'Stunning locations, extraordinary people, and unforgettable experiences'
Vanuatu Custom Travel is a cultural tourism and community development project specialising in professionally arranged “authentic island escapes”. We collaborate with selected small island communities in stunning locations to deliver small group tours with local hosts and guides offering a rare and valuable holiday experience. We also connect guests with a specialist travel agency in Australia to book flights, transfers, hotels, resorts, bungalows, or travel insurance for a range of holiday experiences.
If you are staying in Port Vila you can easily add a visit to Rah, Tanna or Santo islands to see more of the beauty, culture and natural wonders of Vanuatu. Contact us for details.
What we do and how
Providing exciting unique travel options that depart weekly, Vanuatu Custom Travel assists independent travellers (singles, couples or small groups) of all ages to experience the living culture of Vanuatu by providing valuable access with professional service to some stunning locations, extraordinary people and unforgettable experiences.
Our specialty niche is authentic tropical island escapes on Rah and Mota Lava islands in the northern Banks region. We offer unique locations, excellent bungalow hosts, local tour guides, genuine cross cultural interactions and unique local activities plus the happy satisfaction of experiencing an authentic simple way of island life with professional standards and friendly helpful service. Our booking coordinator also looks after people going to Port Vila, Santo, Tanna and some other outer islands such as Pentecost for the land diving and Ambrym Island.
We arrange your transport, accommodation, meals and activities from arrival on Mota Lava Island until you depart – leaving you to relax and enjoy the hospitality and environment around you. We have done the hard work to make your vacation as enjoyable, fun and relaxed as possible. The islanders also need time to plan and prepare for guests. You are a welcomed as a guest of their community. You will leave as a friend.
If you have travelled around the outer islands of Vanuatu you will appreciate the need for what we have set up. Without our help there are usually big differences between what visitors expect and what the people in the islands deliver. By assisting local communities and smoothing the way for travellers we offer a very worthwhile service to both visitors and people of Vanuatu.
Vanuatu Custom Travel’s knowledge, standards, unique access and experience with authentic communities and remote locations in the Vanuatu islands provides a rare opportunity well worth experiencing. Our guest’s feedback confirms you will be welcomed as a special guest and leave as a friend.
Simon Humphries. Culture and Tourism Consultant & Founder of Vanuatu Custom Travel
Our goal is for you to experience something unique & extraordinary. At Vanuatu Custom Travel we are passionate about providing you with rare and inspiring authentic tribal tourism experiences hosted by small local village communities in exotic & stunning locations across the Vanuatu archipelago. We are committed to giving you professional standards of excellence with your travel experiences and our customer service. We are passionate about the enrichment of lives, communities, health, and happiness of you and the people of Vanuatu. We want you to enjoy your experience in every way possible while helping assist remote villages with their own cultural preservation and sustainable community development. Our purpose is to create valuable experiences for the long term good of all .
Our mission is to connect you with the incredible traditional culture and inspiring people of Vanuatu so that you experience the forgotten wonder of tribal culture, a true experience of community, the pure joy & fun of the human spirit, the health of pristine natural environments, and the magic of this rare tropical paradise in the happiest place on earth. We see that by connecting cultures from around the world in healthy ways we enhance people’s understanding, respect, responsibility, happiness and community. Vanuatu Custom Travel is committed to professional, exciting and ethical tourism practices that deeply respect local village customs & traditions.
Vanuatu Custom Travel was established by Simon Humphries in 2006 but our story begins long before then. Simon’s direct experience of Vanuatu began in 1973 when he was only 6 weeks old. He spent the early years of his life in Vanuatu forming a lasting bond with the culture, people and place. He spoke the native pigeon English called ‘Bislama’ before he learnt to speak English. His parents, uncle and auntie all worked in Vanuatu assisting the education of local people on many islands.
In the 1970’s Simon’s father, Malcolm Humphries, worked as an accountant and business developer on a number of islands in Vanuatu. Malcolm was the first person to train and assist the Vanuatu people (ni-vans) to set up their own 50% or more ni-van owned and run businesses. The young men and women who were taught by Simon’s father have gone on to be valuable leaders in their community, business owners, accountants, teachers, medical professionals, government officials and alike. These people are now helping their communities and nation in significant and valuable ways. Simon has following in his families footsteps and made a significant contribution to rural communities especially in the northern Banks region of Vanuatu.
In 2006 Simon Humphries returned home to Vanuatu after many years abroad studying and working in a variety of professional areas. He has tour guided in Greece and Turkey, floor managed live television, coordinated and facilitated children’s arts workshops, run drama workshops for children, published articles on Vanuatu and a children’s picture book (go to www.mrsimon.com.au), plus created and directed projects for theatre, film and television. In his travels Simon has visited many islands in Vanuatu with ni-van friends and adopted family, visited places rarely seen by white people, and has been welcomed into the Rah Island community as a local man-Rah.