Vanuatu Register Travel insurance Destinations

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Risk level(s)

Risk level(s)

Vanuatu - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in Vanuatu.

Ambae Island - AVOID NON-ESSENTIAL TRAVEL

Avoid non-essential travel to to Ambae Island due to limited essential services and the risk of further volcanic activity.

More on Ambae Island

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Safety and security

Safety and security

Crime


Violent crime in Vanuatu is rare, but petty crime occurs. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Home break-ins occur, even when the occupants are present. Lock your doors and windows at night and when you are not home.

Criminal activity generally increases in the weeks leading up to holidays.

Exercise caution when attending bars and clubs in Port-Vila as tourists have been the target of attacks.

Women’s safety

Women may be subject to sexual harassment or sexual assault, more so if travelling alone at night. Women should avoid travelling alone, particularly on public transportation and in isolated locations and beaches.

Safe-travel guide for women

Fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Demonstrations

Public disturbances occur occasionally and demonstrations are rare. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • follow the instructions of local authorities
  • monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Public transportation

Boat services between Vanuatu’s islands may not be safe. The boats may not be suitable for inter-island travel or may not have required trained personnel or safety equipment for safe passage.

Taxis may be hailed on the street and are metered. Minibuses are also available, but are often in poor condition.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety vary throughout Vanuatu. The islands of Efate and Santo have paved roads. Roads in all other areas are unpaved or dirt tracks.

Driving conditions may be hazardous due to poor lighting and pedestrians walking on the roads.  

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

Adventure activities

Safety standards for adventure activities, such as diving, may not be up to international standards. If engaging in adventure activities:

  • never do so alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • ensure the company, operator or guide you are using is properly certified
  • inspect equipment to make sure it is in proper working condition and use all available safety equipment

Beaches and swimming

Sharks are present in the waters off Vanuatu, particularly around the islands of Espiritu Santo and Malekula. Seek advice from local authorities before swimming.

Some beaches are located on private property and may not be clearly identified. Do your research to make sure you are not trespassing on private property.

Tourist facilities

Tourist facilities and services are good but limited outside Port-Vila. Plan ahead to minimize safety risks.

Entry/exit requirements

Entry/exit requirements

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Vanuatu authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of expected departure from Vanuatu.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: Not required (for stays less than 30 days)
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required

Other requirements

An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to visit Vanuatu.

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Health

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
  • There are no updates at this time.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.

Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasismalaria and Zika virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Chikungunya

There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Dengue
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. 
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection

Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.  

Travel recommendations:

All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.   


Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are limited. Doctors and hospitals may demand immediate cash payment for health services.

There is only one decompression chamber in Vanuatu, located in Port-Vila, Efate. Many of the popular diving sites are located on other islands, and it may take several hours to reach facilities in the event of an accident.

Serious injuries may require medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand. Emergency evacuations can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

Laws and culture

Laws & culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Drugs and alcohol

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

The sale of alcohol is prohibited between Saturday and Monday or during elections.  Exceptions apply to hotels and restaurants.

Driving

The speed limit is 50 km per hour.

You should carry an International Driving Permit.

More about the International Driving Permit

LGBTQ2 travellers

Vanuatu law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Vanuatu society.

General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Vanuatu.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Vanuatu, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

Culture

Always ask permission before photographing locals.

To avoid offending local sensitivities:

  • dress conservatively
  • behave discreetly
  • respect religious and social traditions
  • Don’t wear beach attire outside of beaches or resorts

Money

The currency is the vatu (VUV). You may use Australian dollars at some shops, restaurants and hotels in Port-Vila. Major credit cards are generally accepted in Port-Vila and Luganville, but less so elsewhere in Vanuatu. ATMs are available at the ANZ and Westpac banks.

Natural disasters and climate

Natural disasters & climate

Volcanic activity

There are several active or potentially active volcanoes in Vanuatu. In the event of an eruption, volcanic ash clouds could significantly disrupt air traffic in the region. The Vanuatu Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Department lists active volcanoes and associated alert levels. If you are travelling near a volcano, check for the latest activity and alerts and always follow the instructions of local authorities.

Ambae Island

In July 2018, the Government of Vanuatu ordered a complete evacuation of Ambae Island due to an increase in volcanic activity. The risk of volcanic activity remains. Access to basic infrastructure and essential services is limited. Follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.

Latest volcanic alert levels – Meteorology & Geo-Hazards Department of Vanuatu

Monsoon and cyclone seasons

The cyclone and the rainy (monsoon) season occurs from November to April.

Severe storms can put you at risk and can hamper the provision of essential services. During a cyclone or monsoon, hotel guests may be required to leave accommodations near the shore and move to safety centres inland. Travel to and from outer islands may be disrupted for some days.

If you decide to travel to Vanuatu during this time:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities

Useful links

Seismic activity

Vanuatu is located in an active seismic zone, which causes frequent earthquakes and tidal waves. Earthquakes have caused landslides and structural damage to buildings and bridges on the island of Efate in the past.

Latest tsunami alerts – Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Assistance

Assistance

Local services

Emergency services

'In case of emergency, dial:

  • police: 111 / 22222
  • medical assistance: 112 / 115 / 25566
  • firefighters: 113 / 22333

Consular assistance

There is no Canadian government office in Vanuatu. You can obtain consular assistance from the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila.

Register with the Australian government to receive email updates on situations and events that could affect your safety while in Vanuatu.

Register with the Australian government

Port Vila - High Commission of Australia
Street AddressWinston Churchill Avenue, Port VilaPostal AddressP.O. Box 111, Port VilaTelephone678 22777 (24 hours)Fax678 23948Emailaustralia_vanuatu@dfat.gov.auInternetwww.vanuatu.highcommission.gov.au/pvla/home.htmlFacebookCanada Down UnderTwitter@CanHCAustralia
Canberra - High Commission of Canada
Street AddressCommonwealth Avenue, Canberra ACT, Australia 2600Telephone(61) 2 6270 4000Fax(61) 2 6270 4060Emailcnbra@international.gc.caInternetwww.australia.gc.caServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookCanada Down UnderConsular servicesThe High Commission of Canada in Canberra issues passports to Canadian citizens in the states of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia; in the Australian Capital Territory; in Papua New Guinea; and in the Pacific islands in its jurisdiction (Guam, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Caledonia, the Northern Marianas, Palau, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu).

For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Australia in Port Vila and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.


The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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