This was our first time visiting Vanuatu. So we decided to stay on the main island of Efate this time, but after our weeks visit there is no doubt that we will be back to explore the other, less remote islands including Tanna. We absolutely loved our short but sweet time on the island, and of course wished it didn’t have to end so soon. One of our highlights during our time on the island was stayed at the wonderful Coco Beach Resort Vanuatu.
– Location –
Efate is about 25 by 20 miles large, with the main and capital town being Port Vila (40,000 citizens). For our first few days on the island, we wanted to escape from the busy town and stay at a tranquil place with a relaxing island vibe, whilst also being on a beautiful sandy beach. Thus, we decided to book ourselves into the Coco Beach Resort. It is located a short 20 minute drive south of Port Vila by taxi/bus.
– Overview –
We arrived in the afternoon from a flight from Brisbane on Virgin Australia. After a short bus ride from the airport, we arrived at the resort. As soon as we stepped into the resort, we were surrounded by the peaceful sound of birds and the ocean. It was honestly true paradise!
We were greeted by the wonderful staff at Coco Beach Resort Vanuatu, who are some of the friendliest hoteliers we’ve met and all locals from Efate and the surrounding islands.
The effort into making each and every guest stay unique and special was clearly paramount and personally for us was outstanding. From freshly made welcome drinks on arrival, to helping organise tours or transfers to the town centre. We must say a special thanks to Celine who looked after our every need throughout our stay at Coco Beach.
– Rooms & Resort –
For Vanuatu standards, the bungalows (fares) are beautifully designed and are of a great standard. There are only 15 fares in total, which makes the whole place just so relaxed and secluded. The beachfront fares come with a bit of upgraded furniture, air-conditioning and a TV, but otherwise they’re all relatively similar. Each fare is individually customised, with different paintings and colours, which is a great touch!
A fan is actually perfectly fine for most of the year in Vanuatu, so don’t feel like you must stay in an air-con room just because it’s a tropical country. We stayed in a sea-view fare, and we even turned off the fan at night as we were a little chilly! The ocean (and sunset) views from your own veranda or even hammock are worth the extra though.
We specifically loved the bathroom design as well, with rugged walls made from natural stones:
– Food –
At Coco Beach Resort, there is an la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast you can choose between a variety of cooked or continental breakfast items. Lunch will be snacks or reduced dinner portions, and for dinner the menu is different every night, including fish, steak, chicken and pork. The food was the best we tasted on the island! You’ll have the choice between usually two starters, four mains and two desserts.
We must say that every single meal we ordered was very tasty, at any time of the day!
Clocks are ticking on island time, so expect to sit back and relax for a couple of hours from sitting down for dinner to signing your bill. We found that to be very unwinding in a good way.
– Beach & Pool –
Unfortunately, a week before our stay a cyclone hit the island which damaged much of the resorts private beach. Despite this, we were surprised how pristine the beach was, and imagined how beautiful it must normally be. Much of the coastline of Efate has coral reef surrounding it, and thus around most of the island you will usually have to walk over spiky coral to get to swimmable waters. However, the Resort beach is one of the only places where you can actually go for a swim (or kayaking, etc.) right from the beach, as there is a little canal to allow the water taxis to come up to the mini-jetty. We found that to be perfect, as most other places didn’t have this advantage.
In addition, there is pool at the upper end of the resort. Since it’s not by the beach, it is very quiet and relaxing as a result. You’ll probably have it to your own for a few hours some time during your stay. It actually is fairly large as well compared to the size of the resort, definitely good for a swim!
– Activities –
Unlike many resorts throughout Vanuatu, The Coco Beach Resort Vanuatu has free snorkel hire, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and canoes for use whenever you fancy. This was a great bonus, particularly how there is a beautiful reef with many fish and coral right at your doorstep.
Although they have free snorkel hire, we do suggest bringing your own if you have the gear, as the equipment is not the newest and our masks leaked slightly. Despite that, we were able to see some beautiful coral and fish.
You won’t believe it, but it was actually the first time we took our brand new GoPro Hero 5 under water – and it died pretty much instantly! An action camera, supposed to be waterproof down to 10 meters, dying after being exposed to 1 meter deep waters for about five minutes. Luckily we managed to get one good photo before it died on us 🙂
If you fancy heading into the capital; Port Vila, they can organise a water taxi for just US$10, which we highly encourage as the coastline to and from the resort is beautiful, especially on a sunny day. The friendly staff at Coco Beach are also able to book most tours around the island from quad biking to snorkelling excursions with turtles. There really is so much to see and do throughout the island!
– Prices –
Vanuatu is one of the poorer countries in the Pacific Ocean and it’s not yet very touristy. However, that doesn’t lead to cheap prices for most of the activities you will do as a tourist. Hotels and resorts are almost as expensive as in Australia or New Zealand, where most tourists are coming from. The same goes for food and drinks, especially in the hotels. A typical dinner at Coco Beach or other resorts will set you back US$20pp or more for a main dish, seafood costs are significantly higher. Local water can be bought for rather cheap, but surprisingly you can actually drink the tap water which we did for our stay. A local beer costs around US$5 and a cocktail will roughly be US$12 to 15. So if you decide to come to a resort in Vanuatu, do prepare to spend a fair bit of money on the essentials.
– Bottom Line –
Overall, our three nights at Coco Beach Resort Vanuatu was a beautifully unwinding experience and we couldn’t have asked anything else. The design of the resort features a classic tropical island vibe with beautiful bungalow-style rooms, open air dining by the sea, and wonderful, accommodating staff. Three nights was a perfect balance if you’re staying for a week in Vanuatu, allowing you to explore more of the island or visit the neighbouring islands. Any shorter than that wouldn’t do the place justice.
Ultimately it’s of course not a high end luxury option, but this 4* resort has definitely got all you need and more to enjoy your holiday. If you want a quiet place to completely relax and immerse in the serenity of your surroundings, look no further!
Book Your Stay:
Don’t just take our word for it though, check out their reviews on TripAdvisor
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