I highly recommend hiring a car and travel around Port Vila. You can stop where you please and drive at your own pace. The island is safe and friendly and you can buy fresh fruit along the way and support the locals, cause they're champions.
On the way you can visit the Mele cascades, which is about a 20 minute walk through a rainforest to the waterfall.
Port Vila, December 2004 - January 2005
Port Vila has some of the friendliest people on the planet. (The outer islands of Vanuatu have even friendlier people, although you’ll have to read my other pages to find out more about them.) When we were walking down the street, people would say hello to us. The Port Vila pub hostess still remembered our names on our second visit, even though it was a week after our first visit. Or mangoes, where our waiter talked to us about his travels from Vanuatu, and helped us choose the best items from the menu.
If you go to Port Vila don’t spend all your time hanging out in the expensive resorts. You may as well be anywhere in the world if you do, because they’re all the same. Spend some time visiting the locals. Go on a locally run tour of a village and shake hands with the children. Go to the locally run Melanesian feast instead of to the resort one. These things might not be quite so pretty or quite so elegant, but they make up for it in warmth, hospitality, and effort.
The best places to visit around Port Vila are the restaurants, the small islands off the main island (Erakor, Hideaway, Iririki – all can be reached by hailing a bus and then taking a free ferry across the water), Mele Cascades, and the local villages. See my reviews for more information!
Also, something to be prepared for, the main area of town is a bit of a concrete jungle and is quite dirty. Don't be disheartened when you arrive, the place is surrounded by gems.
This place is HOT HOT HOT! Don't even think about staying somewhere without air-conditioning in the summer months, it's not worth it. On the outer islands the accomodation has to run on generator power, which means no air-con. We were having to wet our t-shirts before going to bed just to keep ourselves cool and try to get a little sleep in those places, so get the air-con when you can. During the days we would wet our tops and our hats before going out, and usually tried to go somewhere with swimming or air-conditioning during the day. Don't be fooled by the words 'wet season', the rain doesn't cool things down any! It's lovely at night, to be able to go out in our shorts and T-shirts, but be prepared for a bit of a sauna in general.