The Digital Nomad Family’s Guide to Port Vila, Vanuatu

We were frankly blown away by Vanuatu. No one told us it would be the coolest little spot in the South Pacific. It was a wonderful surprise! It was easy to get around, easy to make friends, and easy to arrange day trips. It was the best place to take a baby so far in Oceania.

Where to Stay:

Anabru Pacific Lodge. Huge apartment-style hotel, immaculately clean, free babysitting, relatively inexpensive ($54/night). The internet is deathly slow, but that’s to be expected.

Where to Get Good Internet:

The Grand Hotel. Buy a drink and ask for the password.

Where to Get a Cheap Meal:

The market in the center of town, open 24 hours, has freshly cooked meals from around 350 vatu to 500 vatu (4 or 5 dollars.)

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How to Get Around:

Buses (vans with a B on the license plate) are swarming all over town. They’ll pick you up and take you anywhere in the city for a buck fifty. Bonus: The driver even gets out and helps you with your stroller because they’re just that nice Smile

Where to Try Kava:

Anywhere you can go with a local so as to get the full experience. And you do need to try it, this is an essential part of Vanuatu.

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Where to Go to Church:

Vanuatu is a very religious and Christian country. We met Hezekiah, the preacher of Moriah Church, and his wife at the market and he invited us to come hear him preach.

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If you go, the singing in perfect harmony will leave you speechless. Afterwards, we got seats of honor at the freshly cooked laplap meal of banana and taro.

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To get here, tell the bus to take you to the church behind Home Senta.

Where to Get Your Hair Braided:

Just outside of Numba Wan Café, there are stalls selling tourist goods. You can get the braids for about $20 and they are supposed to last for a week (mine didn’t make it that long because Ryder was too fascinated with the beads and yanked them out.)

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Must Do Island Outside of Efate:

Well, we only went to one. Tanna. It was totally different than anywhere we’ve ever been. We stood on the rim of a volcano and watched as lava rocks blew towards our faces. It’s a completely different side to Vanuatu than Port Vila. It’s so untouched and undeveloped. Just make sure that the volcano is open when you go to visit. Here is Tanna’s tiny airport:

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Top Round Island Tour to take:

We took the tour called South Pacific Round Island Day Tour and it was okay (the highlight was definitely the Coke bottle museum and its curator),

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but if I would have another chance I would do the one called Native Round Island Tour. It got better reviews on TripAdvisor.

Where to Get Free Books:

The library let me get a membership there with no need of ID or proof of address. It was $1 to join. It is located at the Cultural Centre building on the main street. The selection isn’t enormous, as you might imagine, and it’s further made smaller by the fact that it’s part French, but I read some nice books there, including Holes by Louis Sachar and The Resurrectionists by Michael Collins.

What to Buy Before You Arrive:

Contact solution. A couple of bottles plus a case set me back $40. Probably $10 back home. Guess the islanders aren’t wearing contacts.

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Most Famous Restaurant:

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The food (Jacob went for the coconut crab) was decent,

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but it was the view that took our breath away:

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A month wasn’t enough time in Vanuatu. We didn’t see the waterfalls, go snorkeling at Hideaway Island, visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Hat Island, learn the history of the country at the national museum, or go diving. There’s plenty to keep you occupied here—It competed with New Zealand for livability in the South Pacific.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 364 awesome articles for us.

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