Tanna Island in Vanuatu is one of the few places in the world where an active volcano can be seen. In addition, Mount Yasur is the most accessible active volcano in the world and has been erupting at least since Captain James Cook docked his ship on the island in 1774, attracted by the column of smoke.
The most accessible active volcano in the world
The Mount Yasur volcano is located on the island of Tanna, which is part of the state of Vanuatu in the South Pacific. To get to this small island you can take a plane of about 45 minutes from Efate, the main island of Vanuatu where its main airport is located.
A curious fact about the island of Tanna is that it is made up of different tribes, who are owners of the land. Thus, the volcano is owned by one of these tribes that is now exploiting it for tourism.
Tanna Island in Vanuatu is one of the few places in the world where an active volcano can be seen. You can go up to the crater or caldera and see the volcano inside. Constant explosions happen several times every hour, lava and gases are thrown into the air producing an incredible spectacle.
Its eruptions are of the Vulcanian or Strombolian type , which means that large amounts of gases are released, the lava released is not very fluid and consolidates quickly. In this type of eruption, the explosions are very strong and pulverize the lava , producing a lot of ash, which is thrown into the air accompanied by other fragmentary materials.
Mount Yasur has been in continuous activity for several hundred years and is Vanuatu's greatest attraction. Given the large influx of annual visitors, the government decided to create for the safety of its visitors a table with the levels of volcano activity that can be checked on this page: Current status of volcanoes activity in Vanuatu.
Level 0: Low activity, access to the crater allowed.
Level 1: Normal activity, access to the crater allowed.
Level 2: Activity between moderate and high, lava bombs can fall near the edge, access to the CRATER prohibited.
Level 3: Severe activity, large explosions, lava bombs can reach several hundred meters outside the crater, access to the CIMA prohibited.
Level 4: Eruption of great proportions. Very dangerous.
As we have told you, the volcano is exploited for tourism by the tribe to which the land belongs, that is why you can hire the excursion to the volcano with different tour operators or even from your own hotel, because in the end all excursions are the same. We do recommend that you hire the afternoon-night one because seeing the volcano's explosions when night falls is spectacular.
The ascent to Mount Yasur is easy because its height is only 361 meters above sea level. The crater has a diameter of about 400 meters and to get there the guides take you in 4 × 4 cars to the top and after a short ascent on foot you will reach the crater.
The ascent by car begins at the base of the mountain through a lush tropical forest on a black road. In the surroundings the inhabitants move around with a large leaf on their heads so as not to fill their hair and clothes with the ash that constantly falls from the sky almost without you noticing.
One of the most surprising things is that the explosions make the ground rumble already from the base . Looking towards the mountain you can see how large fumaroles suddenly appear after each outbreak, filling the sky with ash and lava that reaches several hundred meters in height. It is an impressive spectacle.
The organization of the climb is quite professional , first a little explanation and then a typical dance of the island before getting into the cars.
Once at the top, when getting off the cars, a small ascent begins and the sensation of being at the doors of a unique natural force begins. The crater is huge and very deep so that only sometimes you can see the lava lake. We weren't that lucky, but it was still one of the best experiences of our life.
The explosions are preceded by a beam of light that we have never seen before and which was reflected in the column of ash. An instant later a thunderous sound and a pile of stones are thrown violently reaching great height and falling on the walls of the crater. Although some fell so close to us that a guide took it and gave it to a couple of geologists.
When the sun goes down, this lava expelled from the depths of the volcano reveals its true color, between red and yellow. Allowing you to take some amazing photos by increasing the exposure of the camera a bit.
We didn't want to leave, the scene hypnotized you, it made you small in the face of the power of nature. I think to this day it is the most impressive thing we have seen. Certainly an experience we will never forget, just like Vanuatu.
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Traveling to Vanuatu is not easy, because it is very isolated and because there is still very little information to organize a trip, especially if you want to leave aside the most touristy areas of the islands and visit the most authentic ones, so if you have Decided to travel to Vanuatu and you have any questions do not hesitate to send us an email, we will be happy to help you organize your trip.