This Tropical Island Is Reopening to Travelers for the First Time in 2 Years

Put the South Pacific Island of Vanuatu on your travel list.

Port-Vila, Vanuatu
Photo: Sammy Toar Heintje Mantow/EyeEm/Getty Images

The small South Pacific island of Vanuatu will welcome international travelers next month for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

The island nation, which sits off the coast of Australia, will reopen its borders to international travelers on July 1, according to the Vanuatu Tourism Office. All travelers will be required to show certified proof of a negative rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of their departure, regardless of their vaccination status. Alternatively, travelers can show medically certified proof they contracted COVID-19 and recovered within 28 days of their trip.

Travelers will not be required to quarantine or undergo testing upon arrival, but are asked to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

"We are so excited to welcome international travelers back to our shores from 1 July, 2022," the tourism office wrote on its website. "Our beautiful smiles await you, and we invite you to Answer the Call of Vanuatu once again!"

Currently, travelers will only be allowed to visit the provinces and islands that are classified as "Health Recovery Level 1 status," which means they have a high level of COVID-19 vaccination and their virus situation is stable, according to the tourism office. As of Wednesday, that included Efate — where the capital Port Vila is located — and Sanma.

To get to Vanuatu, the tourism office said Air Vanuatu will operate 16 flights each week to and from Port Vila from several cities, including Auckland, New Zealand and Sydney, Brisbane, Australia, and Melbourne. Virgin Australia also said it would add direct flights from Brisbane to Port Vila starting in March 2023, with up to five flights each week.

Vanuatu is also a popular cruise stop in the region. And in 2019, Royal Caribbean announced its plan to build a sustainable private island in the country as the first carbon-neutral private cruise destination in the world.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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