I was only in Port Villa for a week for a youth conference but we did get to see quite a bit of the capital of Vanuatu. We were staying with a local family so we really got a feel for what life was like, not just what a tourist would see.
One thing that was difficult for me was that rarely can you find soap, it might be found in touristy restaurants but that’s about it so bring plenty of hand sanitizer. Of course, bring bug spray, I did and it helped a little. I was still bitten and almost eaten alive by mosquitos, spiders, you name it, they are there. Thankfully, no bugs are poisonous, at least around Port Villa as I was told.
I wish I had time to go snorkeling and jumping into the ocean but alas, no time since I was technically there for work. At the airport, you can see a sign about the world’s underwater post office, if I ever go back to Vanuatu, that is in definitely in my to do list! Please comment if you have ever gone!
Food is very carb based but everything tastes sweeter, cucumber, lettuce, banana, coconut, their fruit punches are really the juice from fresh juices, not just added sugar in water. Be sure to try “tuluk” which is meat cooked inside a leaf, it’s delicious! There are no traffic lights and free parking everywhere, they also drive on the left side of road. Coming from Chicago, this was making up for the bugs biting me!
Most things they are used to are biodegradable so there is a pollution problem, especially when they are not used to plastic bags and other things that come into the country that can’t be naturally decomposed.
My favorite thing though is that the people are so genuine, when they ask how you are, they are actually asking. This is a rarity in most of the world I think from not just my travels but from what others have said. People are cheerful, helpful and caring, locals say that it is pretty safe compared to many other places. They lock their doors and have stray dogs around their home as protection so theft and violence are not a common occurrence.
I am not a camper, nature person, I am definitely a spoiled city brat and Port Villa was a challenge for me.Like anywhere else, there is a bright side and bad parts. If you want a lifestyle that is more relaxed, blue water and green hills and trees as far as the eye can see and feel safe, with the knowledge that it is not very clean, soap is not a necessity and there is no place without some sort of bug buzzing or crawling, then this is the place for you! For more pictures, check out my Tumblr.