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.
The following airlines offer international services to Port Vila:
- Air Vanuatu from Nadi, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland
- Virgin Australia from Brisbane
- Solomon Airlines and Fiji Airways from Nadi
Local services are also available from nearby islands.
Following concern at the condition of the runway, extensive repairs have been undertaken. These were completed in December 2019.
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.
- 1 National Museum of Vanuatu. Specializes its exhibits relating to the culture and history of Vanuatu.
- 2 Evergreen Cascades Waterfall (10 kilometres outside Port Vila). Stands at a height of 35 metres and is famous for its natural pools that make it perfect spots for swimming. There are independent guided tours that lead to the cascades.
- 3 Mele Island. A small resort islet known as Hideaway Island. Offers snorkeling and glass bottom boat tours. It is 15 minutes boat access from the capital. There is the world's first underwater post office, opened in 2003.
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, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. 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).
- MG Cocomo Resort (Formerly Lagoon Beach Resort), Teouma Road, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Beachfront, restaurant and bar, BBQ, outdoor pool, kayaks, fishing rods, beach volleyball court, playground and trampoline. Approximately US$185.
- Mangoes Resort, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Bungalows and apartments with balconies, outdoor pool. Mangoes Restaurant serves organic produce, local seafood, Santo beef and sweet treats.
- Sunset Bungalows, Teouma Road, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
- Holiday Inn Resort Vanuatu, Tassiriki Park, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. Day Spa, nine-hole golf course, two swimming pools, kids club, tennis courts, kayaks, paddleboards, and catamarans.
- City Lodge, P.O Box 3230, Port Vila, Vanuatu (In the centre of town, across the street from the city market), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 11:00. Cheap hotel and dorm style rooms. Bed in dorm room 2000 vatu, private room 5000 vatu. $19.
- Paradise Cove Resort has immediate access to a very fine reef for snorkeling. Will cost about AU$20 one way to get to/from Port Vila. Note that nature may enter your bungalow in the form of ants or spiders.
- Warwick Le Lagon, Elluk Road, Efate (Off Kumul Highway), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The most popular and largest of the resorts. It has been operating for over 30 years. It offers substantial discounts for children, as a result there are lots of kids here during the Australian school holidays.
- Iririki Island, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. An exclusive resort situated in Port Vila's harbour. It used to be "adults only" but since 2006 it has areas that allow children. A ferry runs back and forth to the main downtown area.
- Erakor Island Resort, Erakor Lagoon (close to Le Lagon), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Based on an island in the lagoon. A free ferry takes you to and from the island.
- Poppys on the Lagoon, Captain Cook Av, Erakor Lagoon, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Set on the shores of Erakor Lagoon and provides superior self-contained accommodation. The resort is designed to take advantage of the cooling breeze of the South Pacific trade winds.