Affordable places to stay and play in north Efate and nearby islands
Efate’s Taleva coast, is just 45 minutes’ drive from Port Vila, but it’s a million miles away from all of the stresses of town life. It’s not surprising: with scenery this stunning, it must be hard to not to let the mind wander as you look out across the water to the islands offshore. And it’s even harder to get worked up about the worries you’ve left back in Vila once you’ve jumped on the boat to Nguna or Pele and you’re sitting on the beach watching the sun go down – it’s your time now!
Being so close to Vila and with so much beauty, Taleva is an easy choice for quick getaway from Vila—and right now, Taleva’s tourism businesses could use your support. So start planning your visit—it may surprise you just how affordable it is to stay, dine or play along this part of the coast.
Siviri, Saama and Emua villages
The drive down the hill into Siviri village is one of the highlights of any drive around Efate. The view across Undine Bay towards Nguna, Pele, Kakula and Emao is truly special, and t’s easy to understand why Australian movie star Cate Blanchett built a holiday house for her family here. But did you know that underneath this hill, there’s an underground lake inside a cave? Valeva Cave Tour is a unique attraction that is well worth a visit.
On the other side of the old Undine Bay plantation, Top Rock in Saama village sits perched on a limestone escarpment. is the perfect place for a swim and a picnic, with well-thought-out seating areas on top of the cliffs surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens. The coral gardens below are equally as gorgeous, and for adventurous WW2 history buffs, there’s a crashed US fighter/bomber that can be snorkelled to from the shore.
Just a bit further along the Taleva coast is Emua, the administrative and transport centre of Taleva. It’s most often visited by people jumping on the boat to Pele and Nguna from Emua Wharf, but Emua actually has more accommodation options than any other village in Vanuatu, offers fine island dining by the beach, and the tuluk at the road market put Mele’s tuluk crown in serious doubt! For the hardcore fitness enthusiasts, the trail to the top of the hill that towers over the village is an absolute must.
Paunangisu and Nasinu
Paunangisu is the village located on Efate just to the south of Kakula Island. The only accommodation option is the immaculate and family friendly Malowia Guesthouse right on the beach facing Nguna. There’s a mysterious blue hole nearby that villagers say is growing in size, and some great snorkelling opportunities as well.
Right in the top right corner of Efate is Nasinu, which is best known as the location of the Nasinu Hot Springs. Experience the temperature of the different thermal pools and cake yourself (and your friends and family too!) in the cleansing mineral clays there.
Half an hour by banana boat from Emua Wharf, Pele has four villages: Worsiviu, Worearu, Piliura, and Launamoa. The island is part of the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area and is a popular place to dive and snorkel amongst colourful fish, reefs, seagrass beds, mangrove forests and intertidal lagoons. If you’re lucky, you may spot dolphins and turtles on the trip over from Emua Wharf to Pele. The climb to the basalt volcanic plug at the apex of the island is a great way to get the heart pumping again after any post-lunch siesta. Stay for a couple of nights and you can enjoy a Pele sunrise from the east coast and a Pele sunset on the beach on the western side.
Separated by just 300m of water from Pele, Nguna is dissected by three extinct volcanic craters, the highest of which is Taputoara at 593m tall. The diving and snorkelling around Nguna is some of the best in all of Vanuatu, and it is possible to walk around the full circumference of the island and visit all 12 of the island’s villages. Taloa village, closest to Pele, is where most of the accommodation options are located, but bookworms may want to check out Paunvina Guesthouse near Unakapu village– it’s the only guest house in Vanuatu that can lay claim to having a library with hundreds of books!
If you’ve never been to Nguna, and you’re fit and healthy, you should do the hike to the top of another of Nguna’s extinct volcanoes, Marou. It’s is a great way to experience everyday life on Nguna as you pass through several villages on the way to the summit. The view from the top is one of the most sublime experiences you can have anywhere in Vanuatu, as you look north at the islands of the Shepherds Group poking up through the sea like giant sharks’ teeth, and south to Pele and Efate across a vast expense of shallow, turquoise reef as the tradewinds whistle through the orchids and tall grass around you.
Getting to Taleva
It’s a 45-minute drive to Emua from Port Vila, and a few minutes further to Paunangisu and Nasinu. Public transport vehicles leave from outside au Bon Marche Man Ples, and cost Vt500 per person each way. Boats from Emua to Nguna and Pele cost Vt3,000 per trip: organise your friends or family to go as a group to share the cost.
Last but not least…
Please help VTO support local tourism! Post about your Taleva getaway experience on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #VanuatuMoments, and tag in @VanuatuTourismOffice so VTO can share your post and help promote our local tourism businesses.