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Oceania : Melanesia : Vanuatu : Shefa : Port-Vila
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Port-Vila is the capital and largest city of Vanuatu. It is situated on the island of Efate in the province of Shefa. At a population of 44,000, Port-Vila is slowly growing, but remains a small and laid-back capital. The city extends across the length of Vila Bay, with parks, markets, and restaurants trailing the waterfront. Host to Vanuatu's largest harbor and airport, Port-Vila is a popular destination for cruise ships and a base for tours and adventure activities across the island of Efate.


Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

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 traveling 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 usually around 500vt for short journeys, however if planning on a longer journey, negotiate with the driver on the price.



  • Port-Vila Markets, Kumul Hwy (On the waterfront). Mon-Sat, until late. In the centre of town, the Port-Vila markets are a colourful assortment of produce, selling all manner of fruits, vegetables, and foodstuffs. Women leave their local villages and come here to sell wares. Across the waterfront are more markets selling more appealing goods for tourists, including carvings, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs. Prices are marked and sellers rarely pressure to buy. Like many elements of Vanuatu, the laid-back and quiet approach of daily life can be found even in the market's atmosphere.  edit


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.



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.

The suburbs of Vila also contain literally hundreds of kava bars. Some are little more than garden sheds; a coloured lantern outside indicates that kava is on sale. Tourists are an unfamiliar sight in most kava bars but are usually made very welcome. Some larger kava bars also sell beer, soft drinks and tobacco. A small 'shell' of kava costs 50VT, a large one 100VT. Most bars open at sunset (though the 'Seaside' kava bar behind the Coconut Palms Resort reportedly serves the stuff 24 hours a day!). Kava is much less likely to disagree with you if taken on an empty stomach - go to the kava bar before dinner, not after. Down your shell in one go, suck on a sweet to remove the taste from your mouth, then sit back and enjoy the relaxing effect.


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