Vanuatu is not overly expensive. Visitors should expect to pay similar prices as they do in the United States, Europe, or Australia for meals and drinks in restaurants. Bus fares are reasonably priced, and travelers can save money by visiting attractions and sites independently, rather than by booking a tour.
Currency and Exchange
Vatu is the currency, written as VT and with an ISO currency code of VUV. Coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 vatu; notes come in 200, 500, 1000, and 5000 vatu. As of this writing, US$1 equaled 92 Vatu.
Foreign cash can be easily exchanged for local currency at the airport and at banks, which accept most major credit cards. Australian currency can be used in Port Vila.
Goodies Money Exchange, with three locations in Port Vila, offers some of the best rates on the island.
There's a 12.5% goods and services tax in Vanuatu, and it's already included in most prices. The departure tax is included in the airfare. Vanuatu is a tax haven, and many businesses have located there for this reason.
The official line is that there is no tipping or bargaining in Vanuatu, as this practice goes against local custom. Tour guides and taxi drivers, however, are unlikely to turn down a tip when offered.
While there is no bargaining, it is a well-established fact that stall holders jack up prices when cruise ships are in port.