Vanuatu – a dream family holiday destination

I got a random email from my mum a couple of months ago: 5 nights in Fiji inc. airfares. $900 each.

Within about 30 seconds of receiving that email my mind was made up. We were going on an overseas holiday before baby number two arrives. No matter what.

So we settled on Vanuatu after weighing up the options – Bali, Fiji, Thailand, Great Barrier Reef. But Vanuatu ticked some pretty awesome boxes for us. And it turned out the be the perfect destination for a holiday with the kidlet. and with me being 6 months pregnant.

It’s pretty cheap. Airfares are cheap which means that we could spend a bit more on accommodation. We ended up staying at Le Lagon Resort. A beautiful place to hang out for a week. The food in most restaurants and cafes is the same price as Australia. The market fruits, vegetables and peanuts etc are way cheaper. Some food in the supermarkets is pretty cheap – look out for the local foods or food imported from Fiji – a lot cheaper.

The flight takes 2 1/2 hours – This cinched the deal for us! Less time in transit with kid = good. Thankfully she dealt pretty well with the flight. Boredom the only issue!

The tap water is safe to drink – for me this was important while I’m pregnant. I’ll be less worried about this next time we travel.

The people are happy – Like, super super twilight-zone happy. Completely full on intensely happy. But not scary happy. Calm happy.

Ralph Wiggum wouldn’t deal well with Vanuatu! – The kidlet (blue eyes, blonde hair) was treated like a demi-god! Everyone wanted to know her name and how old she was. She was touched constantly, picked up, cuddled, cradled, swayed, and even kissed by grown men! If this happened here I would freak out big time – but it is so apart of the culture over there, and it was all completely innocent. She didn’t seem to mind the attention at all!

The food is fantastic. British, French and traditional Vanuatuan cuisines delight the senses. I have a whole blog post dedicated to this coming up!

It was a different culture altogether – I loved spending time with the locals and finding out how they live. Ni-Vanuatus are absolutely beautiful, intelligent, welcoming people. Next time I’ll try spending more time with the locals. This was my favourite part of the trip.

It reminded me of home – my first home – Papua New Guinea.

It was so safe –  Walking around town, even at night time I felt completely safe.

So… let me open the door to Vanuatu.

(oh, worst pun ever)

A street in Port Vila. Outside the resorts the place is pretty run down – but it’s very clean. They take a lot of pride in their surrounds.

The main street of Port Vila. Cheap buses (numberplates with a red B at the start) and taxis (numberplates with a red T) are EVERYWHERE. You need not wait anymore than 30 seconds for a lift. The drivers are really very calm- everyone drives so very slowly so driving over pot holes is no problem. 😉

There are a few touristy stores that sell locally made clothes in wonderfully garish tropical designs. Many of the women use very old, but in perfect condition pedal powered Singer sewing machines!

No seat belts neccessary! To be honest it was a bit of fun having the kidlet sitting casually beside us in the back of taxis instead of strapped up in a car seat!

Dorky self-take.

ooh! Who’s this cute guy?

Oh that’s right, he’s my husband. 😉

The gorgeous fruit market in the centre of town, on the foreshore of the port. This is the main meeting place with a relative amount of hustle and bustle. No haggling here – every piece of fruit is marked with a price tag. The market is open 24 hours a day, closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. The communities/villages bring food to the market and will take shifts looking after their stalls. When it’s a bit quieter they will sleep on mats on the ground, even during the day. I really enjoyed this market.

Creepy mass marketing campaign alert – Digicel is a mobile coverage provider – they’ve been on the islands for about 2 years and have taken over!! Every billboard is advertising Digicel. Shops, kiosks, fences, cars, vans – all have Digicel hand painted onto their bright red surface. T shirts, headbands, umbrellas – everything is Digicel. It’s quite disturbing. The locals just laugh and shake their heads when I mentioned it, they know it’s ridiculous too!

Cascade Falls – a must for any visit to Port Vila. It’s only about 10 minutes away from town and is gorgeous. There is an entry fee and about a 20 minute walk up to the top where there is a stunning, large waterfall. These pics were taken lower down the stream. The water is icy blue, clear as crystal. You’re allowed to swim in every part of the stream.

My favourite part of Cascade Falls

The view from our room at Le Lagon

Sunset in Erakor lagoon. So pretty

Tarmac – THIS is the way every plane should be boarded! Not through little tunnels! It adds to the excitement!

Over then next few posts I’ll talk about other things we got up to in Vanuatu. The food, one of the outerlying islands, and a few other bits and pieces.  It was bloody gorgeous. I couldn’t whittle the pics down any further than this!!