Vanuatu Islands Travel Info

Tanna, more than Yasur

CLICK TO GET THE MAPTanna is Vanuatu's most popular adventure destination and has more bungalow and guesthouse accommodation than any other outer island. It is also Vanuatu's third most developed island, after Santo, and has the highest population (but not the highest population density). Tanna's economy is based primarily on agriculture and tourism. Tanna's main town is Lenakel although the administrative centre is nearby Isangel.

There is a lot to see and do in Tanna so, if you want to swim in underwater caves, snorkel on some of the best coral in the South Pacific, visit untouched waterfalls see the islands wild horses and experience an ancient culture that remains largely unchanged to this day, and allow time to explore. Tanna is best known as the home to one of Vanuatu’s most popular tourist attractions, the Mount Yasur volcano and a walk to the rim of this fiery volcano certainly makes a visit to Tanna unforgettable. There's much to explore and time to relax if you stay for a few days.

Lenakel — Lenakel is essentially a one street town but it has a good range of services including a National Bank of Vanuatu branch, Air Vanuatu office (phone 88667), Customs and Immigration (mainly used by cruising yachts), several well stocked stores (some even have wine), a restaurant or two, a market house, a hospital and 24 hour electricity. The Post Office is at Isangel. Be careful of the water supply in Lenakel. Water is often sourced from the ground and sometimes it is unfit for drinking untreated.

Transport — The airport is 10km north of Lenakel. A taxi into town costs around 1000 Vatu. A shared ride in the back of a truck, or maybe a minibus, is about 200 Vatu —there are always a few vehicles from assorted bungalows and resorts to meet flights from Port Vila (for tourists who have booked airport transfers) and one of these might be going to the place you want to stay. Some of the airport transfers are fairly priced while for others the bungalow owner is making a profit on your transport. You can always ask, negotiate a fare and climb aboard. Public transport out of Lenakel is mostly in the back of a pickup and the roads are quite rough. On weekdays, market trucks go to Lenakel in the morning (around 0800H) and return in the afternoon (around 1400H onwards). The main stop for public transport is at the TAFEA Co-Operative complex at the Northern end of town.

Taking photos — Yasur volcano is probably best at dusk when there's enough light to illuminate the crater rim. This gives dimension and context to your photos, the red lava bombs will be visible and the clouds of ash look great. At night time the volcano starts to look more like a fireworks display and it's trickier to set your focus. Take spare batteries because your camera will spend a lot of time on standby, waiting for the next eruption. The best way to shoot is with a tripod and a remote shutter release. This will leave you free to watch fireworks and not spend all evening peering through the viewfinder or blinding yourself with the LCD screen. Set the camera on bulb exposure, open the shutter, wait for an eruption and then close it.

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