Port of Call Vila, Vanuatu
Arriving at Port Vila, Vanuatu. Cruise ships dock at Port Vila’s commercial pier, on Wharf Road, about three kilometres southwest away from the center of town. To get into Port Vila you can either take a locally-operated shuttle van or hire a taxi. Hardy people may opt to walk it.
Vila Shore Excursions
A favorite attraction at Port Vila is the bustling downtown market, which is open everyday except Sunday. Here the locals sell fresh local produce from the surrounding villages, and there’s plenty of souvenirs to buy, including bead necklaces, shells and brightly colored dresses. Other places of interest in town include Chief’s Nakamal meeting house, and the National Culture Centre. The dissolute cruiser can visit a kava bar.
This tiny resort island just offshore Port Vila is linked to the mainland by a ferry, which leaves from a dock near the market. You will need to buy a day pass at the small office on the wharf at the island. There are lots of facilities, including restaurants, bars, swimming pools and a small sandy beach. Sunbeds, umbrellas, windsurfers and pedal boats are available for hire. There’s also a short but attractive walk through tropical vegetation around the island.
Just 2 miles east of Port Vila lie the Mele Cascades, a series of waterfalls falling into small pools, some deep enough to swim in. The adventurous can opt for an exciting excursion where you abseil down the falls. There’s an entry charge, and it’s a 20 minute walk to reach the Cascades. Wearing footwear suitable for scrambling about the wet rocks and pools is a good idea.
A popular excursion from Port Vila is Ekasup village, a Kanak settlement. Here you’ll see demonstrations by locals in authentic dress on the traditional ways of cooking, singing, dancing, and hunting. Stand next to a warrior armed with a club, spear, bow and arrows for a memorable photo. But beware, the villagers have tales of cannabilism! Ekasup is just 2 miles south east of Vila.
This small island boasts the world’s only underwater post box, where you can send a waterproof postcard back home (there’s lots of fish life to see after you’ve posted your card!). Snorkels and goggles are available for hire, and there’s a restaurant/bar for refreshment. The island is about 5 miles north west up the coast road from Port Vila.
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