Planning on a trip to the Yasawa islands? Good choice, you will have the time of your life out there! We can show you the best way to get to the islands, where to stay, and tips on some of the “must do” sights and activities. So get ready for FUN in FIJI, island style!
Yasawa Islands Description
You can’t compare the Yasawa islands to the Mamanucas. They are like chalk and cheese, each island group offering a totally different experience.
Sitting north of the Mamanucas, these islands tend to be hilly, even mountainous, and offer some of the best snorkelling and diving in Fiji. They also have white sandy beaches, although some areas lack much of a beach at low tides. Still, most places offer boat rides out to deeper water where you will get a chance to swim with Manta Rays, sharks, or just look at the myriads of fish that live amongst the corals.
Where To Stay In The Yasawa Islands
While there are over twenty islands in this group, not all of them are inhabited, or have accommodation. The most popular ones are the southern islands. The Yasawa Flyer only goes as far north as Nacula island, for resorts further north that this you have to either use chartered boats or a seaplane to reach them.
Below, are the most popular islands, in the same order that you will reach them when travelling from the mainland. Some of the islands only have one place to stay, other have multiple choices.
The first island in the Yasawas chain, this is home to the Barefoot Resort, on the northern tip.
There is also a little known local village home-stay not far from the resort.
Nanuya Balevu Island
Nanuya (Turtle) Island
Nanuya Lailai Island
What To Bring To The Yasawas
You should come prepared… some items either aren’t available at the resorts, or they are very expensive. Here’s a simple checklist of the things that I try to pack on my trips.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, aloe vera.
- Small first aid kit, panadol and antihistamines: If you tend to react to insect bites, then bring some medication, you won’t be able to buy any out here.
- Snorkel Gear: While all the resorts do provide gear, many of them charge for that, and it’s not always the best quality. If you have the room, and take your snorkelling seriously, consider bringing your own equipment.
- Power pack for phones: For those times that the resort generator is off, phone is almost flat, and you just have to check Facebook!
- Snacks, Cigarettes: if you are a smoker, definitely bring enough from the mainland to last. Cigarettes are nearly double the price out here… if you can even get them. Same with snacks like biscuits, chips, muesli bars etc.
Turtle Airways have float planes that fly out to the Yasawas, although it’s not cheap at FJ$380 one way. I have only done this one time, and I have to say, if I could afford it, this would be the way I travelled every time! Not only is it nice and quick, the views are spectacular. Their departure point is from the Wailoaloa beach area.
Yasawa Flyer from Denarau: This leaves Denarau marina at 8.30am each morning, and gets to the last stop at Nacula island somewhere around 1pm. Cost one way pp is in the region of FJ$185 to FJ$200, depending on which booking engine you are using. Prices are a little lower if you are travelling to one of the closer islands.
Tavewa Seabus from Lautoka: This is our preferred option, due to less travel time than the Flyer, and lower cost. There are actually two boats, the larger one (Tavewa Seabus 1) does some stops along the way, and visits the main Yasawa islands. The other smaller boat (Tavewa Seabus 2) goes directly to Coralview resort. One way is FJ$120 to the end of the line at Nacula/Tavewa islands, which takes 3 to 3.5 hrs. They also have a return trip that leaves the Yasawas at 1pm.
Yasawas Accommodation (Budget)
The majority of the accommodation here is aimed at the backpacker market, and tends to be… shall we say, “slightly rustic”. But it’s fine, as long as your expectations are reasonable. If you’re not prepared to rough it a bit, then you might be happier at one of the Mamanuca resorts.
What you get here is basic but comfortable accommodation, filling meals, great company, and lazy days relaxing or snorkelling over stunning coral reefs.
That’s not to say you can’t get high quality accommodation in the Yasawa Islands, you definitely can at places such as Nanuya Island Resort. However, most of the places here offer dorm accommodation, and/or simple and basic private bures.
What to expect in budget accommodation: Most of the places have a compulsory meal plan. In fact there is only one that I know of which allow you to purchase food rather than a meal plan. And for a small eater like myself, it means I can spend about 50% a day less than what I would with a meal plan. That place is Coralview resort. The Nanuya Boathouse used to, but as far as I’m aware they have now changed to a compulsory meal plan.
You will also find that at many places, the generator runs only at certain times of the day, so make sure you bring a power pack to recharge your phones etc when power is off. Showers tend to be cold water only, although with the climate here, that’s no real hardship.
Some of the cheaper places charge a fee to collect you from the Flyer or Seabus, which will stop offshore from the island. So budget for that.
Budget Dorm Accommodation, Typical Pricing
Below are a few of the budget places with current prices (June 2019). This should give you a reasonable ballpark figure of what to expect.
Wayalailai Resort: Dorm prices are FJ$140pp. Sound expensive? Not really, because this includes meals as well, and if you convert Fijian $ to AU$ it’s about $95.
Whereabouts in Australia are you going to get a bed beside a tropical beach with 3 square meals a day for that sort of price?
Naqalai Lodge: Dorm prices are FJ$150pp. This also includes 3 meals a day, plus tea/coffee.
If you choose to stay here, then you might want to do the shark feeding tour… not my sort of thing but I’m assured it’s perfectly safe!
CoralView Resort: Dorm prices are FJ$58. Many people comment that these are the nicest and cleanest dorms in the Yasawas, and having been there on more than one occasion, I have to agree.
The low price does not include meals, just a light continental breakfast. You have the option of purchasing a meal plan (unsure of current pricing for that) or purchasing meals from their restaurant. These are very reasonably priced.
The combined cost of dorm and meals should bring the total to around the same amount as the previous examples.