Tanna Island

the most accessible active volcano in the world
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About Tanna Island

Tanna is the most populated island in Tafea Province, almost entirely Melanesian. Most of Tanna’s 30,000 inhabitants still closely follow the lifestyle of their ancestors and their customs practiced for hundreds of years.

The principal attraction of Tanna is Mt Yasur, known as the most accessible active volcano in the world.

Today Tanna is one of the islands where custom and culture are still very strong. Many villages have turned their backs on modern ways preferring instead to follow their traditional way of life. The Tanna people recognise the importance of their “kastom” and ask that all visitors travel with local guides.

Captain James Cook was the first European to come to Tanna in august 1774, after seeing the glowing light of Mt Yasur volcano in the sky. The HMS Resolution anchored in a small bay in South East Tanna, which he later named Port Resolution. Captain Cook requested permission to climb Mt Yasur volcano, but was refused by the chiefs as it was considered tabu (sacred). The trading era of the 1800’s was marked by widespread fighting and tribal warfare. Missionaries also met with difficulties and were quite often killed.

The Jon Frum Movement emerged on Tanna during WWII. While accounts of their formation vary, the movement can be partly explained by the presence and apparent generosity of the American soldiers. With their abundance of radios, Jeeps and Coca-Cola, the Americans would certainly seem mysterious to the Tanna islanders. The Red Cross, a symbol for the medical aid, remains an emblem of the Jon Frum cult even today. Strict adherents follow a traditional lifestyle, wearing only grass skirt or nambas and not participating in any government services (such as public school).

Tanna’s land is one of the most productive in Vanuatu and produces Kava, coffee, coconut and many other fruits and vegetables.

Dances and custom ceremonies are held year round. The Toka or Nekowiar ceremony is the most remarkable. The festival lasts three days and the village hosting the ceremony tries to better the previous one in the quantity of food and gifts (pigs, mats etc) offered to the guest villages. A beauty contest takes place where women and men elaborately paint their faces. More than 100 chiefs lead Tanna’s people. The chiefs form “custom councils” which create and uphold the village laws (pigs and kava are offered in compensation for disputes brought to the custom councils). Many people in Tanna rely solely on traditional plant medicine to treat their illnesses. The local doctors, or kleva, are healers with special abilities to cast spells on enemies.

Fig. 1. A) Map of the Vanuatu archipelago and associated tectonic. B) Location of the Yasur-Yenkahe complex on the south-eastern part of the Tanna Island (SRTM digital elevation model). C) Structural map of the south-eastern Tanna including the Yasur-Yenkahe complex. D) Picture from the summit of Yasur to the east showing the main structures of the Yenkahe and the terraces at the junction between the two edifices.

Our Volcano Tours

We offer a range of tours to see a volcano – a scenic flight, a day-trip, or an overnight stay.

About Mt Yasur Volcano

To watch the Mt Yasur webcam LIVE and check on current volcanic activity visit geohazards.gov.vu.

Mt Yasur is an active volcano on Tanna Island, Vanuatu with a height of 361 m (1,184 ft) above sea level, located on the South East coast near Sulphur Bay. Mt Yasur has a largely unvegetated pyroclastic cone with a nearly-circular summit crater 400 m in diameter. It is a stratovolcano caused by the eastward-moving Indo-Australian plate being subducted under the westward-moving Pacific Plate. It has been nearly continuously erupting for centuries, although usually it can be approached safely. Its eruptions, which often occur several times an hour, are classified as Strombolian or Vulcanian.

The glow of Mt Yasur volcano was apparently what attracted Captain James Cook on the first European journey to Tanna Island in 1774. Today the mountain is a sacred area for the John Frum Cargo Cult. The cult reveres John Frum, a deified messenger who foretold the bringing of wealth to the island by American forces. They believe he resides in Mt Yasur with his countrymen. The village of Sulphur Bay, the centre of the movement, claims the volcano as part of their territory.

Because of the importance of the volcano to the tourism industry in Tanna, the local government has created levels to restrict people’s access:

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 – Severe 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 neighboring islands, all access closed

TANNA VOLCANO TOUR TIPS:

  • Bring a camera tri-pod to capture that perfect Mt. Yasur eruption shot
  • Raise your camera’s ISO setting over 1,000
  • Pack some warm clothing (wind jacket is desirable) as it can get a bit chilly at the crater rim
  • Pack sneakers or other closed shoes; do not go with open shoes or thongs (flip flops)

NOTE: Mt. Yasur is not an amusement park. It is a live volcano, so listen to advice from the resort tour staff but don’t forget your sense of adventure – Tanna is an island lost in time with Mt. Yasur; the most thrilling, awe-inspiring, natural phenomenon you will experience in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu

Our Top Tours

Land Diving

Tanna Volcano Overnight

Mt Yasur Day Tour

Testimonials

What Our Customers Say

Hi Simon, just wanted you to know that our Air Taxi Vanuatu day tour to Tanna Island volcano was one of the most incredible experiences of our lives. I decided on the Mt Yasur Day Tour as I had already booked and paid for our accommodation in Port Vila. I heard the night tour to the volcano however was more spectacular so recommended your Overnight Tour to Yasur Volcano to my daughter as she was due to visit Vanuatu soon after me. Well, talk about an amazing adventure – we haven’t stopped talking about it! So thanks again from all of us for a very special Tanna Volcano experience and please give our regards to all your friendly staff.

Tim, Toni and Angie Black

Sydney, Australia

We had a great trip to see Mount Yasur with AirTaxi. The volcano itself is fantastic as were the people who took us on the adventure. Special thanks to our kiwi pilot Louis who got us there and back safely and smoothly. He was a super friendly guy with a lot of interesting information to share about the area and aviation in general, as well as giving us some insider travel tips. Thanks also to Benjamin our driver and Mari our tour leader at the volcano; they were passionate, tailored the experience to our preferences and generally made the day a lot of fun.

TaniaJ

Price Beat Guarantee

While we believe we offer the best prices for tours to Tanna Volcano, if you are quoted a better price from another operator for a similar Tour to Tanna, we will happily beat it!

Easy & Quick Booking

Get in touch by phone, email or using our quick-and-easy online enquiry form, and we'll help you get everything organised.

Official clean-caring-checked badge from Vanuatu Tourism

Alice M
Alice M
2022-12-25
Verified
Easy, reliable access to the Torres Islands, Vanuatu. Ayden made our Christmas Day absolutely wonderful! He is a very diligent and capable pilot. He was responsible for our flight from checking in to leaving. He was so great with the kids and made the trip really fun for all of us. We could not have been happier to share our first family Christmas Day in Torres with him. Customer service at Air Taxi Vanuatu was nambawan. Ayden’s knowledge and respect of melanesian culture enriched our experience. Thankyu tumas Ayden - hopefully you have encouraged two young niVans to become pilots.
Heba
Heba
2022-12-22
Verified
A must do in Vanuatu My sister and I decided to do the overnight tour to Mt Yasur with AirTaxi and we are so grateful we did! If you come to Vanuatu this has to be Number 1 on your list. A scenic flight to Tanna Island, including flying over the volcano. A scenic drive to the volcano through the island in the back of the Ute with locals saying hello to you. A very fun bumpy drive up to the volcano through its ash and valleys. A very fun and thrilling walk upto the volcano's crater and a very beautiful sunset to accompany us with the volcanoes exploding lava. A drive back to the hotel in pitch black darkness (a lot of fun) and a beautiful hotel (whitegrass) with breakfast to wake up in all for $940 AUD. Loved the people who interacted with us and provided their services. From Meliana on the emails, phones and payments. To Josh our pilot, Our local driver to the volcano and back who let me play some reggaeton music as per his genre request and our local guides, Ben (& can't remember the other guy's name) upto the mountain who were super helpful, fun and patient. Also to the lovely local people at the stopover in the mini museum before driving up to the volcano, Thank you.Thank you Air Taxi.
suzannelouisem
suzannelouisem
2022-12-21
Verified
Tanna Overnight We had a wonderful time on the overnight tour to Tanna. Matt is an excellent pilot and a lovely guy. He is very professional and also fun. Meliana was very good with bookings and communication and the transfer team were great as well. My niece and I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks!
Yuki
Yuki
2022-12-19
Verified
Amazing experience I had Such a good time, Ken was kind and polite ! His ability to circle the fiery abyss of the tanna volcano made the whole flight amazing. Fantastic experience Thank you air taxi and pilot Ken will for sure be recommend.
CupOfLava
CupOfLava
2022-12-19
Verified
Smooth Flight, knowledgeable staff We used air taxi to fly Vila to Tanna and were not disappointed! Our pilot Oliver was exceptional in his knowledge of the islands and provided a relaxing and smooth trip with stunning views. Once in a life time experience!
Pierre-Luc C
Pierre-Luc C
2022-12-19
Verified
Smooth Ride We had to organise a last minute trip to the banks and Air Taxi was able to accommodate us without a problem. Olivier flew us from Vila to Gaua, Vanuatu Lava and back in a day with the smoothest landings.
couplex9
couplex9
2022-12-14
Verified
Saved the day Our main reason for visiting Vanuatu was Yasur volcano and we almost missed it after Air Vanuatu cancelled our flights to Tanna twice. Thankfully Air Taxi has this overnight package which includes flying over the volcano and staying 2-3 hours at sunset on the volcano. Everything worked out smoothly as included in their program. They were 8 of us and Oliver the pilot on the plane and had a very smooth flight to and from Tanna on their 10 seater planes. Overall a very good experience with Air Taxi.
Revilo
Revilo
2022-12-13
Verified
Dedication to the industry! I have only ever heard good things about Airtaxi; but from the very first encounter, the friendly Steven was there to check in the whole retinue, promptly weighing and sorting all the luggage. During the wait for the preparation of the flight, he was busy filing the required paperwork, sorting out the weather and organising the logistical airside operations for the plane. In my opinion, I believe Airtaxi would just be another charter company without the dedication and love towards aviation that was shown in my recent and continued encounters.
665Joe
665Joe
2022-12-07
Verified
AMAZING! Saved the day when we were ditched by Air Vanuatu When Air Vanuatu left us stranded at the airport and at risk of missing out on Tanna Island and the Volcano Air Taxi were more than happy to help. They charged a very fair price for 2 seats on a charter plane and offered to store our luggage for free. Josh the Pilot was awesome! He helped us out by arranging us a car to get to the Volcano because the airport was empty on arrival. The flight was directly over the volcano and you could see pools of lava below. Could not recommend this service more.
Melville S
Melville S
2022-12-02
Verified
Amazing We (two couples one from France, other from Italy and I from Australia) had a memorable overnight trip to Mt Yasur, Tanna with AirTaxi. Meliana at AirTaxi, Port Vila was very helpful. Even though we flew out of Port Vila in the rain our pilot Aiden did a great job in keeping us informed and calm all the way (he did not over promise). We were picked up from Tanna airport by the four-wheel drive crew (Richard and his father-in-law) and driven part way up Mt Yasur. The drive was through rough terrain, but the drivers were very skilled. Mt Yasur put on a spectacular display after sunset. Because of cloud cover Aiden was not able to fly over the volcano the evening we arrived in Tanna, but he made up for it on our return trip the following morning. Pilot Aiden is such a professional that we were able peak into the bowels of the bubbling volcano. Thank you, Aiden.