At some point in their wildest childhood fantasy, every kid yearns to grow up surrounded by adventure. Dreams of wide-open spaces that turn into the bluest crystal clear lagoons, just waiting to be explored by curious hands and feet. Reticent jungle hideouts that can only be accessed by boat are just itching to host a cubby or super-secret base. Rich green islands encircled by underwater gardens, dotted with colourful sea creatures, and soldier crabs that guard the mangroves are just asking to be chased into an untold world beneath the sand. For the children who call Aquana Beach Resort home this type of fantasy life is a reality they are growing up surrounded by and the type of backyard that they are only too happy to share with all who visit the small, family-run resort.

Aquana Beach Resort is an easy 15 minutes drive from downtown Port Vila and has a reputation that needs no pushing as families return time and time again to this friendly little resort.

Often in big resorts there is a feeling of just being part of a never-ending procession of holidaymaker cattle and the personal touches that really make for a relaxed break are just not part of the experience. Aquana is that point of difference and these guys are very good at getting to know their guests but also knowing when to drift into the background and let the tropics take hold. In fact, once you become part of the Aquana family you will want to spend every holiday relaxing here with familiar faces and not just connecting with the people but making memories with those you love the most.

Spurred on by a vision and a drive to create a great life for their future children this everyday family started Aquana Beach Resort back in 2011 with just 5 modest bungalows. Since those early days they have expanded in more ways than one with an extra 11, one and two bedroom bungalows added and the addition of three active kids to keep everyone on their toes! It’s certainly true that for this family life is a juggling act between business and home, but that is exactly what gives Aquana the intimate, personal vibe that it is known for, the type of vibe that keeps families coming back for more at every given opportunity.

With an endless list of water sports, a day spa, award winning restaurant, a pool and several tours on offer there is plenty to do during your time at Aquana, but with the bustle of Port Vila nowhere to be found families come to this part of Efate to relax and spend time together. Aquana also has one very big draw card for exhausted mums and dads who love the idea of time with the kids but also want some downtime to catch up and recharge, they’re called ‘Roving Nannies’! Seriously where were such beautiful, caring and fun women when my kids were smaller?! It’s true what they say about a village raising a kid and that feeling is all part of the Aquana experience and included in the cost of your stay. For the 16 bungalows there are 18 roving nannies that spend their time laughing, exploring and having adventures with the little ones who visit. Family is such a big part of island culture and these women from the local Eratap village just love caring for children and it really shows. In fact all the staff at Aquana are a truly happy bunch and the Aquana management team pride themselves on looking after their staff and providing opportunities to the people from the surrounding villages.

The villas are very comfortable and well appointed with everything a family could want or need to enjoy their stay. Air conditioning, Ceiling fans, a bar fridge, a television and free WI-FI are all standard inclusions here. Baby baths, cots and highchairs can all be supplied at no extra cost to guests. The bungalows are stocked with locally made organic bath and body products based on island lime, coconut and vanilla, which are just divine and a lovely touch of unique luxury.

If you are like me and an integral part of any holiday experience is the food and drink, you will not be disappointed at Aquana Beach Resort and you certainly won’t be leaving hungry! Buffet breakfast, long lunches and gourmet dinners are all served on the edge of the protected lagoon with a view of the surrounding islands. Cocktail time starts at 5pm each evening and I can assure you that they make a deicious Mojito as well as offering a great selection of wines. If you are a steak lover you can’t leave without trying the Santo eye fillet, cooked so perfectly that I actually used a butter knife to effortlessly slice through it. Served with fresh local vegetables and a scrumptious potato gratin, washed down with a zesty pinot gris and topped off with a French dessert, I would recommend you bring something with an elastic waist to wear home from your trip!

A highlight of my stay was chatting to the owners and staff about life in this part of the Pacific, something that probably wouldn’t have been possible at a big resort. I loved walking to the nearby village with one of the staff to see her home, spend some time at the school and church and meet her family. Aquana guests also have access to a private uninhabited island just a short boat ride across the lagoon. There you can feed the fish, catch crabs, climb the giant banyan trees or have a specially prepared picnic on the deserted beach. For a small resort there is plenty on offer to keep everyone entertained with a fire show, cultural performers, a trivia night and a lazy Sunday acoustic session all regular offerings on the Aquana calendar. They also have a well-stocked book and DVD library, as well as offering hair braiding, temporary tattoos and a free daily bus to and from Port Vila Township.

If you like your tropical getaway with a personal touch, a smiling face, a relaxed vibe and a chat over a coffee look no further than Aquana Beach Resort.

Clichés like this have been echoed repeatedly when describing family getaways in the tourism industry but this place really is a tropical wonderland for active kids and a paradise for parents wanting the best of both worlds. It makes sense that the crew from Aquana would know exactly what families are looking for in a holiday, because they are a family just like yours, living family life firsthand, the good, the bad and the very messy!

 Small family resort and big family memories at Aquana Beach Resort

If you like what you see please feel free to share.