The best time to visit Vanuatu is during the dry season (April- September), as the weather is typically warm and sunny with less humidity - perfect for a tropical vacation.
Vanuatu, a stunning archipelago located in the South Pacific, is widely renowned for its affordability, laidback lifestyle, warm hospitality, and unspoiled natural beauty. Vanuatu is a sought-after tourist destination for travellers looking a tropical paradise getaway.
Since reopening in July 2022, Vanuatu's popularity has increased but visitor numbers have not yet exceeded the pre-Covid figure of 82,000, according to World Data. There's no overcrowding in Vanuatu, not even during peak season, meaning that from Vanuatu's vibrant and busiest island, Efate, to its least populated, Mavea Island, there's a place and pace for everyone. But like any destination, Vanuatu is prone to seasonality, which can change the timing of your visit depending on your own priorities and rhythms - so when is the ideal time to visit?
Well, it depends - priorities for a holiday can vary! Are you looking to come when the weather is at its clearest and sunniest? Or is your goal to fill your itinerary with the best water activities like surfing, diving and fishing? The following guide compiles research into the best times to travel to Vanuatu for almost every variable, whether you are planning an idyllic honeymoon, an action-packed family holiday or an affordable solo getaway.
Don't have time for all the details? Here's a quick reference list for the best times to visit Vanuatu based on the most common priorities:
"Best time" overall: May, early June, and September
For weather: April to October
For honeymoon: April to September
For a family holiday: April to September
For cheap prices: February to March
For snorkelling and diving: April to September
For surfing: October to May
To avoid crowds: September, October, November, May, and early June
Vanuatu is considered a tropical country, with a warm and humid climate throughout the year. Because Vanuatu’s 83 islands cover 1,300km of the South Pacific Ocean from north to south, the significant differences in latitude between islands heavily influence the climate. The northern islands are equatorial and wet tropical, meaning it tends to be hot and wet all year round. The southern and central islands are strictly tropical, meaning there is an annual dry and wet season. Average temperatures range from 21°C-28°C depending on the season, though temperatures can reach as low as 19°C or as high as 32°C on any given day. Vanuatu is a sunny country, receiving around 5-8 hours of sunshine per day on average.
Dry season (April - September)
Vanuatu’s dry season is the annual period of lower rainfall, and roughly corresponds with Australia’s winter months. The weather is warm but average daily highs usually stay below 26°C, so it’s not as hot as the wet season. Vanuatu’s weather is less humid in this period, making clear, blue skies a frequent occurrence. The evenings are cooler, but don’t tend to go lower than 18°C overnight. This weather is ideal for most holiday activities and would be the optimal time to celebrate a wedding or honeymoon. Keep in mind that June and July are very popular months to visit with the mid-year school holidays in Australia and New Zealand, so expect peak pricing.
Wet season (October - March)
Vanuatu’s wet seasonis the annual period of higher rainfall, and roughly corresponds with Australia’s summer months. The weather is mostly hot and humid, with unpredictable and often heavy storms and showers. Temperatures average between 25 and 29°C, with maximum temperatures occasionally reaching 32°C. Rainfall is high during these months, especially on the northern islands, which receive up to 4000 mm of rain annually due to the mountainous terrain. Most resorts in Vanuatu are on the southern islands, where it’s less humid and has half as much rain (up to 2000mm). The wet season is still a great time to visit Vanuatu, as the rain showers usually come in short, sharp bursts. Humidity is higher, but this makes little difference if you prefer water-based or indoor activities.
Best time to visit Vanuatu for weather
The best time to visit Vanuatu is during the dry season, from April to September as the weather is typically warm and sunny with less humidity - perfect for a tropical vacation. The water temperature stays at a refreshing 22-24°C, making it an ideal time for water activities like snorkelling and diving.
Although Vanuatu isn't known for overcrowding, it's important to be aware of the times when tourists tend to flock to the island. By understanding the patterns, you can plan your trip accordingly to ensure a more enjoyable and relaxing experience.
High season in Vanuatu usually occurs during the months of December and January, and also April, mid-to-late June and July. These are typically the busiest times for tourists, as they coincide with the school holidays in Australia and New Zealand. During the high season, the island can become a bit more crowded, and the prices of accommodations and activities tend to increase.
The shoulder seasons are the periods between high and low seasons when there are fewer tourists, and prices tend to be lower. In Vanuatu, the shoulder seasons are from May to early June and from September to November. During these times, the weather is generally pleasant, and you can enjoy the island's attractions without the crowds.
Best time to avoid crowds
The months of September, October, November, May, and early June are the best months to visit Vanuatu and avoid big crowds. The weather is generally pleasant, and you’ll virtually have the waterholes, azure seas, lush rainforests, and mountain trekking trails to yourself. It’s also a great time to snag some good deals.
Best months to visit Vanuatu
The best months to visit Vanuatu for a combination of great weather, lower prices, and fewer crowds are the shoulder months of May, early June, and September. They are still dry season months but they avoid the peak tourist months of late June and July.
Vanuatu in January
January is one of the wettest and warmest months of the year in Vanuatu. Daily temperatures tend to stay between 25-29°C, though it can get as hot as 32°C on some days. The heat and humidity make hiking and physical activities uncomfortable at times, but water sports are refreshing. In the evenings, temperatures drop as low as 21°C on some islands of Vanuatu.
Key Events: New Year’s Day (1st Jan), St Paul’s Day (25th Jan) on Rah and Mota Lava Islands.
What to wear: Modest casual clothing made from breathable fabrics like light silk or cotton (they dry quickly and are easy to handwash).
What to pack: Bathers, sunscreen, tropical insect repellent, umbrella, poncho, snorkelling gear, book, travel clothesline.
What to do: Swim in Vanuatu’s waterfalls and clear blue water holes, snorkel the reefs, surf and dive. If it rains, visit cafes, bars, restaurants, museums, and markets.
Vanuatu in February
February is the hottest month in Vanuatu. Like January, it remains wet and humid, with daily temperatures ranging between 23°C and 30°C. Any storms are usually heavy but brief. Despite an average forecast of 18 rainy days per month, the sun still shines around six hours daily. February is off-peak season, making it an excellent time to secure deals on accommodation and find cheaper airfares.
Key Events: John Frum Day (15th Feb) on Tanna Island, Father Walter Lini Day (21st Feb)
What to wear: Modest, loose, light, breathable silk or cotton casual clothing.
What to pack: Sunscreen, hat, bathers, tropical insect repellent, snorkelling gear, travel clothesline, book, umbrella or rain jacket.
What to do: Freshwater swimming, snorkelling, diving and surfing, massage and spa, sunset dinner cruise.
Vanuatu in March
March is Vanuatu’s rainiest month, averaging 362mm across the northern islands and 300mm in the central and southern regions. The increased rainfall results in higher humidity, which can be overbearing at times if you are not used to it. However, it’s perfect for all water activities as the seawater temperatures in March are around 28°C, and the waterfalls and blue waterhole temperatures are a refreshing 24°C.
Key Events: Custom Chiefs (5th Mar - Public Holiday).
What to wear: Modest casual clothing that is loose, light and breathable.
What to pack: Walking shoes, raincoat, umbrella, hat, bathers, sunscreen, tropical insect repellent, snorkelling gear, and travel clothesline.
What to do: Enjoy a day trip to Mele Cascades and Blue Lagoon. Snorkel or dive at Hideaway Island Marine Reserve and dine at the markets.
Vanuatu in April
Photo by Vanuatu Tourism Office
April is the beginning of Vanuatu’s dry season. The weather is pleasant and mild, with humidity dropping to 85% and daily temperatures ranging between 22°C and 27°C. This month is great for exploring the outdoors and going horse riding. Tourist numbers are generally low during April, despite a peak during the Easter and school holiday periods for Australia and New Zealand.
Key Events: Nagol Land Diving on Pentecost Island.
What to wear: Casual, conservative, light and breathable clothing.
What to pack: Sunscreen, tropical insect repellent, hat, bathers, walking shoes, snorkelling gear, small umbrella in case of rain.
What to do: Explore Millennium Cave, horse ride along the beaches, snorkel and dive the coral reefs, or sea kayak.
Vanuatu in May
Vanuatu’s weather is pleasant in May, with lower temperatures, rainfall and humidity than previous months as the dry season progresses - perfect for sailing and hiking. That being said, you should still expect around 7-10 rainy days and overnight lows of 21°C. As it's off-peak season, it’s a good time to find bargain accommodation deals and cheaper airfares.
Key Events: Nagol Land Diving on Pentecost Island continues, Sand Drawing Festival on Malekula Island.
What to wear: Light, casual, modest clothing and a shawl or lightweight jacket for the cooler evenings.
What to pack: Walking or hiking shoes, hat, small backpack, water bottle, hat, bathers, snorkelling gear, sunscreen, tropical insect repellent, and small umbrella in case of rain.
What to do: Hike the lush rainforests, laze on the pristine ivory beaches, or go horse riding. Shop the markets and sail the waterways at sunset.
Vanuatu in June
June is a cooler month in Vanuatu, with temperatures ranging between 19-25°C across Vanuatu’s central and southern islands and a pleasant 21-28°C in the north. Rainfall averages only seven days, and humidity can reach 82%. Like May, June’s weather is perfect for all outdoor activities, from trekking to sailing and climbing volcanoes.
Key Events: Nagol Land Diving on Pentecost Island continues, Fête de la Musique (21st - World Music Day), St Barnabas Day (11th) on Rah and Mota Lava Islands, Shefa Day (18th – Public Holiday).
What to wear: Casual, modest clothing, long pants and a lightweight jacket or shawl for the cooler evenings.
What to pack: Sunglasses, hat, small backpack, water bottle, bathers, snorkelling gear, reef shoes, walking shoes, sunscreen, tropical insect repellent, and small umbrella in case of rain.
What to do: Go ziplining over the treetops, enjoy river and cave canyoning, picnic, snorkel and sunbake at secluded Champagne Beach or climb the active volcano, Mount Yasur, on Tanna Island.
Vanuatu in July
July is one of Vanuatu’s coolest months, with temperatures ranging between 18-24°C. The days are sunny and dry, with little or no rain and humidity making Vanuatu a popular holiday destination for those wishing to escape the southern winter. There are many events and festivals during July, so it’s crowded, but still not as busy as December. It’s a great time to go island hopping, visit a village and get immersed in the local food and culture.
Key Events: Independence Day (30th - Public Holiday), Children’s Day (24th – Public Holiday), Fanla Village Festival, and Yam and Magic Festival on North Ambrym Island late July, Maskelyne Canoe Race and Festival on Maskelyne Islands, Lamen Bay Outrigger Canoe Festival on Epi Island, Santo Rodeo and Big Bay Festival on Santo Island.
What to wear: Casual, modest clothing, a shawl, a lightweight jacket and long pants for the cooler evenings. What to pack: Bathers, a hat, sunglasses, snorkelling gear, reef shoes, walking shoes, sunscreen, and a small backpack.
What to do: Attend Independence Day parades and celebrations. Enjoy all beach and water activities, go island hopping, hiking, trekking and immerse yourself in village life and culture. Visit the markets, sample fresh local produce, and buy handmade crafts.
Vanuatu in August
Like July, the weather in August remains cool, with minimal rain (around five days per month on average), and low humidity. August’s daily temperatures range from 18 to 24°C, so it’s a good time for all outdoor activities. Diving conditions are excellent, with good visibility. However, tourist areas remain busy, and the prices for accommodation and flights are high. It’s one of the busiest months for festivals.
Key Events: Assumption Day (15th - Public Holiday), St Bartholomew’s Day on Rah and Mota Lava islands, Back To My Roots Festival (late August) on North Ambrym Island, Lakona Bay Kastom Festival on Gaua Island, Lamap Art and Cultural Festival (early August), South West Bay Nalawan Festival, Port Sandwich Cultural Festival and Nalint Big Nambas Cultural Art Festival (25th) Mae Village on South Malekula, Vanua Lava Arts Festival (changeable late August/early September) at Vureas Bay, Banks Islands.
What to wear: Loose, casual, comfortable clothing, long pants and a light jacket for evenings.
What to pack: Sunglasses, hat, bathers, snorkelling gear, reef shoes, comfortable walking shoes, and sunscreen.
What to do: Scuba dive the shipwreck, SS President Coolidge, snorkel the colourful reefs, day trip to other islands, attend one of the many festivals, hike the various rainforests or active volcanoes or discover the capital Port Vila and its many shops, historic sites and the chocolate factory.
Vanuatu in September
September is a transitional month between the dry and wet seasons. Daily temperatures remain pleasant, ranging from 19 to 24°C, and rain showers are scattered and unpredictable. It’s still a good time to visit Vanuatu as there are many festivals but fewer visitors.
Key Events: Penama Day (16th – Public Holiday), Sanama Day (23rd – Public Holiday), Toka Festival on Tanna Island, Twin Waterfall Festival on Vanua Lava Island, Paama Island Mini Arts Festival, Maewo Island Special Cultural Festival, Rah Island Canoe Race, Dam Nipiyakeh Nalwan Festival, Mun Village at South West Bay, Malekula.
What to wear: Cool, comfortable, modest, casual clothing, with a shawl and long pants for evenings.
What to pack: Reef shoes, comfortable walking shoes, bathers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, snorkelling gear, umbrella and tropical insect repellent.
What to do: Go deep sea fishing or spearfishing, visit Ambrym Island with two active volcanoes, hike to the top and see the stunning lava explosions. Take a cultural tour of Malekula Island, learn the local customs and traditions, and sample the island’s fresh seafood cuisine.
Vanuatu in October
Although October is the first month of the wet season, daily temperatures are only slightly higher than in September, ranging from 20 to 26°C. It’s a great time to paddleboard, snorkel, dive and enjoy Vanuatu’s beaches. Humidity increases marginally to 82% with around seven days of scattered rain showers. Overall, it is a good month to visit with many local festivals and low visitor numbers.
Key Events: Torba Day (2nd – Public Holiday), Constitution Day (5th - Public Holiday), Tafea Day (8th – Public Holiday), Malampa Day (10th – Public Holiday),Toka Festival continues on Tanna Island, Lukaotem Gud Santo Festival at Luganville, Santo, Fest Napuan Music Festival (changeable) at Port Vila on Efate Island.
What to wear: Light, conservative, casual clothing. What to pack: Sandals, walking shoes, bathers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, snorkelling gear, and tropical insect repellent.
What to do: Enjoy paddleboarding, fishing, snorkelling, diving, and all beach activities, coastal or rainforest hiking, and sunset dinner cruising.
Vanuatu in November
November tends to be a hot and muggy month in Vanuatu. Average daily temperatures range from 23 to 29°C, with scattered showers that won't typically impact most activities or tours. Take extra water if undertaking strenuous activities like hiking. It’s a great time for swimming with pleasant water temperatures of around 26°C. Accommodation prices are lower and there are fewer crowds.
Key Events: All Saints Day (1st), Unity Day (29th - Public Holiday), Vanuatu DJ Festival (25th) Port Vila, Saint Andrew’s Day Cultural Festival on Rah Island.
What to wear: Loose, breathable, casual clothing.
What to pack: Bathers, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, snorkelling gear, sandals, walking shoes, umbrella, and tropical insect repellent.
What to do: Go buggy riding through the jungle, jump into a refreshing sapphire blue hole surrounded by lush rainforest, climb a 100-year-old Banyan tree, or take a boat trip to a hidden cave on Tanna Island.
Vanuatu in December
The weather in December is hot and wet, with daily temperatures from 23 to 28°C across the central and southern islands, and from 25 to 30°C on the northern islands. Expect brief showers or heavy storms on at least 16 days during the month. December is peak tourist season, and prices rise considerably - but the atmosphere is most festive with lively Christmas celebrations and New Year's parties.
Key Events: Family Day Christmas in the Park (changeable) Port Vila, Christmas Day (25th - Public Holiday), Boxing Day (26th – Public Holiday), and New Year’s Eve (31st).
What to wear: Casual, lightweight, cotton clothing, as it’s cool and dries quickly.
What to pack: Hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, snorkelling gear, bathers, sandals, walking shoes, tropical insect repellent, travel clothesline, book, and a poncho or umbrella.
What to do: Join the festive celebrations, relax with a massage and spa pamper, surf, reef snorkel and dive, kayak and soak under a waterfall. Chill out in a bar, café, or shop during rain showers.
Best time for snorkelling and diving
The best time to dive or snorkel in Vanuatu is in the dry season between April and September, when the South Pacific Ocean waters are calmest and clearest. However, with Vanuatu’s warm water temperatures ranging from 22 to 28°C, it makes snorkelling and diving possible all year round. Vanuatu’s colourful coral reefs, myriad of marine life, large underwater caves, steep drop-offs and WWII shipwrecks are world-class and legendary amongst divers. Most resorts on the major islands operate scuba diving tours. It’s best to bring your own snorkelling gear as not all resorts have enough equipment.
Best time for surfing
Surfing is best between October and May in Vanuatu, when low-pressure systems in the north create excellent swells. April through September is also good for surfing, as winter storms east of New Zealand provide ideal southeast swells – just watch for gusty easterly trade winds during this time. The best surf on Efate Island is at Cookies Reef, Port Resolution, Pango Point, Eratap and Fishermans, and Lenakil on Tanna Island. All of these spots are uncrowded, with only a handful of ex-pats and local surfers about.
Best time for fishing
Fishing is fantastic all year round in Vanuatu. One of the world’s best fishing spots, Vanuatu offers reef, deep sea, sport and game fishing. Port Vila is renowned as the game fishing capital of the South Pacific. However, if you want to catch black and striped marlin, the best time is between August and November. April onwards is best for Wahoo, while Mahi Mahi, Blue Marlin, Tuna, Yellowfin and all reef fish are abundant year-round. Each island has excellent fishing companies with highly knowledgeable guides on the boats.
Best time for events
Nagol Festival (April to June)
The Nagol Land Diving Festival is a male rite-of-passage ceremony that happens every Saturday from April to June on Pentecost Island in Vanuatu. It takes place during the yam harvest season. Local men and young boys dive off a tall, man-made timber tower that is 20 to 30 meters high with a vine attached to their ankles – stopping mere centimeters from the ground. Believed to aid fertility, it was the inspiration for today’s bungee jumping. Day tours are available.
Fanla Village Festival is held annually over two days at Ambrym Island’s oldest village, Fanla. It features elaborately costumed traditional Rom dancers, a young boys initiation ceremony with mask dancers, a right-taking ceremony (buying the mask), traditional drumming and bamboo flute performances. See weaving, lava stone carving, traditional meal and kava preparation. Entrance fee is 8,000 VT. Book overnight accommodation and other island tours through Vanuatu Tourism.
Fête de la Musique
Celebrating the gift of music, Fête de la Musique (World Music Day) is a local music festival held on June 21 annually. All amateur and professional musicians donate their services free, with free concerts and street performances put on around Port Vila. The main show on Waterfront Stage takes place from 5pm to midnight.
John Frum Day
John Frum Day is held every February 15 at Sulphur Bay and Lamakara villages on Tanna Island. John Frum is a mythical American soldier from WWII who brings his believers wealth and prosperity. Villagers dress as US soldiers with wooden guns. Activities include building grass WWII aeroplanes, creating a makeshift landing strip and raising the American flag in the hope John will return with more ‘cargo’ (material wealth).
Fest’Napuan is now Vanuatu’s and the South Pacific’s largest free annual music festival. Operating since 1996, it takes place over four days every October in Port Vila and attracts renowned international musicians and the region’s best artists. Genres include reggae, string bands, Melanesian fusion, pacific pop and more.
Vanua Lava Arts Festival
Vanua Lava Arts Festival is a four-day event in September at Vureas Bay. It features cultural dancing and water music shows, string bands, sand drawing, canoe races, guided historical site and village tour. Check out the traditional fire making workshops and learn how to catch freshwater prawns.
Toka Festival on Tanna Island occurs every three or four years when the principal chief deems conditions favorable. The three-day event sees tribes across Tanna meet to feast and dance. Women paint their faces with brilliant designs, with non-stop dancing for 24 hours – all of which is followed by a massive traditional village feast.
Saint Andrew’s Day Cultural Festival
Saint Andrew’s Day Cultural Festival is celebrated annually at the end of November on Rah Island. For over 100 years, island people have come together to celebrate the Christian life of Saint Andrew. Visitors join locals to fish using giant coconut leaf fishing nets. Check out the Sea Snake dances, trek up Rock of Rah or the Sleeping Giant mount and eat various volcano-baked foods.
Best time for a honeymoon
The dry season months of April to September is undoubtedly the best time to honeymoon in Vanuatu, with pleasant weather across all the islands. Skies are sunny, humidity is negligible, and every activity is available. May, early June and September offer lower prices and more privacy. Late June, July and August are the busiest and most expensive months.
Best time for a wedding
The best months for a wedding in Vanuatu are April to September, as there is dry and sunny weather across all islands – ideal for a wedding ceremony followed by photos against idyllic backdrops. Whether you organize a large family gathering or a small intimate wedding, Vanuatu’s locals provide everything for a memorable occasion. May, early June and September are quieter periods and offer lower prices.
Best time for a family holiday
Whether you want adventure, culture or relaxation – Vanuatu’s welcoming locals have something to occupy adults and children alike. April to September are the best months for a family holiday in Vanuatu, as the weather is idyllic; waters are at their clearest and you can get value for money at most resorts. Mingle with other families during late June, July and December Christmas holidays. However, find lower prices in May, early June and September.
Best time for low prices
Best time for cheap prices
The cheapest time to visit Vanuatu is February and March, as they are the wettest months with low tourist demand. It’s an excellent time to save money and benefit from mingling with locals, if you don’t mind heavy but brief showers followed by sunny, muggy conditions. The shoulder months of May, early June, September, and October offer better weather with reasonably priced deals. Overall, Vanuatu is not an expensive country, even in high season.
When is the cheapest time to fly to Vanuatu?
Cheaper flights to Vanuatu are found in the wetter shoulder season months of February, March, and November. The cheapest days to travel are Tuesday, followed by Monday. Weekends are typically higher with more people travelling.
Best time for booking flights
Ideally, the best time to book flights to Vanuatu is at least four months in advance, especially if your dates are not flexible. This allows you to research the best accommodation and tour prices, particularly if your holiday aligns with peak season. If your dates are flexible, cheaper flights are often available two weeks out, especially during the off-peak months of February, March, and Novembe
Best time to visit islands
Best time to visit Efate
April to September and December are considered the best months to be on Efate Island in central Vanuatu. Its upbeat capital, Port Vila, overflows with vibrant restaurants and bars, bustling markets, adventure activities, and traditional culture. It’s a great time to sail and enjoy soft sandy beaches. Soak in Mele Cascades pools and waterfall, which is just ten minutes' drive away.
Best time to visit Santo
December to March are great months to visit Vanuatu’s Espiritu Santo Island, as most activities are water-based - so rain showers and humidity won’t affect your activities. Vanuatu’s largest but least populated island is an hour’s flight north of Port Vila, with vast rainforests, freshwater caverns and tunnels, and sheltered pristine beaches. A former US military base, the island is littered with WWII equipment and shipwrecks perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Best time to visit Tanna
April to October are the best months to visit Vanuatu’s Tanna Island, as the humidity is lowest. A forty-five-minute flight south of Port Vila, Tanna is a nature lover’s and adventurer’s paradise. Visit rainforests, secluded beaches, hot springs, traditional villages, a marine and wildlife sanctuary, and climb to the rim of the active volcano, Mount Yasur, with a guide.
Best time to visit Pentecost Island
The best time to visit Pentecost Island is during April, May, and June when the world-renowned Nagol Land Diving Festival takes place (held every Saturday). An hour’s flight north of Port Vila, Pentecost also offers a superb array of naturally rich tours and and excursions, from historical site and village tours to hiking, snorkelling and outrigger canoe paddling.
Worst time to visit
November to March is considered the worst time to visit Vanuatu if you are averse to hot, wet and humid conditions. Tropical cyclones can also occur during these months. July and December are peak family holiday times, so don’t consider these months if you are after a holiday free from crowds.