Want something really different!!? Then take a trip to Mystery Island. The most southern island in Vanuatu is Aneityum. Just off the mainland is a tiny uninhabited island - Inyeug, or Mystery Island. Though no-one lives there it does have an airstrip and can also be accessed by plane from Tanna. Cruise ships visit regularly [about once a fortnight ] depositing hundreds of day tripping passengers. I was one of them. So go on a quiet day and you can have the whole island to yourself. If you fancy the unique experience of a night stay, accomodation in the form of a thatched grass hut is available. I think it would be a fantastic honeymoon destination! There is no electricity or water so you have to take everything with you. Small grass huts which the mainland locals use to sell their handicrafts from [on cruiseship days] are scattered among the palm trees. Spectacular island views, white sandy beaches, intimate walking tracks and sixteen different shades of blue water make for a surreal experience.
Snorkling is a must do activity. Myself and a small group of onlookers seemed to be the only ones not bobbing around out there. We however just laid back on the beach under the trees and tried to take in what was to us just an unbelievable vista.
This little Island is stunning and a must see day trip while in Port Vila.
Tour operators will charge you AUS$75.00 for a half day snorkelling trip to this little island paradise but YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF A LOT CHEAPER!!!!
Hideaway Island is a short 5 minute, $5.00 per person taxi ride, from the centre of Port Vila. (Just ask the driver to take you to Hideaway Island and fix a price for a return trip. When you arrive pay half now and tell the driver you will pay the balance when he picks you up at an agreed time!)
The boat ride to the Island is free, you simply stand on the beach and the boat comes over to collect you!
Entry onto the Island is AUS$5.00 per person. Snorkelling equipment is AUS$10.00 to hire for a full day and the SMALL island has a bar and an outside restaurant to get food and drinks.
TOTAL COST of a self excursion...AUS$25.00.............SAVING AUS$50.00!
It is amazing just haw spectacular the snorkelling is so close to a populated city and surrounded by villages. Hideaway Island offers safe swimming and snorkelling for all ages and it is an experience that you should try at least once.
The fish are very friendly and will surround you when you enter the water. You can purchase "fish food pellets" for AUS$2.00 from the shop on the island which will ensure the fish will pay a lot of attention to you when you swim! Pontoons are provided in the water for places to rest or sunbathe.
As I explained above....entry onto the Island is AUS$5.00 per person. Snorkelling equipment is AUS$10.00 to hire for a full day and the SMALL island has a bar and an outside restaurant to get food and drinks. Food prices on the island are surprisingly reasonable! (AUS$8.00 for an open hamburger with bacon and egg and the plate if loaded with fries and salad.)
The capital of Vanuatu, Port Vila, is situated on Efate Island, which is a charmingly quaint colonial town and is situated on a photogenic harbour. Port Vila has an international airport and is located a 10 minute taxti ride from the capital.
The inhabitants of Port Vila are extremely friendly with approx half of the population speaking English and the other half speaking French. Shopping in town, outside of the duty free stores or the markets, is not cheap by Australian standard and the food prices are "OUT OF CONTROL!
When you visit Port Vila for an extended period of time and have a free day available, I would suggest the "around Island tour" that most hotels and tourist operators can offer. You would expect pay approx AUS$75.00 for this 10 to 12 hour tour of the entire Island.
Lunch is provided on this and you are taken to some of the most spectacular locations that this island paradise has to offer! Village life and culture is explained in detail and your driver will ofter climb a coconut palm and retrieve a coconut for you to enjoy during the tour. This is a great way to see the island of Efate.
I don't know these people but it struck me how different cultures all over the globe can laugh at past events and profit from the experience. It is said that a little over 30 years ago some of the remote native tribes of Vanuatu were still eating people! These tourists are adding to their holiday experience by paying for their photo in the pot with a cannible while the village is profiting from its past!
Ekasup village cultural experience is located near Port Vilas Erakor village.
On your arrival there is a five minute walk through rainforest to get to the village where you will gain an insight into traditional village life. You will be able to watch and marvel at the ceremonies, taste traditionally cooked food and find out how these villages caught and cooked it. You will also discover what their village values were and what was important to these proud people - for example, to a young man, the best wives were the one’s who were the best cooks, not the best lookers!
The Ekasup tour is available through most hotels and tour operators for approx AUS$35.
It is interesting to see how the local villagers have adapted to modern life and still held onto their traditional way of life. The kids I kicked the ball with lived in a small home constructed of modern brick and the age old palm frongs. A modern clothes line held the family washing behind the traditional method of drying the staple diet, yams or sweet potatoe.
This experience is free and the friendly villagers welcome visitors and feel honoured that you took the time to visit.
You can have your hair plaited or braided just about any of the local markets, no matter how remote the location. Most adults pay between AUS$12 to AUS$15 and children pay between AUS$7 to AUS$10. Personally they would have to pay me to make me look like this!
On the way back to Port Vila, our taxi passed a village where a group of kids were kicking a football around. I asked the driver to stop for 15 minutes and I walked over to the children, where I was swamped like a celebrity!!! I kicked the ball with the kids for approx 10 minutes and the smiles on these kids faces were something to behold! I gave each of the children some coins to spend at the local "shop" and I think I made their day....they made mine!
The markets are in the centre of Port Vila, and you can buy everything there, from fruits and vegetables, to cooked food, fruit, jewellery, clothes, gifts and crafts. It is all handmade and sold by the locals..There's no bargaining and no one will hassle to buy anything. The prices are pretty good and its pretty much the same as Australia.
Markets are open every day except Sunday. Port Vila shuts down on Sunday so don't bother walking around then!
Catch bus around Vila wherever you need to go. It's very cheap, 100Vatu (around $1.20 AU) if it's around the centre, or 200Vatu if you're going further out around Efate. They drop you door to door and pick up and drop people on the way. You'll also get to mix with the friendly locals and get around places you wouldn't know about or walk around, while they drop eveyrone else off. It's a great way to explore!
There's no speed limit or traffic lights and the roads are really poor..so hang on and enjoy the ride!
If you get the chance then do the tour of Lelepa Island. Our tour guides for Lelepa Island were Albert and Brownie. Both guys were really helpful and looked after our group really well. We did some snorkelling, swimming, walked through the jungle, looked in caves, relaxed on the beach, visited a village etc. It really is a must see tour if you have a few days in Vanuatu...
If you wander around the town of Port Vila you will see a lot of locals in their 'mother hubbard' dresses and you will also find plenty of shops and cafes/restaurants. Just watch the traffic, it can be mad on a busy day...
We got this tour free with our accommodation/flight deal so we figured we might as well go along even though we didn't know what to expect...
Funnily enough, our chef from the resort was the Chief and guide for the tour. He told us all about kava and then gave us a taste (our second kava drink)... The tour was great and worth doing...it costs 1500 vatu.
OK, I have to confess I didn't actually stay at this hotel, but I did spend some time strolling...more
Po Box 24, Efate, Efate, VU
My partner and I planned 2 weeks on Vanuatu from 29 June to 13 July. We had booked 2 resorts, the...more
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