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“Fairytale family holiday with truly beautiful local people, that we will never forget”

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Tara Beach Bungalows
Ranked #4 of 22 Port Vila B&B and Inns
Reviewed 3 June 2013

Our family of 5 arrived in Vanuatu to celebrate our 20th Wedding Anniversary. Yes we took the kids, 18,15 & 12 to celebrate with us. Upon booking our accommodation online with Tara Beach, I requested that perhaps Eric could arrange a romantic candlelite dinner for my husband and I to celebrate our anniversary, which he promised would be no problem. I will start our fairytale holiday from the beginning - We were greeted at the airport by a very welcoming Thomas at 10.30pm. We arrived at our Bungalow to find fresh flowers throughout the room and in our bathroom. The next morning we awoke to the beautiful ocean views just metres away from our door, which was a short stroll to the beachside restaurant for a fresh local breakfast, where we were greeted by Lulu. Lulu is a teacher in the local village and has many a story to share. After breakfast each morning we would head to the jetty to feed the colourful reef fish which were in abundance. During our stay we were given a tour of the local Mele Village, which was a wonderful joyous experience, with local children running out to greet us, and pet pigs and piglets running around, it was gorgeous. Thomas was always on hand to drive us anywhere we wanted to go, which was very helpful. We were also invited to attend the village church on Sunday, which I would definitely recommend. There is plenty of attractions to see close by, and the family is happy to drive you. If you wish to relax it was nice to laze around at the resort, kayak or snorkel. One day during our stay Lulu arranged for some of the local children from Mele Village to come and swim and play with our kids, they had a lovely time and have made some life long friends in the village girls. Our Anniversary night, is so hard to capture in words, as it was the most amazing night I could have ever wished for. The local children sang for us while Lulu played the guitar, and a tribe from Tanna Island came to perform cultural dances for us. We had a beautiful dinner with lots of singing and laughter with Eric, Sala(who sings like Elvis) and the family. They made us a beautiful anniversary cake and we danced together and celebrated with them until late. We were very sad when we had to leave, but will definitely return for another visit. We still miss all the happy faces daily, and would highly recommend you stay at Tara Beach resort if you are after an authentic Vanuatu experience. There is no hot water, but not once did my teenage girls complain, because everything else far outweighed any hot water. Tankiu Tumas and Lukim yu - Thankyou very much and see you later. :)

Room Tip: Every room has gorgeous ocean views, my best tip is to sit back and relax.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank Julie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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57 - 63 of 151 reviews

Reviewed 2 June 2013

We absolutely loved the 2 bedroomed bungalow we had on the water's edge with lush gardens. The welcome Eric and his family extended from buffet plus hot cooked breakfast, to services through out the day was fabulous, nothing was too much trouble. The reef is good right there, with feeding the fish, it was the best snorkelling spot obviously! We enjoyed a Summit lunch (must do), ribs and Mexican at the War Horse Micro Brewery, Mele Cascade Falls, Hideaway Island and more all within a 10 minute courtesy bus drive. We stayed on Effate Island for two weeks and our 3 night stay here turned into five nights!

Room Tip: Being a couple, we enjoyed the privacy of a bungalow about 5 along.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Suzette62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 May 2013

We stayed here on our way to Tanna Island and were glad it was only one night. The first disappointment happened when our free airport transfer wasn't at the airport to meet us. We ended up getting our own way by taxi. The location and people were lovely, but the accommodation was very tired, no hot water and parts were falling off such as the kitchen cupboard doors. The website says daily meals including dinner but there was nothing on offer when we arrived on a Saturday night. We had to go to another place for dinner which ended up being lovely anyway. If you say you provide daily meals then you need to make sure this is the case.

I couldn't have stayed here longer than we did, but if some money was spent to bring it up to scratch (and provide hot water) then I'd consider going back. My parents stayed here in 2009 when they attended our wedding, and they raved about it. I can't help but think it's gone down hill since then which is unfortunate. Hopefully things will improve.

  • Stayed: May 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank pandagurl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tara-manager, Manager at Tara Beach Bungalows, responded to this reviewResponded 22 May 2013

As of the 18th May 2013- 89 reviews on our page: 52 Excellent, 27 Very Good, 5 Average, 3 Poor and 3 Terrible!!! Our accommodation business has just won 2013 Certificate of Excellence Award from Tripadvisor. What more do we have to say or do that previous Guests have not already said in their reviews? Accommodation abit tired" definitely NOT.

This 2 couples stay in a family bungalow which supposed to be for 2adults and 2 child at A$120 per night includes return airport transfers, breakfast and free use of snorkels and kayaks. (There's nothing in the website that say include dinner or all meals on wotif for the last 5 years)

The only time we forget to pick up guests at the airport, is when they book through wotif and not call, email or add their flight details on the guests comment as advise on our page at wotif.
Once this 2 beautiful couples arrive at Tara Beach, we apologise and explain for what has happen and refund them they A$30 back for the taxi, put they bags in the room and walk them up to the restaurant for welcome drink and one of them went snorkel.
Everyone was happy and no one was complain, if they complain we would be happy to refund them back and help them book another place to stay that night.

We always ask our guests whether they like to dine in the restaurant or dine out, so we could organise transfers for them, if they told us about the Dinner inclusive, we would show them their booking with everything written down. We recommed Beach Bar Restaurant to them, drive them there and back.
They all sleep well, had a nice breakfast and we drop them to the airport to go to Tanna.

This 2 couples stay at Tara Beach for one night only to go to Tanna, so they won't have to pay for return airport transfers, breakfast and expect Tara Beach to be a 5 Star Accommodation for A$60 per couple per night.
If i were PandaGurl, i would stay at the resort i stay and married at back in 2009 for the one night before going to Tanna.

If we total up everything it would have come up to A$120 same as the price they pay for accommodation include return airport transfers, welcome drink, breakfast, free use of snorkels and kayaks and if dinner is included and they all had Coconut Crab or Lobsters that night for A$65 per head - I'm sure we will make a profit of one Terrible Review Again.

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Tara Beach Shuttle (Return Airport Transfers) $60 ($30 one way for the 4)!

Big Breakfast (Egg on toast, juices, pastries, fruits, cereals, coffee, milo, etc) $15p/p x 4adult $60

Not forgetting use of electricity, water, Toileries, clean bed linen, towels, tea and coffee making facilites, housekeeping, etc.....

"THIS IS A GREAT BARGAIN"
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Like we always said, Tara Beach is a 100% locally owned resort which operate in true Vanuatu Island Way.
The rooms are improving and we have a communal hot shower for guests to use only.

If you want to support locals and experience the Real Vanuatu, this is the best place to be.

Tankiu tumas PandaGurl for your review and also we want to say a Bigfella Tankiu Tumas to all our guests who supported us all through the years. We wouldn't got an Award for 2013 Certificated of Excellence without YOU.


Lukim yu!!!

Eric Vatoko

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2013

We really loved our stay at Tara Beach. The staff are fantastic, friendly and helpful, but they don't pester you and just let you go about enjoying your holiday. The rooms are large and spacious. The cold shower took some getting use to for us, but in the heat and humidity we quickly decided it was a good thing. The fish and coral out the front are beautiful, however the masks and snorkels provided are not that great.they kept leaking and that spoilt it a little for us. Loved all the bright blue starfish. The beach has some sand accessible at low tide, however you should be aware that the reef comes all the way along, so there isn't a sandy bottom in the water if that matters to you. It didn't to us.

Tara beach is about a 20-30 min drive into Vila, and we were glad for that. It was quiet, peaceful and on days when other guests were out sightseeing we had the whole place to our selves. We bought some food and kept it in our fridge. There are kettles in the rooms, but no tea and coffee.

Nearby are black sand beaches, the coffee roasting place for Tanna coffee, hideaway etc.

We are only giving this 3 stars for a couple of reasons. 1 is the snorkelling equipment - we would bring our own next time, and the second is that the bungalow we had was in need of some maintenance - not enough that we wouldn't come back, but they do need to get onto it before long. Also our shower could have used a good scrub. That said, we loved Tara Beach and all the people who work there. We paid $au80 per night including breakfast and thought it was a bargain. Thanks to Thomas, Eric, LouLou and everyone else for giving us a great start to our Vanuatu holiday.

Room Tip: Ask for bungalow 1 or 2 as they have no trees in front of them and you can wake up and see the ocean...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank norfolkjill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
tara-manager, Manager at Tara Beach Bungalows, responded to this reviewResponded 10 May 2013

Halo Darren and Lorrain,

Many thanks for your honest review and also many thanks for enjoying your stay despite some little minor issues that we are not aware of.

We put in some coffee and milo packets for you but you didn't use them just the milk.
We are now got some seperate guest use only snorkeling equipement and we are also working on the bungalows and maybe the next time you come the price would go up from A$80 - A$800 per night...(hahahahaha, i'm just kidding)!!!

I'm sure you both love bungalow 1, cause you always walk up to the restaurant around 10ish every morning for breakfast and yes it's the great bargain in Port Vila.

A$80 per night includes return airport transfers, welcome drink on arrival, breakfast and free use of snorkeling gears and kayaks.

I hope everything went well with relocating in Brisbane and we wish you all the best in life.

Once again many thanks for choosing and Supporting Locally Owned Resort and looking forward to welcoming you and Darren back to our lovely Paradise.

Lukim yu! (see you later)

Eric Vatoko

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2013

What can we say, but tankyiu tumas (thank you very much) to the Vatoko family who run this small resort for making our 3 night stay very memorable. We are a family of 2 adults and 18 & 20 year old "kids".Yes, we had cold showers but who needs hot water when the weather is so beautiful. From the airport pickup to the invitation to go to the local church service, being invited to share a special celebratory dinner, Lulu playing his guitar and singing to us at breakfast, Eric's friendly smile, delicious dinners, kayaking, great snorkelling off the jetty and Thomas the taxi driver to take you where you want, not to mention Sala playing his guitar and singing everything from local welcome songs to Elvis! The young local village girls and their beautiful singing voices added to our experience of a wonderful family holiday at Tara Beach. We would definitely recommend staying here, you won't be disappointed.
Mick & Kathy Mc

Room Tip: All bungalows are separate & have the same view across the waterfront.
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank KMadventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 April 2013

We have just returned from 2 weeks in Vanuatu. My 3 daughters were made to feel part of the family at Tara Beach. Lulu and Eric make sure you get a true Vanuatu experience with visit to local school and Village and the girls had friends to swim and play with. Dont miss the Melanesian Feast night on Tuesday- dancing, singing and a nice meal. The drivers were also there each day to take you into town or to any of the Island attractions for a small fee. The breakfast each morning consisted of eggs, fruit, cereal, toast and pastries, very delicious.
we all loved feeding the fish and snorkeling off the jetty and taking the kayaks out to the coral island just off the shore. The rooms are basic - 2 double beds and a bathroom and ceiling fans. We didnt mind that the hot water wasnt working and the taps leaked. The attention to people here is what impressed us. Lulu and Eric are very easy going and are very proud to share their culture and experiences with you. I even received an email last night checking that we arrived home safely. We hope to return soon.

Room Tip: Bungalow 1 might be slightly better equipped but basically all bungalows are the same and usually th...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank lou_here
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2013

This place is fantastic, close enough to everything but far enough away to not have to deal with all the crowds from the big cruise ships. The rooms are a good size and each bungalow is separate, metres from the water.
Who needs the fancy hotels when you can have a place like this, we didn't even mind the cold showers.
The food is excellent, big healthy breakfasts and the curries are the best we've every had.
Eric, Lulu and the staff made our holiday truly relaxing. Nothing was a problem, everything was very lay back, just what you wont on a holiday.
The Swimming and snorkelling out the front of the resort is fabulous, so many varieties of fish, you can also go kayaking.
This place really is value for money,this is not a 5 star resort, this place has character and charm we can't wait to return.

  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank Fran and Mark H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tara Beach Bungalows

Address: Devil's Point Road | Mele Bay, Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu
Region: Vanuatu > Efate > Port Vila
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 22 B&Bs / Inns in Port Vila
Price Range: £67 - £72 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Tara Beach Bungalows 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tara Beach is absolute beach front situated on 12 lush acres fronting picturesque Mele Bay, Efate, Vanuatu. With crystal clear, safe waters at your doorstep, we are the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking, swimming and getting away from it all for a while. We also have a chilled out open air bar / cafe known as the Beach Hut that is also open to day visitors and locals. Located about 15 mins from town & 10 mins to the airport, we provide free airport transfers for guests. All bungalows have tea and coffee making facilities and a fridge, with ocean views a few metres from your door included as standard. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tara Beach Bungalows Hotel Port Vila
Tara Beach Hotel
Tara Beach Port Vila
Tara Beach Bungalows Vanuatu/Port Vila

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