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By air

The national airline, Air Vanuatu, operates domestic flights throughout the islands. The airline's comfortable ATR-72 aircraft connect Port Vila with Santo and Tanna. Beyond these two routes, flights are operated by smaller aircraft with no assigned seating. Airports beyond the three main islands have grass runways and no facilities. Schedules can change (sometimes due to Vanuatu weather), so factor in sufficient time if you're connecting to/from international flights. Note that if you book your domestic flight in conjunction with your international flight (on the same ticket), you'll receive the same luggage allowance throughout your itinerary.

Due to the limited schedules to access some of the outer islands, it's strongly recommended that you book these as far in advance as possible. If flying from Port Vila to northern islands (including the Banks Islands), you'll stop in Santo, and this may be overnight, so be sure to check this when you book. When flying to smaller islands, your flight will typically make multiple stops.

There are a few charter airlines, including Unity AirlinesAirTaxi, and Air Safari, which operate tours to the likes of Pentecost (for Naghol), as well as a range of charters throughout the islands.

 For domestic flights, a provincial departure tax of VT200 is not included in tickets and must be paid prior to departure (after check in) at Port Vila, Efate (VLI); Luganville, Espiritu Santo (SON); Whitegrass, Tanna (TAH); Siwo, Emae (EAE); Tongoa (TGH); Lamen Bay, Epi (LNB); and Valesdir, Epi (VLS).

By boat

To travel from larger islands to the smaller islands, banana boats are a normal part of your journey. For example, if you're travelling to the islands of the Havannah and Taleva Coasts or any number of the Shepherd Islands from Port Vila, you'll find yourself on a smaller boat.

For longer journeys, if you have time on your side, a trip on one of the boats of cargo vessels allows you to see a range of different landscapes and appreciate a different side of Vanuatu culture. 

  • Vanuatu Ferry and Big Sista both ply the Port Vila - Malekula - Luganville route, with journeys taking around 24 hours end to end. Both companies may make numerous additional stops (on islands such as Emae, Epi, Paama and Maskelynes), depending on passenger and cargo demand.
  • Travelling south to Tanna is a rougher journey due to the ocean currents, with the MV Tauraken operating Port Vila - Erromango - Tanna (and then sometimes to Aneityum).
  • Travelling from Santo to Malekula, there are a number of smaller ships. You're best to enquire at the wharf in Luganville
  • Travelling from Port Vila to Ambrym, the MV Brisk and MV Tina operate. You're best to enquire at their wharf in Port Vila near fisheries
  • Travelling to the Banks Islands or Penama Province, you're best to take a boat from Luganville and to enquire locally

Tickets can be purchased from the relevant company's office, and in Port Vila, will depart from Star Wharf. It is at the wharves on any island that you will be able to get the most reliable, up to date information on boat travel, as it changes regularly. There are also cargo ships servicing all inhabited islands in Vanuatu. Cargo boats are not as comfortable as the passenger ferries, however are the cheapest way to get around, and many ships will have food onboard.

By bus

In Port Vila, the buses are mini vans seating about 10 people. You can easily tell and bus as their licence plate starts with a "B". They are plentiful within the city and outside the city you can usually arrange for a bus to meet you at a particular time. If one looks full, just wait for the next one. The buses are used by locals, but are very friendly, cheap, and easy to use by tourists. Fare is usually calculated per person. The cost is usually VT150 per person anywhere around Port Vila. If you are travelling a longer distance, the fare may rise to VT300 - 500 per person.

Luganville has comparatively few buses but taxis are plentiful and cheap (VT200 around town).

Check out this article on how to catch a bus in Port Vila


Taxis are plentiful within Port Vila. Fare is calculated per taxi. You can easily tell and tax as their licence plate starts with a "T". Within Vila, the taxi is 500 vatu for everyone inside, so if you have more than 3 people, it's cheaper than a bus.