Take a break in Vanuatu (cont)

December 19, 2005

Take a break in Vanuatu (cont)

Vanuatu?s capital, Port Vila, is found on the island of Efate. You won?t be able to avoid the bustling market found near the centre of town. Here you can buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, including mangoes, bananas of all different sizes and shapes and delicious pineapples. There are also many stalls set up with souvenirs such as shell necklaces, wooden artefacts, straw hand bags and sarongs. Although most stalls have reasonably similar products, you might be able to find unique necklace for around $10 or so. There is also hair braiding, which is quite popular with the young girls, and relatively inexpensive rice meals in the centre of the market.

Regardless of your swimming ability, you should try snorkelling in Vanuatu. Hideaway Island is only 10 minutes from Port Vila by bus and has a gorgeous marine sanctuary with scores of unusual tropical fish. Although the ferry is free and regular, it costs around $6.50 each to visit the island and around $10 to hire snorkelling equipment. Once you?ve got that, get set for a treat! You can send a postcard from the world?s only underwater post office, or just simply marvel in the beautiful marine world displayed before you. You can buy fish food for around $1.20 and watch as the fish swim within centimetres of you, all vying for a morsel of fodder. If you fancy a break, you can buy a drink or a meal from the restaurant and sit enjoying the sun and the sand. If you can, buy an underwater camera before you go because you?ll certainly want capture an image of every beautiful fish that swims past you.

If you prefer eating fish to watching them, then you won?t be disappointed in Vanuatu. The Rossi Restaurant is well known for its delicious seafood and beautiful views. Choose a table on the grassy area outside the restaurant and watch a spectacular sunset over the water. Vanuatu?s history ensures quite a few spectacular French restaurants and there are many lovely hotel restaurants including Erakor Island Resort?s Roxy’s on the Lagoon and Tillys restaurant in Chantillys on the Bay. As for drinks, most of the hotels the traditional pool bar with a range cocktails and other beverages. If you?re into more of a pub atmosphere, try Trader Vics. This popular local spot has the advantage of an pub atmosphere outside and a trendy nightclub inside.

Regardless of your interests, there is something for everyone in Vanuatu. If you?re remotely interested in eating, drinking, beautiful views, lovely and interesting people and exciting new experiences, then you?ll love Vanuatu.

By Bliss Baker – Intrepid traveller, journalist and photography enthusiast

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