The short review:everything that has been said so far is true: nice bungalows, lovely beach, terrible breakfast, overpriced dinner, non welcoming staff and so on. The reason I wanted to write this was to warn people about their tour guide, who put our lives at risk and the owner, Isaak nauka who really does not know what is going on in his own business.
If you do not feel like reading the full story, I don't blame you! To cut it short, we were left at the top of the volcano Yasur with our 3 children aged 5, 2 and 1 with no guide, no light, no transport and on the 3rd of June when yasur was very active and reached level 3. We were not stupid tourists, we believed and followed the advice of what we thought was a good tour guide! We are luckly to be in one piece.
We were staying at Sunrise Bungalow on Tanna last week. We were told by the managers (Willy and his wife Mary) that the tour guide (Peterson Richards) will take us to see Yasur sometime in the week.
We met Peterson on our second day at sunrise. He told us (and the other guests) that the truck for the tour to see the volcano normally leaves sunrise at 4.30pm to come back at 7.30pm for dinner.
We asked Peterson if it was possible to walk to the volcano in order to see some custom villages on the way in. His answer was positive then we talked about taking the pushchair and he said probably not but he will help to carry our 2 years old daughter and we should leave the baby with Mary. He said he would organise the transport for us but could not tell us the price of a one way journey.
On Thursday 2nd June during breakfast he organised a tour to the volcano with us and the other guests: we would be leaving at 2pm (as we were walking), the others guests 3.30pm (as the go by truck), everybody return for dinner 7.30pm by truck. Unfortunately our baby had a high fever so we agreed to go the next day.
On Friday 3rd June, we confirmed with Peterson at breakfast time (8.30am) we would go today to Yasur volcano as it was organised yesterday. When we saw him at 11AM in the truck for Lenakel we asked him where he was going he answer he was just going to the shop in the next village and he would be here at 2pm as planned.
I should point out that we did not have radio or TV at the bungalow and nobody at sunrise nor the guide told us Yasur was moved yo level 3 on June 1st.
We saw him again at 11am and he confirmed we were going to the volcano with him at 2pm.
However, at 11.30 am we say him at the back of a truck going to Lenakel’s airport, he told us he was just going to the next village and coming back for us in the afternoon.
At 2pm we left our bungalow, with our baby in the pushchair and our 2 daughters aged 2 years and 5 years. Delphine and Mary who were supposed to look after the baby were nowhere to be seen. We decided to walk to the end of the road to see if the guide was coming.
A girl stopped us and told us she was asked by Peterson to take us to the volcano, her name was Dora. She explained that Peterson was supposed to join us there later and that a truck would take us back. We asked her 3 times if she was sure a truck would come, she said yes.
Peterson had promised he would help our 2 years old to walk, as he was not there we decided to keep our double pushchair with our baby and our 2 year old daughter, our 5 yrs.’ old was walking. We walked for 2 hours to the gate of Yasur.
The employee at the gate, Michel, asked us why we were not with a transport and we explained we were going by foot and coming back by truck.
We walked to the car park, on that day Yasur had been very active, it was moved from level 2 to level 3 and we could see that it was very dangerous. We were very annoyed that our guide was not up there as promised as we needed guidance. Dora was very nice but not very experienced and she could not tell us where the safe places were. It was quite scary to be left there with no tour guide.
We arrived at the volcano at 4PM.
At 6pm, Dora phoned Peterson to check when the truck would come; he did not answer his mobile phone.
She tried several times with no success.
For an hour, we were hoping that the truck would come from lenakel after the last plane had arrived. But at 7pm, still no transport.
Dora asked the last car in the car park to take us down but it was full. She asked if the car could take her to the gate so that she could try to ask the gatekeeper for help.
At 7.30pm Dora left us to try to get some help.
We were left with our 3 children including our one year old baby opposite Yasur which was very very active, with no lights, no guide, and no knowledge of where to go and what to do if anything was to happen! We were looking at where we could put the children to sleep safely on top of a volcano!
Yasur was getting too active for us to assume it was safe to stay. We decided to go down at 8pm and walk back. The walk back was very dangerous in the night. My husband let go of the pushchair several times and we ended up losing a bag with some valuables. My 5 year old daughter hurt a leg very badly falling down and I broke one tooth falling face down trying to catch her.
We finally met Dora at 8.40pm near the gate, she had gone to fetch a light and some help.
Michel, the gatekeeper called a truck.
Fred, the truck driver arrived at 8.45pm and took us back to sunrise bungalow.
My husband was grateful to Fred and paid him 2000 vat for taking us back safely.
Willy, sunrise manager, told us he didn’t know anything and that was it, we went to bed.
That following morning, we realised what happened the night before, we were very angry and were hoping for some apologies.
The guide Peterson was nowhere to be seen. His wife Delphine would not tell us where he was. The manager, Willy, pretended he did not know where he was. We asked if someone would take responsibility for what happened and what we got was: you got a truck back so that’s ok.
We decided that we would not let go without at least an explanation of why nobody picked us up from the volcano and at least some apologies but nothing happened.
On Sunday night, Willy came to see my husband to give him the bill.
Mu husband explained that as we had a terrible experience with the volcano problem we wanted to talk to the boss, Isaac Nauka, about the tour guide who is working for him. Willy did not want to do anything with us so my husband said he would pay half the accommodation now and half when he has the opportunity to talk to Isaac.
On Monday morning we were supposed to have a transport at 8am.
We went for breakfast at 7.30am and Mary and Willy said: we are not calling the report if you do not pay all the money now. I should point out as well that the cost of transport which was initially 10000 changed to 12000 and we were expected to pay or be left there.
My husband gave more money to Willy so that he would call the truck but still kept 5000 to be given to Isaac after he would apologise.
The truck arrived at 9am. I should also say that on that morning we were not given breakfast and had 3 hungry kids.
The truck driver was Fred, the same that took us back on that evening. H asked if we managed to have some explanation and was shocked that none from sunrise apologised to us.
We went to see Isaac as we demanded in the morning. Isaac di not apologise, he did not mention anything about the volcano problem; instead he asked us to pay 12000 for transport and as I said no he phoned Lydia from the Entani office.
At that point he passed the phone over to me, I told my story to Lydia and when he finished speaking with her he turned to my husband and said, OK we are all good, we forget about everything.
Now, how can we forget that Isaac is employing a tour guide who left a family with 3 children under 5 on top of a volcano getting very active in the night with no transport back, no guide, no light???
We are hoping that our concerns and our experience will prevent any serious problem happening to other tourists in the future.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sunrise Bungalows is located in Turtle Bay, Manuapen, on the south east coast of Tanna Island, close to the Mount active Yasur volcano, Shark bay and Port Resolution. The Bungalows and Restaurant are situated on the top of cliff overlooking the ocean. Bungalows are locally built and owned and managed. Sunrise is a place for adventure, harmony, serenity and peace and quiet with a fresh ocean breeze. ... more less
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