The island of Tanna is located in the southern part of the Vanuatu archipelago, and South of Efate island, which is home to Port Vila, Vanuatu's capital city.
While it is possible to reach the island of Tanna by boat or ferry, the travelling conditions with these means of transport are rather rough, and only very few people risk it. Flying to the island of Tanna, on the other hand, is easily done from Port Vila, with flights every day and charter flights also available. The duration of the domestic flight is a mere hour, and with flights departing early in the morning or late afternoon, it is possible for those who are short on time to make it a day trip (although, Mount Yasur volcano is really showing its best self at dusk, so an overnight trip is very much recommended).
The volcano itself is super easy to access with a wonderfully wild four
wheel drive through lush rain forest and lunar ash plains that will get
you as near as 150m from the volcano’s crater rim. Once you have
reached the parking lot, it’s a short walk, about 10 minutes, along an
ascending but not particularly steep or difficult marked path to make
it to the rim.
How far you can explore along the rim is based on activity levels and
security considerations, but unless the weather is so bad there is no
visibility at all –in which case I wouldn’t recommend going at all, the
view up there and the experience, are something to be remembered
through a lifetime.
There is no need to be particularly fit to visit Mount Yasur, but one
needs to prepare for the raw, brutal display of nature’s force up there.
To some, it is uniquely exhilarating, to others, it can be terrifying. In
the latter case, heading back to the parking lot is always an option.
In terms of photography, the opportunities in the ash plain, on the
way up the volcano and on the crater rim abound, and are all infused
with a sense of adventure, wild and free spirit, and once in a lifetime
Unless you have arranged to stay in bungalows down at the foot of the
volcano, most resorts and hotels are located about an hour drive away,
so packing snacks and drinks, mosquito repellant and warm clothes
might be a good idea
Up until recently, the Blue Cave of Tanna was definitely an off
the beaten path, well hidden gem that would be rather difficult
to reach without luck or proper contacts within the local community. Getting exposure has made this place more
accessible, and boat rides there –the most common access to the
Cave, can pretty easily be arranged.
The cave itself is accessible by swimming through a hole in the
cliff that can seem intimidating but is actually easy to manage.
At low tide you can swim right under the rock ledge that takes
you into the cave and at high tide you will need to swim
underwater for a very short distance (less than a meter) before
coming up in the cave. If the idea makes you nervous, I would
recommend going at low tide, so you don’t have to swim
underwater to get in.
The cave is quite large and has a hole in the roof that provides a
beautiful light, which shines into the cave highlighting the blue
water and creating great photo opportunities.
While an exploring tour is easily booked nowadays, arranging to
visit the cave outside of an organized tour, so you can have its
magic all to yourself and capture incredible photographs without
a soul around is something that requires a bit more planning, but
is absolutely feasible and most definitely worth it.