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Questions: Efate & it's local islands ?

southern california
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Questions: Efate & it's local islands ?

I'm tentatively planning a trip for aug. 2015, here's some things i've been wondering.

-While staying in Port Vila would I be allowed to walk around & take pictures at places Erakor Isle and Breakas resort etc... without actually staying there ?

-How much drive time is involved with circling Efate ? I'd like to travel a lot of the coast looking for scenic areas and good photo ops. Would that take a couple days to do comfortably, or could it easily be done in one day ?

-I want to check out a couple of the offshore islands like Pele and Nguna. Is it easy to catch little boats over and travel around the islands on my own for a day ? Or do I have to be a part of some package deal ? If I stay over night there, is it mandatory to pre-book...or is likely that I can decide to stay somewhere while I'm there and they will have a place available ?

-Is it possible to leave a rental car on the northside of Efate while I go to Pele/Nguna ? Or should I just not rent a car/explore Efate until my final couple days in Vila ?

-Are there nakamals on those little islands too ?

-Any major cultural do's and don'ts I should be aware of ?

-How hard will it be to communicate with locals outside of Vila? I listened to some Bislama on youtube and could only pick out a word or two...

-Is the vegetation green year-round...or is there a season when it can become dry/brown ? Is august less likely to be raining a lot ?

-Should I only be drinking bottled water ?

-Will my cellphone work, from the states ? I went to Samoa a few years ago and it didn't. Not that I mind, it could just be useful in an emergency.

Thanks for any help...I'm sure I'll have more questions.

Australia
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for Port Vila, Vanuatu
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1. Re: Questions: Efate & it's local islands ?

1. Yes you can take pics around Erakor Island and the beach next to Breakas. For Erakor you will have to pay 1000vt entrance fee which is then a credit for you to buy food or drinks on the island. Unless you go after 4pm when they assume you are going there for drinks or dinner anyway. Breakas and Surfside are on the same beach and its sort of public in that villagers also use it. If you want to take pics in the resort itself just tell staff what you are doing so they don't worry about you hanging around.

2. If you drive straight around the island ring road without stopping you can do it in 3-4 hours. You would be better off taking some offshoot roads as well to see some scenic bits. Keep in mind all land is privately owned. You can access beach areas by paying a couple of $ entrance fee at those that are sign posted also at the Blue Lagoon etc. Mele Cascades is about $20 day guest fee. Tell people what you are doing and they may be able to point out some good photo opportunities. They are always keen to help.

3. Offshore islands - Its quite economical to do a day tour that includes pick up from PV to these islands. Depends on your time constraints. Alternatively stay overnight at a local bungalow with meals included for about the same price or less. You catch a bus from PV to the wharf and jump on a banana boat with others. Bungalow owners can tell you the latest timetable and will often be in PV shopping or something anyway and may accompany you to the ferry from PV if you ask. Just call the day before to let them know you are coming. A good place to start your research :

vanuatu.travel/index.php/en/places-to-stay/b…

positiveearth.org/bungalows/useratings2.asp

4. Yes there are nakamals on these islands and if you stay overnight your hosts will take you to one.

5. Cultural do's and don'ts - Smile! Relax and don't expect things to happen fast or as scheduled.

6. Outside of PV people will often speak english too or french or a combination of those with bislama. It all seems to work out!

7. Yes the vegetation is green all year round. The wet season is Nov-April but that can mean it will rain at night but the day still hot and sunny and humid. Or it will rain for 5 days straight. Its just the luck of the draw but its never cold.

8. In PV the town water is fine to drink but is high in minerals which doesn't agree with some people. Just ease into it slowly. Out of PV drink bottled water as it isn't treated.

9. Do you have global roaming on your cell phone plan? If so it will work. The cheapest thing to do is to buy a local sim card at the airport that includes calls and data (if you need internet). There are heaps of towers around the islands and most locals have mobiles these days even in very remote places. e.g. the top of a volcano on Tanna island.

Have fun planning

2. Re: Questions: Efate & it's local islands ?

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