beware of buying wooden products, sea-shells etc.
Australia does not accept the import of foreign products made of wood and other natural products, because they are afraid there might be some dangerous micro-organisms getting into Australia that way.
So, when your cruise will end in Australia, you better think twice before you are going to buy any of these great wooden souvenirs. There might be exceptions for so-called "Sealed wood" , BUT it really makes sense not to believe too much into "import/export-certificates" provided by the local salespeople.
- Family Travel
Cash withdrawal from ATM's
We experienced no problems with ATM's in Port Vila. We happily withdrew cash from our Westpac Mastercard at the Westpac ATM in the main street, and cash from our linked Visa debit/credit account from the ANZ ATM's as well.
Also, if you get stuck changing money on the weekend when banks etc are closed, many restaurants take Aussie dollars too.
- Family Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Sea snakes in Erakor lagoon.
Not really a danger if you are careful.
In the lagoon between Erakor Island and Le Lagon resort when snorkelling you can see multi-colored sea snakes. The local children we were with seem completely unconcerned and just motioned to us to swim a couple of metres away from them. We did see them more than once but if they are not provoked the risk of being bitten is probably very low.
Beware of the Dog!
Keep in mind that a lot of the dogs around Port Vila and Efate are half-wild, quite vicious and allowed to roam free. While I was there there was a terrible story about a four-year-old girl who was attacked by nine vicious dog and almost killed; someone I know has also been bitten while visiting friends.
It won't be an issue on the main street or on tours but if you're walking further afield around the surrounding streets or near villages, take care.
Poorly lit streets
Be careful it you choose to walk downtown from one of the outlying areas at night. Not because of muggers, though. It's just that the streets aren't very well lit. In many places they aren't lit at all.
If you normally use your credit card to withdraw cash at an ATM/bank then you will have troubles in Vanuatu. Make sure you take a debit card of some kind as well. We tried to withdraw money from our savings account which is linked to our credit card account but couldn't because we only had our credit card.
You can pay for most things with credit in Port Vila but you will still need some cash.
Before leaving for Vanuatu I would recommend checking with your bank as to what you will need to take/do.
Big ass mosqitoes
When your over there, don't forget to pack your insect repellant. Off the beaten track there were mosqitoes as big as our hire car. If you've got repellant you should be right though, i got away with no bites.
- Hiking and Walking
Someone else already mentioned it. As I experienced it myself just can confirm it.
As soon as you see one of these big cruiseships coming into Port Vila escape from it as quickly as possible. Unless you want to be mistaken as a local (didn't see this one on board) and end up on tousands of cruisers snapshots. There seem to be PPs (personal photographer) commissioned to take pics for the ones who couldn't be bothered to get off the boat. You'll recognise them with bunches of up to 10 cameras working in groups....