Feb 23 2008, 08:01 PM
As my wedding preparations are coming to an end - my mind is still not settled becuase of having the pre-wedding jitters
Three days after our wedding we are flying for the first time overseas together & to a place we've never been before!!
I love googling information but I much prefer personal information.
Has anyone been to Port Vila or the surrounding area in vanuatu & can reccomend anything that they absolutely LOVED & would do again?? Tours, restaraunts, destinations??
Ofcourse I really REALLY appreciate the heads up on anything that was terrible & should be avoided at all costs
Thanks heaps!! xx
Feb 24 2008, 07:53 AM
I didn't much like Vanuatu. We went 6 weeks ago.
Stay away from Port Vila as much as possible. The town is dirty and there's absolutely nothing there.
Buses (which are really just dirty mini vans) will take you wherever you want to go but if you want to have the driver take you somewhere touristy, they'll 'negotiate' a price with you and charge you through the nose.
EVERYTHING there is way overpriced - that's why I didn't like it. It's a really underdeveloped place and the people have nothing, yet foreigners come in and buy up the resorts and restaurants and charge through the ass for everything. Any meal you get is expensive and the food is terrible because the foreigners create Western menus, (nothing traditional on there) and the chefs have no idea how to cook a cheeseburger, which is entirely fair enough - they should be cooking their own traditional cuisine. Don't order pizza from anywhere - it's like barf in a box.
Hideaway Island - about 25 minute bus ride from Port Vila - All there is to do there is diving or snorkelling but I would recommend going IF the weather is nice - otherwise you can't see a damn thing in the water. There's a dingy that takes you across to the island from where the bus drops you off (the dingy is the only thing that's free!) Once you're on the island, you have to pay to enter - ask the person at the desk what time the boat goes out for snorkelling - it's around 12 lunchtime each day. There's a boat that pulls up and takes a group of people out about 100 metres off the island where you can see bigger fish. Do that - it'll cost you around $10 a person - but there's nothing much else to do on the island. When i say 'island' i mean you can walk it in about 45 seconds - so don't be thinking you can do much there. There's a cafe - only reasonably priced food we found. Most important thing - take your own snorkelling gear. The gear provided everywhere you have to pay for and it sucks - and then you don't get to see anything and it ruins the experience.
Coongalla Cruise - Do this cruise !! You can google them and book it yourself or the hotel you stay through can do it for you. It goes all day and you get picked up in a van, a 1 hour drive, then jump on a big boat and they take you snorkelling to heaps of places - you'll see some turtles in captivity, they give you lunch and on the way back, you might spot dolphins. This is the one great day we had - even though it was raining for much of the day.
Cascade Waterfalls - I mean, they're waterfalls but nothing special. Again, you have to pay like $30 for a van to take you there and then another $40 per couple to get it. And you only spend like half an hour there. No biggy to go.
Don't do any other crappy little tours - it's usually just some backyard job where they take you to see turtles in captivity - and they're just trying to make some money.
The best thing to do is get off the mainland (Port Vila) and go to other islands -there's something like 86 of them in Vanuatu !
Lots of people we met whilst there went to Tanna - another island. There's a volcano there and apparently it's good but you have to catch a plane.
Don't expect 5 star anywhere because of the nature of the country, nothing there is 5 star. Our resort was meant to be 5 star, I would have said it was possibly 3.
I know all of this sounds negative but we were just so angry that they work for like $10 a day - have hardly anything and all of the fortune you spend there - NONE of it goes back in to the community and these people have next to nothing so you really feel like giving them money, but you already spend so much everywhere that you just can't.
If you want anything specific answered, let me know.
Feb 24 2008, 01:42 PM
Yes, Chiara makes a few good points:
1. Dirty buses and rough bits all do add to the experience. I like those things too as you're really experiencing the culture.
2. You shouldn't expect to eat for nothing - but a simple meal of yuck food shouldn't cost you $80.00 if you're not in New York or Monaco.
3. I, too hope other people have more positive experiences to share.
Just like to add: The Coongalla cruise day was just fabulous. We also had a magnificent time at Hideaway Island. I didn't hate Vanuatu but I just expected a bit more for the obscene amount of money we spent.
Do your research and plan things - if you just show up and try to figure out what to do, time gets wasted and you get sucked in to doing things you could have done without. That's what our main problem was and we blame ourselves entirely for it.
I actually started a topic on it before we left on i-do to get some ideas. If you do a search, you'll find it. I got some great feedback.
Mar 14 2008, 12:58 PM
We actually went and got married there in December. We were there for two weeks. I didn't really like it much either.
Definately go to the Harbourview Chinese restaurant just outside Pt Vila. It is the best and sooooo cheap!!
Also visit the sunset bungalows for dinner one night. Absolutely beautiful food and view. The manager is from NZ and my hubby and him got along soo well.
We stayed and got married at Le Lagon - beautiful but full of kids. Then we stayed at Iririki Resort, a must! Best rooms ever! Make sure you ask for the new ones though, not the older ones.
If you want to see some pics just pm me.
You have to go over there with an open mind, yes Pt Vila is dirty and poor but it is a thrid world country.
Mar 14 2008, 09:15 PM
QUOTE(belinda_mac17 @ Mar 14 2008, 06:18 PM)
We stayed at Sunset Bungalows for our honeymoon 2 years ago. The food was absolutely devine and the view was amazing. Feeding the fish every night was awesome. Highly recommend it.
Hey, we stayed there too !!
Their food was definitely the best we ate while in Port Vila, but I wouldn't have classed it as 5 star and the bungalows were waaaaaaay too close to each other. Gave a whole new meaning to the term 'private.'
Mar 15 2008, 11:40 AM
When we went to Vanuatu we went through a company in Australia that spend alot of time over there and have great connections. We were picked up at the airport by a guy named Harry - from HA Tours and he was great! He told us all the good and the bad things, the tours to stay away from and where the best things were to see and do. We went over there well informed and had a great time as a result.
I agree that it is crap that the locals work for nothing though and some of the resorts really milk this for everything.
Sunset Bungalows was my fave for the BEST ommlette I have ever eaten! I wanted to take the chef home with me, I told him how awesome he was!
I think that you really need to research and find other people who have spent alot of time there to know where to go and what to do.
Mar 15 2008, 11:46 AM
FH and I went there a few years ago and loved it.
We stayed at Le Legon - I wouldn't stay there again if we ever went back. It was nice, but they only had one pool and there were so many kids that I would actually go back and lie in my room for some peace and quiet.
We loved Hideaway Island , and adored the Cascade falls. Swimming in freshwater was heaven. And another restaurant to go to is Rossi's. It's a seafood restaurant and the staff are lovely. We got roped in to doing a village tour which was an eye opener but not really our thing.
But don't eat any pizza - we both got the runs for two days
and the only thing we could narrow it down to was the pizza.
But we had fun.