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One month in Santo - Some general questions

ballina
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One month in Santo - Some general questions

*I am asking these on behalf of my Mum who isn't familiar with TA. She is spending one month doing volunteer work at a place about 20km out of Luganville. (Maybe called Talua?? i'm not sure and I can't recall what she told me sorry)

She has a few questions that I'm hoping someone can help with:

* Is there somewhere in town where she can purchase local sim cards/usb internet stick for an I-pad ? And approx. cost would be great

* From what we can gather there is a bus service but it seems to start in the afternoon? Which is fine as she is working Mon-Friday 9-5 hours. But could she catch it after work to go for dinner and then would it still be operating to bring her home?

Does a bus service run longer on Saturdays?

* Further on from the last point - Is it safe for her in Santo (ie to travel alone at night)

* Is there anything that previous travellers think she should know. Obviously she is there to work, not so much as a holiday so her experience isn't going to be about the best dive or snorkel sites

* She is worried about mozzies. Are mozzie nets easy enough to buy at one of the supermarkets or should she bring one? (we've no idea if there is one at the accom she has)

Same with repellent - is it easy enough to get or cheaper to buy in Australia before she leaves

I may have more questions in the next week so please bear with me

Thanks in advance

Jen

Moreton Island...
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1. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

There is a Digicel store in Luganville, which sells sim cards, ensure your mother takes an unlocked mobile phone. Digicel Vanuatu has a website with the various options for internet connection, however your mother should be aware that internet connection in Luganville is slow and intermittant. There is free wi-fi in the cafe across from the LCM supermarket in town. I would be very surprised if she could get internet connection from Talua, however your mother could ask the volunteer organisation if that's possible.

Public transport is still sparse in Santo, there are mini vans and trucks/utes she could hail down during the day, but there's no structured timetable as such. After lunchtime on Saturday the town of Luganville is very very quiet.

At night time, taxi may be the better alternative and this would need to be organised in advance and ask the driver to pick her up to take her back. Perhaps your mother could contact the volunteer organisation/church for more information, as I'm sure other volunteers would have first hand experience of Talua and the village there.. It's relatively safe in town, but Luganville is a "frontier" town, where I felt like I'd turned back the clock 40 years, so don't expect "modern" shops or facilities.

I'd advise that your mother takes a good torch, mozzie net, tropical strength insect repellent, sunscreen, something for an upset tummy, bandaids, antiseptic cream/lotion other personal items in her packed luggage, because even if she can find these items in Luganville they will be more expensive. Also take some small gifts for the children (not sweets) Additionally take a water bottle with a purifier. We always take mozzie coils, but LCM supermarket does stock them.

I hope this information helps.

Bundaberg, Australia
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2. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

Luganville has both Digicell and TVL shopfronts but contact them to find out re availability of i-pad stick and costs. Costs should be cheaper than in Aus.

I would not bother carrying a mozzie net from Aus as they can be bought if she needs one and her room may well be screened. The college should be able to help her with this information. I would buy mozzie coils in Luganville as they are not dear and easily available but if she can get hold on those safety coil burners here in Aus then empty the coils out (if weight is an issue) and take the container to use. I would bring tropical strength repellent, anti fungal cream, antiseptic cream, bandaids, antihistamine, tummy bug meds for both ends and sunscreen from Aus. As LifeTraveller says a water purifier bottle or tablets if she is susceptible to a change in drinking water. It never bothers us but others feel it.

Buses are not like here in Aus. They are usually a dual cab/ute or small people mover with no set run or timetable. You can end up sitting in the tray come rain or sunshine and are cheap but until she finds her feet I would suggest a taxi and ask the price before she gets in. Some taxi drivers are known to try the "tourist rip off" but a local Ni Van or Ex pat at the airport should be able to help her with what would be a fair price to pay at the time and they would always help. Santo is safe but she must still be aware of her surroundings etc just like here in Aus.

I spoke with a young lady last year who spent a week at the college and I recall her saying that plates and cutlery were not supplied and dish washing liquid was non existent but how true that is now I have no idea and these are cheap enough to buy from the Chinese stores if she needs to.

ballina
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3. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

Thanks so very much lifetravellerbrissy and Bluey2008. Great info and i'll pass it on

Sydney
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4. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

Hi all,

This is by no means a reply to Jen's questions but rather a question regarding the availability of the east coast bus. I've heard there is a bus but wasnt sure of its times and was goin to post a question about it here. Am glad that others mentioned about the adhoc bus service, which I can now turn to hailing a truck (I guess) or could taking a taxi.

Bundaberg, Australia
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5. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

There are daily buses going up and back along the coast but timing is not set in stone. The best place to find out re the bus service is at Unity Store or opposite the fresh markets. Unity is to the east along the main street and the markets are to the western end. Buses have a B on the number plates, taxi's a T and hire cars an H. Any bus driver should be able to advise you where he thinks you are best going to get where you want to go if that makes sense.

Moreton Island...
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6. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

Krishan you could hire a vehicle, The Espiritu Hotel has hire vehicles. Just remember they are left hand drive. There's not a lot of traffic so it's easy to get around in my opinion. I guess it depends on your budget and what you want to do. The main road up the east coast is bitumen and in good condition, It would give you the freedom to drop into the blue holes, visit Velit Bay. Champagne Beach, Lonnoc, Port Olry etc in your own time and are reached by gravel side roads off the main road.

"Buses" seem to travel up there early morning and afternoon to take locals to their place of work, they are not frequent.

7. Re: One month in Santo - Some general questions

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