11/3/2010 – Just another relaxing day at sea...
Tuesday 11/4/2010 Port Vila, Vanuatu
This was the one port I was most looking most forward to but to be honest it was the most disappointing port we had on this entire cruise, despite its beauty. Port Vila is located around a magnificent natural harbor offering stunning views of Iririki and Ifira islands. It is Vanuatu's international gateway and remains the only town on the island. Vila is a pretty dirty town. and is a bit polluted even though the corals and tropical fish can be seen in the water.
We left the ship at 8:00 am again and found a taxi to give us an island tour. The taxi was quite expensive and more than 3 times what I expected based upon my internet research (but shared it with another couple). Nonetheless we hired a taxi and took off for our first stop cascade falls. This was supposed to be a nice falls in a bit of a wooded scenic area. We were confronted with a booth that said to see the falls it would cost 35 dollars for the two of us… OUCH! We decided that $35 to see a water fall was a bit too steep since we will be seeing oodles of waterfalls in the states when we start full timing.
So our cabbie suggested an overlook of the bay instead… and guess what… to visit the overlook also cost us money. It seemed everything we were going to do on this island was going to include a fee so we were talking with the guy who charged us a fee to visit his overlook and when we told him we thought all the fees were excessive to simple see the beauty of their island especially when other islands don’t charge excessively to see theirs. He then asked where we were going next and we told him we heard hideaway island was nice and had good snorkeling. He said that it would be $20 per person to get on the island and suggested a beach resort that his cousin worked at that would let us use there facilities and snorkel for free as long as we bought beverages or food from them… so off we went to a small Beach Resort name Tara Beach. On the way I took a picture of a popo tree (we call it papaya).
What a score this was… Although the resort didn’t have great amenities and it wasn’t much of a beach but it did have some fine snorkeling and was very peaceful. To top it off the cousin, Christina, adopted us when she found out we came there based upon her cousin’s recommendation.
We practically had the place to ourselves and we spent some Vatu (local currency) on some cold beers and some real good fish and chips and Christina even charged us less than the stated menu prices. Thank goodness for this spot as otherwise Villa, Vanuatu would have left a bad taste in our mouths.
On the way back we stopped briefly in the town of Villa to check out the duty free shopping… not much to speak of… the town is not that interesting and the shopping (other than booze) was not that much cheaper than in the US. I did however find a bottle shop to buy a few more tuskers for the road… and had time to pose in front of my favorite Vanuatu beverage…