Hertz Vanuatu offers modern cars in good condition at reasonable prices and with good service.
Hertz have a downtown office and a desk at Port Vila airport. It is also possible to have cars delivered to, and collected from, the major Port Vila hotels and resorts such as the Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu. This is free for hotels within Port Vila.
Vanuatu is a great location for a road trip. The ring road which goes all the way around the island is in good condition and almost completely empty of traffic.
Turning off the ring road to get to any of the attractions, restaurants, or beaches, will require driving on rough, unsealed roads, so you should consider renting a 4×4.
Four-wheel drive certainly isn’t essential, and in any car you will need to drive slowly and carefully over the rough roads.
Navigating your way around Vanuatu is easy because there is one road all the way around the island with a few turnoffs to the attractions, usually signposted.
Google maps navigation on your phone will suffice, and car satnav is not generally available in Vanuatu.
Hertz Vanuatu is an independent licensee.
Insurance and excess
It’s easy and cheap to hire a car in Vanuatu but you should carefully check insurance and specifically any insurance exclusions. Many of the car rental firms will not cover you for damage incurred on unsealed roads.
The Vanuatu ring road is sealed but you will need to drive on unsealed roads to get to most of the attractions on Efate.
Hertz does specify that their rented vehicles “may be driven on unsealed roads to access Holiday Accommodation, National Parks or if roads are under repair” but “are not permitted to be driven on any beach or exposed to salt water“.
All vehicles carry a standard excess of 150,000VUV. You can pay 1500VUV per day to reduce the excess to 25,000VUV, but that’s about £10 per day. It would be cheaper with your own cover.
The best plan, to ensure coverage and reduce cost, is to arrange your own hire car insurance before your trip. Then take the minimum mandatory insurance when renting, and rely on your own insurance if there is any damage.
See our traveller’s guide to car hire for more info.
If you have the American Express Platinum card then you will have hire car insurance already, and you get a discounted rate at Hertz.
Email info [at] toseethe.world if you’d like a referral code to get 35000 bonus points, worth 35000 Avios or other airline miles, with the American Express Platinum card.
I recommend using Hertz for car hire in Vanuatu, but there is also Budget and Europcar, and a number of local operators.
Hertz will deliver a car to you at the Holiday Inn Vanuatu (read our review), and you can arrange hire there too.
The desk is only manned for scheduled flight arrivals and departures. There is a key drop box for out of hours returns, and I used this without any issues.
You must give your flight details when making a reservation and if your flight changes then you must notify them, otherwise there will be nobody there when you arrive.
Also note that you must have a reservation in advance. There is no service for walk-up customers.
Bauerfield Airport at Port Vila has a domestic and an international terminal, which are right next to each other. The Hertz rental desk is in the International terminal.
If you are coming from one of the other Vanuatu islands and arrive at the domestic terminal, turn left out of the door and walk into the international terminal.
In the international terminal, follow the signs for Immigration or Foreign Currency Exchange to the far end.
There you will find the Hertz desk opposite a local mobile phone provider and next to some currency exchanges. The out-of-hours key drop is at that desk.
If there is nobody at the desk, ask one of the nearby currency exchanges to phone the Hertz guy on their mobile.
When returning the vehicle, there is a row of parking directly outside the international terminal.
As you drive into the airport from the main road, turn right and follow the loop back around to the left and find any space in front of the terminal building.
In the picture below, the car parking in the lower right is where you will return your car. The Hertz desk is inside the terminal building in front of that parking.
Follow the road around to the right as you come into the airport from the main road (bottom centre).
The parking area just left of centre, below the aircraft, is in front of the domestic terminal building.
Hertz Vanuatu has everything from small cars up to mini-buses. All vehicles are left-hand drive. Most of the larger cars and SUVs are automatic but some of the smaller options are manual.
You don’t need a four-wheel drive SUV for Vanuatu, but in an ordinary car you will have to be more careful on the rough unsealed roads away from the main ring road, and may struggle after bad weather.
If you want an easier life on the roads, book an SUV.
Cars at Hertz Vanuatu are in good condition, but check for damage on the lower front edges and on wheel arches because there are lots of dirt roads on the island.
Ordinary cars in particular are much more vulnerable to damage on low edges compared to four-wheel drives and SUVs.
Be sure to point out any damage when collecting, and take photographs.
If you use the key drop when returning the car, take photographs all around the car when you arrive in the airport car park, so that you will have evidence in the event of any dispute over damage.
Don’t forget to take a photo of the full fuel gauge and keep your receipt, so that there can be no denying that you returned the car fully fuelled.
All of those suggestions are best practice whenever you rent a car anywhere in the world.
Below is the current range available at Hertz Vanuatu:
My experience was good. Service was prompt. The car was in good condition, clean, fully fuelled, was an automatic as booked, and I was upgraded to the next category.
(I’m a President’s Circle member – your experience may vary.)
Paperwork was handled efficiently and it never felt like the sort of car rental place that would try to rip you off with falsified damages.
The price was exactly as booked and there were no attempts to charge extra, which does often happen at car rental places around the world.
Dropping off very early in the morning was easy thanks to the key drop. I received the confirmation invoice by email as soon as my flight landed.
There was an error on the invoice and the standard excess reduction fee had been charged. I never pay that because I have full hire car insurance cover thanks to American Express Platinum.
A quick email to Hertz Vanuatu and I received a reply and a correction in less than 10 minutes.
For a random date with no discount codes, with pick-up and return at Bauerfield airport, a day’s rental came out at around:
- £60 for a compact
- £90 for an SUV
Shop around, use discount codes from Amex or Virgin or the BA Executive Club, and you’ll easily do better than that.
I booked an economy automatic for 8100 VUV per day (about £50). That should have been something like a 2-door Toyota Yaris but I was given a 4-door Mazda 3.
Compared to the price of taxis and guided tours it’s a very economical option for exploring Vanuatu if you’re OK with doing your own driving and navigating.
A litre of unleaded is around 170VUV (£1.12 / $1.46) and you won’t use much at all with only 130km for a complete lap of the Vanuatu ring road. The only petrol stations are in Port Vila, and most take major credit cards.
Earning and spending points
You won’t earn and can’t spend Hertz Gold Plus Rewards at Hertz Vanuatu.
You can always book using the Virgin Flying Club Hertz partner code and earn 1000 Flying Club miles per rental.
You could also book through IHG Trip Extras and earn 1500 IHG points per rental plus 500 points per day.
If you rent for 1 day, £8 worth of IHG points is probably not as valuable as at least £10 worth of Virgin Flying Club miles, but that depends on what you are collecting.
Telephone: +678 22468
Alternative telephone: +678 29677
Fax:+ 678 24968
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
There is also a Hertz Vanuatu office on Rue Dartois in Port Vila town.
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