Vanuatu photo

Vanuatu Driving Guide

Vanuatu is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-08-04 · 9 mins

Vanuatu is a Melanesian archipelago situated in the South Pacific Ocean. It proudly boasts its more than 80 untouched paradises, which are indeed tempting to explore. The sovereign state’s name is originally “New Hebrides.” Delving the country’s name definition, it means “Our Land Forever” in local terminologies. This nation is famous for iconic mountains, plateaus, and enthralling coastline. Discovering those precious gems is indeed a brilliant idea.

As the epic diversity of inland treasures surrounding Vanuatu develops and grows even better, there’s no doubt why there are fantastic jewels in the country. The ultimate highlight of this nation is its highest peak, which is at Mount Tabwemasana, located in Espiritu Santo Island. Its elevation rises to 1,879 meters.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Reading this information guide will let you know the most innovative and brilliant style of traveling the world. Driving in Vanuatu is indeed the wisest idea to take when exploring the sovereign state. The legendary convenience and glorious freedom will be in your hands. Various worries, dilemmas, and doubts will never exist in your way. You only have to learn about the most significant driving rules in Vanuatu so that you can ensure your protection on the road.

Of course, another to keep in mind is the essence of acquiring an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) in Vanuatu. It’s a legal requirement to possess when planning to drive in the said country. You can figure out the process throughout this information guide and the most credible source of applying an IDP.

General Information

It would be best to research the destination country when preparing for a fabulous highway-bound trip in a foreign land. Through it, you will have general knowledge about the government, its people, society, and even the fascinating wonders embracing the Melanesian archipelago.

In getting to know more about the gorgeous nation, continue studying the guide so that you will find out about its impressive historical background, geography, official language, governance system, and tourism. Be sure to jot down what makes you intrigue the most.

Geographical Location

The Republic of Vanuatu is sitting near the borderlines of New Caledonia’s northeast, Australia’s east section, and western region of Fiji. Upon observing its geographical structure, a Y-shaped chain will stand out. Due to its exceptional figure, several active volcanoes houses within the territorial land. Natural phenomena like cyclones, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis usually happen in the country. The nation’s dynamic capital is Port Vila.

Land Area

Vanuatu covers a land area of 12 189 square kilometers. In analyzing its structure, it is relatively the same to Falkland Islands, but it’s somewhat more prominent than the Connecticut state. The majority of its natural environment is full of sedimentary, coral limestones, and volcanic rocks based on its territorial coverage. Since active volcanoes are dominant, there’s no question why the country frequently experiences earthquakes.

Languages Spoken

Vanuatu has three official languages. Those are Bislama, French, and English. Despite having three native mother tongues, Bislama is the most typical one among the locales around Luganville and Port Vila. For the universal one, English is mostly in the tourist center hubs. There are also over a hundred indigenous languages used in the state. Outlanders who don’t typically use any of those languages are free to learn the usual phrases online.

History

Residents from the Lapita cultural group are the early settlers in Vanuatu based on the evidence exhibited from 1300 BCE. It is also the beginning of various migrants' invasions from different regions, including Polynesia, Aniwa, and Futuna Islands. Over the years, the European domination started with the arrival of Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandez de Quiros. Following its colonization, the British captain James Cook is the one who first named the state as “New Hebrides.”

In battling its independence, Vanuatu only achieved its official freedom in 1980 upon creating the Commonwealth Elections Professional Initiative. It also marks the end of Anglo-French condominium administration. That’s also the era when the “New Hebrides” diplomatically become the Republic of Vanuatu.

Government

According to the 1980 Constitution, Vanuatu’s governance system abides by the protocols established under the unicameral parliament. The President is the highest-ranking official that primarily supervises the entire nation. Its electoral term is valid for five-years of public service. The Cabinet Members typically have four-years of service to produce policies, projects, and sufficient development agendas for the country.

For the Local Governance sector, provincial authorities oversee the local operations circulating on provinces and medieval towns. The municipal councils mostly head the three urban centers, while the rural communities have six regional councils with a secretary head per local area. Over 312,000 inhabitants are residing in the country, which the government continues to serve by providing accessible public services at all times.

Tourism

Irresistible holiday vibe is what primarily allures explorers worldwide. The Melanesian land’s sophisticated visual makes it an undefeatable highlight among the rest. Countless mesmerizing resort-style lodging, uninhabited islands, glamorous coastline, and charming water hubs are the most frequent places tourists crazily head over when visiting the state. Of course, hunting those exceptional treasures is best when you go on driving in Vanuatu.

Based on its tourist arrival record, there are over 30,000 visitors that enter the country every year. As tourism improves over the years, a jump on its data happens three consecutive years from 2015. According to the 2018 information, over 325 million outlanders explore the nation, a massive increase from 275 million in 2016.

International Driver’s Permit FAQs

Upon starting a fabulous road trip adventure abroad, there are legal terms and regulations that a foreigner should learn about before proceeding to the next steps. Among those procedures is getting an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). It is a booklet translating a foreign driver’s license. Owning an IDP can ensure the protection and legality of hitting an unfamiliar highway. Without it, the driving rights, especially around Vanuatu, will not be valid.

All non-ni-Vanuatu must obtain an IDP. There are no exemptions to apply to any foreign residents. Make sure that before scoring an IDP, the domestic driver’s license must have a clear photo. It is a mandatory requirement when driving on Vanuatu’s roads.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Vanuatu?

A native driving license is not acceptable in Vanuatu. All non-resident drivers should grab an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) to operate a foreign car. Remember that an IDP must be with the actual driver’s card at all times. Do note that road enforcers and patrol officers typically request the two essential items on checkpoints. Losing any of the two will mean settling a high fine as it violates the nation’s road law.

Get an IDP within two hours through us, the International Drivers Association. Applicants no longer need piles of papers for application. They only need an original driver’s card, passport, and paying credit or debit card. With only a few clicks, they will get to receive their IDP without worries.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Vanuatu?

Non-ni-Vanuatu citizens can drive as tourists in the country, especially in the cities, provided that they own a valid local driving license in Vanuatu and an IDP. Take note that when obtaining an IDP from us, there’s no need for the applicants to give any certificate from a driving school in Vanuatu to qualify. By uploading or encoding the details written on the driver’s card, it’s enough for an applicant to prove the capability to drive abroad.

Traversing the districts of Vanuatu may seldom have patrol officers roaming around. However, it doesn’t automatically mean that violations are acceptable in rural areas. All foreign drivers must have an actual driving license in Vanuatu and an international driver’s license, known as IDP. Failure to acquire the said permit, you are free to go the extra mile only to take back your original driver’s card and IDP. From heading to accredited banks to claiming back your licenses.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

The International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is only an official translation of a valid domestic driver’s license. It is in a booklet form that contains the essential information based on the local driving card. An IDP will never be a compatible replacement to your native one. Holding an IDP alone is not sufficient to have legal driving around Vanuatu.

Renting A Car in Vanuatu

Aspiring tourist drivers wanting to achieve the glamorous excursion adventure abroad, renting a car is the answer. However, scoring a perfect vehicle can give explorers stress, especially for newbies. The rental car agencies in Vanuatu offer a variety of packages to their clients. Though some of them are expensive and can make you cash out much, you can still find the best deal that will match your preference.

Here’s a detailed guide on how you can secure a car abroad without dilemmas to resolve frequent concerns and issues. Be sure to keep some essential factors to consider when booking online or walk-in.

Car Rental Companies

Picking the driving around Vanuatu by a foreign rental vehicle is the most brilliant option to take when making a travel plan in the said country. Now, before packing up clothes and gadgets in luggage, begin searching up for a reliable car rental agency where you can confidently score an excellent car for the road trip. Great rental car companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget Car, and Europcar are only some highly recommended rental stores to look up for online.

As you grab your smartphone and start searching for the ideal car rental shop, note the famous store names, you will read online. Make sure to have some research on their customer reviews online. It’s one way to determine its legitimacy and credibility of renting a foreign car, especially for tourists driving on Vanuatu.

Documents Required

As a foreign renter, you need to exhibit some mandatory requirements to score a rental vehicle abroad. It is a process to prove that you are a competent driver and do not tolerate any stubborn or reckless traits that will only lead to a road accident. When thinking of driving in Vanuatu now, you should gather the documentary papers to have a smooth transaction over the chosen car rental provider. Here is the list of items that you must obtain.

  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Valid Domestic Driving License
  • Valid Passport (foreigners only)
  • Identification Card (if applicable)
  • Credit Card

Remember that before clearing and wrapping up your agreement between the car rental agencies, ask for their emergency contact numbers. It’s a helpful tip to use if you encounter a road emergency in the middle of the highway.

Vehicle Types

Foreign renters won’t have a hard time looking up for an ideal vehicle to drive in Vanuatu. The majority of the car rental shops in the country offer various car types that can accommodate the passenger’s number of your group. The most popular vehicle type to rent out in the state is the Economy. It’s a perfect fit for a couple traveling abroad. For a small family with four members, getting a mini car is an excellent match.

Car Rental Cost

You can grab a rental wheel in the Melanesian state for $67/day. It’s somehow expensive compared to other countries, but rest assured that the experience is unforgettable. Upon reserving a vehicle online, make sure to canvass first on the driving by car in Vanuatu costs. It can help you to determine the budget you will allocate for it. Do note that the rental fee depends on the customer demands per car type and its maintenance value.

Most car rental companies include taxes, administration fees, premium location surcharge, and other reasonable services expenses that are essential to have in a foreign car. Of course, the navigation map, hands-free system, Wi-Fi, and other excellent features are only additional and optional as it will depend on your choice. Below are the approximate price ranges of car rental in Vanuatu for a week.

  • Mini - $468/week
  • Economy - $606/week
  • Intermediate - $633/week
  • Full Size - $744/week
  • Standard - $799/week

Age Requirements

Based on the driving rules in Vanuatu, the standard rental age is 23 years old. Many car rental stores can’t allow minors under the minimum requirement as the possibility of hazardous encounters on the road is relatively higher than usual. There are still a few young drivers who seem to be complacent about hitting the highways without being extra careful. That’s why car rental companies cannot permit those under the mandatory rental age.

For tourist drivers under 25 years old, a driver’s fee is mandatory to pay upon booking. It’s another expense to add up as it’s an assurance for the rental car shops that the young operator is responsible enough to take a car on the road.

Car Insurance Cost

As soon as you wrap up the terms and agreement on your chosen vehicle, the agent will now endorse the car insurance. It’s a legal document that can cover the road emergency expenses that might occur in an accident. Getting insurance may charge you higher than the average price if you are not aware of the proper purchasing procedures. But, if you have enough idea about what it is, you can save up your money.

To give you an idea about how you can avoid cashing out large bucks for insurance, try tapping your credit card bank. Inquire them if they can cover a foreign rental vehicle. If you are a private car owner in your home country, contact your car provider and ask them if they can extend your existing insurance abroad. Doing any of those alternatives can prevent you from settling an expensive insurance cost.

Car Insurance Policy

There are two general policies that most renters are familiar with, the Third Liability and the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)/Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). The Third Liability is the standardized policy that even the Vanuatu Government requires all drivers to have when operating a four-wheel vehicle on the road. It primarily scopes the necessary damage repairs and medical expenses incurred in a road accident. In contrast, the CDW/LDW has the full extent of coverage. It can pay up the maximum costs of damage and injuries acquired from the accident.

Road Rules in Vanuatu

The Government of Vanuatu enforces highway regulations to sustain the vehicle’s smooth sailing flow on the road. It is also the authorities’ way to catch those negligent drivers that coast their car carelessly without thinking of other road users. As a foreign visitor abroad, it is crucial to be familiar with designated road policies per area. With this, learning the most effective regulations when driving in Vanuatu as early as today should be a top priority.

Important Regulations

Before you hop inside the vehicle, get a quick briefer to recall the lessons you gained from attending a driving school in Vanuatu or your home country. It is a wise exercise to do so you won’t miss out on anything about road rules. Read further below to determine the policies on drink driving, standard conditions to maintain, use a handheld phone, and parking rules to follow upon reaching the destination.

Drink Driving in Vanuatu

The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is the technical term for measuring the alcohol percentage in a person’s blood. It is also the standard test for drivers to know how much liquor they intake and to prove if they are drink driving, especially in Vanuatu. The legal BAC limit for all operators of a four-wheel car is -0.99%. But, the BAC often changes depending on the city or province area’s protocols.

Regardless of the allotted limit, drink driving in Vanuatu is not a bright idea. Do not attempt to maneuver a vehicle if you are unwell and tipsy. You’ll only put yourself in trouble abroad. You may end up leaving a shameful and embarrassing image to the Melanesian officers.

Driver Learner’s License

When reaching the minimum age to drive a usual vehicle that is 18 years old, note that it’s not automatic you can go ahead straight and get a driver’s license. You have to undergo some training and courses first at a driving school in Vanuatu. After that, you should now apply for a driver learner’s card. It is a compulsory driving licence in Vanuatu, especially for beginners.

Healthy Condition is a Must

For every designated driver, setting their condition well is vital. Remember that they are the ones who will hold the steering wheel and the clutch, which only means that they are relatively responsible and accountable for every occupant’s life. Ensuring the safety and protection is a top concern, so better take proper meals and drink medicine. If you think that drink driving in Vanuatu is acceptable, you will only cause trouble and problems on your trip.

Another significant element to consider is checking the vehicle’s condition. Make sure that it has enough gas, a working battery, its brake and clutch are functioning, and the essential thing is its tires are not flat. Do also double-check if the vehicle has sufficient driving kits and equipment to ensure that you come prepared if you meet a road emergency.

Refrain from fiddling on your handheld phone

Entire focus is a crucial factor to lend when driving in Vanuatu in fine weather. Diverting attention to unnecessary things will only lead to a car crash. Bear in mind that using a handheld smartphone while hitting the highway will only make you face severe penalties. As a competent and obedient tourist driver, refraining from holding any device while operating a four-wheel is a vital element to observe. However, if it is an emergency, pull over at the side and take the call.

If you cannot avoid entertaining calls on the road, ask your car rental provider to give you a vehicle with a hands-free system feature. It’s way better to use than risking the passenger’s lives.

Parking Policies

Once you reach your desired destination, kindly look for a secured parking space. Do not take the risk of resting your rental vehicle somewhere that is not safe. Be sure that you bring your valuable items before you get out of the car, including the driving licence in Vanuatu and the IDP.

General Standards

To successfully adapt to the norms on driving in Vanuatu, especially on the islands, try learning it through studying the existing general standards of operating guidelines. With this exercise, you can quickly figure out what the ni-Vanuatus typically use and do whatever they cost a vehicle on the highway. In Vanuatu, the resident drivers usually operate an automatic car, making it more convenient and comfortable to manipulate.

However, if you are uncomfortable operating an automatic, you are free to pick a manual. It is better to ensure that the car you will be handling matches your expertise. It’s also a preventive measure to avoid severe injuries in case of a road crash.

Speed Limits

Maintaining the maximum velocity limit is essential to follow when driving in Vanuatu today. Observing the speed marks along the way is among the critical elements that a driver must properly obey at all times. Do note that there are speed cameras around the cities, so be sure to sustain the allotted speed per road section. Here are the designated speed limits that you may encounter depending on the highway area.

  • Urban – 50 km/h
  • Rural – 80 km/h

Do not forget to catch up on some news updates when driving in Vanuatu. It can let you know about what’s currently happening on the state’s highways. With that, you can avoid going over to the places that have heavy congestion or traffic jam.

Seatbelt Laws

All passengers of the moving vehicle must wear their respective seat belts whenever they hit the highways. Bear in mind that road crashes are no joke. Many people died because of being irresponsible to safety. It’s better to ensure protection than regretting it in the end. In Vanuatu, authorities strictly require drivers to abide by the road law. Do note that proper adherence to the rule will at least guarantee a safe and sound voyage.

For the child restraint policy, it’s unfortunate to think that it’s not that enforced well. However, the Vanuatu Government highly recommends installing a booster seat when traveling with toddlers.

Driving Directions

The roundabout roadway is a circular shape intersection where drivers usually yield on both lanes and give way to the other vehicles passing by. In Vanuatu, one must give way for the car ahead before moving forward. Failure to follow this roundabout rule will face warnings and charges. Do not be impatient to go on. Take time and keep the movement slow as possible.

Overtaking on the highway lanes is on the left side of the road. However, please make sure that there’s a leeway to do it. Alert the other drivers if you wish to overtake, wait for them to halt as a sign that you can go over. Do not be rude when overtaking. You will only cause road rage if you do so.

Traffic Road Signs

The Government of Vanuatu enforces the Road Traffic Control Act Regulations. A particular section of the law states that every driver traversing the major roadways has the right to approach a signage that indicates “STOP” or “GIVE WAY.” When a driver crosses at the intersection or fork roads, the operator must let the vehicle on the right pass first before moving ahead.

Another instance of the right of way rule is when driving through the continuous white line. If you pass on this lane, make sure to watch out for cars coming on the right side. When you are driving in Vanuatu with a map, make sure to read and understand every sign that will indicate the while line roadway, so you could adequately abide by the law.

Right of Way

Road markings are one of the essential factors that sustain a smooth flowing traffic on the road. It helps the authorities manage the vehicular movements and take appropriate action right away to the offenders caught on guard. Proper observance of the signage along the highway is mandatory. In Vanuatu, they primarily follow the international traffic road signs, which compose warnings, required information, prohibition, and such.

Bear in mind that when facing a warning sign, you must plan ahead of the appropriation action to do. Do not attempt to do the opposite. Road watchers are monitoring the road user’s movement. For the mandatory marks, you have no other option aside from following it. The information one tells the driver is the general rule, while the prohibition indicates that one shouldn’t attempt to do it unless the driver wants some trouble to settle.

Following the provisions stated in the Vanuatu’s Road Traffic Control Act, the minimum driving age requirement is 18 years old if the person wishes to operate a car not exceeding 125 cubic centimeters capacity. If an applicant desires to drive the standard car, reaching 21 years old age is a must and should have a medical fitness certificate not later than six months.

For newbies who desire to learn how to maneuver or coast a vehicle, enrolling in a driving school in Vanuatu or your home country is the first step.

Law on Overtaking

The Road Traffic Control Act strongly advises that overtaking is acceptable when there is a safe zone and free way to do it. Of course, when encountering emergencies, getting ahead is also okay. Ensure that you are in an urgent situation where overtaking can get you faster to your destination. Do also note that when planning to move ahead, turn on first your warning lights. Alert the other drivers of your plan to go forward. When they stop, go ahead.

Kindly note that daring to be reckless in overtaking, setting a maximum charge of VT100,000 and possible imprisonment for a year. Road enforcers will also confiscate your driving licence in Vanuatu and your IDP.

Driving Side

Ni-Vanuatu drivers use the right lane for driving in Vanuatu up to now. It is the designated roadway for vehicles and motorcycles passing the highway. For novices on driving in Vanuatu Island, make sure to practice yourself traversing the right side of the road if your home state uses the left lane. There’s no harm if you spend some time exercising and getting yourself comfortable driving in the opposite direction.

Driving Etiquette in Vanuatu

Appropriate demeanor and protocol are the convincing mannerisms to display when engaging in an international destination. Valuing the dignified image as a foreign visitor must make residents think that you respect them and their nation. It is also the proper etiquette to exhibit if you will meet a road accident or emergency. Take note that panicking and getting carried away by emotions will never bring any help in the situation.

Exercising yourself to get used to portraying a decent behavior can help you become a better individual. It will showcase how mature you are to act, and you don’t let any careless decision take over your system. Professionalism will never fail and bring you down on any occasion you encounter.

Car Breakdown

No guarantee driving in Vanuatu in any weather condition will ensure your safety at all times. Do remember that accidents typically happen if you become complacent on the highway. Of course, less preparation for emergency cases will add up to the possibility of meeting one. Always consider the emergency plans when crafting a travel proposal. Do not leave it behind as it can cause you to panic, which is not a great sign.

If you suddenly hear weird sounds coming from your vehicle, do not hesitate to pull over at the safe area. It is vital to check it right away so you can know whether your car is breaking down or not. But, before unfastening your seatbelt, make sure to grab the appropriate driving kits and equipment, like the warning triangles and reflective jacket. As you hop out, do not permit any of your passengers to do the same. Have them stay inside unless everything is already safe.

Police Stops

Tourist drivers will most likely approach police stops within the capital city, Port Vila. Since it’s a hotspot for foreign travelers, petty crimes are inevitable. That’s why strict monitoring and security are necessary to ensure everyone’s protection from any harm. When a police hail you, kindly pull over right away, do not attempt to run away if you don’t want any commotion to happen.

Upon settling at the side, roll down your windows, greet them nicely, and listen attentively. Once they ask you to present your passport, visa, driving license in Vanuatu, IDP, and rental car documents, do not make them wait for long and show it to them immediately. Keep in mind that police stops only aim to ensure the security of all residents. It will not cause any hazardous act unless someone provokes them to do so that may affect the country’s peace and order.

Asking Directions

After you allot expenses for the driving in Vanuatu costs, try to exert some effort to learn the general phrases and words used in the Melanesian archipelago. The sovereign state has three official languages, French, Bislama, and English. Though ni-Vanuatu can speak English, the majority still prefer the Bislama most of the time. It’s their unique trademark on their identity as a bona fide resident.

Here are the standard phrases to use when you feel lost while driving in Vanuatu with a map. Be sure also to include the proper pronunciation of each term so locals can understand your message.

  • Hello- Halo
  • Excuse me? -Ekskius mi
  • How are you? -Olsem wanem
  • What’s your name? =Wanem nem blong yu?
  • Where are you from? -Yu kam wea? / Yu blong wea?
  • I don’t understand -Mi no kasem save / Mi no harem save
  • Do you speak English? -Yu toktok English?
  • Do you speak Bislama? -Yu toktok Bislama?
  • Please speak more slowly. -Plis talem moa slo
  • Where? -Wea?
  • From where? -Long wea?
  • The other side of/opposite -Narasaed
  • Behind -Bihaen long
  • In front of -Fored long
  • Close to or near to -Klosap long
  • Over there -Long Wei
  • Turn right -Tanem long raet
  • Thanks a lot -Tenkiu tumas
  • You’re welcome -Yu welkam

Checkpoints

Passing authorized checkpoints are frequent in the primary cities, especially in the capital. Generally, uniformed personnel are on standby at the particular road section. When they begin their operation, they usually put a giant signage about the checkpoint ahead. With this, all road users are aware that road enforcers are conducting a mandatory checkpoint operation.

Upon approaching one make sure to prepare the following requirements for a faster transaction and prevent heavy congestion. Do also keep an update about the driving in Vanuatu condition from time to time.

  • Original Local Driver’s License
  • International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Valid Foreign Passport (with visa if applicable)
  • Registration Documents (applies for both private owners and rental car drivers)
  • National Identification Card (if available)

Other Tips

You are now aware of the typical ethics and attitude to showcase whenever you encounter such unexpected circumstances. You also found out what you can do to avoid getting involved in an accident. However, it is also essential to know what you must do if you get part of a road accident. It may be stressful to think, but it would be better to learn ahead than panicking if ever you will encounter one.

What must you do in case of a road crash?

Whether it’s a tourist or ni-Vanuatu locale, every driver who gets involved in a road crash must refrain from operating their vehicle. If there are injuries acquired and vehicular damages are present, tap the police within 24 hours. Do also dial the emergency rescue to have a first-aid action for those who got injured. Never meddle with the situation unless you got proper emergency training to handle such cases.

Once the medical team arrives, let them handle the injuries and such. For the damage issues, make sure to have it reported again to the police within five days. In case you are on a faraway island, you have a maximum of 15 days to register the issue and make settlements against the other parties involved in the case.

Driving Conditions in Vanuatu

Taking the tourist driver’s responsibility also means that you are ready to make adjustments and willing to adapt to any changes that may occur along the way. Doing such measures can help you blend with residents without worries. Do know that since you are visiting a foreign land, having the initiative to learn the norms is a must thing to do. After finding out the decent behavior that you must display, driving conditions in Vanuatu should follow next.

Accident Statistics

The World Health Organization (WHO) publishes Vanuatu’s 2018 Road Traffic Accident, which indicates that there are 3.08% of fatalities in the country. Based on the data, the top-notch road crash causes are over speeding and drink-driving. With this, the sovereign state ranks 99 on World Health Rankings that tackles death records.

Even though the road crashes records are high, the Vanuatu Government continuously crafts plans to improve its traffic infrastructure. They are working on making the road policies implemented, whether it’s in the city or province.

Common Vehicle

As you go on driving in Vanuatu, you will see many users of a 4WD vehicle type. It’s the popular car used by the locals. Since the country has many nearby islands, it’s no wonder why the said car type is the typical state. The 4WD type is a perfect fit for rough roadways. Next to it is vans and minibuses. Those vehicle kinds are frequently operational in public transportation.

If you wish to rent a 4WD car, make sure that you apply for an IDP. It’s a mandatory requirement of car rental companies abroad. When obtaining one, you need to fill up the required information. Do also note that your country’s zip code on your driving license in Vanuatu is a vital detail to have.

Toll Roads

Toll roads are an exclusive highway which connects to a far city or province that public or private vehicles can pass by provided that they will pay a separate fee. In Vanuatu, you can rarely pass a tollway. It only means that you can use any roadways for free.

Getting through Port Vila from Bauerfield International Airport, you have to take the Lnl Hwy. It will only consume less than fifteen minutes to reach the capital city. Traversing the said highway has no tollways, so rest assured that you can save up money and use it for other necessities.

Road Situations

Paved routes are only in the capital cities, so expect a frequent unpaved road when heading out of Port Vila. However, you can still have safe driving in Vanuatu, provided that you will not neglect any road marks that you will get to see along the way. If some areas lack road signage, keep your movement slow. You can also search up on the navigation map if there’s an available road sign legend on the particular area you are traversing.

Driving Culture

Ni-Vanuatu are gentle drivers. Though a few of them still recklessly drive, most resident vehicle operators are obedient to the traffic law. Locals are famously known as friendly and approachable types of people. Often, you may pass by a resident waving a hand, typically it calls for a lift, but it doesn’t apply at all times in Vanuatu. In the Melanesian state, it sometimes means “hello” or a warm greeting.

However, do note that hailing gestures and greeting signs have differences to one another. Make sure to be wary of their hands. You never know they might need a lift rather than sending a good day greeting.

Other Tips

Right after studying the usual road conditions in Vanuatu, it is also essential to know the other related concerns that can help you plan to drive in the country. You are already familiar with the speed limits, but have you ever figured out the speed measurement unit used? And do you know if you can safely drive at night in Vanuatu? To see the answer, read further below for more details.

Are they using “Kph “or “Mph”?

The Kph is the standard velocity unit used by 81% of countries across the world. It means that most sovereign states use the said speed unit on the road, whereas the remaining percentages are the nations using the “Mph” unit. In Vanuatu, “Kph” is the standard acceleration mark. For citizens who are not familiar with the designated speed unit, learning it beforehand can give you enough time to get used to it.

Is driving in the dark acceptable?

Stray animal crossings, destructed roads due to natural phenomenon, missing streetlights, and frequent potholes are waiting for drivers who will attempt to drive after the sunset. Daring to operate a four-wheel vehicle in the dark has a higher chance of meeting road crashes. It’s hazardous to hit the road at night, especially if you are all alone. In case it’s an emergency, keep your headlights on, sustain a slow speed drive, and do not carelessly overtake.

Of course, do not forget to bring the essentials. Check your bag if you are already carrying the IDP, driver’s license, and visa before driving in Vanuatu.

Things to Do in Vanuatu

After discovering the mesmerizing gems hiding in Vanuatu, planning another adventurous chapter will probably come next in mind. Seeking professional opportunities and residency are only a few of the thrilling exploration journeys to take after having a memorable voyage in the country. It’s no wonder why the two will follow as Vanuatu is one of the glorious nations that is captivating to explore.

Before you acquire the working documents, showing first proof of hiring under a Vanuatu company is necessary. After that, all non-citizens of Vanuatu must obtain a working visa and legally render services in the Melanesian nation. Lodging of applications is only at the Department of Labor and Employment Services. Other than that, there are no other legitimate application centers to submit documentary requirements.

Drive as a Tourist

Outlanders who desire to experience the epic driving in Vanuatu must be a legal holder of a driving license first to qualify for applying for an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Failure to possess a valid driver’s card won’t have the right to get an IDP. Do note that obedience to the law is compulsory. Otherwise, punishment is waiting for violators.

Getting an IDP won’t mean that you can leave your original driver’s license. It’s not a suitable replacement. It’s only an official translation document. To have an IDP, check out the our IDP costs. They have reliable services on obtaining the said permit to drive abroad. As you start your application, kindly input your name, address, city/state to have your IDP processed, so you can experience driving in Vanuatu. The zip code should not be left out to get your international driving license in Vanuatu before you travel to the country.

Work as a Driver

Non-citizens of Vanuatu who dream to apply as a driver in the country must first score a valid hiring document under a local agency within the state. It’s a mandatory requirement for every outlander seeking professional careers. If you meet the standards, presenting a legal driver’s license should come next. It is vital to exhibit your competence to operate a vehicle so your employer won’t be having difficulties accepting your application.

If you are a novice in coasting a vehicle, taking a driving course in Vanuatu is a must. Look for an accredited driving school within the state to enroll yourself. It is vital to earn first a driver learner’s license before attempting to acquire the actual driving license in Vanuatu. However, suppose you are already a holder of a valid driver’s card. In that case, you may exchange your current one for a ni-Vanuatu driving permit at any Police Station office in the nation.

Work as a Travel Guide

The tourism sector in Vanuatu is continuously booming on the record. With this, demands for tourism careers are also increasing. However, snatching a full-time work role may require much hard work to get one, as local agencies mostly prefer bona fide residents to do the job. Still, the entire journey of trying out the opportunity is incredible. When searching for a travel guide vacancy, you can mostly find some in Port Vila and Luganville.

Similar to working as a driver, you need to possess a valid driver’s license to qualify. Another significant element is to acquire the local version of the driving card. It’s way better to have the Vanuatu driver’s license as it has many benefits to enjoy. If you are curious what other documents you should bring upon applying, below are the standard requirements that Vanuatu companies request from foreign applicants.

  • Accomplished Work Permit Application
  • Applications from the job posting advertisement
  • Professional Credentials (certificates, awards, etc.)
  • Employment Contract
  • Document explaining the hiring of a non-citizen
  • Passport size photographs
  • Valid Passport
  • Copy of Passport biodata

Apply for Residency

Vanuatu Government on issuance of residence visa will depend on the applicant’s categories to meet all the standard criteria. The country has six residence visa categories, which applicants can refer to before proceeding to the actual application process. Outlanders who successfully secured a work permit and visa can already receive a temporary residence. However, if they choose to stay longer than 12 months, they must apply for a more extended consent.

The Employee Residence Visa is for foreigners who already received a hiring contract from the local company operating within the country. It’s a binding document to possess, especially if the work duration is beyond 12 months. For a complete list of documentary papers to present when applying for a residence visa, read further below.

Other Things to Do

If you are willing to pursue a driving career in Vanuatu, converting your local driver’s license to a Vanuatu driving card is the wisest decision to make while having an extended stay in the country. Be sure to collect all the necessary documents before heading to the Vanuatu Police Traffic Section. Do note that police officers won’t entertain applicants with lacking documents in the station.

You can also know about the other careers to check out in this section if maneuvering a car is not your expertise. Be sure to check out the legitimate job sites in Vanuatu to avoid being a victim of fraud or scam.

What are the requirements to obtain a Vanuatu Driver’s License for the International Driver’s License holders?

For non-citizens with a valid foreign driver’s card may use their license for a maximum of three months. After the said grace period and still have plans to stay longer, getting a Vanuatu Driver’s Permit is necessary. Read further below to determine the typical requirements to gather before going to a nearby Vanuatu Police Traffic office.

  • Valid Foreign Driver’s License
  • Valid International Driver’s Permit (IDP)
  • Ability to Drive Certificate
  • Application Fee of VT 5,000

If you don’t possess any of the legal documents above because you are a newbie, passing the driving test in Vanuatu is a first step. You must successfully earn a driver learner’s license first and an Ability to Drive Certificate before you proceed to get the public vehicle driver’s permit, which is the actual driving license to operate a standard car in the country. A fee of VT 5,000 is also mandatory upon application.

What are the other work opportunities in Vanuatu?

For aspiring international tourists searching for other incredible work careers in Vanuatu, they may visit either of the two job sites, the CareerJet and Riley Guide. Bear in mind that their response rate can be relatively low at times, so looking for other job websites will be better for more chances of getting a secured work role. Try also the Glassdoor and JobIsland, for other choices.

Based on the websites mentioned, their common denominator is English Second Language educators. It only signifies that English education is a trending work career in Vanuatu. If you like to get on this track, be sure you can show a teaching certificate and relative experience over the years. Remember that you must stand out among the other applicants to get the job. Otherwise, the chances of rendering services in Vanuatu will decrease.

Top Destinations in Vanuatu

Vanuatu has countless mesmerizing wonders to unveil. From natural treasures, historical landmarks, and clear waters, there’s no way you can refuse the thrilling excursion waiting for you in the state. Your long dream to witness something marvelous in your life will come true in an instant if you consider Vanuatu as your next target getaway destination. Be sure to call out your best travel buddies when heading in this country.

Bear in mind that having a driving voyage in Vanuatu, possessing an International Driver’s Permit (IDP) is mandatory. Though foreign citizens can use their domestic driver’s cards, booking rental cars will be difficult. So, obtaining an IDP should be a top priority.

Mele Cascades

Evergreen Cascades Waterfall is the official international name of Mele Cascades in Port Vila. It’s around 10 kilometers away from the capital city. The fascinating feature of the waterfall is its majestic waters that are so translucent and pristine. It also has a beautiful series of turquoise lagoons at the hillside area, where its blue waters gorgeously cascade down the natural pool.

Explorers can have a wonderful time wandering around Mele Cascades in the early morning. Targeting a low number of visitors is the ideal environment to have a fantastic moment on the site.

Driving Directions:

  1. rom Port Vila International Airport, head to the southwest to make a right turn on Rte to Mele.
  2. Continue driving straight on Rte to Mele until you reach Devil’s Point Rd.
  3. Slightly turn right upon reaching Devil’s Point Rd to approach Ring Road.

Things To Do

Fulfilling your cravings for stunning wonders in Port Vila, here are the exciting activities to do when you visit Mele Cascades.

  1. Hike at the Waterfall

As you vouch foot on Mele Cascades, you still have to exert some hiking to reach the designated swimming area on the waterfall. It will consume 10-15 minutes to access the site. Do note that heading towards the assigned dipping section, you have to go alone. No worries, as the trail has markings along the way. Never forget to step on the peak as it is the most breathtaking spot.

2. Visit the Mele Village

Before you indulge in the fascinating waterfall waters, you can pass by the largest village in Vanuatu, the Mele Village. You can meet locals and landowners in the town. Expect a warm welcome and greetings from them as you arrive. They will primarily introduce to you their culture and lifestyle as part of the tour. Be sure to listen to them and have fun communicating with them.

3. Swim at the Fall

Upon exerting effort to reach the waterfall, rewarding yourself with some glorious dip over the aquamarine pools is indeed the best highlight to enjoy on the site. Take note that swimming in the fall requires everyone to bring their swimwear attire, towel, and drinking water. Do not forget to pack some snacks as you may get hungry after doing such water activities in Mele Cascades.

Riri Blue Hole

In Espiritu Santo, the Riri Blue Hole, a glamorous crystal river, is the gorgeous waterfall in the entire capital. Its alluring waters are from the underwater spring, which makes it stunningly refreshing to feel. When talking about its distinctive tone, it’s the underground limestone that makes its hue captivating.

Riri Blue Hole waters are kind of cool in summer as the weather is humid. So, heading the hot season may let you feel the refreshing aquamarine waters. When you happen to go during the winter, expect that the waters are cold. Though it’s still rewarding to swim in winter, do note that you might have chills all over after dipping on the lagoons.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Santo-Pekoa International Airport, you must drive through the southwest towards Canal Rd.
  2. Upon arriving at the Canal Rd, make a sharp right before turning left in 300 meters.

Things To Do

Wonderfully resting in the middle of the lush tropical jungle, Riri Blue Hole is a kind of haven you don’t want to cross out on your list when traveling in Vanuatu. To know what are the indulging engagements you can try, read further below.

  1. Jump at the Blue Hole

Thrillers can attempt to experience the adventurous jump through the rope swings in Blue Hole. Do note that the sensational activity is not for faint-hearted explorers. They may just watch over for the hardcore travelers who will dare to drop off the Blue Hole from the rope swings.

2. Paddle at Riri River

Paddling is a better activity for less adventurous tourists. To do so, head over to Riri River to have the chance to experience crossing the river by boat. Before going on paddling, you have to pay first VT 1,000 per head. After, you may now have a memorable moment listening to the bird’s chirping and authentic nature sounds while you traverse the enthralling river.

3. Engage with Ni-Vanuatu people

Solo travelers may have the phenomenal chance to talk with a local while touring around the Riri Blue Hole. Conversing with them can add fun to the tour you are enjoying. They can also appreciate you blending with their culture despite the site with many international tourist visitors every year. Listen to them as they openly share about their tradition, life, and culture. You never know. You might hear something that’s not present in textbooks.

4. Snorkel at Nanda Blue Hole

If you are not satisfied yet with the water activities in Riri Blue Hole, checking out the Nanda Blue Hole is a rewarding treat to have. Snorkeling is the best game on this site. As you go underwater, you can meet some adorable fish roaming around you. Though it’s rare to see many, it’s still worth trying to spot some. Snorkeling gears are not available on the site. You must bring your own thing if you want to explore the marine world.

5. Explore the Matevulu Blue Hole

When traveling with kids, exploring the Matevulu Blue Hole will give them the chance to splash its sparkling crystalline waters. Of course, born-to-be thrillers can also try the spectacular jump through the rope swing perched on the Banyan tree. They must mount the said tree first before they take an exciting exhibition down to the lagoon.

Hideaway Island

Located a hundred meters off the coast of Efate Island, this legendary paradise in Port Vila is a sanctuary that must be on the bucket list. It covers a land area of 2.5 hectares highlighting its magnificent marine sanctuary, where fascinating coral reefs and fish inhabit underwater. Its spectacular aquamarine waters are perfect for water sports. Another exceptional feature to look forward to on the site is the underwater post office, and it’s the only one in the world.

From late June to early September are the periods that explorers must target when touring the Hideaway Island. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, those months are when the perfect climate surrounds the island.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Port Vila International Airport, head to the southwest before making a right turn towards Rte to Mele.
  2. Go straight ahead to Rte to Mele, then make a left turn on Mele Road.

Things To Do

If you are up to a quick castaway tour, checking the Hideaway Island is the answer. Of course, when wandering around the site, take note of the enticing activities to do below.

  1. Dive at the Island

Hideaway Island is a divine sanctuary for diving. So, if you know how to go deep underwater, marine exploration is your ideal match. Prepare yourself to see the tempting aquatic creatures living at the bottom. Bringing your gears should be as much practice as possible. However, you may still opt to rent out at the entrance desk.

2. Tour the Underwater Mailbox Post Office

Though the submarine adventure is the fabulous key in Hideaway Island, the Underwater Mailbox Office is an excellent highlight. It is the only underwater post box in the world. All visitors can write some post letters on the box. You just have to get some postcards coated in plastic. You can also ensure that it will work as there’s a mail collector every day.

3. Rent a Kayak at the area

If you don’t like to get wet and prefer to stay dry, you may rent out a kayak at the nearby shop. Head for a relaxing voyage across the majestic waters of the island, and do not forget to spot some idyllic tiny islets scattered around the site.

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