Hibiscus flowers, swaying palm trees, crystal clear blue waters and smiling locals have seen Vanuatu labelled “the happiest place on earth”.
Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila is rich in culture, tradition and lifestyle, and offers stunning views of Vila Bay. The French-influenced city has a lively town centre and acts as a great base from which to explore the island archipelago’s colourful coral reefs, deserted beaches, quiet lagoons, black volcanic sand and water falls.
An island paradise, just over two hours from Australia’s mainland, Port Vila is a spectacular holiday destination.
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As a major South Pacific tourism hub and cruise port, Port Vila offers a notable selection of eateries, serving a variety of cuisines, including: Japanese, Chinese, Italian, French, Melanesian, Polynesian, Ni Vanuatu and western fare.
Efate large established ex-patriot community has led to the development of number of a western-style eateries. Everything from restaurants to delicatessens and bars to bakeries dot the waterfront and city centre, and can be found strewn across the island.
Port Vila Market is a great place to visit to sample fresh produce and local specialities. Located right in the centre of town, the local markets offer an array of cheap and fresh seasonal fruit, vegetables, herbs and seafood – including traditional Vanuatuan foods like lap lap, tulak and nems.
Downtown Port Vila bustles with a number of clothing and knick-knack stores. Duty free shops sell well-known perfume and jewellery brands, next to cheap and cheerful clothing and souvenir shops, which hawk hyper-colour sarongs and t-shirts.
Buyers are warned to beware of purchasing cheap designer goods. Many stores sell fake labels and knock off designs.
The Port Vila Markets are open for business every day except for Sunday, and present the opportunity to buy local arts and crafts and clothing and artifacts, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. Fresh produce is sold undercover in the main market section, while clothing and arts are offered in a more scenic setting by the waterfront.
A number of major supermarkets stock both local and international food. While little road-side market stalls sell local produce, eggs, shells and World War Two memorabilia.
Bargaining or bartering is not encouraged in Vanuatu.