In all fairness i believe that you should report back on what you saw did etc and whilst my trip this time was a bit cocoon like perhaps it will help to encourage others to at least try Vanuatu.
Excellent experience going over, especially as we had a special needs passenger. Wow, will definitely rebook. Airport, yeah well it is a zoo and slow to process immigration, but no one was harassing and it all happened eventually.
We stayed at Villa 25 and I promise to do a full review soon. It was an ideal location for us, we wanted peace, quiet and a great outlook. The snorkelling at the doorstep is satisfactory, plenty of fish life, and the kayaks etc were put to good use. Loved the communal area and the availability of a chef to cook for you in house.
We used the driver from Villa 25 (yes I know i could have picked up cheaper in town and spread the love) but the ease of knowing he would turn up on time was worth it for us. I would certainly have had no hesitation using the cheaper bus options had I had the chance.
I tried to be as local as possible, shopping at the Mamas market on Saturday for fresh supplies. Most shopping was done at Numbatu other than the markets. It was easy and convenient and the local beef OK. There is a bit of sticker shock for some things (like juice). FWIW I would in future bypass the orange juice and stick to coconut, pamplemouse (sp) and fresh raspberry (if in season as a huge bargain at 200vatu a tub).
Eggs seem to be like hens teeth.
I had no trouble bringing in the muesli, but hardly used it as the fresh fruit made for great breakfasts.
Lunches were Jambon and baguettes (avocado not in season) consumed overlooking the channel.
Left overs given to a "good cause'
Elan x2 - Guru really enjoyed his Paella and the Chowder. My beef parcel was good but the pork was amazing. Service very good.
Wahoo Bar- lunch. Not fantastic or cheap but a beautiful quiet view and the sashimi tatami was top quality (and I am very fussy on my sashimi)
Didn't even contemplate the crab...I had already been told it tasted ordinary. (this might protect it more than saying don't eat it....a bit of education as well that it isn't a crab that is flavoured with coconut might help)
Dining In: Used a local expat chef, health issues meant going out was not as enjoyable as it should be, so having a meal cooked onsite was a godsend. Did our BBQ and had a few delivery Pizzas.
We did it the lazy way. Used the driver to tailor a round island tour just for us. Left town early and enjoyed Blue lagoon. The wind was blowing fiercely so skipped Eton Beach. Cascades given a miss as well as I decided I would enjoy it more by myself on the next visit!
Hideaway: Hmmm, mixed feelings. Snorkelling was good, standard fringing reef style. Not a lot of shade available so if shade is important get there early for your spot. Guru enjoyed sitting on the edge watching the fish swim around. A few hours was enough for us, but the visit was worthwhile.
Shopping- didn't have a chance.
Ok..... so here comes the OH! anyone looking for a "pure" tropical destination, this isn't it. It isn't a place to go if you want a 5* cookie cutter experience. There is poverty, there are locals wandering along the road with machetes and massacred pigs on their backs, it is real!!! It is a beautiful tropical destination where the local people are friendly and happy (well they seemed to be to me).
So if Vanuatu will have me back, planning on it (along with the kids).
It was a close to home, not too expensive, ideal short trip away that next time deserves longer.