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Get the most out of Vanuatu with a week-long getaway. We can organise various itineraries and daily adventures, but here’s a few ideas to get you started.
DAY ONE: Explore Port Vila
As Vanuatu's capital on the main island of Efate, Port Vila is seductively laid-back and easy to stroll around. Everything is vibrant, from bold wall murals created by French artist, Aloi Pilioko, to the vast local markets which instil a lively community atmosphere.
Most markets operate seven days a week, from early in the morning to late at night (except for Sunday nights) and are a mecca of colour and delightful chaos. Carry some small change and take a big bag for fresh fruit and vegetables. We recommend trying the fried salted coconut - shards of coconut, deep-fried and served like hot chips.
Black magic is an integral part of the culture in Vanuatu and witch doctors still practice their voodoism here. From love potions to curses, sorcery is never far away. But if you’re after potions with a certain alcoholic potency, Port Vila is also replete with bars and restaurants. Reefers Restaurant and Rum Bar offers great cocktails, stunning water-fringing views, and of course, rum!
For eats, the prestigious Blue Marlin Club is just a five-minute taxi from Reefers. One of Port Vila’s top restaurants, treat your taste buds to fine-dining, and your eyes to the azure waters of Port Vila waterfront.
DAY TWO: Take an island day trip
Find pure paradise at one of two beautiful islands off Efate. Full day tours are the best way to do it, with complimentary hotel pick-up, drops off, and eight hours of idyllic beach.
Pele Island: A simple 10-minute ferry ride from Efate. Escorted tours provide the transport, a guide, snorkels, village tours and a BBQ lunch. Divide your time between the beach, marine life and optional sightseeing to local points of interest.
Lelepa Island: 160 acres of tropical rain forest make Lelepa a picture-perfect escape. After a 30 minute-drive from Port Vila and 10-minute boat journey, you’ll arrive in utopia. Sunbathe, snorkel, feed the fish, and explore the ancient caves.
DAY THREE: Jungle buggies and waterfalls, oh my!
This morning, why not get adventurous and zip around port Vila's lush backyard on a jungle buggy? Explore a slice of paradise which few tourists ever see while bouncing through verdant jungle and local villages. Stop at Black Sand Beach for a BBQ lunch and a quick dip before venturing back.
After an exhilarating morning, spend the afternoon relaxing at Mele Cascades. Just 10km from Port Vila, this beautiful 35m waterfall flows into a natural plunge pool, perfect for swimming. There are toilets on site, as well as changing facilities and a cafe-bar with free wi-fi.
Polish off your energetic day with a quick trip to port Vila’s infamous Mama’s Market. Head to the back and discover a dining area serving freshly prepared meals. Traditional Lap Lap (Vanuatu’s iconic dish), as well as huge plates of rice, fish, root veggies and meat wrapped in banana leaves will certainly fill a gap.
DAYS FOUR - SIX: Visit the outer islands
Time for a mini-break within your island escape. As well as Efate, there are two more Vanuatu islands you’d be mad to miss. Ideally, spend three days at one or the other, or extend your seven-day holiday and enjoy both.
Espiritu Santo: Just 55 minutes by plane from Port Vila, Santo is heaven-on-earth for divers. Explore the world's largest, most accessible, shipwreck - the SS President Coolidge, and Million Dollar Point; a former dumping ground for US military equipment, it's now an underwater museum of relics, remnants and tropical fish. Above water, Champagne Beach is an unbelievably pristine sliver of loveliness.
Tanna: It’s just a 40-minutes flight from Efate, but you’ll get off the plane and step a century back in time. The culture, along with the landscape and local life, doesn’t change on Tanna. It’s admirably void of modern influence. Better yet, there’s a spewing, very vocal volcano to go in search of. As one of the planet’s most active, Mount Yasur requires the supervision of a local guide and offers plenty of shudders and shooting debris. Along with a thundering roar, the entire experience is exhilarating.
DAY SEVEN: Crystal-clear lagoons
Fly back to Port Vila early and you’ll still have the entire day to enjoy Crystal Blue Lagoon. The hour’s drive from Port Vila to this hideaway swimming hole is an experience in itself – roads are desolate and the backcountry is tampered only by agriculture. As for the lagoon, its beautiful pockets of inviting blue offer a calm and irresistible place to relax. With swing ropes and glass-like water, swim, sunbathe and snorkel.
HOT TIP: Pop by Mama’s Market before leaving Port Vila and pack an exotic picnic lunch.
As evening (and your departing flight) beckons, eat like a king for the final time. Lobster and steaks grace various Port Vila menus, and Vanuatu’s famed Santo Beef is always pedigree. Farmed on Espiritu Santo, it’s cooked in a variety of ways, but is always mouth wateringly good.
6 alternatives to swap, add or change to your itinerary
Eton Beach: Arguably the most beautiful beach in Vanuatu. Located on the eastern coast of Efate, it's family friendly, secluded and safe.
Underwater post office: Just 100m offshore from Port Vila's Mele Beach, Hideaway Island invites guests to join a dive tour and send a waterproof postcard from the world's only underwater post office.
L’Houstalet: French gastro cuisine at its upmost fanciest in Port Vila. Wild pigeon and garlic snails are just the beginning.
Port Olry: A small French-influenced fishing village located on Espiritu Santo. Its white-sand beach and delicious eateries serving juicy coconut crab, will leave you craving more.
Millennium Cave: A gargantuan cave measuring 20m wide and 50m high in Santo. Top choice for adventurists, you'll need to walk, scramble and trek through tropical forest to find it.
Vanuatu Jungle Zipline: Based in Port Vila, glide over a canopy of greenery, soaking up sublime views over Mele Bay.
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