Ambrym Map, Vanuatu
Although almost completely undeveloped as a tourist destination, Ambrym is one of the most interesting islands in Vanuatu. Active volcanoes in the center of the island have created a vast ash plain, lava valleys, and a broken coastline. The intact culture of North Ambrym is legendary.
It's possible to climb on foot to viewpoints over the volcanoes and ash plain from the north and south of the island, but it's rough going and will take a full day. The small guest houses at Craig Cove, Sanesup, Ranvetlam, and Ranon can arrange the necessary guides and advise on any customary admission fees to be paid.
The usual climbing route is up a creek bed from Lalinda village, taking three hours to The Gate. There's an excellent view of the ash plain from there. From the north, you can climb to the summit of Vetlam and back in a day.
North Ambrym is one of the most traditional areas in Vanuatu. Custom dances are performed here on special occasions and large slit log drums stand in the center of many of the villages. The woodcarvings and tree-fern figures of Ambrym are among the best in Melanesia. Storytelling and customary magic are still practiced here.
Getting to Ambrym is fairly easy as there are flights from Port Vila to Craig Cove and Ulei several times a week. North Ambym is only accessible by chartered speedboat from Craig Cove or on foot from Ulei. Some flights continuing on to Pentecost Island from Craig Cove pass directly over the volcanoes, offering spectacular views down into the molten craters.