Yasur volcano trip: Easy, but needs caution!



Adorning the Tanna island of Vanuatu, Mount Yasur is a live volcano that is constantly erupting lava daily from a height of 361 m. Nestled on the shore besides the Sulphur Bay, the Yasur volcano is near the taller Tukosmera volcano that was live in the prehistoric times. This strata volcano is in form of a cone and its slopes do not boast any kind of vegetation. Its summit is almost circular that has a diameter of 400 m. There are two interesting reasons as to why one would like to visit the Yasur volcano. First, it is very easy as well as safe to reach to its crater; second, the mountain has been continuously erupting accounting for many times per hour. One more encouraging factor for the visit is that it was this volcano’s glow that pulled Captain James Cook towards this coast in the late 18th century. Okay, besides these geographical and historical facts, the Yasur volcano also gains a holy significance from the cargo cult of John Frum, a blessed messenger who forecasted about the incoming riches and is thought to dwell in the mountain.

As several tourists come here to explore the Yasur volcano, the local government has defined access levels for the safety purpose. Level 0 indicates full access to the crater; Level 1 also denotes the same, but the activity is a bit more than low in case of Level 0; Level 2 stands for fair to high activity featuring bombs of lava landing farther from the edge of the crater closing the access to it; Level 3 means acute activity featuring bursting lava bombs with loud explosions, smoke, and ash closing the entry into the summit area; Level 4 represents major outbursts that affect the surrounding areas.

The mount is composed of different rock layers and molten rock erupts via a middle crater including bright lava as well as cloud of steam, ash, and smoke. Considering this, the Yasur volcano is rated as Level 2. But, I would ideally call it 3 because now a days the tour guides easily let you go very close to the crater despite the fact that their job is to avoid risks and dangers for the visitors. They allow you to go much closer than what it is permitted. And the fact is that this volcano is becoming too active each day that the moment you reach nearest to the crater, lava bombs just get blew over your heads very easily due to which some killings have already been recorded here. Therefore, it is just fine to remain within the safe distance for spotting those red hot fireworks and lava. The worst part is that even if you were to ask the guide as to whether it is safe going there, they would reply positively even if that sight is surely not that safe. This has happened with me and the moment I was near the crater, a big lava bomb passed from over my head!

Therefore, accordingly, avoid taking children to the crater of the Yasur volcano. Similarly, it is also not apt for the elders or sick people. In case a lava bomb is seen over your head by you, kindly avoid running and wait until you know where it has fell so that you can avoid going via that route. Secondly, just do not come here in a large group as we go at other places. Somewhat scaring was the sight of a lava bomb land out of the rim at 100 m.

The best activity that you can enjoy here is photography that is just captivating at any time. Do so at sunset especially as there is much glow to light up the rim of the crater. Certainly, the plume of ash as well as red lava bombs will just form the adventurous background. However, you have only 30 minutes for photography as darkness will completely take over after that. At night, the sight of volcano seems to be more like a fireworks display making it hard for you to focus. I would advise to carry some spare batteries as your photo taker will take much time on standby. In fact, the ideal way of photography is to use a tripod along with a distant shutter release so that you can easily gaze at the fireworks.

Entry Fee

2250 Vatu

Peak Time

June to September

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