Fiji Island hopping: Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands
January 1, 1970
by Samantha Robinson
While in Fiji I decided to go Island Hopping, nearly everyone you meet will have either gone hopping or is about to, it’s infamous.
The main provider of tours is ‘Awesome Adventures’, you don’t have to book through them, however, they are the only company we found that has a ferry service between the Yasawa Islands.
You can book your accommodation yourself and just use Awesome Adventures for the ferry. Alternatively, you can book a Bula Combo pass which includes accommodation, food and the ferry (maximum one journey per day). There is an upgraded package which includes all of the previous things and certain activities at each resort.
I was advised by our travel agent in Nadi to take the Bula Combo pass and pay for activities separately at each resort as it works out cheaper.
There are about 20 Yasawa Islands (13 of which you can get the ferry to) and 25 Mamanuca Islands (5 of which you can get the ferry to), I will only be discussing the ones I personally went to.
Top tip before you go: Take as much water as you can carry, it is very expensive on the islands!
Matacawalevu Island – Long Beach Resort
This was my favourite of the resorts and islands, it is also the furthest north island I visited. Each Island resort offers activities you can partake in, some of which like coconut demonstrations and snorkelling are available on every island. Other activities vary depending on where you are, the price also differs quite substantially, and I found that the Northern Islands were cheaper than the islands closer to the mainland of Viti Levu.
Day and night spear fishing
If you are comfortable snorkelling for longer periods of time, and happy to kill your own dinner, then I would highly recommend this. I tried the night spear fishing as it was so much fun, it’s not an everyday occurrence for westerners but is truly how most of the people on these smaller islands source a lot of their food. Bonus, anything you catch you get to eat the following day.
At the time of my visit, this was only $2 per person but could last as long as you were entertained. You will be taught how to husk, sand and then make rings out of coconuts. The only limit, put on how many rings/bracelets/necklace pedants you can make, is on how many coconuts they have on any given day.
The boys who run the activities are so much fun and will insist everyone plays a game of volleyball before dinner every night. It is a lot of fun as even the chef and their mother comes out to play.
The accommodation here is very comfortable, spacious and breezy. I shared a private bure with my boyfriend, a little more expensive than the dorms but very much worth it.
Finally, this was one of the best beaches, in my opinion, the water was always warm and at the right depth for just sitting in and relaxing. The only downside is, unlike some of the others, you can only go in the water on high tide due to rays that may be hiding under the sand, but there is plenty of other things to occupy yourself with and lots of hammocks if you’d rather just sit and do nothing.
Naviti Island – White Sandy Beach
I have mixed feelings about this Island. The private accommodation is rather small and stuffy but the outside shower was lovely every morning. The people in the dorms did tell us they were more comfortable.
The food is nice and there was plenty for seconds, they aren’t as punctual with their timings as some of the other resorts but that’s not too much of a problem if you are on the Fiji time island vibes. What they lack they make up for with the evening entertainment.
My main issue with this island was the number of bugs, I am the type of person bugs love to bite. So if you find getting bitten a lot ruins your holiday then I would advise avoiding Naviti. Wearing socks/full cover shoes and long trousers make a big difference and don’t forget your insect repellent and you should be OK.
I didn’t pay for any of the activities here, there is a lovely 10-15 minute walk to the other side of the island to what the call Honeymoon beach. The snorkelling here was amazing with many reef sharks about. Do not forget your sunscreen, there is little shade on this beach.
Wayalailai Island – Wayalailai Ecohaven
Summit sunrise walk
Only for the fit, this 2-hour summit hike takes place around 5 am. You will need closed toe shoes, people previously tried wearing flip flops but due to the flimsy material of the shoe were unable to make it to the top before the sunrise.
Different from that at Long Beach Resort, here there are 2 lovely ladies who come every afternoon from the local village and set out a small market. They will teach and help you make a bracelet/anklet/necklace out of tiny shells and beads. They are very beautiful, one of a kind creations.
The staff here are very friendly and as it was quite they were very kind to upgrade a lot of people to rooms closer to the beach.
This island is very small, you can walk entirely around it in about 5 minutes.
I personally would not recommend this as accommodation, it is a 34-bed dorm that does not lock or have any security measures. I did not like this as the island is well known for its day trips and can have hundreds of people each day, your personal belongings are not protected in any way and the resort take no responsibility for any theft.
Sadly, as the days are so busy we found that once it comes to the evening the staff are rather uninterested and unhelpful.
However, I will say that anyone I have spoken to that visited South Sea Island for just a day trip very much enjoyed their time.