Port Vila is the capital city of Vanuatu, a group of islands in the Pacific. The city is located on the island of Efate, with a port and the Bauerfield International Airport serving as the main gateways to the country for visitors. It has all the usual Pacific island attractions, including volcanic craters, rainforests, beaches, dive and snorkeling sites and offshore trips on the water for fishing, sailing, or island hopping. But what makes Vanuatu and Port Vila stand out is the duty-free shopping. The main shopping street alongside the Bay is called Kumul Highway, where most tourists can be found splurging and having the time of their lives filling up their bags with cheap goodies. If you wish to explore all this and the rest of Efate, you will need to get a car for hire in Port Vila.
Those who plan on flying in can rent a car in Port Vila from one of the three agencies located at Port Vila Bauerfield Airport (VLI). Two of them have alternate office locations in the city, too, in case you wish to pick-up and drop-off your vehicle at the hotel where you are staying. It is simple enough to find out which one of these three is better for you. Just compare all three online, select a deal and vehicle you like, and book it right now.
There is a famous saying that the only regret shoppers have in Vanuatu is not bringing bigger bags. On Kumul Highway, which is the main street, you can shop duty-free. Tourists with a passport and a plane or cruise ship ticket can pick up anything from branded designer clothing and accessories to electronics, perfumes, cosmetics, liquor, and crystals. The shops will even deliver the purchased goods to the dock or airport for you.
Apart from Port Vila and Efate, you can easily hop from island to island on the ferry. Visit Tanna to see the Mount Yasur volcano snort and wild horses gallop. Dive into underwater caves and snorkel in the corals. The best beaches are on Espirito Santo, which is the biggest of all the Vanuatu Islands. Soak in the sun on Espiritu Santo’s pristine white sand beaches and gawk at the bats in the Millennium Cave. Another popular island is Malekula, which is also large and diverse with 30 different languages being spoken. Even more intriguing is its history of cannibalism. If you venture into the mountainous interior covered with forests on the northern side, you can still find old cannibal spots. The Nagol ritual on Pentecost Island that inspired AJ Hackett to come up with bungee jumping attracts a lot of tourists.
Before getting anywhere near Vanuatu, you will need to look for agencies offering a car rental in Port Vila. There is so much natural beauty on Efate that it would be a crime to restrict yourself to only the airport or the port and the urban attractions of Port Vila. Get in your car and take a refreshing dip at the Mele Cascades, and enjoy the sun and sand at Eton Beach and the Crystal Blue Lagoon beach, which are about 45 minutes out of Port Vila. The historic Port Havannah harbor, where American forces were based during WWII on the north coast, is another huge tourist attraction less than half an hour from the city.
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