if anyone has a sailing dingy, the kids are eager to learn & race too!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 17, 2018 12:00 PM

Message from Vanuatu Yacht Services:
Good evening from Efate, Vanuatu. We would like to inform all visiting yachts small and large that the island of Ambae is currently off limits to visitors. ⚠️Please do not attempt to anchor anywhere along Ambae’s coastline as you will end up facing issues with the local authorities. ⚠️There is a current state of emergency on Ambae (due to volcanic activity) and all the people have been evacuated to the surrounding islands of Maewo and Santo. The police and army are tasked with looking after all property on the island and they do not want any visitors nosing around. 🌋🇻🇺👍 We hope the situation will eventually return to normal for the people who have been displaced. Anyone wishing to assist evacuees in the new settlement sites can contact us to find out how to do so.

Alan says:
Sep 05, 2018 11:38 PM

Port Dues
Port dues are now 8050 vatu for the first month.

gemma ross
gemma ross says:
Aug 24, 2018 12:33 AM

RE Shopping & the environment: while Vanuatu has banned single use plastic bags, drinking straws & takeaway containers, (which is fantastic) the markets & supermarkets still hand out the plastic mesh bags when you buy small sized vegetables. In the supermarket this was easy as we take our own cotton or mesh veggie bags with us anyway, at the market they are pre packaged but only tied not crimped so the vendors were more than happy to take the bags back & re-use them (as they have to pay for them)so we emptied them into our own bags. Also when trading, think about the items you are giving. Small packets of laundry powder & milk are very useful but as the remote islands have no means to dispose of their rubbish responsibly we saw the discarded wrappers of these items in particular just strewn about the villages. We saved practically EVERY single container onboard which would be suitable for decanting cooking oil, rice, coffee, laundry powder, etc & found that people would keep these to use again for something else as water & air tight seals are hard to come by!

gemma ross
gemma ross says:
Aug 20, 2018 01:57 PM

While in Port Villa 2018 we investigated the procedures for duty free alcohol intake in Villa, even though we would be clearing out of Sola in several weeks'/ months time. Customs said it can be done, but they have to physically come to the boat to "seal" the goods & the inter island cruising permit would have to be amended/ re-issued (in order for Luganville to check the goods). We would then have to get another new cruising permit in Luganville to check out of Sola. We decided not proceed.

Navigator1 says:
Nov 07, 2017 12:28 AM

Navigator 1 and several other yachts arrived at Erromango island in Vanuatu at Dillions Bay (or Williams Bay as the locals call it after John Williams). We all had clothes to give to Villagers, however we did ask the Chief (Jason Mete - Cell: 7767737) for a list of items that are required in most Villages throughout Vanuatu. This is a general request to any visiting Yachts to please bring products with them as donations. We didn't realise the extent of gear they needed.

Clothes: Mens, womens, childrens and babies. The latter two are important as adult clothes are easy to obtain from the likes of Australia.
Cooking items: Pots, spoons, cups, kitchen knives
Bush knives or Macheetes
Student books
Reading books
Childrens toys
Small solar lights or panels of any size
Fishing gear: lines, lures, hooks
School laptops
Milk, Milo, rice (25kg bags), sweets

Any of these items would be gratefully accepted and can help a great deal. Thankyou

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 17, 2017 04:44 PM

Posted on behalf of Jan Bochenski, SY Bold Spirit (UK)
Cruising the whole of Vanuatu, one can safely say there are more mechanical spare parts available in Luganville than Port Vila.
Best Marine Engineer is JT or John Turner available on: +678 7101766

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 17, 2015 03:43 PM

Re: Visit and feedback on land diving, Southern Pentecost Island, Vanuatu
By s/y honey (Australia)

We recently witnessed the phenomenal land diving on Southern Pentecost Island with a number of other yachties. The villages are quite poor in Vanuatu, and finding recovery from Cyclone Pam is challenging. We asked if the 10,000 vatu (about $125 Aud.) per person ticket to the land diving was helping the village and beyond. We were told by a local that the chief who collects this money does not use it to contribute to the health and education for the village, but uses it instead for personal gain.
We suggest asking the village people and the chiefs where fees are going before paying.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 07, 2014 12:29 PM

The Vanuatu Customs website is now working perfectly and all forms are available to download.

svSegue says:
Oct 07, 2014 10:44 AM

Regarding bringing crew into Vanuatu. This is NO PROBLEM. We read here that bonds might be payable equal to a flight home. Or that a return ticket was required. This is simply not the case. The process is very simple. Provide a letter to immigration in Port Vila stating that "John doe" is joining your yacht, and will be arriving on flight <insert flight details>, etc... Along with a copy of the crew's passport. Bring this to the immigration office in Port Vila and Vatu$6,000 ($60.00) and you're set. Dead easy. And the immigration folks are amazingly easy to work with. Love this country!

svSegue says:
Oct 07, 2014 10:35 AM

Hi, first comments here on noonsite.

First off, I'd like to comment on just how amazing a country Vanuatu is to visit by yacht. Without exception, every encounter with the myriad of officials we all must deal with entering countries have been outstandingly friendly, accommodating, polite -- and did I mention friendly??

A few comments to be helpful. On the Vanuatu Customs Website, there is a form to fill in for advance arrival. It doesn't work. Nor do any of the phone numbers. They're having some IT issues. Use the email address: for the required advance notification of arrival.

We stayed in touch with customs on our crossing from Fiji. We requested clearance for Port Resolution as is now required. Within 30 minutes of dropping the pick down -- we were boarded and cleared into Vanuatu by two of the friendliest government officials we've ever encountered! Yes, it did cost some extra money to clear-in to port resolution -- as opposed to Lenaki on the other side of the island -- but after experiencing the experience of traversing the two ports in the back of a 4x4, it's worth the expense!

Some other notes about Tamna. There are NO ATMs that will work with foreign cards. Full stop. None. You MAY be able to find OEM guest-house or other business on the other side of the island in Lenakel that MAY have enough cash in they're 'till to help you out, but DON'T count on it. Of coming from Fiji, go to the airport with your passport, and, most important, your customs paperwork -- and you can exchange whatever dollars you might have for Vanuatu Vatu. Clearing in at port resolution will cost v$10,000 ($100.00). Bring lots more V$ with you as everything will cost money. Going up the volcano, visiting custom villages, etc., all require vatu$. And every penny spent is worth it!

... More coming ...

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 22, 2017 07:40 PM

Feedback from Port Vila Boatyard re Mele Bay:
Mele Bay - Hideaway Island is not a safe anchorage. While it’s fine in good weather overnight or as a day anchorage, unless one gets very close to shore it’s actually too deep to anchor there, then if a westerly comes through a vessel will then get dangerously close to shore. Not a place to leave a vessel unattended. Beach Bar is great fun but they now do have a jet-ski operator there.
We actually rescued that large red catamaran from the beach a few years ago after it was washed ashore in the night when it was left unattended. Had it not been for the immediate assistance of Vanuatu Yacht Services and Marine Surveyors and Consultants with the help of the people of Mele village that we organised to help, the vessel would have been a total loss. I am concerned that the information presented on Noonsite regarding Mele bay being a safe anchorage will lead to another yacht being washed ashore there.

svpelican says:
Oct 03, 2014 10:56 PM

I recommend Mele Bay as an anchorage. It is much better holding than Port Vila and has good protection from SE if you tuck into the corner near the big red racing cat mooring. Beach bar has good food & entertainment. Port Vila market is only 15 mins away y public bus at 150 vatu. Quiet anchorage without all the jet skis.

svpelican says:
Oct 03, 2014 10:50 PM

Warning re unleaded fuel in Vanuatu. I recently returned from Vanuatu. In September Pacific Fuel, the supplier off most fuel in the country, managed to distribbute unleaded fuel that contained not 10% ethanol but 30%! This has resulted in damage to outboards that used it, including my tender's 8hp Mariner. Cruisers need to check their fuel before using any Pacific Fuel product. The company still distributed their faulty product rather than recalling it.

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Sep 30, 2014 09:25 AM

Posted on behalf of Anthony Swanston of s/v/Wild Fox
Port Vila Boatyard, Efate
Just a few words about this out of the way boatyard. It was taken over by Justin, a South African, about two years ago. They offer a full range of repair and caretaker services including cyclone certified moorings. The small repair job they did for me was carried out very expertly and at reasonable cost. All the employees are long serving. I watched them haul a catamaran and they had two divers in the water to ensure that everything was OK.

Efate is not somewhere you would automatically think of when getting work done but my experience demonstrates that it is a location that should be on your list.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 07, 2014 12:41 PM

Posted on behalf of Peter Wederell of Total Marine Solutions:
There’s a new boatyard being developed on Santo which should be operational early next year. It has a 60 ton travel lift and plans are to have a multihull haulout facility as well.

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Vanuatu Customs standardize operating procedures for small craft controls - further clarification from Customs  (17 Jul 2014)

Vanuatu Cruising – Discover What Matters

Vanuatu Cruising – Discover What Matters  (29 Jun 2014)

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Vanuatu - Crew arriving on one way tickets - UPDATE  (11 May 2010)

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Vanuatu, New Source of Visual Information  (09 Apr 2010)