Vanuatu is a bunch of islands in the Pacific Ocean formerly called the New Hebrides, where it was held in joint condominium by the British and the French. Being the good cats that we are, we gave them a bit of independence in the late 70s. Since then the country has reinvented itself as a tourist and tax haven, with the latter being a little more controversial than the former.
How to get to Port Vila
Not exactly a flight hub, but certainly one of the most busy and vibrant airports in the area. Port Vila airport serves Honiara, Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as having internal links to some of the more further flung of the islands of Vanuatu.
Accommodation in Port Vila
It’s a tourist place so they got everything from budget basic hostels to 5 star resorts. My personal weapon of choice when I stay in Port Vila is the Hideaway Resort, which is a resort on an island, kind of like a hideaway. Food and drink there is expensive, but it’s a resort on an island, so what do you want?
What is there to see in Port Vila?
Port Vila is a tourist place, so there’s loads to do.
- Cascade Waterfalls – a nice waterfall that you can hike up to;
- Beaches– there’s lots;
- Ogle the cruise shippers ;
- Buy duty-free crap;
- Visit Mamma’s Market.
What to eat?
One of the most annoying things about the Pacific Islands is the distinct lack of local cuisine– and yes, you guessed it, there a lot of Chinese food…
- Chinese food – There’s a fair bit of history of ethnic strife between the Chinese and the locals, but that hasn’t much affected the culinary scene with every third shop seemingly a Chinese restaurant;
- L’Houstelet- The most famous restaurant in Port Vila is a French-owned affair that serves real French food (and you can smoke inside). I had Escargot, and the signature dish of the place the flying fox. I was warned it was gamey; it was.
- BBQ – OK not as easy as it sounds, but if you befriend a local they might invite you into the countryside for dinner, which is pretty cool.
Nightlife of Port Vila?
When it comes to nightlife in Port Vila it can be pretty much split into two jams. Number one is booze,and booze is damned expensive. Hit up either Reggae Bar, or the amusingly titled “Club Lit”. If boozing isn’t your thing and you prefer a more mellow high then you need to try Kava, and there are literally hundreds of the places dotted everywhere. Tastes a lot like dirty water infused with vomit, but it does get you a bit high.
Is it worth visiting Port Vila and Vanuatu?
If you’ve been traveling to the more remote parts of the Pacific, such as Nauru for example, then Vanuatu will look like New York in comparison, and aside from being a built-up place where you can buy pizza it’s not without its other charms too. Overall Port Vila is expensive, but nice, and worth a few days if you’re travelling around the Pacific.
Getting out of Port Vila
Cruise ships dock in Port Vila, so you can theoretically arrive and depart by ship. Flight-wise you’re well serviced by Australasia and a lot of the Pacific islands. Incidentally being connected to Fiji makes visiting Tuvalu, and the harder to reach parts of Kiribati, that much easier.
Visit Port Vila yourself on the Least Visited Countries Tour!