Travel

Embrace Island Life With Our Ultimate Vanuatu Travel Guide

From beachside bungalows to the Blue Holes, we've got your itinerary covered.
Loading the player...

Growing up in the early 2000s, summer break was often filled with tales of your closest friends venturing on a cruise with their family to a tropical island. 

While many island neighbours, such as Fiji or New Caledonia, often rated a mention, there was arguably no destination more popular for an island getaway than Vanuatu. 

WATCH: Vanuatu Welcome Video. Article continues after video. 

Although Vanuatu may be best known by Australians as a popular cruise destination, the tropical archipelago has much more to offer than just a quick beach-side stopover. 

With 83 islands and over 110 unique cultures and languages, Vanuatu is home to many life-changing experiences that it can be difficult to decide where to begin your adventure. 

If you need some inspiration for your island itinerary, we’ve got you covered! Scroll down to read our top Vanuatu recommendations for accommodation, activities, flights, and food. 

vanuatu-dancers
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Where to stay in Vanuatu

nasama-resort
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Nasama Resort, Port Vila

Situated on the edge of Port Vila’s picturesque coastline, Nasama Resort is located a short 20-minute drive from Port Vila Bauerfield International Airport. 

The resort is home to an assortment of oceanfront one-bedroom suites, two-bedroom apartments, and over 30 self-contained studio apartments; making Nasama an excellent choice for both families embracing a tropical getaway and solo travellers ready to soak up the sunshine. 

All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, free wifi, and a full kitchen. For those wanting a break from cooking, the resort boasts two on-site restaurants, Cafe Vila and Three Pigs, with both sporting views of Nasama Resort’s exclusive private beach. 

aore-island-resort-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Aore Island Resort, Espiritu Santo

After going viral on TikTok for its idyllic oceanfront facade, Aore Island Resort is a must-stay for those seeking to immerse themselves in an authentic island experience. 

Located a 15-minute ferry ride off the coast of Espiritu Santo, Aore Island Resort is renowned for its true off-the-grid experience, with rooms sporting undisrupted views of the island’s flourishing gardens and waterfront in place of a television. 

With complimentary snorkel and kayak hire, Aore Island’s crystal-clear oceanfront quickly transforms into a hub of activity, with thriving coral reefs and vibrant sea life located directly in front of the resort’s beach-view bungalows. 

grand-hotel-casino-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Grand Hotel & Casino, Port Vila

For travellers searching for modern luxury, Grand Hotel & Casino offers an array of modern conveniences coupled with an authentic island resort experience. 

Located in the heart of Port Vila, each room of the Grand Hotel & Resort Casino showcases unmatched views of Port Vila’s harbour and the neighbouring Iririki Island. 

Whether you’re after casual drinks by the Cabana Pool Bar or a waterfront business meeting at one of the hotel’s many conference spaces, the Grand Hotel & Casino caters for a variety of travellers. 

Things to do in Vanuatu

Leweton-cultural-village
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Leweton Cultural Village, Luganville

Located a five-minute drive from the centre of Luganville, Leweton Cultural Village offers guests the opportunity to immerse themselves in the ancient customs and culture of the Ni-Vanuatu. 

After entering the village, visitors are immediately greeted by the children of Leweton before being guided towards traditional men’s and women’s huts. 

Following a tour of the village and a tasting of traditional kava, guests are then treated to a one-of-a-kind performance by the women of the village; showcasing the hypnotic sounds of Vanuatu water music. 

mount-hope-float-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Mount Hope Float Tour, Espiritu Santo

Following a one-hour journey seated in the back of a ute, the Mount Hope Float Tour offers a unique river-rafting experience, with your body and a life vest serving as a raft. 

After flowing single-file down the freshwater river, visitors then climb the Mount Hope Cascade Waterfall before embarking on a trail walk through Vanuatu’s rich rainforest. 

Travel Tip: Be sure to bring a pair of Crocs/reef walkers and a rash shirt for the journey, as the river is home to a number of sharp rocky surfaces and colder temperatures.

nanda-blue-hole-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Nanda Blue Hole, Espiritu Santo

The island of Espiritu Santo is home to three natural swimming pools known as the Blue Holes.

Drawing their signature sapphire colour from the rich minerals in the submerged limestone, the Blue Holes have quickly become one of the must-see tourist destinations in Vanuatu. 

While the Matevulu Blue Hole may be the largest and most popular swimming spot, the Nanda Blue Hole is a quieter alternative that offers equal amounts of natural beauty. 

Home to multiple species of marine life, the 13-metre-deep marine oasis is the perfect snorkelling spot for families due to its high visibility and warmer waters. 

champagne-beach-santo
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Champagne Beach, Espiritu Santo

One hour’s drive from the heart of Luganville lies the postcard-perfect Champagne Beach. 

Dubbed Champagne Beach due to the bubbling effect caused by the combination of fresh and salt water, the beach is home to some of the clearest and most vibrant blue waters in Vanuatu. 

Champagne Beach is also surrounded by a number of small cafes and shaded picnic areas for a truly relaxing day at the beach. 

If a day by Champagne Beach isn’t enough, Santo Heritage Tours offers a highlights itinerary which includes stops at Champagne Beach, the Blue Holes, and Port Olry. 

tanna-coffee-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Tanna Coffee, Port Vila

What was once home to Vanuatu’s first Catholic mission church is now home to Vanuatu-grown Tanna Coffee. 

Once inside the roastery, visitors are able to get up close and personal with the coffee-making process, including the production of Tanna Coffee’s multiple 100% pure Arabica roasts. 

Following the tour, visitors can sample the Tanna Coffee blends at the on-site cafe, with the menu sporting a number of Australian cafe classics. 

83-islands-rum-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

83 Islands Distillery, Port Vila

Crafted from local sugarcane and processed in-house, 83 Islands Distillery is a must-visit for any rum connoisseurs hoping to expand their palette. 

Following a tour of the mountain-top facility, visitors are welcomed into the on-site bar for a tasting of 83 Islands’ various rum, gin, and liqueurs. 

With flavours ranging from dark cocoa to local pomelo fruit, 83 Islands offers a unique culinary experience coupled with pristine scenery. 

The distillery also places an emphasis on sustainability, with many of the fermentation barrels being reused or repurposed from distilleries across the globe. 

Where to eat in Vanuatu

cafe-vila-vanuatu-cocktails
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Cafe Vila & Three Pigs, Nasama Resort

Located in the coastal Nasama Resort, Cafe Vila offers a combination of local cuisine and Australian cafe favourites.

With full table service and multiple-course meals, Cafe Vila offers a low-key oceanside dining experience. 

For guests after a quick bite, a short walk over to Nasama’s Three Pigs offers a wide variety of Mexican-inspired nibbles and bistro standards. 

banyan-beach-bar-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Banyan Beach Bar, Port Vila

If wood-fired pizza and a beer on the beach is what you’re after, Banyan Beach Bar in central Port Vila is the perfect dinner spot. 

With tables situated in the sand on Banyan’s private beach, the bar offers a variety of Australian beer, wine, and spirits, as well as local beverage options. 

port-vila-markets-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Port Vila Markets, Port Vila

You can’t visit Vanuatu without sampling some of the local cuisine, and there is no better place to immerse yourself in the local flavours than the city’s largest markets.

After visiting the vast number of stalls offering an extensive array of local produce, pull up a chair in the Port Vila Market’s central undercover space before ordering one of the many traditional dishes on offer. 

Travel Tip: For those wanting a quick bite that is light and filling, be sure to order a manioc wrap, filled with your choice of beef, chicken, fish, or vegetables. If you’re hungry for a larger meal, order lap lap; Vanuatu’s national dish. 

Flights to Vanuatu

virgin-australia-plane-vanuatu
(Credit: Virgin Australia)

Flights from Australia 

For Aussies ready to answer the call of Vanuatu, Virgin Australia is now operating direct services between Brisbane and Port Vila, with a total flight time of just over two hours. 

Virgin Australia’s newly relaunched Brisbane-Port Vila route now operates up to five times per week, with extensive connecting flights through Australian domestic airports. 

All Virgin Australia flights to Vanuatu include Velocity Frequent Flyer Points and Velocity offers, with Velocity members also able to redeem points on accommodation throughout Vanuatu in full or by using Points + Pay. 

unity-air-charter-vanuatu
(Credit: Vanuatu Tourism Office)

Flights within Vanuatu

If you’re planning on island hopping, Unity Airlines offers a dedicated charter from Port Vila to a number of Vanuatu’s 83 islands; including popular destinations Espiritu Santo and Tanna. 

Unity Airlines also offers a number of fly-by day tours that will take you soaring over some of Vanuatu’s most scenic landscapes. 

Gracie Boyle was a guest of Vanuatu Tourism Office and Virgin Australia. 

Related stories