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Port Vila has seen more history and change than many towns ten or even a hundred times its size. when it comes to culture, tradition and history, this is a city with an incredible depth of each.
Port Vila is the trading centre and capital of Vanuatu. It’s perfectly located around a beautiful harbour on the south-western coast of the island of Efate. Here you’ll find a mix of cultures – Melanesian (Indigenous Ni-Vanuatu), French, English, Chinese and many others.
Header photo © David Kirkland
44,000 (2009 census)
English, Bislama and French
Guest favourites, the most booked Shore Tours at this port
Our handpicked Shore Tours are a must for any guest.
Experience ancient Melanesian culture, customs, an introduction to traditional medicine and trapping of game. Discover how villagers preserve or prepare their food on a daily basis without electricity and hear tales of cannibalism from the not-so-distant past.
Cascade Waterfalls is an accessible, 50m high waterfall with naturally eroded rock swimming ponds set amidst jungle-like rainforest. For the truly adventurous, consider abseiling down the waterfall! Join one of our Shore Tours to discover the magic of Vila.
Port Vila is a spectacular natural harbour, yet it only represents a small part of the entire island of Efate. Beaches, cliffs, villages and spectacularly dense jungle and villages await discovery by land, air or sea. We have a number of tours available to help you explore this magnificent place.
Your ship will dock at Port Vila main wharf. A short drive to Port Vila main street.
A taxi stand is available outside the port gates. Taxis can be identified by number plates starting with "T" and buses with a "B". We recommend negotiating your taxi fare before embarking.
Vila’s climate is tropical. The average mid-day temperature is 29 degrees in summer and 25 degrees in winter. It can also be very humid at times. The wet season is from December to March. Make sure you stay hydrated and sheltered from the sun.
Credit cards and charge cards are widely accepted in larger stores, restaurants and some cafes. Some shops may accept Australian dollars but will only be able to give you change in Vatu. You will not be able to exchange your Vatu for Australian dollars once back onboard.
Satisfy your cravings with a gourmet meal at a licensed restaurant, a simple snack, a great coffee or Vanuatu’s national dish, laplap - a unique “packet” of local vegetables and meat or fish marinated in coconut milk, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground. Quarantine authorities do not generally allow food such as fruit and vegetables, dairy and meat products or sandwiches to be taken off the ship, however commercially packaged confectionery, chips and bottled drinking water are allowed subject to inspection.
Vila has everything from duty-free goods, and competitively priced indigenous arts, to great crafts and clothing. The Vanuatu Handicraft markets are also quite good. Most shopping is located along Lini Highway in the centre of town. Any souvenirs that are made of plant material or animal products must be declared to quarantine authorities on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Plant material such as certain seeds and animal products including feathers may be restricted or need to be treated at the owners’ expense on arrival in Australia or New Zealand. Bargaining is not customary in Vanuatu.
There are public telephones in downtown Vila. Mobile coverage is generally available as long as global roaming is selected prior to leaving home. WiFi is available in most of the restaurants and Internet Cafes may also be available in Port Vila.
To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, please wear comfortable flat soled shoes, lightweight clothing and a hat. You are also advised to bring sunscreen, bottled water and an umbrella during the wet season. Ni-Vanuatu are quite conservative, so please dress modestly. Wearing swimwear downtown is not acceptable. Nude or topless bathing is not permitted on any beach.
To observe the local customs of the south pacific islands a respectful dress code is required. Swimwear should only be worn at the beach or pool and should be of a modest nature. G-strings, thongs and mankinis should not be worn. Topless sunbathing is also not permitted at anytime. When exploring the Islands and the local communities casual clothing should be worn. As a visitor to these beautiful islands please respect the wishes of local residents.
There are a range of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in Port Vila. Tours can be booked onboard at the Shore Tours desk and are subject to availability. Passengers are required to meet at a specific location for each Shore Tour departure. Please refer to your tour ticket for the correct time and place.
Coral is an extremely precious marine organism. In an effort to preserve its natural beauty and habitat please avoid touching it in all circumstances. Furthermore, just as with Australia’s beaches, blue bottles can visit occasionally in the summer months. During your time ashore we also ask that you dispose of your rubbish thoughtfully.
Please ask permission before you take photographs of Ni-Vanuatu (indigenous people).