By Telma and Thomas | 11 June 2016 | Vanuatu | Inspiration

If you are looking for a more traditional lifestyle and a place to experience first-hand culture, you will be fascinated by Tanna. Go…just go! And if you’re travelling to Tanna, you are probably the kind of person that is interested in getting off the beaten track and up for an adventure. This is just a wonderful place! Without a doubt the closest you will ever get to living amongst the native villagers. A visit to one of the villagers is a must, and definitely more enjoyable than Efate, if you want to get away from the western world for a few days.

Imaio Village

Our host was waiting for us at the airport. After nearly two hours through rough, bumpy, muddy roads we finally arrived at his village. It’s was surreal.
There was only one tap for all the families to use, limited use of running water, no electricity (power only by generator 2-3 hours in the evening), hens and roosters everywhere and majority of people were barefoot.

The couple who rented out our bure, were committed to keep their old traditions alive and teaching us their culture. Everyone was happy and glad the island had remained so pure, away from the western world.
These people are warm, kind and very welcoming. They invited us to join them at any time during the day, and we were free to wander around to interact with the families in the village and play with the children.
Here is the real Vanuatu, and we were privileged to experience it.

No western influences at all, no electricity and limited water. This is the real subsistence living. These people choose to live traditionally, turning their back on the developing and developed world. We were extremely lucky to have had the pleasure to meet them as they welcome tourists to their village every week.

people from imaio village tanna island

people from vanuatu

life in tanna island

Imaio – Costume Village

The chief of the village decided years ago to preserve Tanna culture and ways of traditional living through wearing Kastom Dress (grass skirts and nambas). The villagers are very warm and welcoming, and it was nice to see a tribe that stuck with their historical customs and still live like this. The children were absolutely gorgeous!

We saw a demonstration of food preparation, followed by fire-making and finally some traditional tribal dancing. Obviously it is a set routine they show tourists but you really get to see how the villagers live, there are no western facilities here.
At the end the children and villagers set up small stalls where you can buy hand carved wooden statues whom have been made by children and adults in the village. Even though we didn’t buy anything, we gave them some money.

It’s a fantastic place to visit for some REAL culture!

Costs:
Costume Village – 2,000vt/ USD$20/GBP£15 – two people
Donation – 2000vt/USD$20/GBP£15 (optional)

people of imaio village

costume village vanuatu

visiting costume village in tanna

tribe from tanna island

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

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