Mota Lava and Ra, escape to the Banks Islands
Distant from "modern" Vanuatu, Mota Lava and Ra islands are a pleasant island escape. These islands are relatively small and most
attractions are easy to walk to:
- White sand beaches and coral reefs around west Mota Lava
- Climb the massive rocks on Ra.
- Climb the Sleeping Mountain on Mota Lava. It's a short
but steep climb, rewarded by magnificent views.
- Walk around Mota Lava (about 2.5 hours along the truck
road and about 3.5 hours through the bush on the other side).
- Go fishing.
From Mota Lava you can travel to neighbouring islands by speedboat:
- Mota Lava is the place to organise an expedition to the
uninhabited Reef Islands.
- The volcano on Vanua Lava is not far from
to Mota Lava are expensive from Port Vila and cheaper from Santo. To economise, a good plan is to visit both
Mota Lava and another island in the Banks and Torres on the same trip.
are lots of island bungalows concentrated around west Mota
Lava and Ra and few tourists.
Gateway Bungalows, Mota Lava
Happiness Bungalows, Mota Lava
Nisa Sunset Bungalows, Mota Lava
John Mark Bungalows, Mota Lava
Dori Lagoon Bungalows, Ra
Paradise Bungalows, Ra
John Ralph's Bungalows, Ra
are fire ants on Mota Lava, but
There were no fire ants on Ra in 2005.
phone communications arrived to Mota Lava in 2009 or 2010.
The TVL (Smile) tower is on Mota Lava and Digicel is at Sola,
Vanua Lava. The old fixed-line telephone system has been abandoned.
We've updated contacts in June 2011.
With Air Vanuatu flights on Fridays and Mondays, it is possible
to visit Mota Lava just for the weekend. An adult return
fare to Mota Lava is 44345 Vatu from Port Vila or 22070
Vatu from Santo (May 2006). Tourists with a return Air Vanuatu
ticket are entitled to a 20% discount. Exchange
airport on Mota Lava is about 12 km away, on the eastern end of the island. In
2009 the road was upgraded and were were two or three trucks on the island in 2011. A charter costs at least 2000 Vatu from the airport to the western end of Mota Lava,
one way. Walking
takes two and a half hours. When you arrive at the airport you can usually share a ride.
Leaving Mota Lava, plan
to be at the airport early. What happens is the pilot radios
ahead from Santo and may decide to change the routing.
Ships to the Banks and Torres Islands are scarce and not a
practical option for tourists. When a ship does come, it may
spend some days rounding the islands, offloading cargo and
picking up copra.
between Mota Lava and Sola on Vanua Lava are frequent, almost
daily. The 20km journey costs around 10000 Vatu for the whole
boat or about 600 Vatu per person, shared. It may be a rough
ride if the trade winds are blowing.
from the airport to the western end of Mota Lava are 2000
The village on Ra has a few basic stores. Ngerenigman village
on Mota Lava has more stores and a medical clinic. If you need access
to electricity, a few locals have generators or solar power
Updated: October 2012 by Steve and Pip.