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“Never been so relaxed”

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Uduna Cove Beach Bungalows
Ranked #1 of 2 Nguna Island B&B and Inns
Springwood, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Never been so relaxed”
Reviewed 12 April 2013

If you're happy to go without electricity, and only have rain & ocean water, then this place is VERY relaxing.
We went as a family of 4 - 2 adults, and 2 kids (2 & 4) and stayed for 3 nights. Between swimming/snorkeling on a beach (where we were the only ones in sight!), walking through the villages, talking to locals etc, we were never bored. And we didn't even make it to see the extinct volcano!
This isn't the place to be if you want to keep up supermodel appearances. We bathed in the ocean, or rain water showers, and there was no point wearing makeup or bothering with 'doing' hair. Just bring a to keep it back in the humidity and seabreeze.
Mozzies were around, and even with repellent we got a few bites each. But there were mosquito nets on the beds (I think one of them had a couple of little holes, but along with repellent i wasnt too worried).
There's plenty of crabs for kids to chase on the beach. A walk into town to get a beer in the afternoon fills an hour or so, once you've spoken to a few locals along the way.
The food prepared by Emma's mum was delicious, and even the kids were full after rice, vegetables, meatballs, and fruit.
Us adults were fine drinking rain water. I boiled the water for the kids, just to be on the safe side.
The gardens are beautiful and well maintained. And the beach is great. No surf, but white sand and crystal clear shallow water for quite a few meters before the 'finding nemo' style coral reef starts.
I'd definitely like to go back. I think anyone going to Vanuatu should try to experience life on the smaller islands.
Port Vila is nice, but I think experiencing Vanuatu means seeing how the locals live on the islands.

Room Tip: We stayed in the family bungalow - 2 bedrooms next to each other with a front door each. I'd sa...
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  • Stayed March 2013, travelled with family
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1 Thank MelMc7y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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19 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
sydney
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 October 2012

We loved the place!
It has to offer great snorkelling in the marine park which is just off the beach and very easy to access. We were lucky to see lots of kind of fish and even a turtle! There is an unspoiled beach which we sat on and watched the sunset.
We stayed there for two nights. We met Emma in the city and got to the place with her by public transport (1 hour bus and 20 minutes boat ride).
The place has a few bungalows, all basic. There is no electricity, and bathroom and showers are shared.
We got three meals a day, all prepared from local crop and very tasty. There was a wide variety of dishes, even for me, the picky vegetarian.
Our hosts were so friendly and so were the village people. It all felt right :)
We highly recommend the place.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Rachel_F_Sydney_Aus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Port Vila
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 June 2012

Uduna Cove is a smal, simple, colouful and excellent place to recover, reflect and relax.
The villagers are very nice people living in an organized village community with their Chief.

I enjoyed every day on Nguna island and plan to Visiot teh place again soon. The neighboring bungalows are also very beautifull, Vatvaka and Magamus Bungalows..

Great place and great people...
Georgina Faerua

Room Tip: Bring a torch with you
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled on business
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2 Thank Georginah F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level 5 Contributor
61 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 January 2012

This is a pleasant and interesting place to spend a couple of days. We stayed for three nights which may have been one too many! A place to go if this is the sort of place that you like - probably not for everyone. It is run by enterprising women from the the village that is about 5-10 mins walk away and is a great way to get to know them and their lifestyle.

The small village is interesting and welcoming. There is a village tour offered for 1,000vt PP which is interesting and worthwhile, but I thought a bit pricey for four people.

Pluses:

- Great location, right on the beach.
- Beach is picture postcard tropical paradise.
- Fantastic snorkeling - right off the calm beach. 500m of the beach is a marine sanctuary with lot of coral and fish. We were there in January and the water was warm enough to stay in for hours
- Lovely people who will make you feel like part of the family
- Not at all touristy - great to really relax and get away from it all. There were only two other tourists in the whole area when we were there.

Minuses:

- Accommodation is basic. More like camping than a resort. Rooms are small and fairly stuffy - very hot at night when we were there as there was no breeze at nighttime. There is no power in the cabins so no lights or fans. The mattress was thin for a heavy bloke, but you would have been happy with it if it was in a tent.
- Quite a few mosquitos, even with coils burning. Take repellant! Also a lot of flies when we were there.
- Nowhere comfortable to sit and relax. The experience would be greatly improved by some loungers or hammocks. Rolling out a towel on the beach is the best option, but not when it's raining or at night time.
- Food is on a meal package. The first meal is a bit of a thrill, lot of variety, but all the lunches and dinners are basically the same. A bit tired after a couple of days. The food is tasty, but stoggy and fatty for the hot weather.
- Rain water 'sprinkle' shower is really a dribble. Probably the lamest shower ever anywhere.

My minuses may or may not be important to you - decide for yourself. I was glad we went and would recommend it as a different sort off experience, but two nights would have been enough. This is basic, local experience, and whilst not expensive, it is not super cheap either. For a family of four, we were paying 16,000 vt (about A$190) a night with the meals.

Go in with your eyes open on what you expect if and you will have a good time - highly recommended.

Room Tip: Chat to the family - they are happy to spend time and tell you about the plave
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank twoshirts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 October 2011

Do not hesitate, travelling to Nguna and staying at Emma's place is easy, relaxing, and a great experience. We wanted to have some time away from the tourist centres and took our two children, 5 and 7. Absolutely no problems and I wholeheartedly reccommend staying here. Emma is a gem, meeting us in Vila and ensuring everything went really smoothly. Food is great, and the accommodation is perfectly ok by backpacker standards. And even if you've never backpacked, the experience outweighs any sense of discomfort. Even getting there in the truck was fun. Lovely people, great place. We will return.

Room Tip: there are mosquito nets in the double bungalow rooms
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  • Stayed September 2011, travelled with family
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3 Thank nigellav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vancouver
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2011

The previous reviewer was pretty spot on. This is a beautiful place to get away, lie on the beach and watch life pass by - only to be interrupted by the most amazing meals of local cuisine. The bungalows are simplistic but comfortable. There's a flush toilet and sprinkle shower from captured rain water nestled amongst beautiful gardens.
Kava is available at the local nakamal (5 min walk) and Tusker beer is available at Emma's small store (7 min walk). I had brought a couple bottles of wine with me so that I could relax with the evening meal. I recommend that once dinner is cooked, you ask the ladies to turn off the generator while you drink and dine by candle-light (or lantern). The peacefulness of this place makes you want to spend your entire Vanuatu vacation at this one spot.
I've attached a flyer from the Uduna beach bungalows. Prices were 3,000 Vt for a single person (includes breakfast), plus 500 Vt for lunch and dinner each. Reservations are easiest by getting a hold of Emma on the phone.

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank VancouverMarko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 October 2010

My family and I were fortunate enough to recently spend three delightful nights at Uduna Cove Bungalows. We were looking to be part of the real Vanuatu rather than a western-style resort but did not have enough time to go to one of the far-flung islands. My research prior to our trip indicated that Nguna island, and Uduna Cove Bungalows would fit the bill and we were extremely lucky that they had a vacancy for the precise days we were looking for.

Run by Leitau, her husband Kalsau, daughter Emma and the extended family, the bungalows at Uduna Cove are an excellent example of this type of accommodation. The bungalows are in an idyllic setting, 20m from the sea with shady trees, green lawn and a beautiful garden lovingly tended by Leitau every day. We stayed in the original two-room bungalow which is basic but very clean, tidy and comfortable. This has one room with a double bed and the other with one single and a set of bunks and a verandah running across the front. The rooms have lockable doors, louvre windows with flyscreens, locally made pandanus matting on the floor and walls and new mosquito nets for each bed. While we were there the second one-room bungalow was commissioned, and construction commenced on the final one. The only downside of more bungalows means you are less likely to have exclusive use of this paradise!

As hosts Leitau, Emma and family are attentive but unobtrusive. Emma arranged transport for us from Port Villa (500v ea for bus and boat ride) including pickup from our hotel 15min from Villa. On arrival we were greeted by Leitau with freshly made lemonade and shown the rooms and facilities all of which were absolutely spotless and adorned with red hibiscus flowers (which Leitau replaced every day)

Obviously a labour of love for Leitau, an enormous spread of aelen kaekae (local food) is provided to guests (the accommodation fee includes breakfast, with lunch and dinner a small additional cost) The food is simple fare but delicious (even the fussy teenager was happy) and so plentiful that the two males with hearty appetites could not eat all that was provided. With some concessions to western tastes such as toast for breakfast, and rice, the food includes fresh local fruit, salads, meat-based casserole-style dishes and local specialities involving manioc, taro, kumala (sweet potato) plantain, bananas etc cooked in a variety of ways. Fish freshly caught by Emma's husband and Vanuatu beef steak were also on the menu.

Activities on the island include snorkelling straight off the beach in front of the bungalows, hiring a dug-out canoe, fishing, turtle-tagging, climbing the volcano crater, visiting the school and wandering through the villages. The only thing I would say about activities is that you do need to ask - there is not a board or pamphlet telling you what is available - or you may overlook something you would have liked to do. Once you do ask though Leitau will quickly arrange the appropriate guide or contact for you and everyone seems more than happy to help you.

The highlight for me, in the brief period we were there, was interacting with the people of the island. Wherever you go the locals greet you with a smile and friendly 'Alo' and are happy to talk to you about what they are doing and take time out to show you, from weaving pandanus or explaining local foods and plants to discussing local customs and issues. If someone has limited English they will find someone who can answer your questions or help you. Any attempt by you to speak with the locals in Bislama is greeted with the broadest smile and compliments. Universally the people seem very happy for you to take pictures of themselves, their activities or their village, and if you show the children their picture on the camera screen you will have friends for ever!

In summary, Uduna Cove Bungalows are the perfect place for those wishing to experience the real Vanuatu. Resort it is not - but it does not claim to be. It is basic accommodation (ie no electricity, cooling; external bathroom facilities [which includes a flush toilet]; lighting by kerosene lamp) but it is very clean and tidy, the beds are comfortable, the food plentiful and delicious and the hosts absolutely wonderful. If you are comfortable with this type of accommodation then I would absolutely recommend this to anyone (but do bring a torch!)

Nambawan, as the say in Bislama.

  • Stayed September 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank tarabillie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Uduna Cove Beach Bungalows

Property: Uduna Cove Beach Bungalows
Address: Taloa Village, Nguna Island, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Nguna Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Nguna Island
Number of rooms: 2

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