Learn how to navigate using cash, credit cards, debit cards and prepaid money cards when travelling to Vanuatu.
More than 80 islands make up the country of Vanuatu, meaning that, depending on which of the small islands you are visiting, ATMs could be few and far between. This can make it difficult to withdraw vatu – Vanuatu's local currency.
Here's what you need to know to ensure you're never caught with empty pockets around the islands.
Compare travel money options for Vanuatu
Credit and debit cards are readily accepted in the main resort areas of Vanuatu, such as Port Vila and most of Luganville, but depending on your card, there may be charges associated with using them, and you'll want some cash in your pocket for smaller purchases.
Should I bring a prepaid travel card, credit card or debit card to Vanuatu?
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What's the Vanuatu currency?
Vatu is the national currency of Vanuatu and there are no additional names for the denominations.
Over the last few years, rates have fluctuated between 80-85 vatu per AUD$1.
Stores and restaurants round prices up to the nearest five vatu. You can get coins in 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 denominations and notes in 100, 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 denominations.
Travel money tips for Vanuatu
- If you're planning on spending just cash in Vanuatu, it's best to exchange your Australian dollars when you get to the country since rates will be better. Start by exchanging a handful of dollars at the bank at the airport. Then head to a large town to exchange the rest. The foreign exchange company Goodies on the main drag in Port Vila has a good reputation for offering competitive rates.
- Unless you have a debit or credit card with low or no fees (which you can find above), use ATMs sparingly because there are significant fees associated with using them.
- Be mindful that you can only withdraw the equivalent of $600 a day from ATMs.
- There are money exchange bureaus at the banks on the islands of Lakatoro (Malekula), Lenakel (Tanna) and Pango (Pentecost); however, they're not the most reliable and tourists often find them closed or out of stock.