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“Great experience and fantastic views.”

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Tanna Lava View Bungalows
Paekakariki, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great experience and fantastic views.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2013

We highly recommend a trip to Tanna to see the amazing Mt Yasur.

We went in August (only just getting around to posting a review now – my apologies)

It was the awe inspiring to stand on the rim of the volcano and watch, hear and feel the mountain exploding right in front of you. We planned the trip to visit the volcano twice and we are very pleased we did the second night. The second time we knew what to expect and took more in. Also the first night you are so busy snapping away that the second night you tend to chill out a bit more and just enjoy it.

It is no small thing to get there. The roads are only suited to 4 wheel drive vehicles and makes travel so much slower, and expensive.

We were met at the airport without any problems and after a short stop in Lenakel we headed over the hill to the east side. The trip took two hours.

We stayed at Lava View Bungalows which we don’t regret.

No rats in sight. We saw pigs and other village animals but luckily no rats.

The huts were basic wood frames with mattress’s, blankets and a mosquito net. It was exactly what we expected for village accommodation. The main village is down the hill and the guest rooms, shower/toilet and kitchen/dining area are on an elevated site up the hill with views of the volcano 3kms away. We were the only guests that time and so it was really quiet and peaceful in amongst the trees and we enjoyed being able to sit and watch the smoke and rocks exploding out every minute or two. But Daniel or one of the others was always not far away and looking out for us.

On the Saturday night the village entertained the children with video clips of local singers using a generator. It was projected onto a sheet of corrugated iron which distorted the image somewhat but it was delightful seeing the joy and pleasure that the kids got from it.
They have recently put in a solar panel so could provide basic lighting and battery charging.

The food was basic but plenty of it. We would have loved to have had the opportunity to eat what they would normally cook themselves, but we guess that the majority of tourists would prefer the western type meals they provided – Rice with meat and vege. For breakfast they give you several doorstop slices of bread with butter and margarine. My suggestion to Lava View would be to find a way to toast it. .

We strongly suggest you take a lot more Vatu than you think you will need. We had emailed and included a request for confirmation of costs. Daniel emailed back but didn’t confirm the costs so we based the amount we took, on their website prices which at that time hadn’t been updated. The site has been updated now. This meant that we were short.

Daniel from Lava View was really good about it. We suggested that we have the guide on the mountain the first night, and we could manage without the guide for the second night but Daniel said he would give us the guide for the second night without any cost rather than take that risk. We didn’t think this was fair and we ended up only a few vatu short of the total cost including the guide for both days. We did this by declining the ladies doing their traditional dance and as we had taken plenty of bananas, nuts and crackers, we didn’t have the lunches. We definitely didn’t go hungry but it would have been nice to provide the village with the extra income by watching the ladies dance.

Anywhere you go is going to cost just to get there from Lava View. We were keen to walk down and explore the Ash fields at the base of the volcano after lunch on the second day. Robert the tour guide, suggested we go in the afternoon and the truck would pick us up on the way to the Volcano. This was a great suggestion as it saved us a long walk back.

We would love to return to Tanna and visit the volcano again but also have more time (and money) to be able to do so of the other activities available on Tanna.

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Clareville575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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43 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (7)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
San Francisco
Level Contributor
32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 23, 2013

First of all, the place is pretty basic, don't expect a resort.
A bed or two with mosquito nets, and a candle, in my bungalow. Toilet
and shower in a common shack outdoors. Be sure to bring a flashlight!!

I have read that many people in simpler dwellings on Tanna have problems
with rats and stuff. I did NOT have ANY problem with any kinds of animals
at this place, neither rats not mozzies. Clean and nice. It was perfectly nice to shower
in the shack. It is simple but clean and perfectly fine if you don't expect
high standards.

Then ... the owner Daniel was away while I was there, but his nephew Robert was a fantastic
guide/everything. Honest, friendly, really tried (and succeeded!) in making my trip
a really great trip. Thanks, Robert, for a great stay!

Another thing is that the people of the neighboring village of Isaka received me really well when I joined for kava-drinking evenings (and other things), which really made my trip.

You can indeed see the volcano from the Lava View, and in particular, you can hear it pretty well. The bungalows are shaking somewhat when the volcano erupts; cool!

The owner's sister Martha serves decent breakfasts (toast with jam/peanut butter, typically, and tea/coffee) and lunches and dinners (typically chicken with rice). She, and the rest of the family, were very friendly with me during my stay there.

Would I go back to Lava View? I would be very happy to go back to Lava View! Clean and friendly environment, no rats or mozzies, OK food, a really nice time at the nearby village. A great stay!

Practicalities:
- Their web site was somewhat inconsistent with reality when I got there: transportation from the airport to the place costs 5000 VT, or 2500 VT per person if there are more than two tourists. This is standard fare, and is not run by the bungalows (although they will of course organize the transportation and met you at the airport, and accompany you back).
- There are no stores or restaurants or anything like that nearby, so buy everything (!) you need before coming to Tanna. This could include biscuits or similar to complement the toast-with-jam and chicken-with-rice food at the bungalows.
- You can probably swim/snorkel somewhere on the coast, but it seems that this is not high on the agenda, so you can leave your snorkeling gear at home if you come for shorter stays.
- The owners have some electric power using a solar cell, so you can charge your laptop (no Internet, of course) or camera there.
- Bring a flashlight!
- My understanding was that the water (coming from a hose from a catchment somewhere in the mountains of Tanna) is safe to drink. I drank it and am still alive.
- Mosquito net and towel provided, so no need to bring that.
- The volcano is of course nice and impressive. If I remember correctly the drive there and back was 2000 VT (per tourist), and the entrance to the volcano is 3350 VT or so. Clearly a must-do while at Tanna.
- As mentioned, no stores or banks on Tanna, so bring ALL the vatu you will need for the stay from Vila. (In principle, there are some small "stores" and a "bank" at Lemakel close to the airport, but I don't know if they can help you; Lenakel is also 2 hours and 5000 VT (one way!) from Lava View.)

I had a fantastic vacation based at Lava View, and I am happy to recommend the bungalows.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank csaba10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
wellington
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 14, 2013

Bungalows simply build out of bamboo, wood and coconut leaves with no power, but beds comfortable, food plentiful and owners nephew very helpful guide. Bungalows 2500 per night, guide 500 per day, transport to airport for 1 person 5000, (2 people is 2500), breakfast incl in price, lunch is 500, dinner is 800.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled solo
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cjsw2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charbon
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 16, 2013

My family and I recently returned from an amazing Vanuatu holiday of which Lava View was a definite highlight. We stayed for 5 days and I was worried it was going to be too long but we could have stayed much longer. It doesn't take long to fall under the spell of the spirit of the local people, the impressive active volcano and all sorts of other interesting experiences. My daughter cried the whole flight back to Villa because she didn't want to leave. The kids were always happy and safe. The drinking water is spring and beautiful. Nobody got sick....all the usual travelling with kids worries never happened. It is very basic but it doesn't take the kids long to remember how to live without electrical entertainment. The only recommendations I would make about kids would be to make sure you have warm clothes, the volcano can be very cold especially at night. Also I took a few snacks and 2 minute noodles sorts of things. They saved the day for me a few times, its a long way to the shops. For our family though the best part about was getting to hang out with Robert and Martha. Robert, our guide was fantastic. Everyday he went with us everywhere and translated everything that was going on. He was brilliant with the kids, always good humoured, helpful, informative and just plain nice to be around. Martha is also lovely, she is the cook for all the yummy meals. I loved being able to get to spend some time with her and learn a little about the village way of life. The kids all had a great time, getting down to the business of play with the local kids within minutes of arriving. They loved all the excursions we did, checking out the volcano (twice), waterfalls, John Fromm village, the river, walking in the jungle. Especially the volcano, it does not get much cooler than that. Daniel has created a very special opportunity for travellers to experience a little bit of Isaka life. If you looking for a family holiday that is a life experience rather than a holiday destination Lava View is for you. Thank you everyone at Lava View, We hope we get to come back and visit you all again soon.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Alice W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peterborough, Canada
Level Contributor
71 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2013

It's not a resort... and that's the point. Daniel and family welcome you into their village life. We travelled a month in Vanuatu and this was a highlight. Daniel's knowledge of environmental issues and his commitment to his community, to "think globally and act locally," is powerful. While the search for "authenticity" is problematic and speaks more to what travellers lack at home than to what they project abroad, I have to say... for an authentic experience in Tanna, stay at Lava View. Tanna is MUCH more than a volcano... the people are even better than Yasur (which is saying a lot). Find this out by staying with Daniel at Lava Vie.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Recovering_Hungarian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 5, 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
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Steph551
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Asheville, North Carolina
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank Papakava
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

Property: 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 Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 28 Specialty Lodging in Tanna Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:2 star — Tanna Lava View Bungalows 2*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Experience Real Village Life at an Eco-Friendly Bungalow, Lava 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, very basic and is powered by solar energy 24 hours a day but no power plug is not available. Please bring spare batteries for your camera. 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. Please send email to ask any question, however, we can only check email every few days. We do not sale alcohol, and no refrigerator at our bungalow, you can bring your own drinks such as red wine and spirits if you wish to consume alcohol. We are surround by the village and forest, so there could be flies, and insects. Please bring Insect repellent. If you have any problem with height, we do not recommend you to stay at the Tree House but we also have bungalows on the ground. We built the bungalow from scratch again since the Cyclone, devastated our bungalows so it might not be the perfect but we will do our best to make you feel it's home. ... more   less 
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