Getting here and around
National carrier Air Vanuatu operates regular services to Port Vila from Auckland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Noumea and Nadi. Air Vanuatu also provides domestic services to a number of islands in Vanuatu. Other airlines operating to Vanuatu include Air Calin, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, Fiji Airways, Solomon Airlines, and Air Niugini.
Privately owned minibuses are the most common form of transport in Port Vila and run unspecified routes through municipal areas. Public minibuses have a red ‘B’ on their number plate. Buses also run in Luganville and northeast Malekula, and on Tanna island.
As they do not have a fixed route, just flag one down and advise the driver where you would like to go. Be aware that if the bus is full when you get on board or other passengers get onboard, you may be the last passenger to be dropped off. However if time permits, buses can be an interesting way to see the town.
Bus fares within the greater Port Vila area are 150 VT per trip and start from 200 VT to villages or areas outside of town, and exact change in most cases is required, for payment.
Most islands have taxis which are marked by a red ‘T’ on their number plate and are usually 4WD open utilities. Taxis are plentiful in the capital of Port Vila but are more expensive than buses costing around 100 VT per kilometre, however, can present a more affordable option if travelling in a group and you want to get to your destination via the most direct route. The cost can also be increased by the state of the road.
In Port Vila, there is a set price of 1,400 VT from the airport to downtown, while to access other parts of Efate, utilities are licensed to carry passengers and can be found at the Port Vila market. However, you should always negotiate a price with your driver before starting your journey.
Cultural information on Efate & Port Vila
Dining in Port Vila is deliciously French, European, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Melanesian and Mediterranean cuisine which represents a blend of nationalities within the local expatriate community in Port Vila.
Port Vila, the Capital of Efate, hosts an array of businesses, international banks, money changers, and duty-free shops. For those who love to shop, you will find a blend of local and international clothing prints and designs, artwork, jewellery, bags and shoes. Visit the Mama’s Handicraft markets and you will personally see the local ladies sewing hand-painted dresses and sarongs. Sewn, using only hand-operated sewing machines you thought no longer existed in modern society. But of course this is Vanuatu, nothing is too old or wasted here.