Updated: Sep 14, 2022
Vanuatu is very different to the rest of the world and has experiences like no other, too often it gets compared to places such as South East Asia and deters people from coming due to costs. We understand that money is important, however you should not restrict yourself to only seeing those overpopulated tourist destinations, you should experience all of the beautiful untouched places like Vanuatu, that still offer a raw, authentic paradise getaway and yes you CAN do it on a budget and here's how:
The following information has come from an inspirational traveler and blogger Nomadic Matt, If you are not already following him, you should be! (Source link here)
Vanuatu doesn’t have many hostels — just a couple in the entire country — but the few that there are will charge around 1,700 VUV per night. There are lots of budget hotels available, with most costing between 3,500-10,000 VUV (or more) for a double room. For a room with WiFi and A/C prices start around 5,000 VUV per night. Airbnb is available, though there are very few options available for shared accommodation. For a private room, prices begin at 2,500 VUV per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay at least 5,000 VUV per night (though prices average closer to 20,000 VUV). Camping is not very common as most land is privately owned though some guesthouses and hotels will let you pitch a tent on their property.
Also, we just thought we would add our own tip! If you want to save money and really experience the true vanuatu culture, then stay in a guest house! There are plenty of them and they are always positioned nicely, friendliest locals and for just 3500vt per night you will get your adventure, accommodation and normally food included too! There is Glamping at Le Life Resort for just 1000vt per night, that is unbeatable or you can always do a home stay in a village. Lots of different options for you!
Lunch and casual local meals cost around 1,500 VUV, however, meals can be found for as little as 700 VUV. For a meal at a mid-range restaurant or hotel, expect to pay around 4,500 VUV. Beer at a bar will cost around 500 VUV, however, you can buy it at the store for half that price. If you plan on cooking your own food expect to pay between 3,000-6,000 VUV per week on groceries. To keep your grocery bill low, avoid buying chicken or wine because they are incredibly expensive.
Actually Matt, we believe you can do it much cheaper then this! Most "Chinese" restaurants around town where the locals eat are only 250 - 350vt per meal for a decent size plate of rice and your choice of "soup" as its called. You can get a fresh bite to eat at the local markets which is another great local secret and for 450vt you can get either fish or steak with rice and salad yum! If you like to have a drink then for 250vt you can get a bottle of tusker from any chinese store or supermarket to take back to your place and if you want to eat out, there are definetely cheaper options that will cost well under the 4500vt. (unlessy you want seafood!) Most places you can get burger and chips for 1500vt and if you want a nice main meal then expect to pay 2000+ you just need to do some research before you eat but most places in and around Vila are reasonably priced.
Bus tickets cost around 165 VUV each way. A few islands offer free ferry rides, such as the ferry to Hideaway Island. There are plenty of taxis in Port Vila, costing just slightly more than a bus ride. Naturally, flying will be your best option for coming/going from Vanuatu. One-way flights to Australia can be found for as little as 25,000 VUV, while a flight to Singapore will be about double.
Prices have been increased now so be aware and are higher when traveling to and from the airport also. We always fly with air vanuatu, its the way to go!
Entrance to the Cascades waterfalls costs 2,500 VUV, while snorkel hire will cost around 3,000 VUV per week. Parasailing will cost around 9,000 VUV while kayak rentals are 2,500 VUV for a few hours.
Suggested daily budget
5,500 VUV / $50 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)
Here are some extra tips to traveling on the cheap is also get out of Vila! Once you go around the island, there are beautiful beaches and blue holes, hot springs, canoe rides, kayak tours in North Efate, plane wreck dives plus so much more all costing under 1000vt. Go and check out some of the outer islands around Efate, negotiate a boat price (2000vt return is good per person), get adventurous and enjoy yourself. Vanuatu is a safe place so go exploring!
Thanks Matt, we loved this article and happy to share it on. I think you have definitely outlined the basics and proved it is possible to travel to Vanuatu on the cheap, you just need to be savvy and talk to the locals like us to help plan your next trip and avoid being overcharged.
See you next time!