Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Port Vila, Vanuatu

11/3/2010 – Just another relaxing day at sea...

Tuesday 11/4/2010 Port Vila, Vanuatu

Vanuatu1This 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.

Vanuatu2We 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.

Vanuatu3So 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 Vanuatu6 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 Vanuatu Papayawas 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).

Vanuatu Resort and SLH with Christina 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.

Vanuatu Tusker beerWe 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…


  1. Looks like a very pretty place. If enough tourists pay the fees they will keep collecting them. In California we are on the verge of closing our parks because people refuse an $18 per car per year tax for upkeep etc.

  2. Vanuatu is a beautiful, friendly place despite having very little themselves (many, many, many families have no electricity and the wages are very small). There is vertually no industries and therefore most items have to be imported which makes things sometimes more expensive than 'home'. The local ni Vanuatu people have little opportunity to make money and the fees you talk about increase on 'cruise ship days' for obvious reasons and even then I have never ever heard of the entry to Hideaway Island costing $20 (usually 1000vatu/$12) nor the Cascades being $35 (usually 2000vatu/$24)and if you can find alcohol as cheap here in Oz I'll eat my hat! If you'd have gone to a kastom village or for a drive round the island you would have been very impressed.

  3. Vanuatu is a very pretty place but there are signs of pollution all around the port... the people are very friendly on the island but despite what you may remember Beverly, the day we were there we took a cab for the day (cost $150.00 AUD) and the fees I mentioned for cascades and hideaway were true for that day... I understand the people want to overcharge the cruisers (simple supply vs. demand) but everywhere we turned there were fees (even 100 vatu to use the restroom)... we had a great time despite all of that but it will always be remembered by me as ripoff island...

  4. What beautiful places! Will you still buy and RV and travel or will just wander around and travel this way?

  5. Hmmmmm.......seems you didn't find a good taxi (I never use the taxis but I know they don't let the buses anywhere near the terminal so cruise passengers don't have a choice other than walk to the main road and catch a bus)...however the competition is so fierce that a good deal can be made for a much better tour than your driver provided. As for my memory...6 weeks ago is not that hard for me to remember back to and I go to Vanuatu twice a year at least, stay for 3 weeks at a time and have gotten to know the place pretty well. The good thing is that if people say bad things about Vanuatu, it will hopefully keep this beautiful place from becoming 'Bali'.