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Come on a holiday and leave with a bag full of gifts and souvenirs. Vibrant, bustling markets (built undercover to cater for Vanuatu weather) boast outstanding arts and crafts which have become the highlights of shopping in Vanuatu, though head away from the markets, and you'll find interesting, quirky goods in local stores.

What's hot in the markets?

If you are looking for locally-made, traditional handicrafts, you can find everything from carvings to traditional jewelry and bright, hand-dyed island clothing in the markets. Materials for these items range from coral and shells to volcanic stone.

You will also find plenty of the local delicacies if you are on the lookout for freshly-harvested shellfish, French-style pastries, and native-grown coffee in amongst the piles of exotic fruit and vegetables.

If you're in the market for duty-free goods, be sure to check out the options available in downtown Port Vila and Luganville. Vanuatu is known for having some of the best duty-free prices in the region, so you'll be heading home with a bargain!

What should you know about shopping in markets in Vanuatu?

Almost all transactions in Vanuatu are paid in cash and it's best to not bargain as it is considered rude to ask for a reduced price.

Business hours are usually 7:30 Am to 6:00 PM Monday to Friday with ‘siesta’ from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, though there are some variations to this (i.e. supermarkets open until later). Most shops are closed on Sundays, except on cruise ship days when shops in Port Vila are open. Alcohol can not be bought in any shop or supermarket after 12:00 PM on Saturday and all day Sunday. Markets are generally open 24 hours, Monday through Saturday, however, it is best to shop early in the morning when all the fresh produce has arrived. 

Hot spots for shopping

Port Vila

Port Vila has the largest range of goods, and it's the only duty-free port in Vanuatu. Port Vila's Markets and the Haos Blong Handikraft along the seafront are great places to shop for traditional authentic crafts, while Hebrida Market Place is the spot to shop for hand-painted clothing and accessories such as woven bags. The Kava Emporium is a good stop for unique Vanuatu-flavoured souvenirs and Aelan Chocoloate factory is a must visit for all the chocoholics. Markets are open every day except Sunday. Au Bon Marche is a supermarket chain that sells a range of handy items such as camping gear, umbrellas, BBQ,s and picnic items. Outside of town, you can still find general supplies, although selections may be limited.


On Luganville's main street the Mama Handicrafts provides an excellent selection of jewelry, weaving, carvings and more. The goods are all hand-made by the local women and on the same street is LCM. LCM is a small department store where you can find supplies for your island adventures, such as snorkeling, fishing, and camping gear.

How to pay

Typically, in markets, using Vanuatu currency (the vatu) is preferred. Occasionally, in Port Vila, Australian dollars are accepted. In Port Vila and Luganville, you'll find many places accepting credit cards, particularly MasterCard and Visa (and to a lesser extent American Express), but not so in rural areas and the outer islands. A three to five percent credit card fee is often charged on top of the purchase price. ATM facilities are available only in Port Vila and Luganville. There are no ATM facilities beyond Port Vila and Luganville.

Generally, it is handy to carry at least 500 VT to 2,000 VT with you to any activity as some cafes and tours don't have EFTPOS or credit card facilities. If traveling outside of Port Vila or Luganville, it is important to plan ahead and take plenty of Vatu with you. For remote areas, it is best to take coins and smaller-denomination notes.


Banks found in Vanuatu are ANZ, National Bank of Vanuatu, and Bred Bank. Banking hours are as follows:

  • ANZ – 9 AM to 3.30 PM, Monday to Friday. ANZ has (ATMs) in Port Vila, Luganville, and at Bauerfield International Airport.
  • Bank South Pacific (BSP) – 8.30 AM to 4 PM, Monday to Friday. Visit for more information.
  • National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV) - 8.30 AM to 3.30 PM, Monday to Thursday; Fridays to 4pm. The NBV Airport office is open for all arrivals and departures. There are NBV ATMs in Luganville, Port Vila and at the Port Vila Post Office.
  • Bred Bank Ltd - Open Monday till Friday from 8.30 am to 3.30 PM (foreign exchange till 4.30PM) with an ATM outside the Port Vila branch.
  • Wanfuteng Bank - Open Monday till Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (foreign exchange till 4:30 PM) with an ATM outside the Port Vila branch.