Discovering Port Vila
The main street of Port Vila passed by as tourists and locals alike stopped and stared as our convoy of mud splattered buggies rumbled along in peak hour.
Where else could you jump in an open-air buggy, be taught the basics of driving and pull out on the right side of the road for an on and off road adventure of beaches, stunning green country-side, local villages and finishing through the main street of town.
My hands were white from gripping the steering wheel so hard, a mix of fear, adrenaline and excitement. My face was covered in dust and as we pulled into the ‘depot’ of Buggy Fun, we jumped out, laughing at the state of each other and desperate for a shower and a ‘happy hour’ debrief.
This is a Port Vila experience far from the typical honeymoon holiday. Our small group had ventured to Vanuatu with plans to adventure our way from Espiritu Santo, to Port Vila and on to experience the gob-smacking Naghol Land Diving on the island of Pentecost.
We had begun our stay at the adult’s only resort, Mangoes, sipping on the local beer Tusker, while we discussed the trip ahead. This evening was our first taste of Vanuatu cuisine. We. Were. Impressed.
It was here we discovered that Vanuatu was going to dish up delicious menus wherever we went, from the tasty beef to the fresh seafood, food was now going to be a big part of our whole adventure.
After we ate our way around Santo, we found ourselves back on Efate, staying at Breakas Beach Resort. This is the sort of place where you immediately feel on holidays. People lounging with cocktails by the pool over-looking the beach and surfers in the distance. Later in the evening couples can be seen dining on the beach by candlelight, the white tablecloths glowing against the blackness of the sea and soft music playing in the background. Yet those of us in Vila with a small group rather than a loved one feel no less welcome and make easy conversation with the other guests at the table next to us.
There is happiness here. We see it amongst the locals and we see it amongst the tourists. People want to be in Vanuatu – and as we sip our cocktails, we know we’re going to find it hard to say goodbye.