Farther north than the Mamanucas, the Yasawa Islands take a charter flight or a long boat ride to reach. There are very few resorts in this area, but the ones that are here are well worth the trek. The Yasawa Islands have the best beaches in Fiji, hands down, and are also quite dry (not rainforested) like the Mamanucas. You can stay on a small cruise ship and go from beachy island to beachy island in this chain. The limestone caves of Sawa-i-Lau allow you to swim, snorkel or dive underground in the dark, warm waters. The movie, Blue Lagoon, was filmed here.
The Yasawa Group of islands are more grand in stature than the nearby Mamanucas but are less commercialised, making them popular with backpackers. You won’t find any shops, banks or medical services here, but with so much natural beauty you’ll enjoy the break from civilisation. With gorgeous beaches, abundant sunshine and a range of backpacker resorts, this is the place to come for an affordable retreat in paradise.
The British navigator William Bligh (after which Bligh Water was aptly named) was the first European to sight the Yasawas in 1789, following the infamous mutiny on the HMS Bounty. Captain Barber in the HMS Arthur visited the islands in 1794, but they were not charted until 1840 by a United States expedition commanded by Charles Wilkes. The Yasawas weren’t always tourism orientated. Visiting the islands once was limited to cruise ships, with passengers unable to actually set foot on the islands until the 1950s, and land-based tourism ventures restricted until 1987. However, thanks to the Government providing an ecotourism startup fund and the arrival of the Yasawa Flyer, the Yasawas are now dotted with small resorts and backpackers.
Yasawa Islands Top Activities
Chilling on your own private beach with a cocktail
Swimming in underwater limestone caves
Spa treatments on the beach