Our third and final stop on our P&O cruise was Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. Prior to leaving I had pre-booked a tour of Efate Island (one of the 83 islands which make up Vanuatu and the one at which the ship docks). I booked through Atmosphere tours, a local company that I can recommend. We were picked up at the port for a full day’s exploration in a mini van with about 7 other passengers from the ship.
We had a wonderful guide named Justin who was immensely knowledgeable of his culture and history. He told us stories of the American occupation during World War 2, local history including cannibalism, and much more.
The first stop of the day was Iarofa village where we were treated to some insight into the local culture and way of life. Apart from the very informative talks we got to see some traditional dancing and even a fire walking performance.
Next stop was a local primary school where the young children sang for us, before taking some time out at the beautiful Blue Lagoon. This sheltered lagoon is perfect for cooling down, and the more adventurous can use a rope swing. Snacks and drinks were provided here, with lots of local fruits.
Lunch was also provided at our next stop (Beachcomber@Takar Lodge) right on the beach. Whilst we ate from the buffet of local dishes, a string band played traditional music. There was time for a quick paddle in the ocean before setting off again.
Next was a quick stop at a World War 2 ‘museum’ run by a local personality in his eighties. He has amassed his own private collection of memorabilia from this period including a large number of coke bottles. I’m not entirely sure why this was on the tour, but it was quite interesting for a quick stop.
We ended the day with complimentary coffee and tea at Gideon’s Landing, which I am reliably informed is where the TV series Survivor was filmed. Our guide gave us the opportunity to visit a duty free shop before returning to the ship in plenty of time.
I felt that the tour was very good value for money, and certainly a better option here than exploring on your own.