5 Things to Love About Port Vila

Posted by Website Admin on August 15, 2016

5 Things to Love About Port Vila


Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu and its largest city. It is also the first stop for most visitors of the country. The shared influence of France and Britain, gives the city a unique feel among other Pacific Island cities. There is much to love about Port Vila. Among our top picks are the following:

Shopping - This is the most famous activity in Port Vila. Visit the marketplace to find the best bargains. Whether you need a sarong, wood carvings, jewelry, clothing, island soap or Rastafarian themed trinkets, this is the best place to get them. Food shopping is another dimension of the buying experience that must not be missed. Stop by the fresh fruit market for really affordable fruits and local produce. Don’t forget to do some duty-free shopping while you’re here
Food - They say the French had a stronger influence on Port Vila’s food. That alone makes it worth exploring. There are a number of authentic French patisseries to try out to have your fill of pain au chocolate or crepes.  

Nature - Natural beauty abounds in Port Vila. Among the many nature trips you can do, is one to Mele Cascades. Just 15 minutes by buggy puts you in the midst of lush greenery. Marvel at the astounding waterfalls cascading down a series of crystal clear pools. Another nature trip to take is to Hideaway Island Marine Reserve, where you can swim, snorkel or scuba dive.

Adventure - You have a lot to choose from when it comes to adrenaline-pumping action at Port Vila. Abseiling from the 50 meter tall rock face is a popular activity if you’re visiting the Mele Cascades. If that’s not enough, you can also do the jungle zipline -- a thrilling ride that over the jungle canopy at speeds of 100 to 160 kilometers per hour. There’s also blokarting -- a cross between a go kart and a wind sail which reaches speeds up to 15 knots. You can also bounce around the hilly terrain in a giant ball with Wet ‘N Wild Zorbing.

Culture - Vanuatu has an amazing culture and it’s fortunate for visitors of Port Vila that there’s an Ekasup Village nearby to help you experience just what the Melanesian culture is about. Futuna islanders talk about their traditional lifestyle in a kastom village, you might also be treated to some custom dancing, shells of wonderful kava and maybe even a fire-walk display.

There’s so much to do when you’re in Vanuatu, but you might be pleasantly surprised that doing nothing at all works just as well. This is the kind of place you will have a better appreciation of when you stay longer at one of the amazing Vanuatu accommodations.

While Port Vila is the main hub for shopping and tourist arrivals, there is much to explore in Vanuatu. We highly recommend choosing a Vanuatu accommodation that gives you easy access to the different activities you might like to do in the area such as diving and snorkelling.

Beneath the Surface: Diving in Vanuatu

Posted by Website Admin on July 27, 2016

Beneath the Surface: Diving in Vanuatu


Vanuatu is often seen as an island paradise perfect for a romantic holiday or a family getaway. There’s so much to love about this Pacific Island nation -- from its turquoise waters and pristine beaches to its lush rainforests and rugged mountain terrain. You can fill your day with adrenaline-pumping adventures or take it easy with some relaxing activities. 

Underneath all this excitement is even more to marvel at. Vanuatu is home to a thriving underwater ecological system. It’s a magical place for snorkelers and divers offering an otherworldly landscape to explore.  Diversity is the name of the game with a varied landscape that mirrors what’s above ground -- mountainous terrain with plunging cliffs, soft and hard coral forests, honeycombed caves and tunnels, grottoes and overhangs. Sunken wrecks and abundant marine life make Vanuatu diving even more interesting. 

Vanuatu has over 20 diving sites for both novice and experienced divers. It is highly recommended that you find a suitable Vanuatu accommodation to make your dive trip worth it. Most sites can take days to fully explore and appreciate, so staying in a Vanuatu accommodation can give you ample time to properly plan your dives. Choose a Vanuatu accommodation like Villa 25 which gives you easy access to the most interesting dive sites. 

If you’re going to Vanuatu for diving, here is a list of sites to try. 

Wreck Diving in Vanuatu:

The President Coolidge - This is a world-famous wreck dive located about half an hour from Port Vila, just off Espirtu Santo. It was once a luxury liner turned into a troopship for the US. It is very well-preserved and provides an astounding dive experience. Traces of its posh past are still evident with chandeliers and a statue of The Lady. It is only recommended for experienced divers and may take a few days to explore.

Konanda - This island trader was damaged during a cyclone in 1987 and was eventually sunk. It sits upright on a flat, sandy bottom at 26 meters. Since the sinking was deliberate, it is one of the easiest dives for novice wreck divers -- entering the 45-meter long ship, including the bridge area, cabins and the holds, are safe.

The Star of Russia - This grand sailing ship rests at the bottom of Port Vila Harbour. There’s much interest in this wreck dive, particularly because the ship was built by Harlan and Wolff of Belfast -- the same markers behind the Titanic. The wreck is 80 meters long and 13 meters wide with a drop of 33 meters. Divers can go through the body of the ship to see three huge masts, the bow and the anchor machinery.

Semle Federsen - A cargo-carrying trading vessel located along the Pango Coast of Mele Bay. It was deliberately sunk in 1985 and is now full of plant and animal life.  Cyclone Uma moved her to her present position down the reef in 1987. The stern, cabins and wheelhouse can be explored in this dive site with great visibility between 30 to 55 meters. The depth makes it suitable for more experienced divers.  

Tasman - This is a Qantas S26 Sandringham Flying Boat -- a bulky plane with over 30 meters in wingspan. The dive begins from the tail down over the body to the nose. Divers can enter the cockpit through the window. The deepest part of this dive is at a depth of 40 meters. 


Reef Diving in Vanuatu

Twin Bombies - A sheer wall with two bombora formations, it has grottos and corals teeming with fish. The reef extends out as a plateau in 12 to 18 meters before dropping over a dropdown at 25 to 30 meters. Turtles, butterfly fish, nudibranchs are among the popular sights to behold in this colourful dive.

Fila Island Reef - This reef dive site has a depth of 6 to 15 meters. It is home to colourful corals and a variety of small fish.

Ollies Lolly - Located near Hideaway Island, this beautiful reef is home to small and big fish as well as soft and hard corals and offer the perfect opportunity for underwater photography at a depth of 9 meters. It has a large bombie formation from a depth of 9 meters.

Mele Reef - Rising from the centre of Mele Bay, you’ll find an extensive range of dives from shallow reefs to vertical walls just 6 meters from the surface.


Cave Diving in Vanuatu

Lacksand Reef and Caves - This offers a series of swim-through tunnels and interlocking caves which has a sandy bottom home to fish and rays.

Cathedral - This vast cavern lies off the Pango peninsula and has unusual light effects that filter down from the open roof. Entry through this wide and open cavern is at 22 meters. There’s also a chimney part to swim in before coming through to a large pool inside the reef. It is home to shrimp, nudibranchs and leaf scorpion fish.

Tukutuku Caverns - About 25 minutes from Vaughani Shores, it has well-lit caverns with wide entrances. Outside the caverns are steep walls and table corals. It has a interesting topography with circular caverns and swim-through tunnels.

Diving in Vanuatu can be a fun and amazing experience. Diving in the area is well-supervised with many operators that can pick up and return divers to their Vanuatu accommodation.