Port Vila

Travel Guide Oceania Melanesia Vanuatu Port Vila



Port Villa, Vanuatu

Port Villa, Vanuatu

© AlexT

Port Vila is the capital and largest settlement in the island nation of Vanuatu. It has a population of about 40,000 inhabitants. The city is located on the south coast of the island of Efate and is the commercial centre of Vanuatu. The area where Port Vila is located nowadays has been inhabited by Melanesian people for thousands of years and these days functions as an important port and trade centre for the country. Also, most people who arrive in Vanuatu independently spend a few days here before moving on to the islands and beaches.



Sights and Activities

  • Iririki Island is visible from the waterfront of Port Vila and easily accessed by a courtesy ferry which will have you there in minutes! It is home to a Resort and Spa, but you do not need to be guest to visit this lovely island. There are water activities galore, including rental for kayaks, jet-skis and windsurfers, and some of the best snorkeling around!
  • Port Vila Market runs every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 6:00am through to 1:30pm selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, to local handicrafts. Be aware that prices of everything in Port Vila tends to go up by around 50% on days when the cruise ships come to town bringing hundreds of tourists to this otherwise slow-paced city so remember to do your big purchases on other days (haggling is not custom here).
  • Mele Cascades are approximately a 12-kilometre drive from Port Vila, and easily accessible on local minibus taxis, though remember to ask your driver to come back to get you as it is not easy to hail public transport back again. It is a perfect examples of a tropical waterfall setting, with pools deep enough to wade in.
  • You simply cannot go to Vanuatu without Scuba-diving or at very least snorkeling in some of the clearest water and surrounded by colourful fish and sea-life. There are numerous dive and snorkel tour operators in Port Vila so be sure to stop in and see what they can offer.



Events and Festivals

Check the Events and Festivals Website for an overview.

  • John Frum Day - John Frum is a mythical figure associated with a cargo cult which arose on Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Usually depicted as a WWII soldier from the US, John Frum is said to bring wealth and prosperity to those who believe in him. Every year, usually in March, a military parade is held in his honor, signifying that this non-violent cult is still quite active today.
  • ANZAC Day - ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and ANZAC Day, April 25, commemorates the day when Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought and died in the battle of Gallipoli against the Ottoman Empire in WWI. The Australian and New Zealand high commissions hold a joint event every year in Port Vila to celebrate the lives of the ANZAC troopers.
  • Fête de la Musique - As with many other cities around the world, June 21st sees performances from both amateur and professional musicians showcasing their talent at different venues across the towns of Port Vila and Luganville. Musical artists donate their time for free and spectators come to see the show free-of-charge.
  • Saint Andrew Festival - The Saint Andrew Festival is a Christian festival in Vanuatu that has been infused with local indigenous traditions. In the Banks region, locals from Rah and Mota Lava have been coming together for more around 100 years now in this festival celebrating the life of Saint Andrew, the Apostle. The three-day event sees both locals and visitors in large festivities and feasts featuring food cooked by geothermal energy. The festival is held every November 29.




Port Vila has a pleasant tropical climate with hot and humid conditions but the sea breeze is welcome. November to May is the hotter season when most of the rain falls as well. Rain can fall in every month on the other hand and even the driest months averages 20 days of some rainfall. Rainfall averages about 2,360 millimetres per year, and the wettest month is April. The driest month is September. There are 113 wet days in an average year. The area also has south-east trade winds. During the June to October period it gets slightly cooler with daytime temperatures around 26 °C and night temperatures even dropping a few degrees below 20 °C.

Avg Max30.3 °C30.2 °C29.9 °C28.9 °C27.7 °C26.7 °C25.9 °C26.1 °C26.7 °C27.8 °C28.9 °C29.7 °C
Avg Min23.4 °C23.6 °C23.4 °C22.5 °C21.3 °C20.5 °C19.5 °C19.3 °C19.6 °C20.6 °C21.7 °C22.4 °C
Rainfall295.8 mm311.8 mm330.4 mm215 mm151.2 mm161.3 mm102.8 mm100.5 mm87.2 mm116.6 mm153.7 mm195.8 mm
Rain Days202021181715141411131416



Getting There

By Plane

The national carrier of Vanuatu is Air Vanuatu and most flights arrive at Bauerfield International Airport (VLI) near Port Vila. International destinations with Air Vanuatu include Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Nouméa and Sydney. Fiji Airways flies to/from Nadi in Fiji and Honiara in the Solomon Islands. Other airlines serving Port Vila are Aircalin based in New Caledonia and serving Noumea as well, Air New Zealand serving Auckland, and Pacific Blue serving Brisbane. Fiji Airways is the best way to connect to North America and Japan.

Domestic destinations with Air Vanuatu include Aniwa, Craig Cove, Dillon's Bay, Emae, Ipota, Lamap, Lamen Bay, Longana, Lonorore, Luganville, Norsup, Paama, Sara, Sota, South West Bay, Tanna, Tongoa, Torres, Ulei, Valesdir and Walaha.

By Boat

Many cruise ships visit Port Vila and cruises are a very popular way of exploring Vanuatu and the surrounding Islands.



Getting Around

By Car

Taxis are plentiful within Port Vila. Fare is calculated per taxi. There are standard fares for journeys to and from the airport to most accommodation around Port-Vila a list of which should be available in the arrivals section of the airport (1500VT to the city centre). Around Port Vila, taxi's can be hailed for journeys. Price is calculated by a meter, and is usually around 500vt for short journeys.

By Public Transport

In Port Vila the buses are van and mini-buses with a red B on the left side of the number plate. They largely traverse the main road take you directly to your destination. There are no scheduled services and are perhaps best thought of as cheap, but shared taxis. Wave at them to stop one heading in the direction you want to go. They are plentiful within the city and outside the city you can usually arrange for a bus to meet you at a particular time. If one looks full, just wait for the next one. The buses are used by locals, but are very friendly, cheap, and easy to use by tourists. Fares are usually calculated per person. The cost is usually 150 vatu per person unless you are traveling a longer distance, e.g. Mele Cascades - in which case expect to pay 200 vatu per person. There are significantly fewer buses on the road on Sundays.

There are also smaller vans travelling in and around Port Vila, which travel certain routes and are generally safe and the cheapest way to get around. For 100 Vatu they will take you one way to where ever you need to go along their route. To get on board you simply find a marked stop along the main road and when a white van drives past flag it down and pay the 100 Vatu.




A trip to Port Vila, Vanuatu, is not complete without a night out at French Restaurant and Piano Bar L'Houstalet, on Elluk Road, Port Vila. It is one of the most popular casual restaurants on the island since its opening in 1972, where host Clement Martinez will make sure that your night is one to remember! House specialities include escargot, coconut crab, flying fox, pizza, pasta and traditional French desserts. Open for dinner every day, but you might want to call first to make sure there is a table for you!





You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)




Keep Connected


Internet cafes can be found in Luganville & Port-Vila. You may also find that some post offices will also provide some kind of Internet facilities, and can be found on the main streets in Port-Vila and Luganville as well as on Espiritu Santo.


See also International Telephone Calls

The international country code for Vanuatu is +678. To dial overseas from within Vanuatu dial 00 followed by the relevant country code and phone number.

Emergency phone numbers: Ambulance (22-100); Fire (22-333); and Police (22-222).

Vanuatu has GSM mobile coverage in Port-Vila and most GSM mobile phones roam seamlessly. You can buy special visitor SIM cards from TVI, which offer considerable discounts over roaming charges. Available at any post office.


Postal services to overseas countries can take weeks. You can send letters and postcards from mailboxes in the streets, however the incoming postal service can be patchy, especially for parcels, so don't rely on people sending you things while you're staying in Vanuatu.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -17.740391
  • Longitude: 168.320999

Accommodation in Port Vila

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Port Vila searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


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This is version 24. Last edited at 12:26 on Aug 30, 18 by Utrecht. 9 articles link to this page.

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