Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Port Vila, Vanuatu

Fri Jan 14, 2011 5:57am EST
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By Balazs Koranyi

PORT VILA, Vanuatu (Reuters Life!) - Welkam long Vanuatu, paradise blong yumi is how you will be greeted when you step foot on this South Pacific island.

And paradise it is.

With jungles, emerald lagoons and coconut groves, Vanuatu is an exotic postcard, little changed from when U.S. author James A. Michener penned "Tales of the South Pacific" in the 1940s.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you make the most of a short stay.

FRIDAY 4 p.m. - First, slow down. Really slow down. Vanuatu likes living in the slow lane. To get your bearings, stroll through the cafe-dotted downtown of the capital Port Vila.

A stop at the central markets is a must. Chances are that you won't recognize much of the produce you'll see. Vanuatu's cuisine consists mostly of root vegetables -- a seemingly endless variety -- and locals claim to consume 250 kg of roots per person a year.

6. p.m. - Head to Nambawan Cafe on the harbor for a bite and, its real charm, the open air movie theater. It's just a makeshift movie screen, but given Vanuatu's very loose copyright laws, you're sure to see one of the year's blockbusters. It's worth booking a table on movie nights.

The menu may be a real shock. Vanuatu is a third world country with first world prices. Most ingredients are imported and energy prices are outrageous, so your pizza will cost the same as in Sydney or Paris.   Continued...