we had been strongly advised to take a taxi into the town of Vila, but I walked there anyway for various reasons:
first of all, I have big problems to sit in such tiny taxis, that were built for the average size of japanese people, I only had 2 hours left and such a walk normally takes me to places, that other people miss.
There is always a narrow path along the road and a walk of about 1 hour gets you to the town. Local people that you will meet will eighter be friendly or simply ignore you, so it is not dangerous in any way to walk that distance.Of course that path is not ment for walking of hundreds of passengers, so maybe that way the idea of the warning by our ship.
There will be hundreds of small cars waiting for customers on the pier, the ordinary price for a taxi to town is around 15 AUS and I also saw a good taxi that was hired by some of our passengers for 100 AUS for the full day.
Unfortunately many of these taxis are just tiny Suzuki-cars and where the drivers try to get in as many people as possible, and that is the reason why I did not take any of them, but rather walked into town.
In Port Vila even the largest cruiseships on earth are able to dock and so you will save a lot of your precious time ashore, and you will not be forced to queue up and waste your time with the tenderservice.
Just go to the gangway, and the gate of the port-area is just a few meters from your ship. There is a control again for your boarding-pass, when you are leaving the port-area, but that is done very fast and all the officials are very riendly.
When arriving on a large ship like the Dawn Princess with about 2000 passengers onboard there will be hundreds of taxis waiting for customers and there are hundreds of stands offering massages, souvenirs etc.
Looking for a trip all the way around the island of Efate? We had a great trip in a taxi we hired (12,000vatu), the driver's name was Andre - he's a very friendly and well informed guide, and a safe and courteous driver. He's popular too, everyone seems to know him! He took us everywhere we wanted to go, and heaps of places we didn't know about as well. Personally, after being on those roads all day, there's no way I'd rent a car and drive myself - I'd be too tired from dodging the enormous potholes!
Public transport in Port Vila is great. Port Vila is small so it's not too hard to get around. 90% of the shops in Port Vila are in the main street and the street behind it, so anything you need can be found within a simple ten-minute walk.
Buses are really vans marked with a 'B' on their license plate - you just flag one down anywhere and say where you want to go. There are no set routes (and don't naively assume that buses will stop at bus stops! Bus stops are frequently filled with parked cars anyway!). This means you can take what should be a two-minute trip via half of Port Vila; if you're in a real hurry, take a taxi (they're nearly as cheap if there's more than one of you).
A bus trip costs 100 vatu per person (may be more if you're going a longer-than-usual distance). The downside to buses is that if you live off the beaten track and want to get into town, you might be waiting a long time for a bus to come by!
Officially, there are speed limits. Unofficially, your speed depends only on the condition of the vehicle you're in and the number of potholes on your section of road. ^_^.
Where ever you are in Port Vila you will be sure to see piles of mini-buses. They are everywhere! A ride is usually around 100 or 150 vatu (approximately A$1.20) to anywhere in town and 200 vatu for places just out of Port Vila.
You can also ask for prices of an around the island trip - most bus drivers will be happy to take you and will quote their price. We heard of prices between 2000 vatu and 6000 vatu.
Walk around Port Vila...it's not too big so walking places is easy. The streets are a little confusing but you'll just find interesting things along the way if you get 'lost'. We walked into town most days from Mangoes and the locals were always very friendly. :)
Taxis are metered but it is a good idea to agree to a price for any long distance. Most drivers are available for a full or half day hire. Buses have a fixed fare of VT100 and will take you anywhere in Vila.
B for Bus on numberplates identifies a minibus as a public bus.
Air Vanuatu is the only way to fly to any of Vanuatu's destinations. Direct from many east coast Australian cities or Auckland.