Banks and Currency, Shopping, What to Bring, Tipping and Bargaining

Banks and Currency

The currency of Vanuatu is the Vatu. Although Australian dollars are accepted in a very small number of shops in Luganville, they are NOT readily accepted outside of town.

The main banks are Westpac, ANZ, Bredbank, and National Bank of Vanuatu (NBV). Banks are open 9.00 am till 3.30 pm Monday to Friday.

There are only two ANZ ATM machines in Luganville located at the ANZ Building and LCM Shop, one ATM located at the National Bank of Vanuatu which is for NBV cardholders only, and one ATM at the Airport. There are three Bred Bank ATM's located in town, and Westpac have an ATM at their branch.

In Sanma Province, there are no banks or ATMs located outside of Luganville. You can get cash advances on Visa and Mastercards during bank hours. Visa and Mastercard are accepted, and to a lesser extent American Express.

Shopping

Luganville is not a shopper's destination but there are some lovely places in town where local crafts may be purchased. The bulk of the shops in Luganville are owned by expatriates, primarily Chinese and Asian investors, though most handicraft centres and some food/takeaway shops are Ni-Vanuatu owned and operated. Shopping hours are Monday to Friday from 7:30AM to 11:30AM, followed by a 2-hour siesta. Shops re-open at 1:30PM and remain open until 4:30PM. Some businesses do have alternate hours so check with your resort, or browse through town to find out the exact hours of the shop you plan to visit. On Saturdays, most business operates during morning hours only and closes for the afternoon. However, some shops do open on Sundays.

What to Bring

If you can spare the space in your luggage, an umbrella or rain jacket would be handy as tropical showers can happen regularly. If you are travelling outside of Luganville and/or plan to take longer trips via boat from island to island, a light sleeping bag, inflatable pillow and sleeping mat will be useful. Also recommended for visits to villages is a mosquito net (if one is not provided), a good torch, and bottle of water or water purifying tablets, toilet paper and ear plugs if you don't want the roosters waking you at sun-up. Some of these items are available in Luganville at the many variety stores.

Tipping and Bargaining

Neither tipping nor bargaining is culturally acceptable in Vanuatu. If you would like to express your gratitude for a service, you might like to give a souvenir from your country. It is neither necessary, nor expect­ed, but such small items are received with much appreciation.