Are you looking for the perfect escape that’s close to home and affordable? Look no further than Vanuatu. If I had just two words to describe Vanuatu, it would definitely be sweet escape. Formerly New Hebrides, an English and French colony, the Republic of Vanuatu is a nation of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean.

Amid its pristine waters and stunning beaches, Vanuatu has culture, adventure and some truly unique experiences to offer. See the most accessible active volcano in the world on the island of Tanna. Dive down to the shipwreck of the S.S. President Coolidge, a luxury liner used in WW11 to carry troops, now off the coast of Espiritu Santo. Hang out with locals in Port Vila, who will tease you about your French and teach you a few tricks.

Port Vila

Since most flights to Vanuatu arrive here, Port Vila is recognised as the centre of tourism. Located on the island of Efate, it’s the nation’s capital city. There’s plenty to do so it’s worth starting your trip to Vanuatu with a few days in the city. Aussie Expedia travellers usually spend around six days in Vanuatu, and almost all of that time is at hotels around the port.

Most restaurants in Port Vila come with scenic views and French menus – you’ll find plenty of creperies, patisseries, cafes, chocolate shops and fine dining restaurants along the main streets of town. Beyond food, there’s boundless activities that await the seasoned tourist.

Some of the places you should visit while you’re in Port Vila include:

Mele Cascades: A short drive out of town and you’re in a tropical paradise. It’s a postcard-perfect scene. The beauty of Mele Cascades is you’re free to swim in any of the fresh water pools and you can climb to the top of the falls for a spectacular view. Go in the morning to make the most of the cascades. This way you can swim while the sun isn’t too hot and have lunch by the falls.

Underwater Post Office: Yes, there is such a thing as an underwater post office and it’s located off the shores of Hideaway Island in Port Vila. The world’s only underwater post office is worth a visit. It’s just 3 metres below the surface so pop on a snorkel and duck dive down to send off your mail. Apparently it does a pretty busy trade in postcards. Now wouldn’t it be cool to send a special waterproof postcard to a friend? Just don’t expect express delivery…

Iririki Resort: After a long day touring Port Vila, there’s nothing better than unwinding to the sound of island music with a drink in one hand and a camera in the other. Stop and watch the sunset at a resort that combines scenic views, luxury villas, balmy breezes and gourmet dinners. Iririki is my ultimate tropical paradise.