Vilanculos is one of those places that exist in every country: spacious and with attractive architecture, it is the best possible place to use as a centre of operations. If you decide to visit Vilanculos, try to combine visits to the surroundings with long walks through its streets and don't forget to try its delicious traditional food, such as the Picanha or the chicken piri-piri.
Culture shock can be strong when travelling to Vilanculos. If you are a woman and don't want to feel scrutinised, it is best not to wear shorts or a miniskirt, as they are not very common there. You'll see right away that the local women have no problem with cleavage, but they tend to hide their legs. Long skirts and trousers will be your allies.
It's best to fly to Vilanculos from Nelspruit, Johannesburg or Maputo. Overland travel in Mozambique can be very demanding.
Vilanculos is recommended at any time of year, like the rest of the country. Just keep in mind that the rainy season is between December and April. It is hot in this season, but it usually rains as well.
The ideal season is from May to November, when there is less rainfall and a cooler, more pleasant temperature.
December and January are high season for continental tourism. You will find tourists from neighbouring countries and higher prices in Mozambique than the rest of the year.
One of the keys to responsible tourism is to make a contribution to local businesses, which you can do by eating at some of Vilanculos' local restaurants. And don't worry, the investment will be worth it and will be returned to you in the form of great home-cooked meals.
Try the squid and fish at Leopoldina's. You'll find it located near one of the big hotels in Vilanculos. Don't miss it, because the flavour of their fish is one of the outstanding features of local cuisine. If you prefer chicken, you won't have to go far. In the shade of the large Baobab Beach Resort is Zita's Food. Don't be fooled by its humble appearance and try the Zambian chicken. If in addition to food you're looking to unwind in a place specially designed for this purpose, go to the north of Vilanculos and look for the Casbah Restaurant. The experience goes far beyond gastronomy.
Mozambique is not a country where banks are common sights, so you'll be glad to know that you can withdraw money in Vilanculos, where there are two banks. Seize the moment so you don't run out of cash.
Visit the market. It's open every day and you'll find all kinds of food and ready-to-eat fruit at prices that seem ridiculously cheap. The quality, on the other hand, is very high. The beach is not just a place to lie down and sunbathe, you can also take a horse ride on the sand. Don't miss out on visiting the fishing villages nearby. Not just because the traditional way of life is still alive there, but because of the great fish dishes. Diving is one of the most popular activities, especially in Bazaruto, the nearby island which is the main destination for those who decide to travel to Vilanculos. Try the water sports such as sailing.