Getting around Vanuatu

Getting-around-VanuatuOn In Vila, Luganville, eastern Santo, and eastern Malekula, transportation options primarily consist of buses and taxis. However, routes can be flexible, often adjusted based on passenger requests and road conditions, particularly outside urban areas where 4WD vehicles are more suitable. In fact, many taxis are 4WDs. Visitors can also rent cars and scooters in larger towns.

For inter-island travel, passenger boats ply between various islands. Keep in mind that some boats may not return to the departure point until the next day or even later, necessitating accommodation on the new island. Alternatively, for those with the budget, yacht rentals inclusive of a skipper and crew are available.

Air Vanuatu serves as the sole domestic carrier, operating planes with seating capacities ranging from 9 to 44 passengers, servicing approximately 30 islands.

Getting around Vanuatu is relatively straightforward, but understanding the nuances is helpful. The island’s road infrastructure is basic, with fewer than 160km of paved roads, mostly consisting of dirt tracks. Hence, the preferred modes of transportation are 4WD vehicles, vans, or mini-buses. Each island typically features a few small airstrips for light planes and small wharfs for boats, with major harbors located in Port Vila, Espiritu Santo, and Forari.

Though there are no trains, bicycles are becoming increasingly popular, while taxis and transit vans are commonly seen. Keep an eye out for privately owned mini-buses identifiable by a ‘B’ on their number plates; they offer flexible routes for a fare of about AUD$1.20. Taxis are also available but lack meters and generally charge similar fares to buses. It’s worth noting that vehicles in Vanuatu may not be of the highest quality, so expect rides to be more adventurous than anticipated. For those seeking excitement, rental companies in Port Vila provide options ranging from scooters to mini-buses. Just be cautious of potholes, especially on Efate, where navigating the roads can feel like an obstacle course

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