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Is Vanuatu Expensive? Ultimate Spending Money Guide


Vanuatu is a beautiful island nation located in the South Pacific, known for its pristine beaches, active volcanos, blue holes and rich culture. Many tourists are drawn to Vanuatu for its natural beauty and close proximity to Australia, but the question remains: is Vanuatu expensive?

I went on this solo trip to Vanuatu over the Easter long weekend, and let me tell you, it was like stepping into a whole other world! What got me hooked were the amazing natural wonders that you just can’t find anywhere else. I’m talking about those stunning blue holes, the mysterious blue cave, and those beaches with the whitest sand you’ve ever seen! And then there’s the culture and friendly locals, which is the icing on the cake.

But as a solo traveller, I’m not going to lie, it did dent my wallet more than I originally expected.

In this post, I’ll unpack all the costs I encountered travelling to Vanuatu. As a popular destination for Aussie travellers, all prices below will be listed in AUD.

✔️ Flights: Book your flights on Skyscanner 

➡️ Car rental: Rent your car on DiscoverCars

✔️ Travel insurance: I recommend World Nomads

➡️ Accommodations: Book your stay at booking.com

✔️ Activities: Arrange your adventure trips and tours

is vanuatu expensive. Find out in this blog post

Is Vanuatu Expensive for Tourists?

The short answer is yes but it depends on your travel style and budget.

I found Vanuatu to have similar pricing to Australia and New Zealand.

Although the quality of products and services are rarely on par with that of Australia and New Zealand so you don’t really get value for money.

Vanuatu also tends to be much more expensive in touristy areas, in particular at resorts and restaurants/cafes near attractions.

Summary of My Expenses in Vanuatu

  • Accommodation: $250 AUD / per night
  • Breakfast & Lunch: $12-25 AUD / per meal
  • Dinner: $18-50 AUD / per meal
  • Beer: $6-10 AUD
  • Flights: $150-$250 AUD from Port Vila to the other Islands
  • Car Rental: $135- $190 AUD per day. 
  • Tours: $100-$200 AUD
  • Beach Entrance (yes you even need to pay for a beach): $10-30

How Much Do Things Cost in Vanuatu?

Vanuatu does not have a strong economy and is heavily reliant on tourism.

Although the cost of living in Vanuatu is low, the reliance on tourism significantly drives up prices for visitors, particularly at resorts and attractions.

Let’s dig into the costs I encountered on my trip to Vanuatu.

For reference, I travelled over the Easter period in 2023.

Accommodation Costs in Vanuatu

Below I have detailed how much it cost me to stay at each of the following hotels/resorts during the month of April.

I found the accommodation to be pretty similar priced to that in Australia, particularly if you opt for accommodation that offers tours, has an onsite restaurant, and is close to key tourist attractions.

As I was a solo traveller, it was worth spending extra for comfort, safety, and assistance with getting around to each of the destinations on my itinerary.

You can of course find cheaper accommodation options although don’t expect all the essentials such as clean drinking water, hot water, and shelter from mosquitos and bugs.

All the below rooms I chose were the most basic options as I was travelling on my own!

Breakas Resort, Port Vila

Breakas resort port vila

Garden View Bungalow: $262 AUD (free breakfast included)

Melanesian Hotel, Port Vila

melanisian port vila hotel

Orchid Twin Room: $187 AUD (free breakfast included)

Turtle Bay Lodge, Espiritu Santo

Double Room, Ocean View, Oceanfront: $204 AUD (free breakfast included)

I was even upgraded for free to the Deluxe Double Room which is priced at $308 AUD per night.

Whitegrass Ocean Resort, Tanna

Is vanuatu expensive? accommodation is a major factor in the overall cost of travel to vanuatu

Bungalow with Seaview: $362 AUD (free breakfast included)

This last resort is extra pricey as it is on a pretty remote island, however, I managed to grab a great deal at work and only paid $278 AUD per night (I worked for a travel company at the time).

breakfast at turtle bay lodge

Food Costs in Vanuatu

Food can eat into any travel budget, so let’s take a look into the costs in Vanuatu.


$0 if you opt for a resort/hotel that offers free breakfast!

I found this the best option to save time, and money and ensure I was getting a decent breaky to start the day.

Most resorts will offer free continental breakfast (toast, cereal, pastries, fruit, coffee, juice) with the option to purchase additional items such as bacon, eggs, pancakes, etc for around $12-15 AUD.

Average Price of Brekafas in Vanuatu

Free in resorts or $12-15 AUD

is food expensive in vanuatu. Find out the costs to eat lunch in Vanuatu


Often times I was out exploring for the day so I made do with some packed snacks and filling up on breakfast.

Lunch options at the resorts I stayed at ranged from $12-$25 AUD depending on the meal size. To save money I would choose smaller starters or sandwiches instead of main meals.

Again, if you’re on the islands, you likely won’t stumble across many if any options for a lunch break so make sure to pack some food!

Average Price of Lunch in Vanuatu

$12-$25 AUD

is the food in vanuatu expensive. The dinner food in vanuatu is particuarly expensive


My favourite meal of the day!

When dinner rolls around I am starving after a day of exploring stunning Vanuatu!

I ate at my accommodation each night (there aren’t many restaurants on the islands outside of Port Vila) and found prices to range from $18-$50+ AUD.

From pasta, pizza, and burgers to fresh seafood platters and gourmet steaks, the food is reminiscent of taking a beach holiday back home.

Due to the remoteness of a lot of the places I stayed, the lack of competition really drives up the prices.

Yes, the quality was pretty decent but the prices were on par with nice Australian bistros.

Price of Dinner in Vanuatu

$18-$50 AUD

are the snacks in vanuatu expensive
Golden Gay Time – Vanautu Style

Bring these from home!

Not only will they be a little tastier but they will save you the hassle of finding snacks. On the islands, you won’t find many supermarkets or service stations offering quick bites.

In Port Vila, I visited the local supermarket, Au Bon Marché, to check out the local snacks. You will find chips, biscuits, and cereals that are similar to that in Australia for pretty cheap prices.

Price of Snacks in Vanuatu

$2-$10 AUD

vanuatu alcohol prices


I am a big fan of trying the local beer when travelling.

In Vanuatu, Tusker beer is the local brew. I opted for a Tusker lemon which hit the spot when needing to cool down and unwind for the afternoon.

Tusker beers were often the cheapest choice on the menu, ranging from $6-10 depending on where you were dining. So again, pretty similar to prices back in Australia, and a Tusker is no Stone and Wood!

Price of a Beer in Vanuatu


Transport Costs in Vanuatu

Getting from A to B when travelling can eat up a large portion of your budget.

Is Vanuatu expensive when it comes to transport, let’s take a closer look!

  • Hire car: $135- $190 AUD per day. Discounts apply for longer hires.
  • Taxi: $15-$50 AUD for trips 15-30 minutes. Hard to quantify but prices are similar if not more than in Australia. Just be careful, getting ripped off is common.
  • Flights: $150-$250 AUD from Port Vila to the Islands depending on the destination.
  • Bus: $2 AUD per person within city limits.

Book the best fares to Vanuatu on Skyscanner now!

Activity Costs in Vanuatu

I found organised tours the best way to experience certain sites, especially since most offer free transfers and a local guide to keep you safe.

One thing to note: most beaches and natural attractions such as the blue holes incur an entry fee. Ranging from $5-$25 these entry fees go to the locals who maintain the land.

Below are some of the most popular activities and how much they cost.

  • Blue Cave Tour: $130 AUD (a must on Tanna Island!)
  • Mt Yasur Volcano Tour: $215 AUD
  • Cultural Tour: $95 AUD
  • Santo Island Tour: $320 AUD
  • Santo horse adventure: $100 AUD (highly recommend!)
  • Champagne Beach Entry: $27 AUD per vehicle
  • Port Orly Entry: Free!
  • Riri Blue Hole: $7 AUD
  • Nanda Blue Hole: $14 AUD (the blue hole I visited)
  • Matevulu Blue Hole: $7 AUD
  • Day Spa Massage: From $45 AUD
  • Hideaway Island Entry: $25 AUD

7 Days in Vanuatu Budget – What I Spent!

To help you budget for your trip to Vanuatu, let’s break down an accurate Vanuatu travel budget for 1 week.

Just a word of warning, these numbers may be a little higher than you expect.

So is Vanuatu expensive?

Unfortunately yes, these numbers accurately showcase just how expensive a trip to Vanuatu can be.

The amount you’ll need to budget for your trip depends on factors like your travel preferences, the duration of your stay, and the activities you do.

Based on my own experience, budget travellers should allocate around 10,000 to 20,000 Vatu (approximately $135 to $270 AUD) per day, while mid-range travellers might spend between 20,000 to 30,000 Vatu ($135 to $400 AUD) per day. If you’re opting for a luxury experience, expect to budget around 40,000 Vatu ($535 AUD) or more per day.

During my seven-day Easter getaway, I definitely ended up spending more than I initially anticipated. Below, you’ll find a rough breakdown of my expenses as a solo traveler in Vanuatu over the course of a week.

7 Day Vanuatu Budget

Brisbane to Port Villa round trip: $806.88
Port Vila to Santo: $183.10
Santo to Tanna: $285.10
Tanna to Port Vila: $162.10
Total: $1,437.18 AUD


Breakas Resort (1 night): $262
Whitegrass Ocean Resort Tanna (2 nights): $556
Turtle Bay Lodge (3 nights): $612
Melanesian Port Vila (1 night): $187
Total: $1617 AUD

Food & Drinks

Breakfast: Free with accommodation
Lunch: $75
Dinner: $160
Drinks: $60
Total: $295 AUD


Tours: $230
Entry fees: $41
Total: $271 AUD


Car rental: $135
Airport transfers (when not included in accommodation price): $50
Total: $185 AUD

Grand Total: $3805 AUD

Tips for Traveling to Vanuatu on a Budget

Just because Vanuatu is more on the expensive side doesn’t meant you can’t still visit on a tight budget. Here are 10 tips for travelling to Vanuatu on a budget.

  1. Travel During Shoulder Seasons: Consider visiting Vanuatu during the off-peak seasons, typically outside of major holidays and school holidays. May, early June, and September are great shoulder months.
  2. Book Accommodation in Advance: Look for budget-friendly accommodations such as guesthouses, hostels, or vacation rentals well in advance, they are quite limited to give yourself the most choice by booking early.
  3. Opt for Local Transport: Use local transport options like buses or rent a bike to get around the island. This can be more cost-effective than renting a car or relying on taxis.
  4. Eat Like a Local: Explore local markets and eateries or grab some food from a supermarket to make your own food. Eating at resorts in Vanuatu is expensive.
  5. Take Advantage of Free Activities: This is tough as a lot of the best beaches and blue holes charge entry. That being said there are some free spots or make the most of your accommodation’s private beach. Also, check with your accommodation to see if they offer free snorkel gear or canoes.
  6. Set a Daily Budget: Establish a daily spending limit and track your expenses throughout your trip. By budgeting carefully and monitoring your spending, you can avoid overspending and ensure that your funds last for the duration of your stay in Vanuatu.

Cost of Living in Vanuatu Compared to Australia

Visiting Vanuatu may come with a price tag, but when it comes to day-to-day living costs, it’s a whole different story compared to Australia. Let’s break it down: Vanuatu, while being an absolute gem in the South Pacific, tends to be on the pricier side for tourists.

You might find yourself shelling out a bit more for accommodations, dining out, and activities, especially in the touristy areas. However, when it comes to the cost of living for residents, it’s a different ball game.

Compared to Australia, the cost of living in Vanuatu is generally lower. While salaries may also be lower, expenses like rent, groceries, and utilities tend to be more affordable. Plus, there’s the added benefit of not having to deal with some of the expenses that come with urban living in Australia, like sky-high rent prices or expensive public transport.

So, while you might need to budget a bit more for your holiday in Vanuatu, living there day-to-day can actually be quite manageable and even more affordable than in Australia. It’s all about finding that balance between splurging on the fun stuff during your visit and enjoying the relaxed, budget-friendly lifestyle that Vanuatu has to offer.

Vanuatu Currency

Next up we’re going to take a closer look at the currency you need in Vanuatu and what the conversion rate is to Australian dollars.

What is the currency in Vanuatu?

The currency in Vanuatu is the Vatu (VUV).

Notes come in denominations of VT200, VT500, VT1000, VT2000, VT5000 and VT10,000.

Coins are available in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Vatu.

Australian Dollar to Vanuatu Vatu

When visiting Vanuatu a couple of major resorts explicitly stated the exchange rate from Australian dollars to Vanuatu Vatu.

A rate of 1:75 was pretty common during my visit, which made it easy for me to calculate costs (simply divide the Vatu cost by 75).

Currency fluctuations are common so if your resort doesn’t charge a fixed rate, check the rate at a reputable currency exchange site.

FAQs: Is Vanuatu Expensive

By now you should have a pretty good answer to the question, is Vanuatu expensive?

To finish up let’s cover a few FAQs about Vanuatu expenses.

is vanuatu safe and expensive for tourists

How much is a meal in Vanuatu?

A meal at a mid-range restaurant or a resort in Vanuatu costs around 940 Vatu to 2,735 Vatu ($12 – $35 AUD) so it’s not necessarily cheap!

Is Bali or Vanuatu cheaper?

Bali tends to be a lot easier on the wallet compared to Vanuatu.

You can find some seriously cheap deals for villas, food, and activities in Bali, thanks to its bustling tourism scene and all the competition.

Plus, there’s just so much to choose from! Whether you’re looking for a budget guesthouse, a tasty meal from a local warung, or a fun day out exploring temples or beaches, Bali’s got you covered without breaking the bank.

Of course, everyone’s different, and it all depends on what you’re into and how you like to travel. But if you’re watching your pennies, Bali’s definitely they way to go over Vanuatu.

Is Vanuatu expensive for Australians?

Vanuatu can be considered a relatively expensive destination for Australians, but it can vary depending on a number of factors. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Currency Exchange Rate

As an Aussie traveller, you will need to exchange your AUD for Vatu. The exchange rate can fluctuate, which can impact the cost of your trip.

Check the current exchange rate before you go and factor in any potential changes.

Flights and Travel Costs

As Vanuatu is a remote destination, flights from Australia can be expensive. Plus, there are limited airlines that fly directly to Vanuatu, and prices can increase during peak travel seasons.


Accommodation in Vanuatu can be quite expensive due to once again, limited options. However, there are more affordable options available, including guesthouses, homestays, and backpacker hostels, you just have to book ahead as they can fill up quickly.

Food and Drink

The cost of food and drink in Vanuatu can vary depending on where you go but overall I found it to be similarly priced to Australia. Although it is similarly priced, don’t expect the quality to match, the service and meals can be hit-and-miss.

Tourist activities and attractions

Whether you want to experience water sports, cultural tours, nature hikes or beach trips day trips in Vanuatu can add up. Particularly when there is an entry fee just to access a beach.

Overall, while Vanuatu can be considered expensive for Australians, it is still a popular destination due to its natural beauty, friendly locals, and unique culture.

It’s important to do your research and plan ahead to ensure that you stay within your budget.

Why is Vanuatu expensive?

Vanuatu has gained a reputation for being an expensive destination.

This can come as a surprise to many travellers who are used to lower prices in other parts of Southeast Asia or the South Pacific.

So you may be wondering why is Vanuatu expensive.

Geographical Location

Firstly, Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands located in the South Pacific, which is far away from other major tourist destinations. This remoteness means that goods and services need to be imported from other countries, which can increase their cost.

And, there are limited transport options, with few direct flights, which can also drive up the price of airfares.

Limited Tourism Supply

Secondly, there is limited Tourism Infrastructure as Vanuatu’s tourism industry is still developing. A limited supply of accommodation and tourist facilities and a high demand mean higher prices.

While there are some luxury resorts, there are relatively few mid-range or budget options, and these tend to be more expensive than comparable options in other parts of the world.

Cost of Living

While Vanuatu is a relatively poor country, the cost of living for locals is still high. This is because many goods need to be imported, and there is a limited range of local produce.

The high cost of living for locals translates into higher prices for visitors as well, particularly for food and other basic necessities.

Government Taxes and Fees

Vanuatu has relatively high government taxes and fees, which can add to the cost of travel.

For example, there is a departure tax of 3,000 Vatu (around $40 AUD) for anyone leaving the country by air.

In addition, there is a Value Added Tax of 15% on most goods and services, which can increase the cost of purchases.

Limited Competition

And lastly, Vanuatu’s tourism industry is dominated by a few large players, which can limit competition and keep prices high.

This is particularly true with accommodation where a few large resorts control a significant share of the market.

What Is the Best Way to Take Money to Vanuatu?

If you’re travelling to Vanuatu, the best way to bring money is to carry a mix of cash and cards.


Make sure to bring enough local currency, which is the Vanuatu Vatu (VUV).

Withdraw enough local currency (e.g. $300-$400) before departing and exchange it at Goodies the foreign exchange store at the airport instead of exchanging it before you go. Goodies will guarantee the best rates (which is rare for an airport).

If you are coming from Australia, I suggest carrying a mix of AUD and Vanuatu currency as I found it was easier to convert AUD to VUV over withdrawing VUV from my bank card at an ATM. And you will avoid the added surcharges!

Debit/Credit cards

Most major credit and debit cards are accepted in Vanuatu, but it’s best to check with your bank before you travel to make sure.

Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, while American Express is less common. But remember, using credit and debit cards will incur an international fee plus a Vanuatu bank fee of approximately 4-5%.

You can use your card to withdraw cash from ATMs or to make purchases at larger shops, restaurants and resorts. However, be aware that some places only accept cash, so it’s always a good idea to have some on hand.

Overall, it’s always a good idea to have a mix of cash and cards when traveling to Vanuatu and to inform your bank of your travel plans to prevent any issues with using your cards abroad.

Tip! Remember to tell your bank that you are planning on jetting off overseas! You don’t want them to cancel your card on the basis of suspicious transactions. Just log onto your online banking site and register your travel dates and destinations!

vanuatu currency is vatu and you can withdraw some at a local atm or bank

Do they have ATMs and can I use my credit card?

Yes, ATMs are available in Vanuatu, and most major credit cards are accepted.

However, ATMs are very scarce on the islands so make sure you bring enough cash!! Plus, on the islands cards are rarely accepted anywhere outside of major resorts.

Don’t make the same mistake I did and run out of cash at the local petrol station! VERY STRESSFUL!

Luckily the owner was super understanding and let me come back after getting more cash from my accommodation. Bless the caring nature of the Vanuatu people!

Remember, major attractions including beaches and blue holes require cash for entrance (approx. $10-$25 AUD).

If you run out of cash, airports are the most convenient option if you are island hopping as they generally have an ATM that will accept a Mastercard or Visa. There’s usually a daily withdrawal limit of about 44,000 VT (roughly $600).

Just remember there will be an international transaction fee of approximately $5-$10 AUD plus any international charges your bank will apply.

Don’t worry too much about the fee for withdrawing cash, as when you pay by card, I guarantee you will be charged a 4-5% bank surcharge, so paying cash for bigger payments may be your better option.

Good news for ANZ and Westpac Bank cardholders (that includes Bank of St George, Bank of Melbourne, and BankSA)!

You can withdraw money from your respective bank ATM in Luganville or Port Vila downtown and you won’t pay the ATM transaction fee.

Can I use my phone and the Internet?

Like many small island nations, Vanuatu does not have the same level of internet infrastructure as more developed countries.

The quality of WiFi in Vanuatu can also vary depending on the location and the service provider. I found Wi-Fi at accommodation very hit and miss, sometimes it was decent other times I could barely load a basic webpage.

If you’re planning to visit or live in Vanuatu and need reliable internet, it’s best to research the available options in the specific area you’ll be staying in.

Coming from Australia and as an Optus user, I purchased international roaming for only $5 per day which gave me 5GB of data and unlimited standard talk and text. Sounds great right, not so much…

The roaming load speeds were generally pretty slow and making calls back to Australia was near impossible, it would often not go through.

Not what you want when you are stranded due to a flight cancellation and in need of accommodation!

But it is still better than nothing and I often found myself using roaming instead of Wi-Fi.

Do I need travel insurance?

The number 1 tip I continue to stress is, travel insurance is non-negotiable. 

If you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel FULL STOP! No buts no ifs. 

It is possible that you may experience unexpected medical expenses or disruptions to your travel plans, so it is important to be prepared with travel insurance.

I flew Air Vanuatu which is notorious for flight cancellations and delays. And yes it happened to me… twice!!

For a 1 week trip, I had 2 flights that were delayed by 1 whole day, which meant I had to book additional accommodation and pay for extra meals. Having travel insurance gave me reassurance that if Air Vanuatu wasn’t going to reimburse me, my insurance provider would.

Just make sure to keep your receipts!

Plus, Vanuatu’s health care system isn’t the best, particularly on the islands outside of Port Vila. If you were to injure yourself on an adventure tour, you may need medical evacuation, which as you could imagine, is a pretty penny.

Travel insurance is likely not as expensive as you think.

For example, a 25-year-old Australian traveller visiting Vanuatu for 7 days can purchase travel insurance from World Nomads for only $70 AUD!

The Wrap-Up: Is Vanuatu Expensive?

In this post we have unpacked the common question: Is Vanuatu expensive?

I personally found Vanuatu to be quite expensive, and when you factor in the quality of service and product, the value of the exchange is not fantastic.

That being said, Vanuatu is a tropical escape that exudes beautiful culture and breathtaking natural attractions and it’s only a 2hr 30min flight from Brisbane, Australia!

Overall, I would recommend Vanuatu for your next travel destination, just keep in mind, for a country that isn’t wealthy the prices are very high.

Once you step foot on the sand of Port Orly, dive into the crisp waters at Nanda Blue Hole and peer into an active volcano, the money you spent will be worth it.

Let me know in the comments if you have been to Vanuatu! Feel free to share your experiences on the prices x

Pin for later: Is Vanuatu Expensive?

is vanuatu cheap? Pin for later and find out

Read more about travelling Vanuatu:

Vanuatu Travel Blog – Everything You Need to Know
Best Espiritu Santo Vanuatu Resorts
Is Vanuatu a Good Holiday Destination?
Is Vanuatu Safe For Tourists? Essential Safety Tips
Best Port Vila Tours – Top Things To Do in Vanuatu 
Vanuatu Vs New Caledonia: A Guide To Choosing Where to Go
Vanuatu Vs Fiji? Which South Pacific Destination Should You Travel To?
Vanuatu Snorkeling Spots That You Need To Visit! 

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