A Day in Port Vila

Lucky for us, Port Vila, Vanuatu is showing up on more and more cruise itineraries. This prosperous city and its friendly inhabitants offer many fascinating and authentic experiences to enjoy around the city and the island of Efate. Calling at the capital city of Vanuatu is definitely a highlight of any South Pacific cruise.

Disembark in Port Vila and step right into island life. You’re welcomed by dancers and musicians on the pier and an expansive market featuring local art, crafts, clothes, jewelry, bags, food and souvenirs.

Counted amongst the happiest nation on earth, the friendly Vanuatuans make you feel at home during your day ashore.

A half-day city highlights tour shows you the scenic, cultural and historic places of interest. See the striking New Parliament House of the Republic of Vanuatu, the town centre and the lookout by the War Memorial. You’ll also stop at a Ni-Vanuatu village community to see how villagers live. Being formally greeted by the Paramount Chief and his warriors, who put on a display of war dances, is quite a thrill. There’s time to shop at the colorful village market which supports widows and orphans. Beyond the market is a quiet beach stretching for miles; a good place to relax.

Now you’ve got your bearings and you’re ready to venture further afield in the afternoon.

There’s a range of activities around the island and places worth seeing. Take an excursion from your ship or pick up a mini bus or taxi just outside the wharf gates:

  • Take a glass bottom boat ride at Havannah Harbour to see a protected coral reef and colorful fish, before snorkeling in the clear water.
  • Crystal clear waters make Vanuatu a top diving destination. From Port Vila there are many reef and wreck sites ranked from easy to challenging.
  • Experience the natural beauty of Vanuatu on a rainforest walk to the 165 ft. Mele Cascades waterfalls where you can take a refreshing swim in the pools.
  • Blue Lagoon is a beautiful spot with aqua blue water surrounded by gardens. Take a rope swing over the lagoon and drop in for a swim in the warm waters.
  • Go sport fishing for yellowfin tuna, marlin, sailfish, wahoo, mahi and barracuda at Pango Point.
  • Mail a post card at the world’s only underwater post office at Hideaway Island resort and marine sanctuary. You’ll need to don a mask, fins and snorkel for this adventure.
  • Observe the tradition of fire walking and other time-honored Melanesian customs at the Iarofa Village.
  • Take a breathtaking flight over Port Vila and the harbor for a new perspective on the island and your cruise ship.
  • Enjoy a round of golf at one of two 18-hole golf courses or try parasailing for a sporting adventure.
  • Visit the Vanuatu National Museum to learn about the country’s history and Melanesian culture.

Two more ports of call in Vanuatu also show why this 83-island chain is a true paradise: Uninhabited Mystery Island, only accessible by cruise ship, with its pristine beaches, natural bush and WWII airstrip, and Champagne Bay on the island of Espiritu Santo where a spectacular white sand beach fringes an aqua lagoon and notable WWII sights are found.

Look for Vanuatu on your cruise itinerary for a fascinating call at a picture-perfect, South Pacific island.

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