The first thing you'll discover in Vanuatu is that the ni-Vanuatu staff at the hotels, resorts and bungalows adore children and have a special knack for getting along with them. Vanuatu may be the very best south Pacific Island group to visit with the whole family.
A few Vanuatu hotels and resorts are "adults only" and children under 15 are not allowed. You can find out which ones don't allow kids in the summary comparison charts of Vanuatu hotels in Efate, Port Vila area, downtown Port Vila, and Santo.
Kids are welcome everywhere else in Vanuatu BUT we don't recommend heading off to Tanna with children under the age of 2 and to the other rural islands of Vanuatu with children under the age of 8 - mostly because of the lack of medical facilities in these areas.
Le Lagon's children's swimming pool
Le Lagon Resort, Port Vila, is the most child-welcoming resort in Vanuatu and, according to the "Travelling with Kids magazine" it is the best resort in the Pacific for families with Kids.
We agree and have seen and photographed lots of kids and parents having a great time together at Le Lagon Vanuatu. It is what people call "spending some quality time with the kids" and enjoying it.
If you are looking for a resort style environment with activities designed just for kids, just for adults, and for kids and parents together - this is the place to go.
A word of caution - Le Lagon is enormously popular with families so even though it is Vanuatu's largest resort, book early.
Iririki Island Snorkellers Cove Resort and Iririki Island Resort now both allow children.
So kids are welcome on the island - but the sport and other facilities are more for families with children over 12.
Family Friendly Fatumaru Lodge in Port Vila
For families looking for a waterfront holiday house or apartment (1 or 3 bedroom) that is a little more private than Le Lagon, or if Le Lagon Resort is full, browse the information and photos of Eratap Beach Resort, Fatumaru Lodge, Poppys on the Lagoon, Island Magic Resort, Benjor Beach Club, Laguna Vista and Pacific Lagoon Apartments. These all have kitchen facilities and one, two and three bedroom apartments.
Families looking for a more action-oriented vacation in a "remote" but luxurious, resort will surely enjoy Eratap Beach Resort. The kids (and adults) can explore "Castaway Island", go snorkelling, fishing, kyaking, walking and surfing. The air conditioned resort, with one, two and three bedroom villas, is on one of the best beaches on the island of Efate and although only a 20 minute drive from Port Vila, it is as isolated from the rest of the world as anyone could wish.
The Melanesian Hotel's children's pool.
If being on the water and in a resort-style location isn't important for you, children are welcome at both the Melanesian Hotel and the for the more budget minded, Kaiviti Motel next to the central business district of Port Vila and within walking distance of Port Vila's largest supermarket. Both have one bedroom apartments and kitchen facilities. Both have a swimming pool, and the Melanesian even has a children's pool.
The Melanesian Hotel is also air conditioned. However, the Melanesian only has a few one to two bedroom apartments with cooking facilities - so check early.
Coconut Palms Resort also has apartments with kitchens and is happy to have families but the kids will have to sleep in the same room unless you put them into one of the dormitory rooms.
Tradewinds swimming pool, Port Vila, Vanuatu
The Tradewinds has one and two bedroom apartments and even a whole house for families. Or you can rent two studio bungalows at budget rates. The apartments have kitchens and there is a small swimming pool, laundry, and BBQ area.
Friendly Bungalows, Tanna.
Would we recommend going to Tanna with kids? You bet. It's an adventure not to be missed. You and your kids will have fun just about anywhere you decide to stay in Tanna.
"Adult only" is an unimaginable concept in Tanna resorts and bungalows. However, that being said, we would not recommend going to Tanna with an infant under two years old simply because of the lack of medical facilities there.
Although it depends a lot on the individual children and their parents, children between the ages of 7 and 12 will probably get the most out of a trip to Tanna. Children under 6 are often so preoccupied with themselves and their parents they don't really appreciate the rest of the world. But then again, the staff of any and all of the bungalows in Tanna will welcome children of any age and create enough of a fuss over the very young ones that everyone will be entertained.
White Grass Ocean Resort and Evergreen Bungalows, are both near the airport, with White Grass being more up-market.
Friendly Bungalows is a like a stage-set for a South Pacific movie. It also has a nice beach with protected shallow water. It is about 2.5 hours from the airport and is within a 15 minute drive of the Volcano.
Lots of children visit the Volcano - just make sure you keep yours on a short leash on the edge of the crater. Is there a risk? Yes, but if the Volcano is really dangerous the guides won't take people up to the crater.
Aore Island Resort, A family bungalow
Aore Island Resort is probably the best place to go in Santo if you have children under 15. It has a pool, good snorkelling, kayaks, and the owners have young children. Aore Island Resort has one-bedroom family bungalows with either waterfront or garden views.
If your children are over 15 then consider Bokissa Private Island Resort - Bokissa has a one bedroom Deluxe Waterfront Faré and a Deluxe Waterfront 2 bedroom Villa. This resort has the best snorkelling, and the nicest beach in the Santo area plus a great swimming pool and wide variety of activities - like Scuba diving from their own dive boats, a trek through the rain forest or a picnic on a deserted island.
If you don't want to take the boat trip to an island, I would suggest the brand new Moyyan House by the Sea or if you and your kids are going to Santo for the world-renowned diving you should consider Hotel Santo, right across the street from Alan Power Dive Tours or DecoStop Lodge.
Unless you trip and fall or otherwise hurt yourself you are unlikely to have any sort of a health issue in Vanuatu that you didn't have before you arrived. But I said "unlikely to have" because you COULD have a problem. And since the more dangerous problems can be avoided with the very simplest of precautions I am offering you these suggestions.
Mosquitoes are not a serious concern for most of the year in Vanuatu and in most areas. BUT, they can be a problem and they can carry dengue fever and malaria. Malaria is more of a concern in rural areas but dengue fever is transmitted by "domestic" mosquitoes living near people - and they bite whenever they can, day or night. Dengue can be extremely dangerous for children and is sometimes common in Port Vila as well as other parts of Vanuatu.
Most people visit Vanuatu without seeing or being bitten by a single mosquito and others are bitten by non-infected mosquitoes that itch but don't make you or your children ill. But there is a real danger and all you need to do is USE mosquito repellant, especially below the knees, especially if you go out in the evening or early morning. There are "child friendly" mosquito repellents for infants and young children.
We go along with the current medical philosophy concerning Malaria. Don't take any pills to prevent getting malaria. There is no effective preventative against Dengue Fever and you'll avoid both problems by simply using mosquito repellent when up and about and a mosquito net over your bed (or sleeping in an air conditioned screened room) to prevent getting bitten by mosquitoes.
In rural areas the beds usually have mosquito nets over them, but when we travel to the other islands of Vanuatu or if we are staying in a non-air conditioned and non-screened room we use our own mosquito net over the bed (they are inexpensive and available in many shops in Australia and in Port Vila). We have lived in the south Pacific for over 35 years and have never had dengue or malaria. If you don't get bitten by mosquitoes you won't get these diseases.
The coastal rocks and coral reefs in Vanuatu are often extremely sharp, and in shallow coastal areas there may be fish, coral or sea urchins that can be very unpleasant to step on. When you or your children go wading be sure to wear crocs or sneakers to protect the feet.
With the one notable exception of Bokissa Private Island Resort we recommend drinking bottled water.
Many people will assure you that the tap water is perfectly safe to drink in Port Vila - but we recommend you and your children drink bottled water - available at the supermarkets at a reasonable price. When dining out, ask for bottled water.
The Rocket Guide to Vanuatu has 6 multimedia pages on all these Resorts, with everything you need to know about travelling with children in Vanuatu, including a special section on health risks.
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