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Dive right into Vanuatu’s adventure capital: the mysterious volcanic island of Tanna.  


What to Expect

  • Hike the crater rim of one of the world’s most active volcanoes.

  • Visit a traditional kastom village and drink kava with the locals. 

  • Ride an ash board down the slopes of Mount Yasur. 

  • Sleep among the treetops in some quirky Vanuatu accommodations. 

  • Snorkel inside Tanna’s famous Blue Cave.


Fast Facts

  • Time: 3 days

  • Transport: Mainly 4WD/local pickups

  • Nearest major city: Port Vila, Efate

  • Price: $$


You can squeeze a lot of adventure into three days on Tanna. It’s not a particularly big island, but there’s plenty to see and do. Start with the obvious - Mount Yasur. It’s the most accessible active volcano in the world and the crater rim walk, where you can peer down into a bubbling, smoking, spitting lava cauldron, is one of Tanna’s natural highlights. After that, take your pick of visiting a local kastom village, hiking to hidden waterfalls like Louniel or Lenuingao, snorkeling inside the Blue Cave, or just beach hopping around Port Resolution. There are no wrong decisions when it comes to paradise. 


This particular itinerary is based in the southeast part of the island, staying in local bungalow accommodation. But you can do similar activities in the northwest, which is closer to the airport and home to Tanna’s bigger resorts such as White Grass, Evergreen, or Rockwater


Day One: Kastom and Fireworks



You can’t really understand Tanna without understanding kastom, the spiritual heart of Vanuatu culture. Fly into White Grass Airport from Port Vila in the morning and arrange a driver for the day. You’ll be traveling up into the hinterland, southeast of Lenakel. The journey takes around 30 minutes. Here you’ll find Yakel, the village setting for the Oscar-nominated movie, Tanna. Meet the local villagers, buy some handicrafts and sip kava with elders in the nakamal, a ceremonial forest clearing. If it’s a hot day, cool off with a swim at the nearby Yapilmai Falls. (It’s never too early to swim beneath waterfalls.)


VTO0049 Day 1 - Morning



It’s time to climb the mountain. Mount Yasur is Tanna’s active volcano, looming 361 meters over the southeastern part of the island and surrounded by an ash-covered lava plain. On your Vanuatu volcano tour, you can choose to walk to the crater from the park entrance (it takes around 45 minutes), or go by 4WD and park just below the rim. Mount Yasur is best after sunset, when the bubbling lava makes the sky glow red — spend your afternoon ash boarding down the volcanic slopes, then hike to the edge and watch the evening fireworks. 




Day Two: Treetop Breakfast and the Blue Cave



Rise and shine! Walk out onto your private treetop verandah and enjoy the views of Mount Yasur, quietly smouldering just 500 metres away. Your Vanuatu accommodation is the Tanna Tree Top Lodge, a quirky treehouse-style bungalow, perched in the forest canopy on the slopes of the volcano. (If Tree Top Lodge is full, try Volcano Islands Paradise or the Nipikimanu Yacht Club at Port Resolution). Eat breakfast 20 feet above the ground, then organise transport into Lenakel. Spend your morning wandering the local fruit market, down by the seafront. Growers come from all over Tanna to sell coconuts, yams, fresh pawpaw, and grilled kaikai (Island food). Browse the stalls and tuck into some laplap, Vanuatu’s traditional fruit snack. 


Lanakel Market



After a leisurely (and delicious) lunch, join a boat tour to Tanna’s Blue Cave, a natural rock grotto carved into the sea cliffs on the north-west coast. It’s one of Vanuatu’s top natural attractions. You can drive to the Blue Cave from Lenakel (it takes 1 or 2 hours, depending on the weather) but it’s easier to join a boat tour instead. The boats depart from White Grass and only takes 30 minutes. Spend your afternoon sheltered from the sun, snorkelling and lounging inside the Blue Cave, watching light beams shine through the natural rock ceiling. We recommend the nearby hammocks for serious book reading and nap taking. If diving’s your thing, check out some of Tanna’s local dive sites, then drive back to your bungalow for a well-deserved dinner. 


VTO0049 Day 2 - Afternoon


Day Three: White Sand Beaches and the Giant Banyan



This morning you’ll be exploring Port Resolution, Tanna’s white sand beach paradise. It’s a beautiful peninsula on the southeast coast of the island, and only a 15-minute drive from your Tree Top Lodge (if you’re staying in a different hotel, the drive will be a little longer). Start at the village of Irepuow on the coast, then beach-hop your way towards Yewao Point. There’s an offshore reef where you can dive or snorkel, surrounded by sea turtles, blue-spotted rays and hundreds of colourful reef fish. If you feel like catching some waves, walk along the coastal tracks towards Yankaren Para. There’s a surf beach there with excellent Pacific breakers. 


Tanna Treehouse



There’s still time to explore one more of Tanna’s natural treasures before jumping on a plane to Port Vila — the Giant Banyan Tree of Leitouapam. Nobody knows how old the Giant Banyan really is as it was already ancient when Captain Cook landed on Tanna in 1774. But it’s an amazing sight, 80 meters high and over 100 meters wide, surrounded by dangling roots that snake out into the surrounding jungle. Join a 4WD tour from Lenakel to the little village of Leitouapam (around 10 minutes away), where you’ll meet the Tannese locals who own the Giant Banyan.


VTO0049 Day 3 - Afternoon 1