"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:unique Melanesian culture, best kava in the Pacific, and amazing scenery
- In a nutshell:One of the most unique islands, culturally and naturally, that you could ever visit.
A visit to Yakel village (or "custom village" as it is commonly known) provides visitors with the opportunity to... more travel advice
These bungalows provide no electricity or running water, but such amenities would be conspicuously out of place anyway.... more travel advice
Written Oct 9, 2004
An Evening at the Volcano
Written Oct 9, 2004
images from Yakel village
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- "The Island That Time Forgot"
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- "Amazing Tanna Island..."
- "JOHN FRUM Cargo Cult"
- "Tanna Excursion from Port Vila"
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