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Amel Toro Bungalows & Restaurant
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Reviewed September 15, 2013

My husband and I, both in our 60’s, recently spent 5 nights on the island of Malekula in Vanuatu to follow up our interests in traditional cultural practices and art. Malekula is what might be called “off the beaten track” but we were easily able to arrange both accommodation and tours through the very professional Malampa Travel Call Centre and Web Site.

We chose Ameltoro Bungalows from their list of offerings and this proved to be the perfect choice of accommodation for our stay. These lovely little bungalows are only about 5 minutes drive from Norsup airport and in the most idyllic setting on the water looking out on beautiful Norsup bay. The bungalows (3 in all) are oval shaped and are wonderfully cool and comfortable inside. They have an ensuite with a basin, shower (cold water) and flush toilet. And a comfortable bed! Importantly for us these bungalows are connected to mains electricity, not all that common on Malekula. (I would nevertheless bring head torches if you like to read in bed.) Of course there are some mosquitos, but mosquito nets and coils are supplied - and a fan if you want it. There is also a lovely little restaurant on the property which is full of interesting art works from Malekula. The bungalows are owned and run by Rona, a delightful and very interesting lady who comes from Malekula originally, but is widely travelled, speaks French and English fluently, and is an excellent cook. She is also the perfect hostess and showered us with kindness. We also got to know Rona’s niece Fifi who, like her aunt, couldn’t do enough for us.

The tour operators and bungalow owners are part of the Malampa Travel collective, so Rona was well informed about all our tour arrangements, flights, transfers etc., and was able to sort out some changes imposed on us by Air Vanuatu with efficiency and ease. As well, our tours were very professionally organized with knowledgeable guides and drivers. The drivers are especially important, as some of the roads are pretty rough. On different days we did the Big Nambas tour at Mae and the Small Nambas tour at Rano and we experienced wonderfully colourful kastom dancing and other traditional cultural practices. On the same day we went to Rano we had a delicious lunch at Nawori Seaview bungalows and then went on the tour of the Amelbati tribe’s "Naserah". This is a ceremonial site where cannibal practices once occurred. We also visited a nearby burial ground for the tribe’s chiefs with its distinctive skull-house tombs, learning much about the fascinating history of this area from our excellent guide. These tours are highly recommended. Another day we were taken on a drive down to beautiful Bushman’s Bay, a copra plantation, courtesy of Rona.

Staying at Ameltoro bungalows felt like being a part of a village, and at various times of the day you could hear the sounds of roosters and cows and children playing, as well as being lulled at night by the sounds of the waves. We could also get about by ourselves when we weren’t touring as we could catch a public minibus from the front gate in to the nearby small town of Lakatoro. This gave us the opportunity to talk to local people, enjoy the school children’s sporting carnival and visit the small but fascinating museum.

If you are simply looking for a typical tourist style resort holiday then Malekula is not for you. But if you want to have a ‘once in a lifetime experience’, engaging with the extraordinary culture and history of this island, and meeting some really lovely people, then go to Malekula. And if you go I would strongly recommend staying at Ameltoro bungalows where the location, standard of accommodation and Rona’s hospitality and cooking make it a perfect base for your visit.

Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
5  Thank Jayne R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

I have just spent 4 night at Amel toro, this is a very charming small property owned by Rona a melanesian/caledonian women who built it from scratch. There is 3 bungalows with a very nice Oval shape with private shower and toilet close to the sea. What makes the best out of this place is Rona cooking, she has associate melanesian and french cooking using only local ingredients and it is fantastic food for being in a so remote place.

Room Tip: ask Rona for an extra fan when it is very hot
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled on business
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2  Thank pascalportvila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 11, 2012

Rona and Joe are wonderful. You will eat a delicious food in a beautiful place with very interesting people. Don't wait to experiment this place!

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank MarineBDB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2012

Rona and Joe make sure that you are well cared for, the food was good and varied -koumala, breadfruit, yam and cassava make really good chips and Rona and Joe made sure we tried them all and had to guess what they were made from. The bungalows have the most beautiful views over the bay and the grounds of Amel Toro are beautifully kept. When needing to work, the resturant veranda made a very good office with lovely views that helped the thinking processes. At low tide a careful trip out onto the beach allowed us to see the small fish inhabiting the tidal pools and a few of the resident sea slugs, the land crabs are also interesting little creatures that sometimes want to join you in your bungalow. This is the third time I have stayed at Amel Toro and a warm welcome is alwways waiting for you.

Stayed: May 2012, traveled on business
2  Thank Barbara R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2012

Rona and Joe were the most wonderful hosts. Rona makes you feel like she is welcoming you into her home, which is exactly what she does. The standard of Rona’s cooking is exceptional anywhere in the world, and when you are in the middle of nowhere with your own private bungalow and beach surrounded by Bush. The dinner is as surprising as it is delicious.

If you are lucky Joe will take you out to meet some locals and drink some Kava.

Overall, a wonderful experience, everything you need was here, delicious food, comfort, good company, welcoming hosts and your own private beach.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled on business
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3  Thank Andrew J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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