Volcanoes of Vanuatu - Official Vanuatu Region Guide

Vanuatu lies squarely on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire and has nine active volcanoes, seven on land and two beneath the sea.

The most famous and most easily accessible, is Mt Yasur, on Tanna Island bringing thousands of tourists to Tanna Island each year. Mt Garet, on Gaua, is potentially the most dangerous and recently erupted in 2009 after many years of dormancy. Other Volcanoes less visited, can be found on the islands of Ambae, Ambrym, Lopevi.

A visit to Vanuatu is not complete without a tour to a live volcano.

Mt Yasur on Tanna Island is the most popular destination due to the easy access to the summit. 2010 has seen an unusual level of high activity from Mt Yasur and is being monitored closely by authorities. After a rather arduous 4wd drive adventure through unsealed roads, island villages, deep pot holes, flowing rivers and desolate ash plains, you arrive at the base of Mt Yasur. After a quick trip to the makeshift (door less ) toilet, made roughly from local leaves, you are ready to follow your guide up a rocky path.

While the walk is a little rough and steep the climb only takes about 15 minutes. Then you are there, right at the mouth of the craters. It is the most amazing experience to feel the rumbling earth beneath your feet, hear the whizz of volcanic rock fly through the air and feel the heat from the explosion of fire before you. A tour at night is the most impressive, as you witness the sun setting, the air becomes really cold and windy, and with an inky sky as a back drop the lava seems even more vivid. Always go with a guide and follow their directions, they are trained and experienced to know the safest places for you to stand. Travel and tours can be arranged from Efate Port Vila Vanuatu by air.

Ambrym is known as the "black island" after the expansive ash plain covering the interior. This island is well known for its highly active volcanic activity that includes lava lake formations within the summit craters. Ambrym is the site of two active volcanic cones, Benbow and Marum and travel from Efate can be arranged by sea or air.

Lopevi is the most beautifully shaped volcano in Vanuatu and has periodic eruptions. This volcano rises directly out of the ocean and has been belting out sulphurous ash since 2007, so this is a great chance to see the volcano is its active state. The island was previously inhabited until 1960, but is now deserted due to ongoing volcanic activity. Local customs prevent women from climbing the volcano. Last eruption was in 2008.

Mt Garet Volcano on Gaua Island, is one of the worlds most colourful and scenic volcanoes, with multi a coloured summit and a crater lake which creates an unforgettable landscape. The most recent eruption was in 2010 and evacuation plans for local villagers were considered. The authorities are watching this Volcano closely.

Ambae Island is physically characterized by the large volcano at its centre, Manaro. Manaro is regarded by authorities as one of the world's top ten most dangerous volcanoes in terms of potential for a catastrophic eruption resulting in landslides that could cause major Tsunamis throughout Vanuatu. In 2005, after being dormant for 120 years, volcanic activity increased and eruptions become stronger, displacing half the islands 10 000 inhabitants and requiring the evacuation of two hospitals.

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