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One of the most remarkable islands in the Pacific Ocean, Tanna boasts an active volcano, centuries old lifestyle, mysterious cargo cult worship and beautiful wild horses.

Tanna is populated almost entirely by Melanesians. The Tannese people live a traditional lifestyle and practice the ancient customs of their ancestors. In the kastom villages modern inventions are restricted, the villagers wear nambas (a penis sheath) and grass skirts, and do not avail of government services (such as public schools).

The island’s coastline is dotted with deep blue rock pools and blue holes. The surrounding reef teems with colourful marine life and live coral gardens dropping off into the blue, providing excellent snorkeling opportunities.

Just 45 minutes by plane south of Port Vila, this untouched island of thick tropical jungle is home to Mount Yasur, the world's most accessible volcano.

  • Tanna Geographical Information

    Map of Tanna VanuatuTanna is located in the southern part of the archipelago. The island is 40 km long and 19 km wide, with a total area of 550 km². Its highest point is Mount Tukosmera in the south of the island at 1,084 metres. Mount Yasur is an accessible active volcano which is located on the southeast coast.

    Tanna’s beaches vary from volcanic black sands, a mix of white coral sand to white sandy beaches. There is a deep water harbour at Port Resolution. Beautiful bays, fringing coral reef, blue holes and caves line the coastline whilst the interior offers rugged mountains, thick tropical jungle vegetation, massive banyan trees, baron moonscape-like ash plains, waterfalls, clear streams, freshwater lakes and is sparsely populated. There is a road but there are few vehicles on Tanna as most inhabitants walk or ride horses.

    The island is one of the most fertile in Vanuatu and produces kava, coffee, coconut, copra, and other fruits and vegetables.

  • Things to do in Tanna

    Tanna is a fascinating island to visit with lots to see and do.

    Mount Yasur (361 metres)
    Tanna's most famous attraction and regarded as the world's most accessible active volcano.  Over the centuries, ash rain from Yasur has built up huge black sand dunes, creating a stark moonscape. To view Yasur, travel by 4WD through the highlands, past coffee plantations and villages then across the ash plains to the mountain side. Trek to the
    rim of the crater and witness the awesome power of nature as you watch glowing vents of lava and magma spurting up into the evening sky. A walk to this fiery volcano certainly makes a visit to Tanna an unforgettable take home experience!

    Cultural Village Tours
    A guided tour of one of Tanna's traditional Kastom Villages is a must-see on this amazing island. Villagers will share with you their local customs and culture, their knowledge of traditional medicine, dance, crafts and styles of cooking. You can also experience the rituals of Black Magic practiced by a Warrior Tribe in the highlands of Tanna.

    Reef Walking, Swimming, Snorkeling and Surfing
    Take a boat tour to the blue holes and underwater caves.
    There are many beaches to explore. At low tide the coral shelf exposes itself and allows you to explore its myriad of rock pools and crevices.
    Swim beneath cascading waterfalls with the local village children.
    Popular surf spots just off the reef in Tanna include Port Resolution and Lenakel.

    Fishing – Tanna Style
    Travel by aluminum dinghy with a local fisherman. Local game fish includes Marlin, Wahoo, Yellow Fin Tuna, Barracuda and Skipjack. All fish caught belong to the village. The fishermen may then sell the fish back to your resort for your dinner or give them to their village.

    Sea Kayak Safari
    Experienced guides will lead you out through the reef and along the coastline to visit deserted beaches and snorkel virgin reefs. You may even see a turtle or a whale.

    Mountain Biking
    There are many fascinating villages, beaches and points of interest within an easy ride your resort, some on listed bike trails. Take a picnic lunch and swimming gear.

    Hiking On The White Grass Plains
    The White Grass Plains are home of the wild horses with stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and coastline.

    Horse Riding
    Explore the island's beautiful landscapes on horseback with rides available along beaches, into the forest and to one of the world's largest banyan trees.

    Hot Mineral Springs
    Warmed by Mt Yasur Volcano, the hot springs flow over the beach and into the sea at Sulphur Bay. This is a popular location for the local villagers to do their laundry and bathe in the hot water.

  • When to Travel to Tanna

    Tanna has a tropical climate. Winter is the drier season with night time and day time temperatures averaging between 16°C - 26ºC from May to November. In the wetter Summer season, average night time and day time temperatures are between 20°C - 29ºC from December to April.

    Water temperature varies between 24ºC - 28ºC depending on the season.

    February 15 is John Frum day.

    The Nekowiar Ceremony is one of Vanuatu's most spectacular cultural events, bringing together neighbouring villages for 3 days of gift giving ceremonies, custom dances and feasting. The men's Toka ceremony is considered the most impressive traditional dance.  The ceremony is held every 3 to 4 years.

  • Hotels and Resorts in Tanna

    White Grass Ocean Resort White Grass Ocean Resort & Spa
    5 minutes from the airport
    Budget: $$$
    Pool: Yes
    Beach/Beachfront: Yes
    Bar: 1
    Restaurant: 1
    Wifi: in restaurant/bar
    Onsite Shop: Yes
    Gym: No
    Spa: Yes
    Onsite Dive Shop: Yes
  • Scuba Diving in Tanna

    The coral reefs around Tanna are colourful and great for snorkelling and diving. The volcanic island offers dramatic marine landscapes, including blue water caves, reef walls and drop offs, and a myriad of creatures and critters. 

    Volcano Island Divers located at White Grass Ocean Resort opened in 2015 to offer guests shore diving and boat diving experiences around the resort.

  • Some of the more popular dive sites:

    Blue Hole One

    Blue Hole One is made up of 4 different sink holes that are inter-connected via swim-throughs and tunnels. Access to the outer reef is gained via several choices of caves and swim-throughs. These structures were formed via the wear of volcanic rock. The Blue Holes are only 50 metres from the shore and are accessible via shore dive. Maximum depth inside the hole is 9 metres whilst the outer reef reaches 15 metres.

    Blue Hole Two

    Accessible from Blue Hole Two car park, (low tide access only from shore), or a short boat ride. Here a large hole in the reef system interconnects with tunnels and swim-throughs to the outer reef. Your sense of adventureand skill level will determine the best route to take. Once outside on the reef, you will see amazing coral formations and fish life. There are majestic caverns, grottos and caves to explore. Maximum depth is 6 metres inside the hole and 20 metres on the outer reef.

    Blue Cave Aquarium

    Accessible via a short boat ride from Blue Hole One. Here you can enter the famous Blue Cave on scuba, surface and take in the incredible colours of the bluest of blue water, with sunlight beaming through a natural ’window’ in the ceiling of the cave. Exit the cave at 5 metres and make your way east, descending through catacombs of coral formations, surrounded by a myriad of aquarium fish species. Maximum depth 20 metres.

    MV Jean Percy

    This wreck dive is accessible via a 20 minute boat ride fromWhite Grass Ocean Resort or a short surface swim from shore, weather permitting. This boat sunk in 14 metres after striking a reef during heavy seas in 2010. Only 20 metres from shore, she lies due North/South and upright. The un-cleaned, raw wreck still sports cargo in the holds and other equipment on board such as a generating plant, fish nets, tiled floors and electrical cables. Engine room and other penetration is possible using appropriate wreck diving skills. Maximum depth is 14 metres.

    House Reef

    Jump off the purpose built jetty ordive the House Reef by boat from Blue Hole One beach. See amazing coral formations, turtles, moray eels, reef sharks, blue spotted rays. Perhaps you may spot the shy dugong. There is interesting topography with swim throughs, tunnels and grottos to explore. Maximum depth is 20 metres.