What to do in Vanuatu:
Internet – There is free wi-fi in all the villas and at reception. You can use free wireless internet at a few restaurants and cafés in town if you purchase food and/or drink. Try Lotus Café, La Tentation, Nambawan Café behind Healthwise on the waterfront, Chantilly’s, Jungle Café and the Anchor Inn – all are wireless hotspots.
Water – Bottled water can be purchased in Port Vila at all supermarkets and is very cheap. The tap water in town and at Valé Valé Beachfront Villas is OK, however at White Sands Beachfront Pavilion it is from our bore and is not suitable for drinking. However, there is no problem with washing dishes or clothes, showering, etc. The water tank at the side of the Pavilion house can be used for cooking only – it also is not suitable for drinking straight from the tank.
Recreation at Valé Valé – Our Valé Valé masseuses, Honorine and Leiwia, offer their one hour massages by appointment, on your villa deck, carrying tables and supplies to you. Just the best way to relax and feel “floating” especially if you’ve just been out kayaking with Touran.
Complimentary – We have kayaks and paddle boards free for guest use. Please ask a person in charge for any allowed or restricted spots to avoid problems and maximize your fun time.
Touran takes guests out to see and feed turtles in their favourite part of our ocean here, staying out if asked, for snorkelling and swimming in the deeper water than just outside the villas.
Village walks and tours can also be arranged, along with demonstrations of coconut-grating, and the cooking of some local meals.
Indoors, the TV provides 18 channels, and there’s a DVD player. We have a selection of DVDs for free-choosing, at Reception, and a selection of board games, as well as a fair selection of novels in our bookcase.
One of the most popular pastimes of all, is relaxing on the balcony, sometimes with a cocktail or coffee and/or a meal, sometimes with a book from our little library, watching the sea and listening to the waves.
Note: All tours can be booked through our Guest Relations Manager based at Valé Valé Beachfront Villas – Laurana Rakau – who will also help guests with arrangements for a hired vehicle if needed, or a Charter bus for private tours.
Buses abound in Vila and despite the presence of bus stops in town, they will pick up anywhere at the wave of a hand. They will take you door to door (although sometimes you may get the scenic route depending on where the other passengers wish to go). Fares cost VT150 adults and VT75 children anywhere within Port Vila. To go outside town to places like Cascade Waterfalls or Hideaway Island the fare doubles. If you take this option, the driver will often ask if you’d like to be picked up at a designated time. It can be worthwhile accepting the offer as the driver and van will be there and sometimes it can take a while waiting for another bus to appear. Drivers are usually friendly and helpful and the letter ‘B’ before the number plate designates a licensed bus (T designates taxis and H is on hire cars).
Culture Tour and Melanesian Feast Night:
Only 5 km from Port Vila, you can hear and learn about the tradition, culture and customs of Vanuatu in general, the knowledge learned over many centuries. Every Friday night there is a Melanesian Feast which includes Kava tasting, traditional music, traditional food baked in a ground oven, and dance with the natives.
Learn all about Vanuatu history, customs, culture, flora, fauna, wildlife and read some amazing stories from all over the islands. You can see tame parrots, pigeons, ducks, snakes, lizards, coconut crabs and a range of exotic freshwater fish. Enjoy a coffee in the jungle joint snack bar or relax around the beautiful pool. Island Feast Night (as seen on Channel 9 in Australia) is on every Tuesday and Thursday nights. It is off to a jungle restaurant to sample delicious fish, meat and chicken cooked the traditional way underground, with garlic bread, local vegetables, sweet potatoes and rice and salads followed by fresh fruits, entertainment by a local string band, and of course, kava tasting.
100% Ni-Vanuatu owner operated by the local Lelepa Islanders using a 7 metre Banana Boat locally built in Vanuatu, fully surveyed by the Vanuatu Maritime. Light game fishing, reef fishing, fully day trip or half day – the trip includes fishing gear, skipper, bait, pick up and drop off at your accommodation, snorkeling gear, full lunch and beverages or light refreshment.
Enjoy the charm and character of Congoola, a 23 metre large classic timber auxiliary sailing ketch with twin diesel back up power, previous world cruiser and mother ship to the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race, now “Vanuatu Lady of the Sea” – can carry 50 passengers. Sail the calm water and relax on the fine white coral sand beaches of Havannah Harbour, snorkel and dive, swim in the crystal clear warm water, feed the tame fish, visit a turtle conservation rookery, maybe see dolphin friends at play and savour a delicious tropical beach BBQ.
A morning tea sailing on a Golden Wing Trimaran to Hat Island, one of the best snorkelling and live coral gardens you will discover. Then on to a deserted beach with a shade canopy. Then you will sail on to Paul’s Rock, the most famous snorkelling and diving spot around, and there you can hand feed scores of big, tame fish. It’s one of the areas which scuba divers say is the best to dive. You will see gorgonian tunnels and soft corals, swim through interactive fish life everywhere, even a big, lazy turtle.
The Beach Bar at Melé – great for a Friday night – they have fire dancers as entertainment and a wood fire pizza oven. Even if you don’t want to eat there, it is great for a drink and watching the entertainment. Get there early for a good seat! They also have free moonlight movies on Tuesday nights, a live band Sunday afternoon and circus acts on Sunday at sunset. Across on the ferry is Hideaway Island, a great place for kids of swimming age. If it’s a busy time of year they will make loads of friends there. The snorkeling is really good as it’s a marine reserve, and there’s an underwater Post Office where you can dive down and send waterproof postcards home.
Moonlit Cinema – check the times but several evenings a week the Nambawan Cafe (in the heart of Port Vila on the water in front of the Art and Craft market) has a free “Moonlight Cinema” where recent release or movie classics are shown on a big screen with the harbour as a back drop. Grab a beer and a snack and relax with the locals.
Picnic at Eton Beach – This is probably one of the best white sand beaches in Efate – it really is beautiful, with a gorgeous turquoise lagoon, and there are lots of little fares that you can set yourself up in for the day for a picnic. The locals own and look after this beach and as such will charge you a small entry charge. You need to take your own food and drink as there are no facilities there to purchase these.
Ziplining– So popular with people aged 4 to 89, weight restriction 125 kg, it involves being safely harnessed and soaring through the jungle canopy on numerous ziplines. It’s open every day.
At Melé, there is zorbing, go karting, 90m slippery slide, human slingshot and cable hang gliding, plus a café for drinks and snacks, or just to hang out while more energetic friends/family enjoy the rides.
Cascade Waterfalls – Melé Cascades is famous in Vanuatu. The climb to the waterfall is not a difficult one and, once there, it is a rewarding experience. You can hop into the pool at the base of the waterfall and swim under the cascade itself. It is the outpouring of an underground spring so the water is cool, clear and refreshing. There are five pools at the top to jump into and it’s your choice to return via the track or the stream. There is a charge for the waterfall which you pay before you enter. Wear comfortable shoes and take swimming gear.
Golf – golfers should head to Mele (Port Vila Golf and Country Club). The course is pretty, well maintained and quite challenging. This is where most competition golf is played and it has a clubhouse that welcomes visitors. Interestingly, the longest drive award at one annual presentation evening was one of several kilometres when a ball smashed through the back window of a bus and made its way from Mele to Vila. At Valé Valé we can arrange for you to play with a couple of young local golfers who play off scratch who will give you a lesson along the way and tips on how to play the course.
If you are looking for a more adventurous way of spending your holiday we can arrange a tour to suit. You can either choose to go kayaking down unexplored rivers, cycling through inland jungle trails and native villages, bush walking or exploring hidden waterfalls. Return transfers and home made fresh juice are included in these tours.
Helicopter tours – Go on scenic flights around Efate island, over waterfalls and along the coastline and through the jungle canyon. Half day helicopter tours straight to the Ambrym Volcano are also done where you will be landed directly on the crater rim and safely walked over to the edge of the Volcano.
Yasur Volcano – Tanna Island– it’s accessible, exciting and it won’t let you down (unless it’s closed for being particularly angry). It is an amazing experience from crossing the ash plain to being able to go right to the rim. You can either choose to go on a day tour or an overnight tour where we can arrange accommodation. This is a unique experience that you wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else in the world!
Horse-riding – Horse riding is popular with expatriate residents and horses can be hired by the hour, half day or day. They offer beach and rainforest rides for experienced and inexperienced riders together with lessons for the inexperienced. The horses are beautifully trained, definitely not typical kick along riding school parties.
Nakamals – try this for fun – Kava is completely safe, it is actually used as a natural anti-anxiety medication in western cultures as it helps you to relax with no bad side effects and no hangover. Nakamals are kava bars, and kava is sold in 50Vatu or 100Vatu shells – the term shell coming from half a coconut shell that it’s served in. Wherever you see a light hanging from a tree, it means the adjacent house is selling kava. There is also a great shop in town selling kava and other local crafts – well worth a visit.
All weather action and excitement, 2 to 4 hours guided buggy tours – a once in a lifetime hands on experience. Some of the tours include: passing a small village to meet locals, driving along crazy jungle tracks and the beach, and Jet Ski at Melé Bay. Lunch or refreshments are included in some of the tours.
On the road and off road. Jungle tour to the beach and enjoy a swim at Tara Beach, feed fish, kayak on the crystal clear warm water. You may be joined by resident dolphins and turtles (have to bring your own snorkelling gear for some of the tours). Lunch or refreshment will be provided.
Is a fun trip which takes around 2 – 3 hours now that the round the island road is fully tar sealed, though it’s best to make it a day, with stops along the way. Havannah Harbour on the north east coast has a few roadside stalls selling shells and old World War II coke bottles.
There are two different types of round island tours to choose from:
Round island tour, an amazing cultural experience. Visit and learn village customs, the magnificent naturally blue lagoon, take some refreshment, then on to Eton Village and Pang Pang Village. Stop at Beachcomber Lodge for a buffet lunch then enjoy their thermal swimming pools fed by the natural hot springs. Later, visit the World War II museum and Survivor Beach for afternoon coffee before heading home.
Another opportunity to drive around the island and visit the famous Melé Waterfalls. Driving past swaying palm plantations on the way out of the township, you will arrive at Eton Beach for your morning tea on its golden sands. A midday stop at a local restaurant for a buffet lunch is followed by a drive past more populated coastline to where the remains of WWII relics are found. Then stop at Melé Cascades to take a pleasant ascending walk through tropical rainforest to the waterfalls and finish your day in the riverside garden with a coffee or cold drink.
The local fruit and vegetable market on the harbour is one of the attractions of Port Vila. It is open all day and night from Monday morning until 12.00 noon on Saturday.
Each day it is occupied by villagers from different areas of Vanuatu and everything is organic, fresh and cheap and guaranteed pesticide free! The flowers are a particularly good bargain at around VT200 ($2.50) per bunch for some very large and exotic blooms. The Mamas market is also located here where you can purchase souvenirs, brightly coloured sarongs and clothing hand made by the local Ni-Van women. Local food (laplap, tuluk) and prepared meals are served inexpensively, in generous helpings – very good value eating.
Bakeries– With its French influence, there are excellent pastries and bread products to be found in Vanuatu. For petite délice try Au Péché Mignon (opposite the market). Batards and rolls are fresh and tasty and they have beautiful little cakes and other treats.
Au Bon Marche – supermarkets – large supermarket at Nambatu which is on the top of the hill from Port Vila on the way to Le Lagon. Stocks everything you need from a supermarket including beer, wine and spirits, meat, and a stationery section with local and some overseas newspapers. Note that you cannot purchase alcohol from 11.30 am on Saturday until Monday morning.
Beef and Veal – If you eat meat you are in for a treat. The cattle industry in Vanuatu is famous, and is mainly organic. The steaks are succulent, coming from superior grass fed beef and it is excellent value in the butchers and supermarkets.
Fish – At the back section of the main Au Bon Marche supermarket, fresh poulet and tuna fish, sometimes mahimahi, wahoo and mackerel, sometimes prawns and oysters. There’ll often be guys at the fruit and vegetable market too, selling freshly caught fish from eskies.
Tuluk– A local snack or meal of grated manioc (tapioca) with coconut cream surrounding meat, onion and seasoning, wrapped in leaves and cooked in the ground…. can be bought at the market daily, or from Pedro, standing under an umbrella at the Au Bon Marche bus stop at Nambatu every Saturday morning. Pedro, always wearing one of his colourful flower-decorated hats, used to travel door to door to workplaces but his wares became so popular he set himself up at Au Bon Marche and now everyone goes to him for the best (Melé) tuluk in town.