Tanna Island, which holds a literal meaning ‘earth’ in Tannese, is an island of pure pleasures – rich and magnificent volcanic earth giving rise to highly organic produce, verdant and awe-inspiring rainforests, glorious mountains, luscious hot springs, mighty waterfalls, majestic sea, and the island’s biggest claim to glory – the furious and fuming Mt. Yasur volcano. Has all these sparked your interest about Tanna Island? Read on, and discover how this Vanuatu island can be the most charming place for your next getaway.
Commander James Cook, in August 1774, went to the island upon seeing Mount Yasur’s fiery glow. He named the small bay in which he landed after his vessel – the HMS Resolution. Although he had every intention to climb the volcano, he was stopped by the islanders’ protests since they saw the volcano as sacred, thus, forbidden. With the discovery of Port Resolution, Tanna Island began to see a profusion of traders, missionaries, and religious teachers – all of whom contributed to what is now a peaceful coexistence of kastom, Christian, and Jon Frum religions in the tranquil eco-cultural island.
The Main Attractions
One of the main reasons people visit (and come back to) the island, is Tanna’s renowned active volcano – Mount Yasur. This 361-meter volcano, located in the south-east, is one of the most accessible in the world; it is just an hour drive away from the island’s White Grass Airport Pack and a 10-minute walk to the crater rim. So pack your sense of adventure, leave your apprehensions, join a tour, climb up to the volcano’s crater rim, and get a front-row seat to a splendid fireworks display of bright red ash and rock erupting against the sky. To enjoy the full effects of such a stunning sight, view the volcano at night-time.
The spectacular Nekowiar Ceremony is THE cultural event to observe. For three days, neighboring villages gather to engage in touching gift-giving ceremonies, traditional dances, and of course, hearty feasting. One of the most striking traditional dances is the men’s Toka ceremony. Watch for it as it is only held every three to four years.
Another fun activity on Tanna is to go on any of the village tours. Want to see a village that worships a figure deemed to be returning with material goods from the US? Then John Frum villages, located at the East Coast’s Sulphur Bay and at the West Coast’s Imanaka, are perfect for you. On the other hand, if you want a see villagers living in a traditional lifestyle devoid of Western influence, then go on a custom tour of Yakel Custom Village. Another must-see are Tanna Island’s Kastom Villages.
More Fun Activities
Tanna does not stop at offering you volcano and village tours as there are still lots of things you can do in the island: ride a horse, trek forests, snorkel corals, swim in waterfalls, or watch the sunset while lying on a stunning tropical beach.
Getting to Tanna Island
Getting to the island should be no problem. You can choose to fly from Vila to Tanna on Vanair’s ATR42 (which has daily morning flights) or on another twice-weekly flight aboard a tiny plane, which lands at Futuna, Erromango, Aniwa, and Aneityum. Also, if you plan to travel by water, Port Resolution and Lenakel have ports of entry, while Sulphur Bay and Waesisi Bay have anchorages.
The earthy island of Tanna is ready to envelope you in its heart-warming embrace. After luxuriating in its welcoming arms, you are sure to feel treasured, loved, and totally rejuvenated. Got all the time in the world? Stay for ages – it will be so worth it!