Activities

Diving & Snorkelling

Local dive sites feature wrecks, coral reefs, deep drop-offs, thermal vents, caverns and swim-throughs. These include the Cathedral, a warren of underwater holes, stipples and tunnels; Paul’s Rock, with sheer walls of coral down an extinct submarine volcano; small plane wrecks; and the Star of Russia, an iron-hulled schooner with masts and hull still intact that’s home to thousands of colourful fish. Hideaway and Tranquillity are popular island dive sites.

Introductory dives start at 8000VT, double dives for certified divers from 11,000VT and gear hire from 1500VT per dive. Transfers, boat trips and meals are extra. All operators offer Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) courses from 32,000VT.

Fishing

Vanuatu has some fabulous game-fishing opportunities and there are numerous experienced operators who will take you out for a half day, full day or liveaboard charter. Most big game fishing is on a tag-and-release basis.

Swimming & Surfing

Surfers can get up-to-date info on www.surf-forecast.com. The best surf is down Pango way (between Breakers Beach Resort and Pango Point), along Devil's Point Rd or at Erakor Island. There's good swimming at Hideaway and Erakor islands.

Sleeping

Port Vila has by far the greatest range of accommodation in Vanuatu, from backpacker boltholes to five-star resorts.

Drinking & Nightlife

Port Vila has a few atmospheric waterfront bars and an abundance of kava bars with bamboo walls and earthen floors; unlike on some outer islands women are usually welcomed. The sunset kava cup (small/large 50/100VT), served in a coconut shell or plastic bowl, is a ritual.

Entertainment

Most large resorts feature a Melanesian show at least once a week that includes buffet meal, kava tasting, string bands and kastom dancers. Prices range from 2400VT to 4500VT. The tourist office has a list.

There are casinos at the Grand Hotel and Holiday Inn.

Shopping

Apart from the markets, you’ll find a number of shops selling duty-free products on Lini Hwy. They’re reasonable for alcohol, perfume, fine china and jewellery. On cruise-ship days, prices at souvenir shops are known to unofficially increase.