The Best of Vanuatu
Discover all that Vanuatu offers on this full day experience when you learn of the native people's customs and culture, visit a school, take a swim at the Blue Lagoon, see waterfalls and taste the flavors of the South Pacific.
An amazing cultural experience awaits when your first stop is made at the Iarofa Cultural Village. See and learn of the history of this island told through the stories of the islanders when the forest provided all they needed to survive and defend themselves from outsiders. Be welcomed by a warriors dance and glimpse the everyday life of these people when you see their dwellings, witness their handcrafts and see what and how they prepare their food. Before your stay is complete you will witness a traditional fire-walk.
You will continue on to the Eton Village and Eton Primary School. In the opinion of the local people, it is not about what they know of their island and heritage, but rather how they let you see it through their eyes and with their passion. The love of country is intertwined with their contagious sense of Melanesian humor and you will see this passed along to the youth of the island.
Continue your day soaking up the sights travelling through the scenic countryside past endless coconut plantations and quaint villages en route to the Blue Lagoon. Fed by a freshwater spring, the lagoon's azure waters and the surrounding rainforest are an unmissable escape from the tropical heat. The easy access to the water is down built-in steps leading into the lagoon.
Next it is lunch time and you will travel to the Aquana Beach Resort. Offering a daily selection of local and international cuisine prepared using the freshest of locally grown produce including Vanuatu's famous organic beef and fresh fish. While at the resort you can also enjoy the use of the amenities.
After lunch you will travel to the Lololima Cascades where you will discover the cascades are located on private property and off the beaten track; therefore not crowded. It is also not open to taxis and service buses and most of the other tour operators. Your reaction to the waterfalls will be one of "breathtakingly beautiful" and you will appreciate its natural beauty and unspoiled surroundings. The Lololima Waterfalls are lesser known than the famous Mele Cascades, even though both are close to the main city of Port Vila. The result of it being less known will enhance your experience and make it seem somehow more intimate. Be prepared for fun and the chance for amazing photos as this waterfall is comprised of a pair of large sloping drops over limestone surfaces with a few smaller plunging tiers offering plenty of opportunities to have a swim or a refreshing dip.
Your day is not over just yet as you will travel next to Port Vila's best city lookout for a photo stop as well as other interesting and historical sights.
You will then drive to the Duty Free shopping area and your transportation will wait while you have the chance to buy souvenirs of your day in Vanuatu.
To finish your day, you will have a true taste of the island with a kava experience and tasting. Kava is a particularly appropriate symbol of Vanuatu's custom and national identity. Several customary techniques, including pounding, grinding, grating, and chewing exist in various Pacific societies to process fresh or dried kava rootstock. In most rural areas of the country, adult men gather at the end of the day to enjoy a coconut shell or two of kava. Unlike Polynesian societies that prescribe a polished etiquette of kava preparation and service wherein drinking order signifies local chiefly hierarchies, Vanuatu's more informal kava drinking practices tend to accentuate male equality - men bring along kava roots and share them with relatives and neighbors. Nearly everyone grows kava; the plant is an essential token in the gift economy. Beyond everyday socializing, kava consumption also joins drinkers to their ancestors and other local spirits and is sometimes considered a sort of sacrifice, a gift to the gods. As Port Vila's busy nakamals grind kava rootstock into 50 and 100 vatu shells of "redimed" drink, they are further processing sacred kava into a cash crop and into a rooted but inventive emblem of cultural identity. Have a tasting of kava and you can leave the island with the knowledge and flavor of what Vanuatu is all about.
Your return to the pier area and your ship is at the Wharf Markets where you can stroll the colorful vendors making your way back on board.
Reviewer: Carol Morgan
The first stop at the cultural village was interesting and educational. The next 2 places, the Cascades and the Blue Lagoon were beautiful and great for the adventurous with multiple swinging ropes to jump into the water and a guided jump from the top of a waterfall. Also at the Cascades was a lovely spot to sit behind the waterfall and look through it. My daughter and I probably spent a bit long at these swimming spots, but we were not on a strict schedule. We had a good lunch at the peaceful Aquana Beach Resort, although there were only western burger choices. After that there was some sightseeing on the drive back to Port Vila and a quick duty free shop where there was some quite cheap alcohol to purchase. Much better value than what we found in Noumea. Our guide Justin was great and spoke clearly and with interest of his area. Our driver Gino drove skillfully.
Reviewer: Anita Bowes
We were very pleased with our guide's knowledge and his good English skills, and pleased to have both a guide and a driver. We covered a lot of the island on our tour and it was a most interesting experience. I would highly recommend this tour. One suggestion is that the guide hold a sign with the company name, as we had some difficulty finding him when we got off the ship.