The attractions of Efate – Vanuatu are rather unknown. This country, which includes 83 islands in the Pacific, was also unknown to us until then. As a matter of fact, when we planned our round-the-world trip, our first thought was to visit friends we hadn’t seen for a long time. As a result, we chose several destinations that we would never have chosen otherwise, such as Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka and… Vanuatu.
To familiarize ourselves with Vanuatu’s culture, we began with a visit to the National Museum of Vanuatu, where we were able to witness a Sandroing artist at work. Sandroing is a composition of writing and drawing on sand, executed in a continuous meandering line on an imagined grid to produce a graceful, often symmetrical, composition of geometric patterns.
In Mele Beach, we attended a fire show that was of exceptional quality.
The Back to Eden Restaurant is a peaceful haven located out of town, where we were able to eat and snorkel near the island’s most beautiful corals. We were greeted with a short traditional welcoming dance.
We were so amazed to learn that the Port Vila public market is open 24 hours a day! Indeed, the island’s farmers bring their crops at the beginning of the week to be sold at the market. To ease the logistics, they sleep in the market, under the tables, until they can sell their supplies and finally return home.
We were struck by the greenery and diversity of Vanuatu’s vegetation. We were able to see it at The Summit Gardens botanical garden with surprising plant species that we had never seen before.
When on a pacific island, the turquoise waters are never far away. We took advantage of the beaches, lagoons and water spots to snorkel near the corals and the beautiful fish!
Surprise upon surprise, Iris arranged an unforgettable helicopter ride over Port Vila. WOW!
For 10 days, we settled in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu, in the midst of heavy rains and heat of the Melanesian tropical islands. We were warmly welcomed by Morsen, Iris and their two children Elsa and Calvin. Fearing that Vanuatu would not live up to the wonders we had witnessed in other countries until then, Iris prepared a great program for us. As a result, we were overwhelmed by the culture and beauty of the island of Efaté.
For 10 days, we took up residence in an apartment near our friends’ house. Our friends were generous to drive us to visit the most beautiful spots on the island. Our boys became fond of their two beautiful children and we altogether enjoyed unforgettable moments!
Morsen and his nephew Deny honoured us with a fantastic Lap-Lap, Vanuatu’s national dish, which is usually prepared on special occasions. This dish is made by grinding yam into a paste that is then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an underground stone oven, with fresh coconut cream, chicken and vegetables. It’ s a delight!
Although we spent most of our time with our friends, we still had expenses for accommodation and food that I believe would have been at similar cost levels had we not been with them.
Regarding transportation, we have saved a lot of money. Indeed, the costs of travel by public transport outside Port Vila are generally very high and car rental is relatively expensive.
Please note that there are no free activities in Vanuatu. Visits to museums and public beaches are subject to a charge, with particularly higher rates for tourists. Overall, the cost of our stay for our family of 4 is:
|Expense Category||Amount Spent|
|Flight||58100 VUV (528 USD)|
|Accomodation||45400 VUV (412 USD)|
|Transport (including gas)||2100 VUV (19 USD)|
|Eating out||25800 VUV (235USD)|
|Groceries||13300 VUV (121 USD)|
|Activities||10500 VUV (95 USD)|
|Total||155200 VUV (1410 USD)|
|Dates||2019-03-18 to 2019-03-28|
|Number of days||10|
|Cities we visited||Port Vila|
|Inbound||From Fiji by plane|
|Outbound||To Japan by plane|
|Mode of transport||Private car, bus|
|Distance travelled (car, foot)||300 km|
|Number of photos taken||2500 (250 per day)|
|Currency||The Vanuatu Vatu (1 USD = 110 VUV)|
Before visiting Vanuatu, we had no expectations other than to meet our friends and have pleasant time with them. But it was without counting on Iris who came up with a perfect program for us! We left Vanuatu delighted and absolutely satisfied, with fond memories of beautiful moments in our minds. We only visited the island of Efaté, but the country is home to many cultural and geological attractions, including Yasur (the most accessible active volcano in the world on Tanna Island) and Land Diving (a local tradition of Pentecote Island that inspired the bungee).
And now that we have completed our tour of Oceania, we are going back to the Asian continent for an event so much anticipated on our world tour : the blossoming of cherry trees in Japan!
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