"Tanna Island, Vanuatu" Top 5 Page for this destination Tanna by minstrel74

Tanna Travel Guide: 53 reviews and 82 photos

There really is a magic about this island that you can't really describe until you've visited the place. Only a short plane ride from Port Vila, Tanna gives you a glimpse into a world that most Westerners could never imagine, let alone experience for themselves. From a practical standpoint, Tanna has enough in the way of major attractions to fill a visit of any duration with a lifetime of memories. Spiritually, you're likely to find yourself asking questions you hadn't contemplated in quite some time. The natural beauty, combined with the proud and unique local culture and welcoming residents, almost forces you to ask yourself how you ever let your world become so small. Maybe during my visit I was just having one of those weeks. But if anyone out there has ever visited this island and felt the same way, you know what I'm talking about. Tanna Island is special.

Most visitors to Tanna probably intend to visit Yasur Volcano, a highly-accessible, active volcano on the eastern side of the island. And indeed they should. Not many places in the world allow the visitor to experience this closely the fury of an active volcano. Eruptions are frequent, but predictable enough in their intensity that any island tour guide should be able to ensure a safe visit. The approach via the barren ash plain is unforgettable.

For those interested in local culture, Tanna will not disappoint. The residents of the island are accustomed to visitors and will proudly share their cultural heritage with you. Children and their shy parents wave at you as you drive through small villages and everyone seems to go about their business unphased by the regular stream of visitors flown in from Port Vila. The people of this island have passed down some fascinating religious and historical myths (or truths, depending on your perspective) that are worth learning about. The Jon Frum cargo cult developed during WWII when a number of Tannese were sent to Efate Island to assist American soldiers in the war effort. They had never seen such vast amounts of wealth (in the form here of war material and other goods) and upon returning to Tanna, the story developed of a certain Jon Frum (likely a mutation of "Jon from" America) who would one day come to Tanna from afar bearing enormous wealth. A reinvigoration of Tannese culture and values that had occured before the war helped spark the development of this cargo cult, and all these years later there are still devotees to be found on Tanna.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:unique Melanesian culture, best kava in the Pacific, and amazing scenery
  • Cons:hhmmm....
  • In a nutshell:One of the most unique islands, culturally and naturally, that you could ever visit.
  • Last visit to Tanna: Oct 1997
  • Intro Updated Oct 7, 2004
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Reviews (6)

Comments (9)

  • KiKitC's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2009 at 2:31 AM

    Wow...very interesting place. Just wonder how "traditional" a village is that relies on payment for visitation. Beautiful photos.

  • Oct 24, 2007 at 9:23 PM

    Is this in Fiji or what country?

  • Sergeyu's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2006 at 3:41 PM

    Excellent texts. I've on Vanuatu, but not at Tanna. Hope to come back there! :)

  • hunwagner's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2006 at 12:26 AM

    Tanna has now made it to my Top Ten places list. Incredible indeed - especially as I have managed to avoid the tour-groups... ;-) Should build my own page for it sooner rather than later.

  • littlesam1's Profile Photo
    Jan 28, 2005 at 10:14 AM

    Great photography. Great page.

  • Jan 26, 2005 at 6:52 PM

    Tanna sounds wonderful. We hope to make it to this part of the world someday. Thanks for your vivid descriptions and good tips.

  • CandS's Profile Photo
    Oct 15, 2004 at 3:22 PM

    Fantastic page Sean! I wished we'd gotten over to Port Resolution too...still we saw a fair bit and I loved every minute of Tanna Island. :) (PS the dugong died in 2002 or 2003 so the locals told us :( )

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Oct 9, 2004 at 6:17 PM

    never tried Kava not sure I should after reading your tip ^..^ I have no clue about sailing great tips here, tks for sharing

  • Geisha_Girl's Profile Photo
    Sep 23, 2004 at 6:24 PM

    Oh, there you are !! Yes, yes!! We "met" in Vanuatu !!! Yours and CandS tips and advice on Tanna and Port Vila were right on! I'm still building slowly, but re-living the experience now......have you been watching SURVIVOR? ;-))

minstrel74

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

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