Just returned from a two week stay at Paradise Cove Resort with my wife and nine year old daughter. We originally had booked just ten nights, thinking we'd leave the last four nights free to go elsewhere if we wanted. As it turned out, having driven around Efate and looked at a few other resorts, we decided to stay where we were.
How you feel about a holiday and a place is, at least for me, largely a matter of expectations. Paradise Cove was above our expectations and we very much enjoyed our stay there. The highlights for me were firstly the staff - Kris and Lauren, the new managers, were always friendly and helpful - and all the others who work there, and there are many, from the bar staff to the wait staff, the groundsmen to the cleaning ladies, all would welcome you with a big smile and hello and help you with anything you may need. Secondly, the position of the resort, facing northwest, means it is largely protected from the relentless southeast trade winds. It was windy for much of our time there, other less protected resorts would have been pretty miserable. Lastly the resort itself; the bungalows had an authentic island style feel to them; the snorkeling - we went every day - was very good, and the low key, laid back nature of the place suited us fine.
Negatives? Well apart from the road to the Paradise Cove area being a bit is rough, which did get a little tedious at times, can't think of anything that would make me want to stay else where. Of the other resorts we looked at, Eratap was very, very nice but expensive; Breakas looked pretty good but no to kids and was coping a lot of wind for much of the time we were there, similar with Tamanu. Nirvana, just down the road, where we had friends staying was nice, smaller bungalows but also less expensive, a possible alternative.
I guess I should add though, and I don't like ending on a negative note because we did have an enjoyable family holiday, that Vanuatu, or at least Efate, does have problems as a tourist destination. Port Vila is very run down, the place has a third world feel to it in a friendly sort of a way, which doesn't bother me, but the catch is you're paying first world prices - it's expensive and it's hard to avoid. In a competitive tourism market place that makes it difficult. Maybe the NiVan people make up for it, I guess you have to go and see for yourself.