Vanuatu Dos and Don’ts


Like any trip overseas, it is a good idea to briefly familiarise yourself with the local culture, customs and way of life before you travel. The key to a good cultural exchange between you and the locals you meet is treating others the same way you would like to be treated. Just as we would expect visitors to Australia to make an effort with the language, observe our social niceties and obey local laws, you too should extend the same courtesy when traveling to someone else’s country. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ on your Vanuatu holidays.

1. Do – Try to pick up a few local phrases.

No one expects you to be fluent, but learning a few words in the local language will go along way to making the already friendly Vanuatu locals welcome you like one of their own. Words such as hello, please and thank you are a must.


2. Don’t – ignore the local ‘kastom’.

A set of local rules and traditions, Vanuatu kastom is something you should be aware of while visiting. For example, women should cover their shoulders and knees when not at the beach (especially in the city and local villages). Vanuatu is heavily influenced by religion and the Christian missionaries that arrived on the islands hundreds of years ago.


3. Do – Get involved with local culture, food, and experiences.

Vanuatu holidays are ideal for active travellers looking for a meaningful cultural exchange. Whether you want to go to a kava (a root drink popular on many Pacific Islands) bar and while the afternoon away chatting to the regulars, or hire a local guide to take you on a bushwalk through the lush rainforest, there is a lot to discover in Vanuatu.


4. Don’t – Forget to get local currency.

There are lots of amazing local crafts available at markets around the island. From sarongs and dresses, to wooden carvings and homewares. Credit cards are accepted in many places, but make sure to carry some local currency for things like markets and taxis.


5. Do – Ask if you aren’t sure.

If you aren’t sure about a certain aspect of the Vanuatu culture and aren’t sure if something is appropriate, just ask at the hotel reception. The Vanuatu people are very friendly and they will be able to help advise you on things like appropriate attire for village tours, etc.


6. Don’t – Forget to embrace island time.

Things run a little slower in the South Pacific. So just sit back and enjoy the ride! You are on holiday, after all.


7. Do  – Remember the most important rule of thumb…

If you wouldn’t do it at home don’t do it overseas. Don’t litter, don’t drink and drive, and always obey local laws.


For help planning your Vanuatu holidays contact our Vanuatu Holiday Experts today.


By Sarah Tayler

Sarah is an avid traveller. When not writing for My Vanuatu, she can be found gallivanting around the globe. Sarah has a soft spot for Barcelona because she’s a sucker for Gaudi and tapas! She’s also a big fan of leisurely river cruising and loves nothing more than stopping off along the banks of the Loire Valley for a spot of wine tasting, visiting Bordeaux for the history and amazing French food.