Vanuatu Register Travel insurance Destinations
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Safety and security
Safety and security
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 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.
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
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
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 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.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
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 and services are good but limited outside Port-Vila. Plan ahead to minimize safety risks.
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.
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.
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.
Tourist visa: Not required (for stays less than 30 days)
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
An onward or return ticket and proof of sufficient funds are required to visit Vanuatu.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- There are no updates at this time.
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 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 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.
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 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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- 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 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 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 and Illness
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
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 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.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
The speed limit is 50 km per hour.
You should carry an International Driving Permit.
Vanuatu law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Vanuatu society.
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.
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
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
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.
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
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Latest warnings and alerts – Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department
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
'In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 111 / 22222
- medical assistance: 112 / 115 / 25566
- firefighters: 113 / 22333
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.
Port Vila - High Commission of Australia
Canberra - High Commission of Canada
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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