Port Vila, Vanuatu's capital, is a common starting point for tourists and divers exploring various islands, beaches and diving spots in Vanuatu. The many natural reefs and shipwrecks scattered around the country are popular with divers.
Port Vila sustained a limited amount of damage during Cyclone Pam, a March 14, 2015 storm which spared the island of Espiritu Santo while wreaking severe destruction on many outer islands. While most travel venues in the capital should be back to normal operation, some inbound flights (as of Jan 2016) remain unavailable to unrelated infrastructure problems.
Air Vanuatu flies into Vanuatu from many destinations around Australia and Vanutu's surrounding islands. It may be easier to fly into either Noumea, New Caledonia or Suva, Fiji and then take a connecting flight to Port Vila.
Many cruise ships visit Port Vila and cruises are a very popular way of exploring Vanuatu and the surrounding Islands.
In Port Vila the buses are van and mini-buses with a red B on the left side of the number plate. They largely traverse the main road take you directly to your destination. There are no scheduled services and are perhaps best thought of as cheap, but shared taxis. Wave at them to stop one heading in the direction you want to go. They are plentiful within the city and outside the city you can usually arrange for a bus to meet you at a particular time. If one looks full, just wait for the next one. The buses are used by locals, but are very friendly, cheap, and easy to use by tourists. Fares are usually calculated per person. The cost is usually 150 vatu per person unless you are travelling a longer distance, e.g. Mele Cascades - in which case expect to pay 200 vatu per person. There are significantly fewer buses on the road on Sundays.
Taxis are plentiful within Port Vila. Fare is calculated per taxi. There are standard fares for journeys to and from the airport to most accommodation around Port-Vila a list of which should be available in the arrivals section of the airport (1500VT to the city centre). Around Port Vila, taxi's can be hailed for journeys. Price is calculated by a meter, and is usually around 500vt for short journeys.
These white, public transport vans go up and down the main road of Vanuatu which connects the Main city to the shipping port and residential areas. For 100 Vatu they will take you one way to where ever you need to go along their route. They are by far the cheapest means of transportation in Port Vila. To get on board you simply find a marked stop along the main road and when a white van drives past flag it down and pay the 100 Vatu. The vans are unmarked however again they are regulated by the government and safe.
By pas bus
These are vans which have a number plate starting with "P", they are unmarked other than that letter however they are safe and regulated by the government. Many try to pick up passengers at the shipping port when cruise ships are in town so it is not difficult to find them. A fair price for one way from the Dock to the main city is 600 vatu and for a days hire a fair price is 6000 vatu however on busy days when large cruise ships are in town the price would often be higher.
There are markets selling a variety of local goods such as fruit and vegetables. They close on Sundays unless there is a cruise ship in port.
Duty free alcohol and cigarettes are cheap in Port Vila. Buy your duty free before going to the airport as the airport duty free prices are slightly higher and the range not as great. Port Vila is a duty free zone for tourists.
Alcohol is reasonably expensive in Port Vila. Expect to pay between 300VT and 500VT for a local beer or between 400VT and 600VT for imported beers.
- Benjor Beach Club, Devils Point Road, ☎ +678 26078, fax: +678 26078, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: Noon, check-out: 10AM. Resort on coral beach, one bedroom villas and self-contained 2 and 4 bedroom apartments, restaurant. US$200 (one-bedroom villa).
- Cocomo Resort, Teouma Road, ☎ +678 25505, fax: +678 25515, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Formerly Lagoon Beach Resort. Beachfront, restaurant and bar, BBQ, outdoor pool, kayaks, fishing rods, beach volleyball court, playground and trampoline. Approximately US$185.
- Mangoes Resort, ☎ +678 24923, fax: +678 24037, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Bungalows and apartments with balconies, outdoor pool. Mangoes Restaurant serves organic produce, local seafood, Santo beef and sweet treats.
- Sunset Bungalows, Teouma Road, ☎ +678 29968, fax: +678 29970, e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Ten waterfront bungalows, eight lagoon view studio units and one honeymoon spa bungalow. Swimming pool, waterfall, kayaks, patanque, professional tour desk. Approximately US$150.