Vanuatu is One of the Best Places in the South Pacific

My last trip to Vanuatu 5-6 years ago sucked. It was pretty awful to be honest. I was super sick and was barely able to leave my room in Port Vila. So I never really got to see or do anything on the main island of Efate or any of the other islands. Since I was at a wedding in Fiji and I have to give a speech in Bangkok in a week I decided to do a little make-up trip to Vanuatu. What a great decision! I now feel that Vanuatu is one of the best places in the South Pacific.
Aquana Beach Resort, Vanuatu, Port Vila, sunset
The tone for Vanuatu being one of the best places in the South Pacific started when I decided to stay at the Aquana Beach Resort. It’s about 20 minutes outside of Port Vila and a world away from the congested capital. The family run resort is absolutely perfect. I enjoyed every second of my time there.
Aquana Beach Resort, Vanuatu, Port Vila, bungalow
The setting was perfect. My bungalow was outstanding for me to both get work done and get some sleep. Plus it had decent Wi-Fi! Additionally, the food was good restaurant quality and the cappuccinos were some of the best I’ve ever had with amazing presentation. I actually met the girl who made them after I shared the photo of it on my Facebook page and if I ever own a restaurant, she can work for me any day!
Aquana Beach Resort, Vanuatu, Port Vila, Cappuccino
The friendly and very helpful owners, Fabienne and Marcel, organized me a car and driver to drive me around the entire island of Efate and show me the sights and the hidden things. He was fantastic and the first stop was the blue lagoon.
Blue Lagoon, Vanuatu
Yes there are many blue lagoons around the world and sadly Brooke Shields did not appear naked in this one although many tourists were doing the rope swing…unsuccessfully. However, this was a pretty cool freshwater blue lagoon close to the best beach on the island, Eton Beach.
Eton Beach, Vanuatu
Eton Beach was pretty awesome I must say. It reminded me of beautiful Chamoni Beach on the island nation of Comoros of all places. It had great white sand and was windswept but beautiful blue water and volcanic rocks all around. Plus there wasn’t a soul on it!
Eton Beach, Vanuatu, white san
I should note that every sight on the island of Efate has a small cover charge of a couple of bucks. But you don’t mind and the people are so nice, it’s almost ridiculous. I was actually told they were twice voted world’s happiest place. I don’t know how or who votes on that but Vanuatu has my vote!
Eton Beach, Vanuatu, picnic table
Further north going counter-clockwise from the south where I was staying were all the World War II relics. There is actually a WW2 Museum although I didn’t actually go inside. There were no battles on or near Vanuatu as the Japanese never came to Vanuatu. However, the US did build the roads around the island, some buildings and a landing strip in the north of the island still used to this day for emergency landings only.
Survivor Vanuatu, beach, steak, lunch, Vanuatu
We stopped for an OK at best steak lunch at the beach where they filmed Survivor Vanuatu. I have never actually seen a single episode of Survivor although I am aware of its existence and that they filmed a season on Vanuatu. Either way, it was cool to say I was there!
Vanuatu, tank
The driver also stopped periodically along the main road to show me little things like an old US tank in the water and for some history on the neighboring islands or cool viewpoints that you had to hike to. He was great and I had him to myself all day for around $100 or so.
Vanuatu, beach
The best stop of all was the last stop. The Evergreen Cascade Waterfall was pretty awesome. Although it’s about $20 to enter, it is well worth it.
Vanuatu, Cascade, waterfall, Evergreen cascade
You have to hike up about 25 minutes or so and it gets a little steep at some points and you have to walk through water on 3 occasions both ways. So keep that in mind especially older people.
Cascade, waterfall, Vanuatu
The cascade goes own for about a mile ending in a swimming pool at the bottom but the actual 200 meter waterfall is fantastic and much better than I was expecting. It was crisp, clean and beautiful. To get the best photos you really have to step into the cascade pools. The water goes pretty fast so you have to be careful not to slip and drop your camera. It’s easier to go barefoot at the falls than wearing flip-flops or thongs for you Aussies!
Sunset, Aquana Beach resort, Vanuatu, Port Vila
After the falls it was back to Aquana for an evening of fire dancers. I’ve seen a lot of fire dancers around the Pacific and staying in top resorts, they’re usually on the deck and you’re right next to them as they dance to traditional music. These Vanuatuan fire dancers danced on the sand to pop music and it was pretty awesome!
Vanuatu, fire dancers, Aquana Beach Resort
The following morning, Marcel took me over to an island where nobody lives to check it out. Aquana recently purchased the island as a place for their guests to go and have barbeques and do traditional primitive activities. The island is definitely primitive and the beaches and views were fantastic! As was the beef and scallop BBQ!
Aquana Beach Resort, sunrise
So I had two great days on Efate and had every intention of doing the day trip to Tanna, not be confused with Antananarivo, Madagascar, to see the famous volcano but for some reason not given the plane wasn’t running the days I was there. But that was OK-next time!
Abandoned Island, Vanuatu
Efate is great and I could’ve easily done a few more days there relaxing. The other islands of Tanna and Espiritu Santo are supposed to be excellent as well and you really need at least a week to see them all properly in one trip. But now I have reason to come back for a third time. Besides, Vanuatu is one of the best places in the South Pacific!
Aquana Beach Resort view, Vanuatu
Big thanks to my hosts at Aquana beach Resort-you guys really helped make the trip and I only wish I could’ve stayed longer! I hope to see you again soon!

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  1. Never heard of Vanuatu until now but I want to go there immediately!

  2. Those sunset shots are incredible Lee.

  3. We flew out to Port Vila a few years ago and got caught in a massive storm. So like your first time in Vanuatu, ours sucked and I couldn’t be bothered to go back.

  4. This place looks unreal

  5. Beautiful beaches captivated me a lot.

  6. Vanuatu looks and sounds amazing! It’s been near the top of my travel wish list for a long time now…

  7. That sunset. C’est trop beau!

  8. Teresa Howard says

    My Husband and I have just returned from Vanuatu from a 7 night Cristmas break.
    This was our third time there. We love it so much we plan on retiring there as soon as we can.
    The people are so beautiful and friendly. Our children can\’t wait for us to live there, as it will give them a holiday destination, with free
    We have stayed at Aquana Beach Resort for 2 nights in the past. It\’s a wonderful relaxing place.
    Just paradise!

  9. bryan death says

    Thats why we live here

  10. My family and I lived in Efate for over 3 years and I can honestly say it is a spectacular place to grow up in but as a child (between 7 and 11 years old) I took it for granted.

    I went to Port Villa Central Primary and remember the Queens Silver Jubilee very well. The helicopter sweetie drop over the cricket ground in particular. I learnt to swim in a tropical sea alongside Nemo and his exotic buddies, thinking this was perfectly normal.

    We had hurricanes, cyclones and earthquakes – all normal. Snorkelling in the field at the end of our lane after a massive hurricane flood – perfectly normal. Walking up the volcano in Tanna (2 steps forward and 1 step back in the black volcanic ash) only to have rocks the size of our jeep spewed out at us – also I thought was normal.

    Catamaran racing at the local yacht club, and swimming with sharks – all normal. Going to Black sands and Mele beach every day after school in a red Mini Moke – all exciting but completely normal. There was never anyone on the beaches and we’d play in the water for hours or spear fish and BBQ on the sands. Freshly caught fish was our tea on many occasion.

    The tribal ceremonies, lap lap and bishlama, all things I remember well. Geckos and big hairy spiders. My parent’s ex-pat parties, getting ticks, my brother’s pyromaniac antics, the house maid teaching me how to ‘clack’ gum, talking/dancing parrots, fresh coconuts and pineapples in the garden. Collecting snails and pouring salt on them – Dad didn’t like them on his veggie patch 🙂 Oh the memories!

    I have wanted to go back for over 30 years and now, my childhood friend, who also grew up there, has invited me to her wedding on the Island – yipppeeeee!!! I get to go back and take my son too.

    But shall return to the UK after the celebrations?

    I know what I want to do!

  11. It\’s good thing that you had a second chance to redo Vanuatu! This place looks incredibly gorgeous. I can see why you want at least a full week to explore the major islands of the country. Aside from Vanuatu, was there any other country or place that exceeded your expectations the second time around you visited?

  12. Thanks for the inspiration! Looking even more forward to my Vanuatu trip now. 🙂

  13. Moana A King says

    Lee have you been to Samoa?

  14. Tracey Henriksen says

    We just spent a week in Vanuatu. We split our time between Efate and Tanna. We love Vanuatu so much. People are happy and it feels safe. We stayed at Poppy’s On the Lagoon in Vila and Whitegrass on Tanna. I can highly recommend going up to see the Yakel Kastom Village if you ever go back to Tanna. It was a definite highlight for the entire family.

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