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“Different experience well worth it!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tanna Lava View Bungalows

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Tanna Lava View Bungalows
Isaka Village, Tanna Island, Vanuatu   |  
Hotel amenities
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Different experience well worth it!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

We were a group of 3 girls, came over to Tanna for one night to see the volcano. We wanted to stay close to the volcano as it is a 2 hour drive from Evergreen or Whitegrass resort, and at night time too. So trip advisor showed us this little gem!

For a quick summary: Great hosts, comfortable accommodation though very basic but that's what makes it so cool being out here! Close to the volcano so don't have to travel far at night. A new cultural experience, and sooo cheap! No one had heard of this place that we talked to in Vanuatu so we were a little bit apprehenisve, but totally didn't need to be. This was one of the talking points we loved telling our friends and family back home, and would definitely stay here again if we were to come to Tanna.


We were picked up by Robert at the airport, and taken to the bungalows. Be warned the road get incredibly rough the last half hour leading to them, you couldn't do it without the 4WD! Passing through the village and up to the bungalows gives you a nice view of the volcano, which you can even hear (sounds like distant thunder). It is obviously very basic being in the middle of nowhere, but the beds were comfortable with mosquito nets around them, and they even have a flush toilet which seems totally out of place! The "restaurant" is a nice spacious room with a couple of tables looking out to the volcano, and we were given lovely cooked meals for dinner and lunch.

With a school teacher among us, she had stationary packs from her students to give to the local children, so Robert walked with us 10 minutes down to the village. The children loved the packs, and sang us a song which almost bought a tear to the eye! I definitely recommend taking things for them as they don't get it often (in fact we were told it was only the second time this had happened).

At about 4pm Robert took us to the volcano. This has a 3350VT entry fee (NZD$45) at the gate, but it's well worth it! We stayed until after the sun set till about 6pm. It's amazing to stand on the edge of an erupting volcano, but we felt safe at all times, plus there were many other tourists up there too.

The next day we asked if they could drop us off at Whitegrass Resort as we wanted to do some snorkelling at Blue Hole 2 (one of the best we reckon in Vanuatu too!), which they happily did.

All up it cost us 3500VT each which included one nights stay, 3 meals, transfers to and from airport plus volcano trasnfers, and tour guide on the volcano - that's NZD$46!!! We only had 5000VT notes left though but happily paid this as they were great hosts, and we got way more worth than what we paid.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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30 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Asheville, North Carolina
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

When you go to Vanuatu, you could stay at a resort, or you could actually experience Vanuatu. Staying in a village bungalow is likely, the best way to truly immerse yourself in island life.
At Tanna Lava View, you will get what is likely the best of such an experience.

Daniel, the host, is unbelievably gracious, and happy to arrange any and all natural or cultural excursions you may desire. I stayed here previously, and returned in November with my family. On our family visit, we went to the hot springs, the volcano, Lamakara Village's Friday night singing ritual (home of the John Frum movement), and witnessed village life firsthand. The relationship my daughter formed with Daniel's daughter in the short time we were there was truly touching. At nightfall, we all enjoyed the glow of Yasur on the sky above from our balcony.

This is not the closest bungalow to Mt. Yasur, but the panorama of the ash plain and the volcano is probably one of the best from anywhere on the island. The centralized location of the village llows for anything that you may want to do on the island to be an easy day-trip. I look forward to returning again soon for an extended visit, and am counting the days!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heilbronn, Germany
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2013

Stayed here for 4 nights. Even though I didn't have the best weather, I enjoyed every minute of my stay.

Trips to the volcano, kastom and John Frum villages etc. are a unique experience, but I enjoyed the village life the most. I attended the daily Kava ceremony and I really loved the atmosphere.

The bungalow is basic (but that's what I came for), but the food was delicious. Would go there again!

Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Daniel S, Owner at Tanna Lava View Bungalows, responded to this review, April 10, 2013
Thank you so much for your review. Here at Lava View we are very happy you enjoyed your stay. Hopefully we will see you again sometime.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We spent 2 nights in the bungalows in September 2012. The Lava View bungalows are very well located, on the top of a hill facing Mount Yasur and hence giving you a perfect view to spot the eruptions at night and to hear the volcano (contrary to most of the other bungalows which are at the bottom of the volcano).
Yes the bungalows are rustic and basic with no electricity during the day and a generator at night, there is a shower (sometimes not working but they bring you a bucket of water) and a toilet, but that's what makes the experience so great. The bungalows are clean, with comfortable bed with nets. The food cooked specially for us was really good for lunch and dinner. Breakfast was basic but ok. Big appetites may consider bringing some biscuits though. The bungalows are made of bamboos and leaves and are set up in a beautiful natural scenery, very close from the village, which gives you the opportunity to meet the locals and the children, see how they live and distribute some school material to the kids.
Daniel and his family are great hosts. The pick up from the airport and the bookings for the volcano were all organised. They really look after their guests: we went for a walk from the bungalows to the ash plains and they got worried for us as they did not see us coming back so they walked down to ensure we were all right.
We also asked to attend to a traditional ceremony and not one organised for tourists. We were kindly invited to join a circoncision ceremony organised by close villages. They took us for a 2h walk in the rain forest and we attended to a very typical ceremony with traditional costumes, danses, songs, gifts and met with local kids who were clearly not used to see white tourists and cameras. It was such a privilege for us to be able to attend this ceremony and this was thanks to Lava View Bungalow. You tell them what you want to do and they try their best to meet your request.
Just keep in mind that Tanna is remote and that to go anywhere you either need to walk for a couple of hours in the forest with a guide or your need to arrange a car to drive you and pick you up. This second option is quite expensive. We only realised that it was complicated to move on Tanna by ourselves once we were there and it was a bit frustrating not to be able to go freely/easily to all the places we wanted to see.
But if you go to Mount Yasur, stay at the Lava View Bungalows, they are the best hosts in the area and will provide you with wonderful memories!

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

We stayed one night in Lava View. It was a truly wonderful experience. Mount Yasur's climbing was the highlight of our trip.
Bungalows are lovely and located in a quiet village not far from the volcano. From the bungalows, you have a really good view of the volcano.
Daniel is really nice and helpful. He will arrange your transport from the airport and your trip (including guide) to the volcano. He can also arrange other activities.
Meals are delicious and fulfilling.
We strongly advice to take cash as there is no ATM in Tanna, as well as mosquito repellent and some snacks as there are no shops around.
We highly recommend it for open minded and adventurous people to experience the local way of life.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2013

Hi, we stayed in Tanna Laval View Bungalows for 2 nights last week after spending 2 nights on the West side of Tanna. Our experience has been wonderful one. We describe our experience as "off the beaten track" as you get to live close to a true village experience. Daniel was incredibly friendly and helpful. He organised our stay, transport and tour carefully. He was reasonably priced compare to other place around. I had great conversations with Daniel as we enjoyed watching the volcano. Our tour guide Robert for the Volcano and other trips around (John Frum Village, custom village, etc.) was very friendly.

As other mentioned, Tanna is a far cry from the "commercial" or resort type of accommodations. There is White Grass if your looking for this type of experience. Otherwise, you need to be able to immerse yourself in this environment to be able to live is fully and feel comfortable. It is rather very basic and close to the local village standards. To get this I highly recommend staying at least few nights. In return you will get an authentic Tanna village experience, get to share a piece of how local live, with wonderful and friendly hosts, good food, comfortable accommodation for what it is (nice breeze, comfortable beds), and a fantastic view. Very highly recommended for the more open minded and adventurous expectations.

Not necessary related to Tanna Lava View Bungalow, I also recommend bringing enough local currency (Vatu) as there is no ATM on the Island and costs add up quickly with transport (places are remote, road are quite bad and petrol is expensive), entry fees, and tour costs. If you plan to stay few days in Tanna and explore the volcano I would definitely recommend staying in East Tanna such as in Lava View Bungalow to reduce transport costs and efforts (you will realise it soon enough that roads are bad, did I mention it already ?!) and the fact that the Volcano is at the most impressive after dark. Most place on the West side of Tanna will return when you would like to stay longer. On top of this, if the weather is not good for exploring the volcano, I'm sure you won't mind too much returning the following day if it's only 20min truck ride than a 1.5 hour bumpy ride!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I stayed at Lava View Bungalows for 4 nights in September 2012. It has an incredible location on a ridge looking directly across to Mount Yasur, whose frequent eruptions light up the night sky as you sit and have dinner. Daniel and his family are wonderful hosts, and since you'll quite likely be the only tourist in the entire village you find that you are immediately welcomed into the community. This is very different to the experience you'll get at the more commercial (by tanna standards) accommodation on the main road next to the volcano, and is the true selling point of Lava View. The accommodation is simple but well cared for, and Daniel has a generator should you need to charge camera batteries etc. Daniel has a couple of friendly guides working for him and can offer lots of interesting local excursions, including one to an impressive waterfall in the mountains. Be aware that if you go to the waterfall, there is a small charge to walk through another village on the way. Your visit would also greatly benefit from bringing shoes that you don't mind getting wet, as there are lots of stream crossings wherever you walk! The best part about staying in an isolated village like this is that even though you might have an official guide, you'll find that half of the village children will come with you too wherever you go. It makes for wonderful days out with lots of good company, and the children love showing off their skills at climbing coconut trees or catching fish. It makes every activity so much more fun, as you feel like you are there with friends.

I'm a volcanologist and so I came to Tanna with the express purpose of visiting the volcano, and being on a tight budget (Vanuatu is expensive!) wanted to walk there. Daniel and his guides were happy to arrange this for me, but be aware that when you're told something will take 1 hour in Vanuatu, it will probably take 2! This was true everywhere I went in Vanuatu, and certainly it's a good 2 hour hike to the volcano from Lava View for a relatively fit person. Of course, most tourists will visit the volcano by truck, which Daniel happily arranges for a very reasonable price. One thing I noticed on my trips to the volcano (once from Lava View, once from Tree Top Lodge) is that there are big differences in the experience levels of the many guides who you see up there. It's quite hard to assess this in advance (you'll always be told wherever you stay that your guide has been up there loads of times), but it's worth remembering that it can be a dangerous volcano especially when it's quite active. So it's important to take responsibility for your own safety up there, and if you're not comfortable with something it's ok to say that.

In summary, a stay at Lava View is a far cry from the "commercial" accommodation on the main road next to the volcano. Here you get an authentic Tanna village experience, with wonderful hosts, excellent food, comfortable accommodation, and a fantastic view. Very highly recommended for the more adventurous travellers.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tanna Lava View Bungalows

Address: Isaka Village, Tanna Island, Vanuatu
Location: Vanuatu > Tanna Island
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Tanna Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience Real Village Life at an Eco-Friendly BungalowLava View Bungalows is an integral part of Isaka Village. The gentle rhythms of authentic village life surround and welcome you. Dawn breaks to the sound of children playing, roosters crowing or the echoing music of ceremonial shells. The rumbling of Yassur, the volcano seen from your bungalow verandah, is a constant soundtrack to the day.We are a sustainable, locally based small community enterprise. We think globally and act locally: your bungalow is made of local materials and is powered by solar energy 24 hours a day. Meals feature fresh organic local vegetables, fruit and meat. We are committed to supporting the development of our community. Your stay helps to fund school fees and other community projects. Our deep knowledge of the culture and customs of the local area means we can customize your stay to suit your interests. At Lava View Bungalows, our family looks forward to welcoming you to our world … a unique experience you will never forget.Note: Airport to Bungalow transportation is available. ... more   less 
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