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“A home away from home” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tara Beach Bungalows

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Tara Beach Bungalows
3.0 of 5 Small Hotel   |   Devil's Point Road | Bukura, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 12 Port Vila B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A home away from home”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

I am still blown away with the generosity and hospitality of Eric and this family at Tara Beach Resort. If you're looking for an authentic Ni-Vanuatu experience, then Tara Beach is definitely the way to go. Even before our holiday began, Eric was very accommodating and informative in regards to anything we needed to know about the Island, weather and attractions. When we arrived, we were welcomed with a big smile at the airport by Thomas. Further to this, upon arriving at the resort, we enjoyed free welcome cocktails with Lulu and a couple of local songs as well as an opportunity to feed the tropical fish off the jetty with Mama Lei. They even told us about a local fire dancing performance that was happening that night and offered to drop us off and pick us up.

The Bungalows sit a short stone’s throw from the coastline. There's nothing better than falling asleep waking up to the gentle sound of the ocean lapping at the shore. No alarms, no timeframes, no work.... just wake up when you wake up! Breakfast is ready, with an array of options including cereal, toast, French pastries, fresh fruit and eggs. They helped us plan our day, again offering a ride to and from our various destinations.

There are so many memories to reminisce about, especially due to sharing a trip around the Island of Efate with Eric and Vince. Playing Tarzan jumping into the water at the Blue Lagoon, 'Tepuru maro te vava', lunch at Eton Beach, a trip down the river with a local in traditional dress, hearing familiar songs from home at the mineral pools and Mud wrestling nah, haha (Mud bath) at the Thermal mud pools. All made extra special because we could share the memories with Eric and Vince who we now consider as brothers.

We loved sharing stories with the whole Tara Beach family and enjoyed learning about the language differences and their customary practices. Visiting the local village with Lulu; Matua Sala's singing; making (and eating) an umu with Mama Lesley; being 'saved' ;) by Juliette; and being 'more' than just a tourist, made our trip even more enjoyable. All of this was made possible due to Eric and his family and Tara Beach.

The bungalow had everything that we needed. It was tidy, inviting, warm, homely and safe! We cannot thank Tara Beach Resort for their warmth, friendliness and generosity. You over and above the call of duty! You made my first overseas trip such a positive and awesome experience! E kore mutu, whenua kē te rere o ngā mihi ki a koutou. Haramai ki Aotearoa, mā mātou koutou e manaaki :)

Michelle, Taaks, Mihiwai and Kararaina

Room Tip: All rooms are awesome but Bungalow 1 is closer to the dining room :)
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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123 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    66
    41
    7
    5
    4
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

100% enjoyed my stay at Tara beach the people are so welcoming and caring myself along with 3 friends felt so safe so relaxed and overall real happy!

If anything i highly recomend this place to anyone who is looking at accomadation wilse in Port Vila you wont be disapointed!

Everything was perfect & we cant thank the Vatoko matarau (family) along with the rest of the staff enough! In Māori theres a saying " kaore i ko atu i a koutou mo te manaaki manuhiri" there is no other like you Tara Beach that can accomadate, look after, feed care & make visitors/someone feel so at home like the way you all done for us"

He mihi mutungakore -endless thanks to you all! X

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2013

I have to fully support what Kararaina has said.....best holiday ever...people were friendly and went out of their way to make us feel at home...and help us out....and knowing that it was owned by a local family made me feel great just knowing that it was keeping everything in the communitly......with the pickup and drop off service it allowed me to feel safe and not have to worry about how we were going to get back to the resort....which meant that all I had to do all day is relax and enjoy the sites Vanuatu had to offer....and with it being located out of town meant that we didn't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of other people if we didnt want to.....brekkie was the best ever.......Im still working off the extra kgs from the cereal, pastries, fresh fruit and eggs on toast that we had every morning.....the resort was beautiful and I would reccomend it to anybody.....we will definitely be back again.....thanks all you guys:):)

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wellington, New Zealand
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

This family run resort goes over and above to look after their guests. They made us feel at home and comfortable especially to be in a country far away from home.

They dropped us off and picked us up from wherever we wanted to go. The island tour they took us on was amazing. They took the time out to allow us to visit places and to take photos etc...

They are friendly and willing to help. They helped us plan what we wanted to do before we arrived via email and when we were there as well. They are happy to answer questions and lead us in the right direction with where to go and what to do. I enjoyed the stories and local history they shared with us when we asked.

I was blown away with how much breakfast we got everyday as apart of the staying there.

The resort was always clean and tidy and I liked how there is always security onsite, walking around at night time. I would recommened this resort to everyone. I have been telling everyone to come and stay here and I can't wait to come back.

I loved their dog Rocky, he is very friendly and even he helped us to feel at home. He would walk with us to our bungalow and wait while we caught up and then wait on the deck until we got there. When we arrived he was walking everywhere as if he was showing us where to go and what we can do there.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou Eric, Vince, Thomas, Lulu, Mama Lesley, Sala, Mama, Juliett, Rocky and to the 2 security. You guys made our holiday the best one we have ever had!

Arohanui from all of us in Aotearoa Kararaina, Mihiwai, Michelle and Taakahi xXx
Come to Aotearoa so we can give back the amazing hospitatily as you have shown us.

Room Tip: Any room is beautiful
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2013

Will not repeat what other similar minded folk have already said - this place is simply about sharing our humanity and being reminded of what is truly important. People are poor, plain and simple - by "family/locally owned", you quickly come to realise Tara is an important source of income for a large number of people in nearby Mele village. Do the village and school visit to see what I mean by poor. And then if you still need them, here are some useful tips:

1. Hot water. Not an issue for us but hot water can be supplied by the couple of gas bottles that are around, if they are at the back of your bungalow, you will have hot water, if not, you won't but just ask. A "communal" hot shower is available in one of the villas at the end that is not rented out.
2. Fridge, kettle, coffee, tea, milk and sugar were supplied in our villa, if not there, just ask.
3. Linen and towels are hand washed - I found that quite humbling! So not NapiSan white and fluffy but who cares!
4. If drawers etc..are not cleaned to your standard, just ask that they be done, I did not use the ones in my room so it did not bother me, other family did, so had them cleaned out for use.
5. The ute or van are the best and cheapest way to get around, let Eric or Lulu know what your plans are for the next day and they will jiggle everyone's needs, island time applies because they only have the two vehicles. If timing is critical, just tell them.
6. Beach is rocky and exposed to prevailing SW wind, unfortunately made it too choppy to snorkel or kayak with children so a little disappointing not to be able to snorkel off the beach. Solved by going to other spots on the island that were more sheltered. Adult neighbours did manage to snorkel and stand up kayak.
7. Bikes not available and snorkelling gear is limited, best to bring your own. They simply cannot afford to replace them if lost or damaged. Just how it is.
8. Breakfast: tea, instant coffee, milo, all sorts of juices, fresh fruit, cooked eggs, toast and speads, French pastries.
9. Dinner: Let them know in advance if you will eat in as otherwise kitchen staff go home early - lovely, basic food, garlic prawns (prawns in garlic sauce, served with steamed rice and fresh veggies, spag bol, fish and (great) chips, hot dogs and chips (= breakfast type sausages in french bread) etc...great after a long day trip when you do not feel like heading out to eat.
10. Must dos (other than village and school trip): The Cascades (just stunning), Pele Island, Blue lagoon, Fire dancing at Beach Bar (also good food and short trip from Tara), half a day to wander around Port Vila markets and shops. Useful gifts at the village and school are pencils, crayons, rubbers, sharpeners and yes, the inevitable lollies went down really well!
11. Note the coral destruction by the crown of thorn starfish is evident in many places around the island, we tried snorkelling at Hideaway and Iririki and found it a little disappointing. Best snorkelling in terms of fish for us at Pele, but again coral destruction evident.

So dear Eric, it is over a month since we were at Tara and the children still say how much they miss it. The best part for them they say was "the village and school visit... and going around in the back of the ute with Eric" ... Who needs flash resorts for the simple pleasures in life?!

I wish you and your family all the very best and cannot thank you enough for your tremendous kindness.

Christina Neubert

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bendigo
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2013

Thank you to Eric, Lulu, Vince, Sala, Mumma in the kitchen, Johndy & maintenance staff for their service & friendship. They really made our holiday a special experience. No request was too hard. Breakfast was excellent every morning including local fresh fruit & coffee. Snorkelling great right out your front door.
A special thanks to Lulu for our village tour. All in all a wonderful holiday.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2013

We have chosen Tara not only as accommodation but we also asked Eric to arrange our beach/ Vanuatu style wedding. We knew already from other guests reviews how the stay will look like : bungalows located a little bit outside of Villa but right at the beach, great snorkeling, fish feeding, kayaking, big breakfast included, free airport pick up,etc.
Tara also offers affordable wedding package which turned out to be as well prepared, exceptional and beautiful as the one you can get from an expensive resort. Eric was discussing with me via e-mail many details of our ceremony. Whole Tara crew and people from Mele village arranged the most memorable wedding we could dream of. We felt very special that day and so did our family and guests. Once you are in Tara you feel like part of the family, you meet Lulu at the breakfast and evening if you go to have some kava, you drive around with Vince, listen to Sala's songs, eat Mama's Laplap ... :) If we will be back to Efate we will definitely come back to Tara again!

Room Tip: We stayed at numbawan bungalow which seam to be one of the best.
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tara Beach Bungalows

Address: Devil's Point Road | Bukura, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 B&Bs / Inns in Port Vila
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Tara Beach Bungalows 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tara Beach is absolute beach front situated on 12 lush acres fronting picturesque Mele Bay, Efate, Vanuatu. With crystal clear, safe waters at your doorstep, we are the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking, swimming and getting away from it all for a while. We also have a chilled out open air bar / cafe known as the Beach Hut that is also open to day visitors and locals. Located about 15 mins from town & 10 mins to the airport, we provide free airport transfers for guests. All bungalows have tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge, with ocean views a few metres from your door included as standard. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tara Beach Bungalows Hotel Port Vila
Tara Beach Hotel
Tara Beach Port Vila
Tara Beach Bungalows Vanuatu/Port Vila

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