Starting our travel blog with a blast from the past, we visited Vanuatu for our honeymoon after being married on destination in Fiji back in 2013 and we would love to go back.
After staying in luxurious island resorts for our wedding in Fiji we had to rein it in a little for the honeymoon so we chose to stay in the town of Port Vila, in a 3 star hotel. If you want to do Vanuatu on a budget, Moorings is great choice. Complete with a pool overlooking the ocean, a real shack bar also on the waters edge and restaurant under the stars on the sand it's got that whole Gilligans Island vibe to it. Super Cute and memorable. Perfectly situated on the edge of town, we just needed to stand at our open air reception hut and hail down a local bus/taxi driver and have a vatu ready. please note they have undergone some recent renovations to the bar area.
We enjoyed a drink with the locals at our beach shack style bar, we had a beautiful view of the ocean from our pool and everyone was friendly. We only had to walk to the main street, to fresh food markets and restaurants and bars. Local drivers were always going past ready to make a good deal, so if you're planning on travelling make sure you hit these guys up for cheap ways to get around the island.
Day 1. Mele Cascade Falls
This is still a huge highlight of all the places I have ever been! If you love a good waterfall and somewhere you can swim this place is just gorgeous! There is a bit of a mighty trek up high enough to enjoy it but I guarantee you will be glad you did! The atmosphere was a little confusing, for a tourist destination there were zero people around, at times we were a little worried about being on the wrong path turns out, we were just lucky! We had the place almost to ourselves! Our only mistake being with no one in sight, no means of communication and not knowing what time we wanted to leave, (completely against the advice of my newly married husband), I had told the driver not to worry about coming back for us!! #Stillsorrydan!
This resulted in us on an endless hike with buses passing us and trucks with local kids piled on back with every attempt to flag someone down to fail, actually I still don't remember being picked up at all! Here we were in a foreign country passing community after community in muggy, mosquito infested heat after one of the best mornings ever to wondering if we were going to ever get back to town! If you're travelling here Tip #1 tell your driver to come back!
I think I vaguely remember being picked up now as we asked to go to another destination nearby and ended up having the afternoon in the Beach Bar
This bar was also one of my favourites, I'm more of a bar hopper than a café enthusiast so I've seen my fair share.. this one is memorable to say the least. The bar is housed out of an old shipping container and has an open beach vibe with only a wooden hut for weather protection, funky bathrooms coming from old sheds were incredibly surprising with beautiful pebble feature walls and grand free standing stone top basins.
Greeted by a barman with a huge personality we saw a sign to pat "Rango" for a small fee, he brought out the worlds most stunning reptile which crawled through our hair and sat on our hands and brought us so much grounding after the morning we had in uncertainty toward each following my poor judgment call! We chilled out with a game of open air beach pool, had lunch and headed for Hideaway for snorkelling.
The resort also felt completely isolated and secluded and while there were people snorkelling it still felt like it was almost just us in the entire country. Now Hideaway is also home to the only underwater post office in the world, where you can send a waterproof post card to your loved ones anywhere across the globe, this was a lot of fun and a great photo op! We experienced some of the most gorgeous snorkelling and the most vibrant sea life. After visiting we couldn't wait to head straight back to town to arrange our first dive tour in Vanuatu.
We had been stinging to get our tanks back on so Dan was stoked with our planned trip and it was off to bed ready for early start. We opted for two dives and had our first exploring the corals around the bay according to the experts recommendations, I have to say I was pretty upset with the state of the waters where we went to. There was a lot of bleaching and the marine life was quite scarce, sometimes weather conditions can affect this and I think you could feel the disappointment with the instructors so they offered us another site for the group to agree on because of the weather and visibility. A wreck dive won the vote and sparked the group back up. This became one of our greatest dives to date as it is actually our only shipwreck dive to date, it was pretty impressive for us.
The instructors were amazing and went above and beyond, obviously knowing the site quite well they told us to go through particular doors, steer the ship, picked up some tea cups and a kettle for us to have our under sea tea party and they really did make our day. They made me feel entirely comfortable at all times as I'm notorious for not being able to control my buoyancy, so I was a bit of a nervous wreck inside the ship, pardon the pun.
We came back from the dive made it local day, diving can wipe you quite a bit and I get a bit sea sick upon resurfacing so it was markets, dinner and drinks at our resort and another early night while I headed to bed after dinner and Dan had Kava Staffies with the waitstaff.
Another day another adventure so we decided to hop on a boat to another island, Irririki sits just off the coast of Port Vila and you can head there for the day by boat to use their restaurants, pools, bar and enjoy their coastal paradise, so we headed over for lunch, again feeling very isolated, please someone tell me if they ever felt crowded in this country because I am yet to find somewhere busy beside If you want somewhere close to town, to visit an island and have a bit of everything at your door step, Irririki is probably the one, we saw people getting around this larger resort on golf carts and there were all sorts of accommodation options.
That night we booked a cultural experience at the Melanesian Hotel in Port Vila which included a traditional buffet feast, Kava Tasting and a show, this was actually the busiest spot we were in on the entire trip! We met a table of Aussies who were nice enough to share their table and offered to take photos of us when dragged up to dance in the show. A bunch of fun and you need to see at least one in your travels.
It came to our very last day on the island and we headed back to town to see what else was on offer, we came across a small tour company and it seemed like there was a lot of local competition so we sought out the cheapest option which also meant again for us... we were completely on our own! We were taken by a local on a small van all around the lower parts of the island, we visited the blue lagoon, had a go on the rope swing, visited the turtle rehabilitation centre and headed back past another resort where we stopped in for lunch, again where we were completely alone... To Be Honest its been some time since I even really thought about this trip and the craziest part I think is not even realising at the time that it was always just us!
If you are planning on visiting I can only speak for the Vila part of the island and for us the places we managed to visit, we dodged all the crowds and managed to have a sensational experience on maybe 500dollars for the week. Vanuatu is most definitely worth the visit even if you escape to luxury for the last part of your trip this sites deserve to be seen and I'm so glad we did things the way we did!
Title Image from stuff.co.nz