Arrival at Port Vila Vanuatu

approaches to Port Vilaimage copyright CHESHER from the Cruising Guide to Vanuatu

WARNING There are new clearance regulations and yachts ARE being fined for non-compliance. Click here for information on the new regulations

Port Vila is tucked into a well protected harbour on the SW side of the island of Efate, at the eastern end of a large bay called Mele Bay. The approach and entry is very easy and without dangers. It is by far the safest and easiest harbour to head for on your cruise to Vanuatu. Note that there is no operational navigation light on the SE point of Mele Bay as shown on some nautical charts. Care must be taken on the final approach to the harbour to avoid two reefs that project into the harbour entrance. As with any island landfall a daytime approach is always safest.

There is a laser lead light to guide you into the port. You are in line when the light is white bearing 78degrees. Turn to starboard if the light is red, to port if the light is green.

Don't rely on the two entrance markers on either side of the entrance pass to be lit at night as they don't always work.

You must have the yellow Q flag flying as soon as you enter the territorial waters of Vanuatu.

Once safely inside the harbor proceed to the quarantine area - where the boats are shown in the aerial view of Port Vila shown above.

Anchor next to the yellow quarantine buoy located at 17°44.275 S 168°18.597 E. Drop your anchor in about 10 to 12 meters on a coral rubble bottom. The holding is not the best, but you won't be there too long providing you don't come on a weekend or public holiday. The anchorage is well protected during trade winds and OK for the evening.

24 Hours Advance Notice for Customs!

New Customs clearance regulations require yachts to send an email notice of arrival at least 24 hours before entering Vanuatu territorial waters. Yachts are required to hoist the quarantine flag within 200 nautical miles of Vanuatu islands. Requirements for Customs