Gone are the days that visiting the Yasawa Islands on a budget or knowing which Yasawa Islands to visit was nearly impossible, why? Because nowadays there are resorts across the islands to suit everyone’s budget, from basic backpacking style to luxurious resorts. To be honest pretty much all of them have stunning locations, so people will be saved from disappointment.
But if you really want those “picture perfect” beaches, then make your way up to the northern islands to the famous Blue Lagoon. This is the most popular backpacker’s route on the Yasawa Islands, starting south and finishing north at a beautiful resort next to some pristine waters.
The Yasawa Islands are one of the most stunning regions in Fiji. Consisting of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands, four of these have dramatic elevations with summits of 600 meters above sea level.
If you love white-sand isolated beaches, crystal-clear waters, palm-fringed islands, cliffs, bays and reefs, then this is the right place for you!
A Travel Guide to the Yasawa Islands
Our suggestion is to research thoroughly, decide what suits your budget, what do you want to do and see. The Yasawa Islands offer a variety of activities, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, great hiking trails, kayaking, sunset cruises, caving, fishing and, what we chose, snorkeling with manta rays (seasonal) and reef sharks.
Another way to find out more is to read reviews on Tripadvisor for each resort. Well, take in those reviews with “a pinch of salt”, because some are just really petty to take into consideration, but majority are spot on and very useful when it comes helping out on making a decision.
Visiting the Yasawa Islands can be done on a budget, if like us, people choose to stay a few nights only and visit specific islands. The further north you go, the most expensive it becomes.
How to get to the Yasawa Islands
From Port Denarau (Nadi) and Lautoka by Catamarans
Seaplane from Nadi
Tip: From Nadi get on the yellow One Dollar bus to Port Denarau
Cost: FJD$1/ USD$0.45/GBP£0.35
What did we choose
We decided not to buy the Bula Pass from Awesome Adventures, as we only wanted to visit two islands, but if travellers are planning on visiting the islands for several days, we suggest looking at their website, as it will work out much cheaper. Also we went during Low Season (May), so the resorts were not crowed. Actually one night we had a 6-bed dorm to ourselves.
Kuata – 2 nights
Snorkelling with reef sharks
Drawaqa (Barefoot Manta) – 2 nights
Swimming with manta rays (seasonal, from May to October only)
Be aware that Awesome Adventures offers “coconut grading accommodation”, which they identify three levels of accommodation. But from what we saw, Coconut 1 and Coconut 2 are not much different apart from ‘appearance’ of the facilities – old vs new.
Both are very clean and nice looking. So it’s not worth paying FJD$30/ USD$15/GBP£10 more just for “looks”. Unless you are on a romantic getaway, or want your own space, then you should definitely upgrade to Coconut 3, where you get your own bure.
Things you need to know before booking your trip to the Yasawa Islands
- The meal plan is compulsory
- It’s more likely that you will be hungry between meals, so bring snacks
- Buy water, minimum 6 liters
- Avoid buying toiletries on the islands, it’s very expensive
- When booking your trip:
Add up the activities
Make sure the meal plan IS included on your Package
- It’s pretty much “cash only” policy, so withdraw money at Port Denarau
- Do not book your return date to Port Denarau on the evening of a flight! Expect delays.
While these islands are indeed beautiful and one of the main reasons people visit Fiji, it’s not a reflection of what life in the mainland is about. People’s perception, and ours before arriving, is that Fiji is all about relaxing on a hammock and swimming in flawless turquoise waters. But this is far from reality.
The area is made up for tourists, therefore all you have is western prices and tourists. The only Fijians that you see are the workers, majority of them from the neighbourhood islands where the real village life is.
If you are planning on visiting Fiji, we would strongly recommend you to not be so hasty in getting the Catamaran to the paradisiac islands but to stay a few days in the mainland and visit other areas (Suva), where you get to experience the real Fijian life and culture. And if you do have time, you should not rule out a trip to Taveuni.
How much Travelling to the Yasawa Islands Cost? – Prices shown below are per person
Port Denarau – Kuata – FJD$147/USD$70/GBP£55
Kuata – Barefoot Manta – FJD$95/USD$45/GBP£35
Barefoot Manta – Port Denarau – $168 FJD$168/ USD$80/GBP£60
Meal Plan (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner) – FJD$85/USD$40/GBP£30 x5 days
Snorkeling with reef sharks – FJD$65/USD$30/GBP£25
The total cost for 5 days/4 nights at the Yasawa Islands was FJD$1,084/USD$520/GBP£395 per person
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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