Erakor Island Resort, Vanuatu
Located on a small island at the mouth of the Erakor Lagoon, Erakor Island Resort offers a true island resort experience with the convenience of being close to the mainland and the capital, Port Vila. It's a twenty minute road trip to Erakor wharf from the airport and then a two minute boat ride to the island. The island has beautiful manicured gardens, sandy paths, a fantastic restaurant, kids club, pool and a great choice of accommodation. The staff at Erakor are so helpful and friendly and will ensure your stay is a memorable one.
There are plenty of accommodation options available on Erakor, all within metres of the beautiful lagoon. Most have air conditioning, ceiling fans, balconies or a verandah. The Beachfront Lagoon Villas are good for 2 adults and 2 small kids and the 2-bedroom villas can accommodate 2 adults and up to 3 kids. For bigger families and groups, there is the Sunset 3-bedroom villa, the Tahlindi Beach House and the Pandanus Beach House.
For couples you can choose from the Beachfront Deluxe Spa Villa, the secluded Honeymoon Pool Villa or the Deluxe Honeymoon Pool Villa.
There is a fantastic choice of meals at Erakor. The restaurant sits right over the lagoon and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as snacks and drinks all day. All of the meals we had were excellent and you could easily eat exclusively at Erakor and not be disappointed. However, because you are so close to town and other resorts, there are plenty of dining alternatives. You can visit the Warwick Le Lagon for a meal or try one of the quality restaurants in town. We enjoyed the L'Houstalet Restaurant, the Waterfront Bar and Grill and the Beach Bar at Mele beach.
On Thursday nights the Melanesian Feast & Fire Show is held at Erakor with a fire show, traditional feast and kava tasting. Tuesday night is movie night with all you can eat pizza and popcorn.
The resort has a fantastic sandy beach area with lots of sun lounges, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards. The lagoon is great for kids with safe swimming and snorkelling and plenty of fish to see and lots of starfish. The resort also has a pool, giant chess board, pool table (in a bad state when we visited), petanque and beach volleyball.
Erakor Island has plenty of facilities for children including the Koconut Kids Klub and a playground. The kids club provides age-appropriate daily activities including basket weaving, island adventure walking, learning the local language and hermit crab racing. The resort also provides child minding services.
It's a beautiful walk around the island on sandy paths with some beautiful beaches to visit as well as the missionary grave sites and the historic open-air chapel.
Just across the lagoon from Erakor resort is the Erakor School. You can organise a trip through the resort for a visit. If you have any spare space in your suitcase the school always welcomes any stationery items or sports equipment.
It's a quick trip into town from Erakor. There are some good cafes and restaurants to visit, lots of shops selling clothes, duty free and souvenirs and supermarkets to pick up supplies. The market is worth a visit, just for the colour and experience.
The boat transfer to Erakor and back to the mainland jetty runs all day and night so no matter how late you arrive or how early you leave it's there waiting for you. The main form of transport in Vila is taxi or mini-bus and these are easy find, however sometimes it's hard to get transport from the jetty. Erakor staff can book a taxi for you but sometimes they are a no-show. The best option is to get the phone numbers of a couple of taxi drivers and ring one to pick you up whenever you need a lift. Prices are around 1000vt to town, 1500vt to the airport and 2000vt to Mele. Coming back from town to Erakor it's easy to hail a mini-bus and these tend to be a little cheaper than the taxis - around 200vt pp (prices May 2023).
Efate Highlights and Tours
There are plenty of sights to see around Efate, and Erakor staff are happy to arrange any tours for you. If you are going to multiple locations then a tour tends to be the best option but if you are going to somewhere like Hideaway Island or Mele Cascades you can just arrange a taxi or mini bus to take you - and ask them to come and pick you up when you are finished. Some of the better places to visit are:
Blue Lagoon - the lagoon is deep and edges can be slippery so small kids will naturally need to be supervised. Fantastic fun swinging off the ropes into the lagoon.
Hideaway Island - some great snorkelling straight off the beach. Has a bar and cafe. The beach is coral and hard to walk on so bring appropriate footware.
Mele Cascades - reasonably easy walk up to the top. Joggers or reef shoes required. May be a challenge for younger kids.
Just across the lagoon from Erakor is the Warwick Le Lagon resort. Take the kids on a kayak trip or catch the ferry and check out their facilities - the pools are fantastic and include a swim-up bar. Your are welcome to have lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants there.
There is a curfew on shops selling alcohol from midday on Saturday and all day on Sunday. Resorts and restaurants are exempt.
Check the cruise ship schedules and try to avoid booking any activities when a cruise ship is in.
The best place to change money is at the airport when you arrive. There's an exchange just before customs and one when you get through customs. There's also a small duty free store.
Check your flight schedules before you book and try to get a reasonable departure time. Some flights leave very early. For example if you are departing on a 7am flight you will be leaving Erakor at 4.30am.
This was our second trip to Erakor and won't be our last. After staying at a number of other quality resorts in Vanuatu over the years, Erakor Island Resort stands out as a true island experience close to all of the attractions and amenities that Port Vila has to offer. The warmth and genuine frendliness of the staff makes it a truly unique experience and I'm sure you won't be disappointed if you give Erakor a try.