Tanna

 

Many people on Tanna follow a more traditional lifestyle than those on other islands. Villagers live much as they have for hundreds of years, in houses made of pandanus leaves and coconut trees. They eat what is grown in their own gardens and men fish from hand-hewn canoes. People are aware of western conveniences, but aside from a few mobile phones, you won't find many here.

To witness the Kastom culture is a special privilege. 

Tourism is in its infancy on Tanna. A few Kastom villages welcome visitors and a stay at one is a fantastic opportunity to connect. The people are friendly and safety is not an issue. It is rustic though. Accomodations are basic, often without electricity or running water. You'll have the chance to live as they do, see the beauty of this majestic island and experience life without the modern conveniences we cherish. If you're lucky, you might even get to see a traditional ceremony!

Mountain Breeze Bungalows

In 2011 we visited the village of Ikquaramanu and stayed in a tree house.  We returned in 2012 and slept in one of their charming bungalows. Both were simple but comfortable and both are available to guests.

You can experience village life here and Joseph, the chief's eldest son, can also arrange cultural activities and a trip to the volcano.  Learn more about planning a visit: 

 

 

Places to stay near Port Resolution

Mountain Breeze

Port Resolution Yacht Club

Rocky Island Guest House

 

Near White Grass Airport

Blue Ocean Bugalows

 

 

Mount Yasur

 

Besides having a unique culture and wonderful friendly people, Tanna has Mount Yasur, one of the world's most accessible active volcanos.  Stand on the rim and experience one of the most powerful forces of nature.

The glowing red sky attracted Captain James Cook to visit Tanna in 1774. He anchored in a bay which he named after his boat HMS Resolution. 

Missionaries arrived during the 1800s but many did not survive. Over the years they made inroads and today several religions are represented. Although missionaries finally pursuded the people to end the practice of cannibalism, other traditions are artfully woven into the religious fabric.

Today the mountain is a sacred area for the John Frum followers. Members honor John Frum, an American who appeared to five chiefs on Tanna in the 1930s. He supported their wishes to return to their kastom lifestyles which were outlawed by the jointly run British and French government. After WWII the laws were relaxed and the kastom followers were able to practice their beliefs in peace.

Mount Yasur is an active Strombolian volcano located on the coast near Sulphur Bay. Part of the mountain is cloaked in dense jungle and the other is blanketed in nothing but ash. The crater at the summit is 400 meters in diameter and nearly round. It's an easy walk from the car park up to the rim where you can gaze down into the bubbling cauldron. But look out. Or rather, up. Firey projectiles often spew high above as Yasur rumbles and belches. It has been erupting nearly continuously for over 800 years!

Because the volcano is important to tourism, and deaths would not be a good thing, the local government has created levels to restrict access when it is dangerous:

Level 0 - Low activity, access to the crater allowed; Level 1 - Normal activity, access to the crater allowed; Level 2 - Moderate to high activity, lava bombs may land beyond the crater rim, access to the crater is closed; Level 3 - SeveMount Yasur warningre activity with loud explosions, lava bombs ejected up to hundreds of metres outside the crater and large plumes of smoke and ash, access to the summit zone is closed; Level 4 - Major eruption affecting large areas around the volcano and possibly other parts of Tanna and even neighbouring islands, all access closed.