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What to Do in Port Vila

Vanuatu’s tropical capital, Port Vila, has so much to offer for all kinds of travellers, from families, to couples and everyone in between. We’ve put together a hit list of must visits for next time you’re in town, all within walking distance of each other.

Haos Blong Handikraft

Haos Blong Handikraft is a new marketplace dedicated to selling and promoting authentic handicrafts that are made in Vanuatu. Using techniques that have been passed down generation to generation, the market actively promotes Vanuatu traditions and craftsmanship.

By shopping here, you're not only supporting local communities, but you're helping keep traditions alive.

The stories of the products form part of Vanuatu's unique cultural identity. There are signs from both the Australian and New Zealand governments around the market advising of what to look for when buying goods so that you can safely return with them to your country of origin.

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Port Vila Seafront

The Port Vila Seafront opened in 2017, and connects all the key attractions of Port Vila.

A pleasant, wide walkway (with great views for sunset), it connects most of the key attractions of the city centre, including most of those listed in this article.

It's a great spot to not only get between key sites, but also to sit back and watch the world go by.

There are some great tours that go from the seafront, so whether you're looking to kayak, zego (sea-scooters) or hop into a helicopter, you're truly spoiled for choice.

Port Vila Market House

Port Vila Market House (also known as the mama's markets) is a hive of activity and vibrancy.

It's here that you can buy seasonal produce for a picnic or a healthy snack, with everything from tropical fruits and berries to salads and vegetables, taro, citruses, kumala, local herbs and spices, and fresh flowers available.

The noise, mostly from the chuckles, giggles and laughter, plus a rainbow of colours from all the fruits and vegetables, is a great experience and the produce is fresh and organic.

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Shopping

Whether you're wanting to buy chocolate made from local beans at Aelan or Gaston, fresh bread and delicate pastries from Fournil de Vila (in Tana Russet Plaza) or sit down for a coffee at Nambawan Cafe, you'll find your palate satiated in downtown Port Vila. For gifts, check out Pandanus.

Vanuatu is also known for having some of the cheapest duty free goods in the world. There's a range of duty free outlets in the city centre, all of which have different selections of products (so be sure to shop around for best price, though do not bargain, as this is considered rude). If flying out of Port Vila Airport to your home country, ensure you've made your purchases prior to 10am, prior to your date of international departure (so that your goods will be ready for collection upon departure).

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Banyan Beach Bar

A favourite of locals, the Banyan Beach Bar (located next door to Chantilly's on the Bay) is a great spot to watch the sun set over Port Vila Harbour, with twinkling fairy lights and well-shaken cocktails.

Particularly popular on Fridays and weekends, kick back, and chat with the friendly locals. They may even let you in on some of their favourite spots around Efate and other islands.

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Back to Eden

This one's a little further afield, but at about half an hour out of Port Vila, Back to Eden is truly worth the journey. With a great restaurant, shady spots to sit and watch the ocean lap at the shoreline and some of the best snorkelling off Efate, you'll find yourself easily whiling away an afternoon (or a day!) here.

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Vanuatu Cultural Centre and National Museum

Gain an in-depth understanding of Vanuatu's culture, where you can learn about the indigenous people of the islands, and various aspects of their lives; from sand drawing to music, Naghol to kastom practices and local knowledge.

There are contemporary arts and music that can be experienced throughout the Centre. Wandering through the museum, you'll find yourself learning about what makes Vanuatu the nation that it is, its history, and how its kastom practices form the basis for most of what is seen in modern-day Vanuatu.

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