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Just Back... some thoughts!

Brisbane
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Just Back... some thoughts!

We spent 7 nights at Le Lagon at the end of January just after the Cyclone. Luckily (at this time of year the weather is pot luck) we had good weather and a great time.

Most of the info about Vanuatu on this site we found spot on.

We took our five year old and she loved it. She loved kids club when we put her in and loved the pools.

We tossed up about taking the all inclusive package or the breakfast only package. Settled on the breakfast only package and were happy with the choice as it allowed us to eat wherever and try all different places. Breakfast was great and we ate dinner at the Asian restaurant at the resort twice, really enjoyed their teppanyaki. Prices are not cheap, similar to Aussie. Had a great Seafood platter at Erakor resort on the night we got there, set the tone for the whole holiday. Rendez Vous restaurant has the best view of the harbour and Irriki Resort. Food was good but waiter a little to in your face (tried too hard).

We had a waterfront deluxe (#109) which was down near the Erakor ferry end of the resort. It was worth every cent just for the view over Erakor Lake.When we got there they tried to put us in a garden room. I politely insisted on a 100 series room as we were told these were the best. Initially they said tomorrow night we swap you over, but i insisted and once a more senior person was called we had no problems.

I loved Vila but my partner didnt enjoy it as much. It is third world and lots of garbage in back streets but i like seeing how it is. Markets were excellent and even had a fish and rice meal at the back of the markets one day for about $A 4.

Worst exchange rate we got was 82 vatu to the dollar at Goodies. Leaving Australia at Travelex they offered 71. Biggest rip off. I bought Auusie dollars and changed it as i needed it. Could have taken money out at ANZ atm (Visa Debit) but did not know the rate.

Also grog definitely cheaper in Vila or even the airport over there. Duty free at Brisbane airport is the biggest rip off.

Found buses best form of transport. 100V per head into town. Met one guy and got his number and rang him whenever we needed him. Taxis are more prevalent but dearer unless there is a group of you.

Loved the Mele Waterfalls, got our bus driver to take us there and paid i think 1500V entrance fee, much cheaper than any tour. Also did Lelelpa island cruise which was excellent and our 5yo was free. Lunch was ok but nothing special, Snorkelling off the beach was disappointing compared to the Barrier reef but the second spot they take you to where you Snorkel from the boat was excellent. Tour guides were great and enjoyed meeting the villagers and buying some craft.

Probably should have checked out Santo and or Tanna, but in 7 days and with a five year old we took it a bit easy.

Always check your bill at the resort to see daily charges, we had no problem but have heard of plenty who have.

The resort itself is beautiful and plenty to do there if you want to.

Hope this helps.

Sydney, Australia
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1. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice summary of your experiences! Cheers, Karen

Brisbane, Australia
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for Vanuatu, Port Vila, Espiritu Santo
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2. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

That's great feedback and all good advice. Thanks for your post.

Collaroy
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3. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Just going and booked in Garden Superior or Deluxe.

They have assured us that we will be in renovated rooms numbered 600.

We hesitated for the Lagoon Bungalows as we have a 2 year old.

Would you feel that we should ask for an upgrade or stick with the 600 series Garden Deluxe as it has a separate single bed that can be shut off?

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Hi foxterrier,

We are considering Vanuatu for out next holiday in Sept/October and just wondered how cheap it was to eat and drink outside the hotels?

Are you able to give us any examples of the cost of drinks or food?

Thanks!

:)

Ocean Grove...
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5. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Hi, we had a garden superior room in the 6oo series and it was in a great position as far as the facilities. The Lagoon view bungalows if your into romance but thats probably not the case with a 2 year old and you would have to watch him if he wandered outside. You don't get much privacy in your bungalow anyway as people can walk past whenever they want.

As far as the food goes I think its about the same as eating and drinking in a resort in Australia, definately not cheap but not overly expensive either.

Kat

Brisbane, Australia
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for Vanuatu, Port Vila, Espiritu Santo
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6. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Hi Melbourne Travellers,

You'll find food prices to be a little more expensive than Melbourne. On a par with Brisbane prices actually.

Peche Mignon does good fresh rolls, quiches and pies which make for a great lunch for a few dollars per person. Ask for "white coffee". It is nicer than a flat white.

Kan Pai and the Pizzeria at Numbatu have very good prices on food. The Pizzeria does not look glamorous but the food has always been tops. Try the fish or chicken curry.

Other good value food can be enjoyed at the Hospitality school dinner on a thursday night. About 600vatu for entree and dessert, about 1000vatu for dinner. Very good.

Most restaurants are not consistent unfortunately. It obviously depends on who is cooking that night, but overall we have found the food to be tastier than Aussie food, possibly because of the organic by default culture of food growing.

Allow about the same as eating in aus and add a few dollars per person per day and that should take care of it fairly well.

Pick up some snacks at the supermarket as well.

Australia
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7. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Foxterrier

You said you loved Vila but your partner didnt enjoy it as it is a 3rd world country .

Do you only mean Vila itself? or Vanuatu in general? I would like to visit it myself and from reports I have read it seams like a really nice place for snorkling, relaxing and eating.

I dont need 5 star accommodation,I certainly dont expect things to be perfect re service.

I am aware that it is 3rd world compared to what we have in Australia but I feel I need to have an open mind about it.

I have visited Fiji and there is a lot of poverty.It does make you feel very humble when you saw the living conditions yet you are made to feel welcome and people seem to be happy.

We may have a better lifestyle but I wonder if we are missing something when poorer countries are so hospitable and seem happy to welcome tourists.

I dont like large upmarket 200 room resorts so Vanuatu seems like an ideal destination to get back to the basics of life, would appreciate any opinions.

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

Hi J_T_travellers,

Thanks for your info! We have decided to give Thailand a go instead (just because its so cheap!) :)

Australia
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9. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

MC53 - we both feel the same way. We knew Vanuatu depended heavily on tourism, and we knew some accommodation places wouldnt be up to the standards in Australia, but we didn't care and we thoroughly enjoyed our holiday. The only thing I would do next time is stay on 3 days in Port Vila, then 3 on Santo and 3 on Tanna. We found the outer islands more "basic" than Port Vila, but THATS WHAT WE LOVED ABOUT THE OUTER ISLANDS, less touristy, and gosh the local people are so friendly and happy.

I took a large parcel of school books, pencils, biros, rubbers, rulers, etc, and I was pleased they went to the children of a small village on Tanna, where school funding is not known. We gave that gift to one of the male elders, to give to the children, as a gift from an unknown person.

Anyway, we are planning a return visit, but this time flying to & from Santo from Brisbane. Hoping also to visit some outer islands near Santo. Can't wait.

10. Re: Just Back... some thoughts!

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