Efate Island is the main island of Vanuatu, where the capital Port Vila is situated and is the metropolitan of where majority of commerce and tourism take place.
Efate is also the international gateway to Vanuatu, with six international airlines flying to Port Vila. Regular return flights are scheduled via Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Noumea and the Solomon Islands.
It is also the key departure point for most domestic travel. Visit the Air Vanuatu to check the latest Air Vanuatu domestic timetable to plan routes and connections. Tourists holding a return Air Vanuatu international ticket are also entitled to a 20% discount on domestic fares.
The island has a rugged coastline and rolling verdant countryside, fast flowing rivers, cascading waterfalls, isolated sandy bays and lagoons. The interior is verdant rain forest cut only by a few walking tracks to remote weather and radio beacons.
There are numerous types of accommodation scattered around Efate Island, such as Beachcomber and Bethel, including newly built resorts, or for just a day trip in mind, you can hire a car or take a bus or an aircraft around the island. Cruises offer day and over night charters to the nearby islands of Hat, Pele, Moso, Nguna, Lelepa and Kakula.
The capital, Port Vila, located 10 minutes from one of Vanuatu's two international airports, is set around a magnificent natural harbour offering stunning views of Iririki and Ifira islands, and a look out all the way to Malapoa Point.
Vila is a pretty town. Clean and uncluttered, the waterfront area is unpolluted, visitors are stunned to look down from the seawall and see live corals and tropical fish.
It's also fast becoming known as the gourmet capital of the South Pacific. The potpourri of expatriate cultures is reflected in food styles served in over forty restaurants and cafes. You can buy an Aussie meat pie or American chili dog, sip cappuccino in one of the many outdoor cafés or purchase paté or salads from a French patisserie in a supermarket to fill your picnic hamper.
Night life in Vila has blossomed steadily. The atmosphere is fun and laid back, and is caterd, for all ages, by resort hotels, nightclubs, pubs, several casinos and more. You can stroll along the waterfront, or darkened back streets late at night and feel safe. Passing locals are likely to wish you a soft 'goodnight', or perhaps strike up a friendly conversation.
Shopping is fun, easy going, and hassle free! There's no such thing as a hard sell or pushy salesman. Prices are fixed and bargaining or tipping is not a part of the friendly lifestyle.
Epi is a peaceful island with beautiful white sandy coves, many white and some black sand beaches, and inshore reefs. The interior is the rugged terrain of recent volcanic activity covered with lush rainforest. There are several small lakes where you can fish and swim and may get a chance to see wild birds, wild pigs and cows.
The coastal area is very fertile and covered with coconut plantations. People live scattered around the coast and very few vehicular roads exist, including ones to tourist accommodation, which typically consist of a simple, but comfy, guest house right on the beach.
There are two airstrips on the western coast, one at Valesdir to the south and the other at Lamen Bay, to the north. Valesdir is a plantation and in the 1920's colonial heydays, it had its own currency. From Valesdir, it is a 6km walk to the Imao Lakes, known for their wild ducks.
Namuka Island, an uninhabited islet off the southern shore of Epi offers white sand beaches, clear water, coral and a fringing reef.
Top things to do
You can book your tours with RedVanuatu Vanuatu’s one stop tour booking site where you can research, compare and book Vanuatu’s top tour activities.
Eton Beach and Crystal Blue Lagoon beach are a must. Though they're a fair drive out of town (45 minutes) out of town, the end result is rewarding. Entry is charged so enquire with your hotel or tour guide.
Cascades & Waterfalls
Go for a refreshing dip at the Mele Cascades and cool off under the sun. You will be surrounded by beautiful evergreen and lush vegetation, you may even swim up for a drink at natures first pool.
Port Vila has a wide range of charters to choose from where you can catch marlin, wahoo, Spanish mackerel, giant trevally and numerous species of Tuna including albacore and yellowfin.
Whether its ocean or river kayaking, Efate has them all.
Dining is deliciously French, European, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Thai, Melanesian and Mediterranean cuisine. Head out into town and indulge away.
Accommodation in Efate range in style from the basic island bungalows and to top end, sophisticated bungalows above the water. Resort or Hotel categories on Efate are Top End, Upmarket, Midrange, Budget and Bungalows. There is something for every taste and budget when on a holiday in Efate.
Most hotels and resorts will organise tours and transfers where required. There are also the local taxi’s which will take you around if you negotiate the rate before setting off. The local buses can be an interesting way to see the town. Bus fares within the greater Port Vila area are 150 VT per trip, and start from 200 VT to villages or areas outside of town, and exact change in most cases is required, for payment. Just flag a bus down, as there are no set schedule in the main town centre.