I really enjoyed my 5 night stay on Hideaway Island. Our plane was delayed 11 hours so we were very happy to find the friendly staff there to greet us and transfer us to the island. It is a 20 minute bus ride on paved roads and then a very bumpy but short ride down a dirt road before taking a 2 minute boat ride to the resort. We were quickly shown our room. You do have to carry your own bag which we didn’t mind.
We stayed in bungalow 14, which faces west so you can watch the sunset from the balcony. This room is probably the closest to the generator and some noise could be heard (by my husband) in the room but I didn’t notice it over the whoosh of the fans. He slept soundly every night! When he asked to move rooms they had availability and were happy to help but on inspection of the room on the eastern side of the island we could still hear the generator noise. The bungalow was nice and spacious. All the furniture was in good condition and functional. The bed and linen were clean and comfortable. The shutters and screens on the windows and fans on the ceilings were great as we were able to stay cool with out the fear of creepy crawlies getting in. Tea coffee, sugar, milk etc were provided. They also provided small bottles of shampoo and conditioner and bars of soaps. There is a safe in the room. Housekeeping made the room up nicely everyday and replenished all products and towels etc.
The island has a great coral reef around it and there is no sand just broken coral so remember to take your thongs and grab a lounge chair or table early! You can walk around the island in about 20 minutes. On the western side of the island is the beach access, the restaurant, dive centre, jetty, dorm rooms, reception and pool. Around the rest of the island you can only walk on a one metre wide concrete walkway before walking on rocks. All the bungalows a spaced apart and are built around the parameter of the island. The island is a little hill so you have to walk up around 15 steps to reach the accommodation. On the top of the hill and around the bungalows are lovely tropical gardens with the generator housed behind a wooden fence in the centre. We noticed that building had begun on two more bungalows on the eastern side of the island.
The food was ok. The breakfast was basic-bread, a few condiments, home cooked muffins and tined fruit salad with freshly plunged coffee and hot water for tea. I had the banana pancakes for breakfast twice-yum. My husband tried the omelette, poached and fried eggs but did not really enjoy these. Lunch and dinner menu consisted of mostly western style foods and a few Melanesian dishes. I had the vegetable curry a few times which was delicious. We had happy hour drinks at the bar and the staff made my favourite drink even though it wasn’t on the list! Please remember you are on island time and nothing is rushed here, so don’t wait till you are starving to order or complain that service is slow.
The snorkelling is fantastic. Just follow the stairs into the safest part of the beach and then head left. We went as far as the white buoy but we are confident swimmers. The daily snorkel trip took us near and around this area as well. The water is warm and clear. There are so many kinds of fish and coral it is a feast for your eyes.
Handy tips and my feedback on Vanuatu
*Once you get off the ferry from Hideaway Island to the main island you can easily get a cab or bus to anywhere. You should expect to pay 300-400vatu/p for a taxi or 200vatu/p for the bus to Port Vila. It’s easy to tell what is a bus or taxi because the initial is on the number plate!
*If you want to try a different restaurant without going into Port Vila, just jump on the free ferry back to the main island and eat at the Beach Club instead.
* When coming back at night have your driver flash his lights a few times until a staff member from Hideaway Island Resort flashes a light back. This is to signal that you want the ferry to pick you up.
*Mingle with the local people and children. They are so adorable. In other countries I have felt unsafe and have had locals beg or try to rip us off but the people of Vanuatu are so happy, relaxed and welcoming. When we strolled the local beach we were quickly joined by a group of giggling children rushing to find me the perfect shell and asking our names etc. We also swam at the local beach and played on the floating toys and with the balls with the local children as their carers looked on. I loved seeing them so happy and at ease with strangers. This just proved to me how sweet and innocent the Vanuatu people are.
*Hire a car and drive around the island. We did and we got to see the view from the lookout, Cascade Falls, hot springs, the blue lagoon, Pongo beach and Erakor Island and all the little local communities around the island. This helped remind me how beautiful life is when it is so simple and people work together for a common goal.
* Try Kava! Kava Vanu is a great kava place set on the hill in Port Vila, just walk up a dirt driveway and then some stairs. It is on the Linl Highway and the corner of the side street, just before the number 1 (Fatumaru Lodge) on the trip advisor map. There is a home hardware shop on street level which you could probably park in if it is late at night. Kava taste horrible but is a local custom and a great way to meet the local. It makes you feel chatty and relaxed. I strongly suggest eating before having kava.
While we enjoyed our 9 nights (we spent 4 nights at Tara Beach Resort, see my review) in Port Vila, I do not feel there are enough place of interest for us to visit Vanuatu again. I am sorry to say the prices for drinks and food was often more expensive than Australia and not of the same standard.
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- Also Known As:
- Hideaway Island Hotel Port Vila
- Hideaway Island Port Vila
- Hideaway Island Resort Vanuatu/Port Vila