The trip now seems easier to arrange then you have described.(Patricia from Gulf Harbour Radio went up on a day trip years ago and it was quite difficult to arrange). There are at least one person from each village that can/will arrange a trip up the volcano. The prices vary as does the reliability of the individual organizing it. We had a trip arranged with John Willie and then the morning of the hike he upped his price saying that the Chief required it. We didn't like the bait and switch he was playing so we said no. We talked with "Sandy" who drives one of the two trucks in the area and he said he could arrange a tour for the next day. It worked out fine (with the exception of the weather...should have listened to David). There are a couple of base camps set up about 1 to 1 1/2 hours from the crater that can be stayed in over night. Very rustic but dry. They can also supply 2 person tents (small) if needed. Our guides built fires in the afternoon and morning and heated water for tea/coffee. Everyone brought 4 liters if water. We dropped most of the heavy items at the base camp before heading for the crater.
Here is roughly what we paid;
Permit cost- 2000vu/person
Tour guide - 4000vu/guide. We had two guides for 8 people. The first tour operator wanted one guide for 2 people$$$$$
Truck- 3500vu one way or 5000vu if they came and picked you up on the second day. Truck ride is 5k each way. Saves some steps.
Tent if needed 1000vu
That's about it. If you have any specific questions dont hesitate to ask.
Bob & Joyce SY Chara
pictures from Patricia, SV Chameleon 2010, now Gulf Harbour Radio