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Page: Living in Vanuatu as an Expat - What You Need to Know

Living in Vanuatu as an Expat

What you need to know about Vanuatu country, before you move here

Vanuatu is located in the South Pacific Ocean and it is a Pacific Island country. Vanuatu has been chosen as the happiest place on earth, twice! It really is a unique country full of friendly people, peace, diversity, and natural beauty. What more can you ask for? Also, many people claim that Vanuatu is a country of contrasts. On one side, you have the metropolitan and touristy Port Vila, on the other, you have mystery and wilderness.

However, this place is still not overcrowded and corrupted by tourists, which makes it a perfect getaway. It is a place for a new start. That is mostly why many people are living in Vanuatu after all. So, if you are interested in learning what life looks like in this place, keep on reading.


There are many reasons why Vanuatu was voted twice as 'the happiest place on earth',
not the least the Melanesian people hospitality and laidback lifestyle.

Living in Port Vila

Port Vila is the most metropolitan and most developed part of Vanuatu. Most expats live there. Other rural areas of the country are not so easy to get accustomed to. So, if you are planning to move and start living in Vanuatu as an expat, call a moving agency like and try to find a property located somewhere in the developed part of Port Vila. The real estate market is growing, so that should not be a problem. Also, be prepared to live differently. There probably won't be as many amenities as back home. However, since tourism is developing rapidly, now you can see many cruise ships, resorts, and high-end facilities in Vanuatu. You will not be missing bars and restaurants either, as new ones are opening daily. And, what is most important is that Vanuatu is a very safe country and a large number of retirees that have settled here can confirm that.

Housing and Living Conditions

As previously mentioned, housing and living conditions largely depend on where you are located. After all, this is a country that just started developing, so do not expect a metropolitan area yet. If you plan on living in Port Vila or Santo, you will have access to 24-hour electricity, telephones, water supply, internet, restaurants, and public transport systems. Moreover, there is no chance of feeling lonely since there are many expat communities which you can meet at local restaurants and bars. However, if you want a quiet island life, and decide to move elsewhere, you will not have anything mentioned previously. You can only dream of electricity, internet, and phones, and you will have to rely on rainwater for water supply.


Vanuatu resorts and other holiday accommodation places offer many luxury facilities.
But if you are living in Vanuatu as an expat, you will have to choose other, long-term
accommodation options, such as houses and apartments dotting the hills around Port Vila.

Working in Vanuatu

Getting started in Vanuatu is not going to be easy. Be prepared for having a lot of difficulties when starting a business here. However, that is never long-lasting. The best chances of succeeding are in Port Vila. It would be best if you started working on smaller positions related to tourism. There is always a need for work in hotels, beach resorts and everything related to tourism. Also, as the country is growing and the process of upgrading rural areas will be going on for quite some time, it can be easy to find a job in construction and infrastructure.

Education in Vanuatu

Bear in mind that as an expat living in Vanuatu with children, you might encounter some difficulties. There are no free public schools in Port Vila or anywhere else. Most Vanuatu children attend only primary school. So, you will not see any secondary schools here. The only option for your children is the Port Vila International School which provides expats with great education based on the curriculum from Australian schools. However, that school lasts only until grade ten. After that, many families decide to send their children to board schools in Australia or New Zealand to finish their education. And when it comes to higher education, there is only one university in Vanuatu, the University of the South Pacific in Port Vila.


If you are moving to Vanuatu with your family and young children, you will have to consider
educational options in this country, or send them to boarding schools in Australia or NZ.

Language and Culture

The country has 3 official languages: English, French, and Bislama. Knowing the basics of the Bislama language is necessary, as not all Vanuatu people speak English and French. Also, you should do some researching about the culture before you decide that living in Vanuatu is the right thing for you. The customs and culture are quite different from what you are used to. For example, dress-standards are really conservative. Exposing skin is seen as a bad thing, especially during their traditional events. Moreover, if you plan on visiting local beaches, you must wear shorts and a t-shirt while swimming. In resort areas, the situation is different. Resort areas are for tourists, but if you want to live as locals do, you must fit in with their culture.

Crystal Clear Waters of the South Pacific

Well, it is a known fact that blue, crystal clear water is the thing that attracts tourist and expats in Vanuatu. It is so mesmerizing and inviting that you simply cannot resist it. Besides swimming and enjoying the atmosphere, you can also take part in many water activities as well. The most popular activity is scuba diving. Especially wreck diving off of Santo Island to see the SS President Coolidge, which is the largest wreck dive in the world. And besides diving, you can also enjoy fishing, surfing, water ball walking, jet rides, tube rides, ocean kayaking, and basically anything that comes to your mind.


Of course, if you are living in Vanuatu as an expat, many of the holiday options are closer
at hand, such as hoping over to an island via ferry for a sumptuous meal or fun day activities.

Dining and Having Fun

In Vanuatu, there are many resorts where you can really do anything. There are no customs and dress codes to follow, so you can really enjoy yourself. Many resorts include big private beaches which offer many interesting activities like local cooking classes, massages, dance lessons, etc. And, if you do not want to spend the entire day at the resort, you can visit some of the country clubs or golf courses. Also, if you have a chance, it would be a good idea to visit locals and enjoy their festivities which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And, when it comes to food, Vanuatu takes it seriously. You can try their unique fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh seafood, and local beef, but also something different like foie gras, escargot, and really appetizing desserts.

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Guide to Moving to Vanuatu
Living in Vanuatu as an Expat
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Relocating to Vanuatu
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