Ireupuow Travel Guide

Plan your trip to Ireupuow with our comprehensive travel guide. Explore cultural and natural attractions, go on outdoor adventures, taste the local food, and learn about the customs and traditions of this Melanesian paradise.

Introduction to Ireupuow

Nestled in the heart of Tanna, in the Tafea province of Vanuatu, Ireupuow is a hidden gem that offers a unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and outdoor adventures. With its lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and welcoming locals, Ireupuow is a paradise for travelers looking for an authentic experience off the beaten path.

List of Places to Visit in Ireupuow

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Yakel Village: Immerse yourself in the traditional customs and lifestyle of the Yakel people. Learn about their beliefs, ceremonies, and crafts, such as weaving, carving, and sand drawing.
  • John Frum Village: Discover the fascinating story of the John Frum movement, a religious and political movement that emerged during WWII and still resonates with the local community. See the ceremonial grounds, the shrine, and the museum.
  • Tanna Coffee Factory: Visit the organic coffee plantation and processing factory, where you can learn about the history and techniques of coffee production in Vanuatu. Taste different varieties of coffee and buy some to take home.
  • Custom Village Tour: Explore the traditional village of Imaio, where you can witness the daily life and rituals of the local people. See how they make their homes, tools, and clothes, as well as their dances and music performances.

Natural Attractions of Ireupuow: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Mount Yasur: Climb the active volcano and witness the spectacular eruptions from the crater. The night tours offer a particularly impressive show.
  • Blue Cave: Swim into the luminous waters of the Blue Cave, where the sunlight reflects on the white sand and creates a mesmerizing blue color. Snorkel and explore the underwater world of the cave.
  • Ipai Beach: Relax and sunbathe on the secluded white sand beach of Ipai, where the calm and crystal-clear waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
  • Lenakel River: Canoe or kayak down the scenic Lenakel River, which flows through lush rainforest and villages. See the colorful birds and butterflies and spot the occasional wild pig or horse.
  • Mystery Island: Take a day trip to Mystery Island, an uninhabited islet surrounded by turquoise waters and coral reefs. Snorkel, dive, fish, or just enjoy the solitude of the island.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ireupuow

  • Tasman Trail: Follow the Tasman Trail, a 15 km hike that starts at Black Beach and goes along the coast and the forest. See the stunning views of the sea, the cliffs, and the jungle, and cross the bamboo bridges and streams.
  • Warnon Bay Road: Cycle or walk along the Warnon Bay Road, a 10 km route that goes from the west coast to the east coast of Tanna. Admire the diverse landscapes and wildlife, and stop at the local villages and markets on the way.

Best Things to Do in Ireupuow: Activities and Tours

  • Traditional Cooking Class: Learn how to cook the local dishes and ingredients, such as yam, taro, coconut, and fish, in a traditional kitchen using firewood and stones. Enjoy the flavors and hospitality of the locals.
  • Kava Ceremony: Join a kava ceremony, a traditional ritual that involves drinking a mildly psychoactive beverage made from the kava root. Learn about its significance and etiquette, and socialize with the locals.
  • Bird Watching: Go birdwatching in the rainforest and see some of the unique bird species of Vanuatu, such as the Tanna Fruit Dove, the Horned Parakeet, and the Red-bellied Fruit Dove.
  • Fishing Tour: Fish with the locals and experience the traditional fishing techniques and tools, such as handlines, nets, and traps. Catch some fish and cook them on the spot for lunch or dinner.
  • Cultural Shows: Attend a cultural show, where the local groups perform their dances, music, and costumes. Be impressed by the high-energy and colorful performances, and learn about the meanings and stories behind them.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ireupuow

Day Morning Afternoon Evening
Monday Arrival in Tana Airport Transfer to Yakel Village (1 hour) Yakel Village Tour, Welcome Kava Ceremony, Dinner
Tuesday Breakfast Mount Yasur Volcano Tour (5 hours) Blue Cave Snorkeling, Lunch, Ipai Beach Relaxation
Wednesday Breakfast Lenakel River Canoeing (3 hours) Tanna Coffee Factory Tour, Lunch, Custom Village Tour
Thursday Breakfast Warnon Bay Road Cycling (3 hours) John Frum Village Tour, Lunch, Cultural Show
Friday Breakfast Tasman Trail Hike (4 hours) Mystery Island Day Trip, Snorkeling, Picnic Lunch
Saturday Breakfast Rest and Relaxation Traditional Cooking Class, Dinner
Sunday Breakfast Church Service, Free Time Fishing Tour, Lunch, Farewell Kava Ceremony

Food and Drink Scene of Ireupuow

Must-Try Dishes

  • Lap Lap: A local dish made from grated yam or taro, coconut cream, and meat or fish. It is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed over fire.
  • Poulet Fish: A grilled or fried fish seasoned with herbs and spices, such as ginger, lemongrass, and chili. It is usually served with rice and vegetables.
  • Sour Dough Bread: A specialty of Tanna, the sourdough bread is made from the local flour and yeast, and has a distinct flavor and texture.
  • Coconut Crab: A rare and exotic delicacy, the coconut crab is a large land crab that lives in the coconut plantations. It is usually served grilled or boiled, and has a sweet and juicy meat.

Local Beverages

  • Kava: The traditional drink of Vanuatu, kava is made from the roots of the kava plant, which are pounded and mixed with water. It has a mildly sedative and numbing effect, and is usually consumed in social rituals.
  • Coconut Water: A refreshing and healthy drink, coconut water is the clear liquid inside the young green coconut. It is rich in electrolytes and minerals, and can be served chilled or with ice.

Where to Stay in Ireupuow: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • White Grass Ocean Resort: A luxury resort situated on the east coast of Tanna, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It offers bungalows with ocean views, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a spa.
  • Tanna Lodge: A mid-range lodge located in the rainforest, near the Mount Yasur volcano. It offers bungalows with forest views, a restaurant, a bar, a pool, and a cultural center.
  • Tanna Evergreen Resort: A budget resort located in the village of Lénakel, near the airport. It offers bungalows with garden views, a restaurant, a bar, and a tour desk.

What to Buy in Ireupuow: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Handicrafts: Buy some of the local handicrafts, such as baskets, mats, hats, and carvings, made from natural materials like palm leaves, pandanus, and wood. They make great souvenirs and gifts.
  • Tanna Coffee: Buy some of the organic coffee grown and roasted in Tanna, which has a unique flavor and aroma. Look for the Tanna Coffee Factory products.
  • Custom T-shirts: Buy a custom-made T-shirt with a slogan or a design inspired by the local culture and traditions. Look for the local shops and markets.

Local Culture and Customs of Ireupuow

The local culture of Ireupuow is deeply rooted in the Melanesian traditions and beliefs, which emphasize harmony between humans, nature, and spirits. Respect for ancestors, elders, and community values is highly valued.

Some of the customs and etiquette to keep in mind when visiting Ireupuow are:

  • Greeting the locals with a smile and a salutation like “hallo” or “bongu”
  • Dressing modestly and covering the legs and shoulders in public places
  • Removing the shoes before entering a house or a sacred site
  • Asking for permission before taking photos of people or places
  • Accepting kava in the kava ceremony with both hands and drinking it in one sip
  • Not touching the head or the shoulders of a local, as it is considered a sign of disrespect
  • Learning some basic words and phrases in the local language, such as “tankyu tumas” (thank you very much) or “hap go gud” (everything is fine)

Best Time to Visit Ireupuow

The best time to visit Ireupuow is during the dry season, which runs from May to October. This is the peak season, when the weather is sunny and pleasant, and the activities and tours are in full swing. However, be aware that the prices and crowds may be higher during this time.

The wet season, from November to April, can be more challenging in terms of transportation, access to some places, and mosquitoes and humidity. However, it can also be a rewarding time if you are interested in the lush vegetation, the waterfalls, and the cultural events, such as the custom dances and the harvest festivals.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ireupuow


  • Respect the local customs and traditions
  • Hire local guides and tours to support the community
  • Try the local food and drinks
  • Protect the environment and wildlife by not littering or disturbing them
  • Bargain politely in the markets and shops


  • Wear inappropriate clothes or jewelry in the sacred sites
  • Take photos without asking for permission
  • Disrespect the elders or the chiefs
  • Touch the coral reefs or the marine creatures when snorkeling or diving
  • Consume drugs or engage in illegal activities

Safety and Health

Safety in Ireupuow

Ireupuow is generally a safe and peaceful destination, with low levels of crime and violence. However, like in any other place, it is important to take some basic precautions to ensure your safety:

  • Keep an eye on your belongings and valuables, especially in crowded places
  • Avoid walking alone at night or in isolated areas
  • Use certified guides and operators for adventure activities and tours
  • Observe the local laws and regulations, such as the speed limits and the seat belts in the vehicles
  • Respect the natural hazards and risks, such as the volcanic eruptions, the rip currents, and the insect bites

Health in Ireupuow

Before traveling to Ireupuow, it is recommended to check with your doctor or a travel clinic about the necessary vaccines or medications. The main health risks in Ireupuow are related to the tropical climate and environment:

  • Mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria, and Zika virus. Wear long-sleeved clothes, use mosquito repellent, and sleep under mosquito nets.
  • Sunburn and heatstroke. Apply sunscreen and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Food and waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea and typhoid. Drink bottled or purified water, wash your hands regularly, and avoid eating raw or uncooked food.

Getting to Ireupuow: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Ireupuow

The closest airport to Ireupuow is Tanna Airport, also known as Whitegrass Airport. It is served by Air Vanuatu, which operates daily flights from Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu. The flight takes about 45 minutes, and the airport is about 30 minutes from Lenakel, the main town of Tanna.

Bus Stations Near Ireupuow

There is no bus or public transportation system in Ireupuow. However, you can rent a car or a taxi from the airport or the hotels. The roads in Tanna are generally in fair condition, but some of them may be unpaved or bumpy.

Other Options

Another option to get to Tanna from Port Vila is by ferry, which operates twice a week from the capital to Lenakel. The ferry takes about 6 hours, and can be a scenic and affordable way to see the island.

How to Get Around in Ireupuow

The best way to explore Ireupuow is by hiring a car or a 4x4 vehicle, which can be arranged at the airport or the hotels. Alternatively, you can hire a taxi or a driver for the day or the week. Most of the roads in Tanna are passable by car, but be aware that some of them may require a high clearance or a careful driving.

Another option is to rent a bicycle or a scooter, which can give you more flexibility and adventure. However, be aware that the roads can be challenging and dusty, and the weather can be hot and humid.

Where to Go Next from Ireupuow: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you have more time and energy, you can explore some of the nearby destinations and excursions from Ireupuow:

  • Port Vila: The capital of Vanuatu, situated on the island of Efate. Port Vila offers a mix of modern amenities, cultural attractions, and natural wonders, such as the Mele Cascades and the Iririki Island.
  • Pentecost Island: A neighboring island of Tanna, known for its unique land diving ceremony, where the men jump from tall wooden towers with vines tied to their ankles.
  • Espiritu Santo Island: The largest island of Vanuatu, famous for its blue holes, underwater caves, and World War II history.


Ireupuow is a hidden paradise that offers a genuine and unforgettable experience for travelers who seek adventure, nature, and culture. With its friendly and welcoming community, stunning scenery, and diverse activities, Ireupuow is a destination that will satisfy all your senses and curiosity. Plan your trip now and discover the magic of this Melanesian gem!