Vanuatu is renowned for its handicrafts, paintings, fabrics and clothes, which can be found in the stores in Port Vila. Handicrafts such as such a wood carvings, beads, and basket ware can also be found at several stores or at the daily colorful market in the town centre which is open Monday to Saturday. Visit the artifacts market behind Nambawan Cafe, along seafront in Port Vila.
There are a variety of excellent ‘Duty Free’ stores in Port Vila, offering exceptional values on jewelry, handbags, clothes, and shoes. Note that prices are fixed and bargaining is not a part of the friendly Vanuatu lifestyle.
The cuisine of Vanuatu is among the very best in the South Pacific and Port Vila is fast becoming known as the gourmet capital of the South Pacific. Locally organic grown produce, farmed beef raised on the island of Espiritu Santo, and fresh seafood are an essential part of the local menus. The most famous Vanuatu dish is coconut crab infused with a natural coconut flavor.
The combination of French and Asian influences makes the cuisine of Vanuatu an exceptional experience. The potpourri of expatriate cultures is reflected in food styles served in at the more than 40 restaurants, cafes, and supermarkets in Vanuatu.
Each successive wave of immigrants from other South Pacific regions carried with them all the tools needed to live including food crops, tree seedlings, and their most important animal, the pig. This animal is probably the most significant aspect of life in Vanuatu, symbolizing not simply a source of protein, but also the cornerstone of ritual life, a token of wealth and power upon which entire societies are founded.
Nightlife usually starts with a “shell” of Kava. Kava is a soporific drink made from the root of a plant related to the pepper tree. It has been used for countless generations primarily as a relaxant. Vanuatu kava has 32 active components, making it the strongest in the world. Culturally, it was traditionally a Chief’s drink used in ceremonies; but as Vanuatu’s culture is so diverse, so are the ceremonies and uses and taboos surrounding kava.
Numerous kava bars are found around Port Vila and Luganville in Santo.
Most hotels also offer kava tasting on special theme nights. In addition,
resorts and hotels also organize Melanesian-style feasts once or twice a week with traditional dancing, kava drinking, local string bands, and traditional food; it’s an ideal way to try local delicacies and experience the wonderful singing and dancing for which Ni-Vanuatu are famous.