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First timers at Vanuatu (Le Lagon Resort April 2009)

Echuca, Australia
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753 posts
69 reviews
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First timers at Vanuatu (Le Lagon Resort April 2009)

Hi all, we love these forums as we found so much info before our first Fijian trip 2 years ago. Here we are now, first timers to Vanuatu and wondering a few things to start with:

** Whats the weather like early to mid April.

**Food & drink costs? We think we wont do the meals/drinks package as we did that in Fiji and were so sick of eating & drinking by the end of it

** The must sees/do's - we don't mind doing lots of different things as we have 10 days

**Is there a school close by our resort where we could take some supplies to?

Any other helpful info would be muchly appreciated, thanks.................Leanne

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Vanuatu
Vanuatu
South Pacific
Fiji
Fiji
South Pacific
Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Vanuatu, Port Vila, Espiritu Santo
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3,883 posts
25 reviews
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1. Re: First timers at Vanuatu (Le Lagon Resort April 2009)

Hi luv2travel,

In mid April you can expect the weather to be quite warm and somewhat humid compared to Vic. It is about the same as north Qld. Most of the rainy season is over by then but being a tropical island you can still expect rain on any given day.

Food costs more in Vanuatu than Victoria but not a lot more than Brisbane. Just allow for the fact that supermarket food sourced locally is a good price and imported food has VAT of 12%.

Some must sees are listed in this go list below.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i15317-Top_ten_…

Gifts to schools are listed in this thread.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294144-i4912-k229…

Central Kindy is up behind Vila township and bus drivers know where to go. There is also a village across the road from Le Lagon.

Other helpful advice I shall cut and paste from this relevant article called only in Vanuatu.

Things you need to know before you go to Vanuatu.

Based in Port Vila.

Money exchange.

If you do not have transfers to your hotel or resort you will need to catch a bus or taxi there and for this you would require a little local cash. The currency is vatu and works out to about $1.20 to 100vatu or in reverse about 83 vatu to the dollar. The Australian airports do not give a very good rate so if you exchange there make it the absolute minimum. There is a National Bank of Vanuatu money exchange at the Vila airport so keep that in mind.

The resorts will exchange your money and their rate is a little better but the best place to go is Goodies near the El Gecko cafe downtown. On Sunday there is a 7/11 across the road that also gives good rates of exchange.

Banking.

There are only 2 Australian banks you'll be familiar with in Port Vila. They are the ANZ and the Westpac. You may not be able to get cash from a minor bank or building society so be prepared with plenty of cash if you don't bank with one of the above. Fees for withdrawals usually work out to about $5 per transaction. There is also the National Bank of Vanuatu and the new BRED bank.

They do have 24hr ATMs at the bank but as before, building societies and minor banks may not be linked.

Health.

Bring some antibacterial cream and bandaids as these can be expensive here. If you get a tiny weeny scratch that you can barely see. Put the cream on it immediately. This is the tropics and you must do this.

Time.

Add one hour to Australian Eastern Standard time and allow some for what is known as Island time which means that nobody is in hurry. It is not unusual to wait 30mins or more for a shop assistant to find you a cardboard box to pack your duty free treasure in so be patient and allow plenty of time.

Port Vila enjoys a daily siesta. This means that the shops are closed in the middle of the day.

Footwear.

High heels will last about two milliseconds so consider this.

For swimming you will need a pair of reef shoes. You can buy these at Anaconda or target in Australia and in Port Vila there are a number of shops that sell them. Remember that you might be busting to get into the water so perhaps being prepared ahead of time is a good thing.

Swimwear.

Bring a mask and snorkel. They are expensive to hire and come in two sorts:- crappy ones that don't fit and even crappier ones that don't fit. The cost of hiring them once is about as much as you'll pay for a cheap set in Australia. Don't be thinking that you won't need a mask because you can forget all your ideas of snorkelling that you may have done in other countries. Few places compare to the underwater world you can wade into from some of the beaches in Vanuatu. Fins are also a good idea. So for snorkelling take dive boots, reef shoes, fins, snorkel, gloves and mask.

Duty Free.

Fung Kuey is the best priced duty free shop for alcohol. There are also good fake designer shops around and some dodgy fake designer shops. These things you'll discover for yourself. You can buy Tusker beer direct from the brewery and you can buy Vanuatu organic beef in packs to bring home as long as you arrange it in advance. The Centrepoint supermarket downtown can help with this.

Dress.

The locals are modest and it is inappropriate to go to town in brief clothes. Around the resort togs and shorts are always the go. When the cruise ship comes in the locals tend to keep a low profile except for taxi and bus drivers. So to enjoy the usual friendliness go to town when the cruise ship is not in port.

Wine and Beer.

You can purchase this from the Au Bon Marche supermarket downtown and at Nambatu but not between 12 noon on Saturday and Monday morning. You can also purchase a carton of Tusker beer straight from the brewery. Water is cheaper from the supermarket than the resorts and can be purchased at any time. Local water is quite safe to drink but does have a high mineral content that can give you a belly ache until you get used to it.

That's it.

Any further questions are always welcomed.

Jen

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Vanuatu
Vanuatu
South Pacific
Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane Region, Australia
Echuca, Australia
Level Contributor
753 posts
69 reviews
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2. Re: First timers at Vanuatu (Le Lagon Resort April 2009)

Hi Jen, thanks for all that info, we may have some more Q's before we head off in 3 weeks. Sounds like there's a lot to see & do so we cant wait.

Leanne

3. Re: First timers at Vanuatu (Le Lagon Resort April 2009)

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