A belated review, only just finished travels.
Stayed overnight at Lava View as a couple, mainly to see Mt Yasur volcano. It offers a combination of home stay and backpacker-standard accomm'n, and the hosts do their best in very difficult conditions.
Met at the airport by cheerful guide, Robert and driver Senga for two-hour drive in 4x4 pickup. Road good at first, progressively deteriorated to a very rough 4-wheel-drive condition, for experienced drivers only. Riding on the flat back was a challenge !
Arrived at Lava View at midday, hot and dusty, needing a shower, but the communal shower was not connected. Water supply was needed elsewhere, and only connected later in the day. Cold water shower, and only a trickle, but no real problem in this climate.
Bungalow was simple and basic, but quite clean and private, and the double bed comfortable. No question of air-con here, but the lattice-work in the walls allowed some ventilation.
A permanent feature was the grey volcanic ash dust which covered everything. Whilst there, the breeze blew from the volcano towards Lava View. The ash was not 'dirty' but gritty, like sand, under feet, in hair etc. Volcano clearly visible from Lava View, continually rumbling and blowing off black/grey/white ash clouds.
Hosts at Lava View Daniel and Martha did everything possible to make our stay enjoyable. Martha presented simple and adequate meals in the dining room/living quarters.l
As darkness fell, another tortuous drive, to the volcano. Ten minute walk, guided by ever-helpful Robert, up to the crater. Torch essential in the darkness, crater edge only metres away ! Then ....impressive, scary and terrifying in equal measure. The crater would 'blow off' every minute or so, with frequent fireworks, and clouds of gritty ash all the time. Experience of a lifetime.
Following morning, entertained to colourful dancing and fire-making in the adjoining village, and a visit to the primary school of an impressive standard.
Take enough cash, in Vatu - no ATMs on Tanna. Costs can be 'flexible'. Lava View accomm'n and meals were as per website, but transport from airport up to 2,500 Vatu per person each way, and transport to volcano 1000 pp. The volcano entrance fee had increased from 2,250 to 3,350 Vatu pp. We spent approx 30,000 Vatu altogether for the overnight visit for 2 people, excluding flights, and only including essentials. ( nearly 200 GB pounds/ 340 $Aus ).
Final verdict: Memorable experience, welcoming hosts, challenging conditions. One of us would certainly be happy to return, the other probably not.
- 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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