Set around pretty Vila Bay and a series of lagoons, beaches and offshore islands, Port Vila is a surprisingly compact but energetic town. It's a little rough around the edges, with a few traffic-clogged main streets offering up a supply of souvenirs, markets, and waterfront restaurants and cafes with some lingering French influences. Beneath this veneer is an odd mix of holidaymakers, cruise ship day trippers, expats and yachties, along with ni-Van drawn from all over the archipelago.
This is the liveliest town in Vanuatu, with a mind-boggling array of tours and adventure activities, some excellent restaurants, bars, supermarkets, banks and markets. Vila is a place for comfort over culture, beach bars over basic bungalows – and that's reason enough to stay a while.