The picture perfect beaches, friendly locals and safe environment makes Vanuatu an obvious holiday destination for families. But Port Vila offers a few different activities that you may not have thought about. We’ve lifted the lid on a few local secrets – things to do with your kids that you will also enjoy, that aren’t necessarily listed in the tourist guides.
OK, this one may not be for the adults, but it will sure give you some downtime to do adult things. A few of the big resorts have kids clubs but often you don’t have to be staying there for your children to attend. Usually for a small fee you can leave the kids with the friendly teachers who will keep your child occupied for hours. Think coconut tree climbing, hermit crab races, beach volleyball, local arts and crafts and much more. Not only will the kids have an absolute ball and learn a few local tricks, they’ll forget what an Xbox looks like – even if it’s only for the day.
Walk just 100m east from the Cruise ship wharf and you’ll find tucked away amongst the trees on the beach, the Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club. This quaint little club with its sand floor and cold drinks is a gathering spot for local sailors on a Sunday. So if sailing is your thing, you can hire RS Terra or Cuba sailing boats for very little and go explore the harbour. Even if sailing isn’t your thing, it’s a nice little spot for a swim and relax. There is a village nearby so there are always plenty of local kids hanging around that will teach your kids beach soccer or how to launch into the water from a tyre swing. Check out their Facebook Page: Vanuatu Cruising Yacht Club – VCYC
If by unfortunate chance you have rain during your stay, you can escape the weather the blues by taking the kids to the movies. Tana Ciné is Vanuatu’s only cinema and the place to go for the latest releases. If you really want to splash out, you can take yourself upstairs in the Gold Class section and have your drinks and snacks delivered straight to your full recliner seats. The adults can enjoy a cold beer or a glass of wine with the movie and afterwards the kids can play in the arcade or free multi-level play gym with ball pit downstairs.
One of the most popular ‘”playgrounds” for locals kids and adults alike, Erakor Island really is a place where you can completely relax and just let the kids go for it! For only 500vt per child and 1000vt per adult, you can take a transfer boat over to this pristine island and spend the day. Erakor offers safe lagoon swimming and snorkelling, kayaks, hobie cats and paddleboards for hire, a playground and trampoline and a multitude of staff that will help entertain the kids. The best thing about playing castaway on a little island like Erakor is you’ll barely see the kids all day but you know they can’t really get lost. Oh, and the entrance fee you pay is redeemable against the very affordable food and drinks you purchase while on the island. Win. Win.
Road Trip in a Mini Moke
The minute the kids clap eyes on a mini moke they will be in love! The no roof, no doors thing really seems to resonate with kids. Taking a road trip around the island means you can stop whenever and wherever you like. You can visit all the popular tourist spots in our own time (using a Hotspots Map of course!) or go exploring to find your own hidden secret spots. There is so much to see and do around the island and there is nothing more relaxing than cruising back into town as the sun starts to set (roof off for the best view) and exhausted but happy kids in the back seat. Call World Car Rentals Vanuatu to book one of their mini mokes.
Why not give the whole family surf lessons. There aren’t many places where local surfers are completely welcoming to outsiders on their break, but Pango is an exception. Surfers of all levels enjoy Pango Beach for the friendly smiles as well as the waves and it’s there you will find some of the local boys that will teach you to surf for a fraction of the price you would pay for lessons elsewhere. And if you’re worried about their skill or qualification level, don’t be. These boys have been tearing up the waves both here and overseas and are great instructors. John Steven of Surf Vanuatu is your man.
Visit an underwater post office
So this one you have probably seen in the guides but it’s a goodie. Fascinate the kids by letting them post a waterproof postcard back to grandma. Located on Hideaway Island, you purchase a special waterproof postcard, write on it and dive down just a couple of metres to a Vanuatu Post booth to “post” it. Hideaway has more to offer than just this novel snail mail idea though. A marine sanctuary, the easily accessible reef is teeming with an amazing array of marine life. It’s not unusual to spot cuttlefish, schools of squid, rays and turtles as well endless colourful tropical fish. If your kids are aged 10 to 15, why not let them get their PADI Junior open water certification here. Scuba diving is an amazing way to explore the underwater world. After you’ve worn them out in the water, settle in for some great food. The pizzas, pancakes and Hideaway’s famous coconut curry is our recommendation.
There are so many activities suited to children in Vanuatu, such as exploring waterfalls, parasailing, ziplining, horse riding, glass bottom boats, Zego, quad and buggy tours. Get out there and explore with your kids and make sure to grab a Hotspots voucher book where you’ll find amazing discounts to many of these things.