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A stopover for the islands, Vilanculos is an easy and vibrant coastal town to navigate. With plenty of markets from fresh fruit and vegetables to arts and crafts, it’s the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs before leaving Mozambique.

At Vilanculos, you will enjoy spectacular views, pristine beaches, and plenty of sunshine and is well known for diving, the array of accommodations, and its active and lively nightlife.

What to do in Vilanculos

There is plenty to do here and is arguably the best spot for those who enjoy water sports and a bit more of a nightlife.

Visit the islands on day trips returning to the mainland in the afternoon. Famous for its huge prawns and local beers, stop off for lunch at a beach bar for a delectable Mozambique soiree.

You can also enjoy some of the most amazing dives and sightings of Whales, dolphins, turtles, and sharks.

Activities to enjoy include:

  • Dhow sunset boat trip
  • trips to death island or shell island
  • Explore the town (markets)
  • Take boat rides to the Bazaruto Archipelago 
  • Kitesurfing
  • Snorkelling
  • Horse riding
  • Machilla Magic Tour
  • Scuba diving

Who is Vilanculos good for?

It is also an affordable option for those that find the islands price tags a little hefty – beautiful beaches and plenty to do equals a great destination. Vilanculos suits everyone – big or small groups, families with children from young to teens, couples, even corporate getaways.

What wildlife can I expect to see in Vilanculos?

Vilanculos is home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and a variety of marine life. There are also opportunities to see land-based wildlife in nearby national parks.

Cultural experiences in Vilanculos

Mozambique is rich in culture, language, and cuisine. You can enjoy various unique experiences that allow you to appreciate the country’s rich cultural heritage and a deep sense of community among its people. In Vilanculos, you can take a trip to Michella where you meet over 50independentt artists who are passionate about their work and keen to share their stories and techniques. Their products are of good quality, handmade and creative, and range from textiles, accessories, wood carvings, and pottery. 

You can enjoy a city tour with service providers such as Afromoz Tours who with their vast knowledge will help you appreciate the places you visit such as the local markets where you can enjoy delicious local cuisines, visit the ancient city and, learn about the town’s history, and cultural traditions.

Getting to Vilanculos

Vilanculos has its own international airport and is the gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. To get to Bazaruto Island, you can fly from the mainland, Vilanculos, to the islands using a commercial flight or private charter flight. You also have the option to take a helicopter operated by wildlife helicopter to the island which will cost you about $280 per seat.

Alternatively, you can opt for a boat transfer which takes approximately 45 – 60 minutes to reach the island, depending on the tides.

Where to stay in Vilanculos

The variety of accommodation options makes it good for everyone to visit depending on your budget. It is an affordable option for those that find the island’s price tags a little hefty – beautiful beaches and plenty to do equals a great destination.

Vilanculos suits everyone – big or small groups, families with children from young to teens, couples, and even corporate getaways.

Bahia Mar

If you want ultimate luxury in a destination where you can experience culture and the fabulous Bazaruto Archipelago, then Bahia-Mar is the perfect place to retire for a few days of relaxation.


Situated in Vilanculos, above the cliffs of Kingfisher Bay sits the breath-taking Santorini. Offering some of the most stunning views over the archipelago islands.


A little boutique beach lodge overlooking the wonderful Bazaruto Archipelago Marine Reserve and National Park. Located on the beach and immersed in the tropical wilderness.

Tours including this destination

Diving, Dunes and Dolphins

17 days / 16 nights

Wild Africa

21 days / 20 nights
Zambia, Malawi & Mozambique

The Big 3

22 days / 21 nights
Zambia, Malawi & Mozambique

Bookings and Enquiries

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Vilanculos FAQs

What is the climate like in Vilanculos?

Vilanculos has a tropical climate with hot and humid weather year-round. The rainy season runs from November to March, and the dry season from April to October. The hottest months are from October to March.

What are the best beaches to visit in Vilanculos?

Some of the best beaches to visit in Vilanculos are Bazaruto Island, Benguerra Island, Magaruque Island, and Two Mile Reef.

Is it safe to swim in the waters around Vilanculos?

It is generally safe to swim in the waters around Vilanculos, but it is recommended to ask locals or tour operators about any potential hazards or dangerous marine life.

What are the best restaurants in Vilanculos?

Some popular restaurants in Vilanculos include Casa Rex, Baia Sonambula, and The Green Turtle.

Are there any markets or shopping areas in Vilanculos?

Yes, Vilanculos has several markets and shopping areas, including Mercado Municipal, Mercado do Peixe, and the Vilanculos Handicraft Market.

How much does it cost to go on a boat trip or island-hopping tour in Vilanculos?

The cost of a boat trip or island-hopping tour in Vilanculos varies depending on the tour operator and the type of tour, but it can range from $50 to $200 USD per person.

What are some popular day trips from Vilanculos?

Some popular day trips from Vilanculos include visiting the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, taking a dhow safari, and exploring the Gorongosa National Park.

What are the visa requirements for visiting Vilanculos and Mozambique?

Visitors to Mozambique may require a visa, depending on their nationality. Some visitors can obtain a visa on arrival, while others need to apply in advance. It is recommended to check with the Mozambican embassy or consulate in your country for specific requirements.

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