About Port Vila

Port-Vila is the capital and largest city of Vanuatu. It is situated on the island of Efate in the province of Shefa. At a population of 44,000, Port-Vila is slowly growing, but remains a small and laid-back capital. The city extends across the length of Vila Bay, with parks, markets, and restaurants trailing the waterfront. Host to Vanuatu's largest harbor and airport, Port-Vila is a popular destination for cruise ships and a base for tours and adventure activities across the island of Efate. It may not look like it, but Port Vila is one of the most multi-cultural towns on Earth. Its 40,000 Melanesian inhabitants come from over a hundred language and cultural groups, and bring those languages and cultures with them when they come to settle in the capital. All retain links with their home islands: ask someone on the street where they're from, and you're almost sure to get an answer other than "Port Vila". In addition to the ni-Vanuatu population, there is an assortment of Australians, New Zealanders, Europeans, Chinese, Indians and other expatriate nationalities who call Port Vila home. Life in Port Vila is expensive. There is no income or corporation tax here, so the government must earn money instead with taxes and duties on goods, which were expensive anyway because of high transport costs. As a Western visitor you'll find the prices mildly high, but to locals earning the minimum wage of around $2 an hour, they're horrific. As a result, there is a certain amount of dissatisfaction in the air, particularly among young people who can find nothing to do apart from sperem pablik rod (stand around on the highway). However, this dissatisfaction is seldom aimed directly at the foreigners who have helped to create the problem by turning Vila into a tax haven, and mostly the local people continue to smile, enjoy life, and welcome visitors warmly. They do still live on a beautiful tropical island, after all.