Port Vila Market is the beating heart of the city, where Melanesian, French and Chinese cultures mingle. Experience the rich cultural traditions of the Ni Vanuatu and find out about the archipelago’s international influences through craft, food, arts and cultural activities. The covered market has a sprawling collection of stalls and vendors selling handmade crafts, fresh local produce and tasty snacks. Chat with local stallholders and you might meet woodcarvers, coffee-bean growers, pastry chefs and winemakers.
Enter the large marketplace from the street and begin your exploration of the stalls. Check out the fresh produce section, where you’ll find local farmers and their families selling seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as seafood and meats. Depending on the time of year, you might pick up fresh passionfruit, mangoes or wild raspberries. Grab a healthy snack or pick up tasty items for a picnic. Follow your nose to the florists who sell fragrant tropical flowers.
If you are feeling hungry, savor the distinctive aroma of freshly baked pastries at one of the French-style bakeries. Pair a pastry with a cup of locally grown coffee or stop by one of the vendors for a quick lunch. You might try traditional Melanesian cuisine or Chinese specialties.
Make your way to the arts and crafts section to meet local artisans and purchase souvenirs. See hand-dyed sarongs and traditional South Pacific carvings. Wood, stone, coral and volcanic rock carvings feature intriguing designs. Pottery, woven baskets and mats, shell jewelry, musical instruments and masks are also available and may be duty free.
The market is situated on the city’s main street and is easy to access on foot from the city center. It is open daily, except for Sundays. The most popular time to visit is Saturday mornings. Be sure to visit more than once, as many stallholders take turns at selling their wares and refresh their displays with new deliveries throughout the week. If you are picking up souvenirs, check if the item can be cleared through customs in your home country before purchasing.