How to Backpack the Yasawa Islands

backpacking the yasawa islands in fiji at beachomberBackpacking the Yasawa Islands in Fiji is a unique experience. It’s not like any backpacking I’ve ever done. I’m not even sure backpacking, with its notions of independent, find your own way travel, is even the right word. Yasawa Island travel is more like an inexpensive organized hop on, hop off tour. Everything is taken care of for you – all you need to do is pick the island you want to visit.

There is only one boat through the islands. The company, Awesome Adventures, offers island packages as well as a hop on and hop off boat pass. The resorts are all inclusive and they all offer night time fire and dancing shows, snorkeling, sea kayaking, local food, and island tours. Only a few of the islands have scuba diving though, so be sure to check while on the boat. Here’s a short video on how to travel the Yasawa Islands:

Yasawa Islands Travel Tips

  • You can buy a boat pass when you get to the pier. You don’t need to book it before you arrive in Fiji.
  • A free shuttle is provided to and from the airport as well as your hotel or hostel. Don’t pay for a cab.
  • Get a Bula Boat Pass! Even if you won’t use all your days (you only plan to stay for 5 days though the smallest pass offered is 7), it still works out cheaper. Paying as you go can cost around $100 Fiji dollars each trip. If you plan to do multiple islands, you’ll spend more money.
  • Conversely, if you are only going to one or two islands, it is cheaper to simply buy a return ticket.
  • Buy water and alcohol before you get to the islands as they cost about 40% less on the mainland.
  • Beachcomber, the famous party island, is a waste of time. Everything costs double there. You can have an equally good time on South Sea or Bounty Island. They both look the same as Beachcomber and aren’t as expensive.
  • If you are traveling with friends, it’s cheaper to rent a double than it is for each of you to buy a dorm bed. (Dorm beds are $65 while a double can cost as little as $100, though they are around $130 on average).
  1. Franny

    Matty. LOVE the video. Perfect. Lots of info, good mix of you talking/local shots, good use of info on the screen – absolutely perfect.

  2. Hi Matt – love the video! Makes me want to go back and escape our cold January weather here in Toronto!!

    Just a reminder to people too, that although they can book right when they land, some of the more popular resorts do sell out during peak season so they may want to consider booking some of them in advance so they are not disappointed!

    Looking forward to the next post!


  3. Gaby

    Your webbie keeps getting better!
    good video… but don’t transition so fast so we can get to see a little bit more. 😉

  4. Videos are getting better man! I concur though a little more time between frames and a slower transition would be nice. Nice touch with showing video footage with you narrating. How are you recording the narration? I know a guy who does his own voice over and narrations on his own while on the road. It’ super clear and sounds like he’s in a studio. I think he uses this mic for that:

  5. Matt,
    I absolutely love the increasing production value and I’m a huge fan of your videos so far. I’m hoping we’ll be able to see a lot more in the future.

  6. Hey Matt,

    Videos definitely looking nicer. You look/sound much more confident when you’re in front of it, too. The voice over will probably need a microphone so that it doesn’t sound so different from the normal video shots and audio. Other than that – keep it up!

  7. How cool! I know about hop-on-hop-off bus services, but I guess it never occurred to me that they offer that by boat in some places! The Greek islands have a ferry system, but it’s quite convoluted. It sounds like this is a quick and easy way to get around. Who knew it would be so easy to backpack around Fiji? And it looks stunningly beautiful. Enjoy it!

    • This portion of the Yasawa Islands isn’t that big. Most of the islands are less than an hour boat ride.

      BTW, some of the resort islands offer boat transportation to their particular resort, and there is a dinner cruise that leaves from Port Deneraru (where the other boat leaves from) on a sailing ship, as well as some mult-day cruises.

  8. AirPacific also services Fiji (Nadi) from Honolulu. It’s a 5 1/2 hour flight. I went through the Yasawa’s a few years ago, this makes me want to go back.

  9. Yasawa looks great, I stayed on Mana Island part of the Mamanucas many years ago now, had a similarly great experience, Fiji is a great starting place for any long term trip away.

  10. James

    Great video Matt.

    I’m looking to make a quick trip to Fiji May 4-9th on my way to Sydney. This isn’t much time in my book to do everything I want…I’d really like to do some diving, snorkeling, and just laying on a beach to read a book.

    Any particular islands you’d suggest?


    • jam

      Ditto that………….I’d be interested in the islands that offer scuba diving as well.
      (Nice addition to the website!)

  11. Kelvin

    That’s a cool video, Matt. Fiji is beautiful and that’s the second place I’m going on my trip after Koh Tao!!

  12. Cian

    Great bit of advice Matt re.the hop-on-off boat pass and I especially like the taste of what to expect. Quick question (and I know this was posted in 2010 so prices may have changed) – when you gave figures of 65 a night for dorm rooms and 100 a day if doing activities, did you mean 165 total or that a 100-a-day budget would be enough for someone looking to do activities as well? Also, how much was the boat pass?

  13. linda

    I couldn’t find any hostels for two. We want to go everywhere in Fiji. Do you have advice for me about the cheapest places to stay? I love your hop-on-off boat pass.

  14. Eric Koenig

    Is it cheaper to get the Bula Combo Pass or just pay for (dorm) rooms as you go?? I’m going in November and have heard the rates go down??


  15. Emily

    Hi Matt

    I love your website and have referred to it often while planning my own adventures. I am leaving in august to go backpacking for 5 months. one of my stop is Fiji, I have a good budget, but I am still concerned about the costs of backpacking here especially accommodation being as limited as it is. I was thinking I might have to change my flights as I am currently going to be in Fiji for 18 days. Is the bula pass the most cost efficient way of backpacking Fiji or are there cheaper options?



  16. Jonathan Vasquez

    Hey Matt,

    It was great meeting you in Coral Gables. I realized I have enough miles to go to Australia, Fiji, and South Korea in one trip. I’ve been dying to check out Fiji and partake in an authentic Kava ceremony so I will be doing this very soon. Where did you stay in the Yasawa Islands? I’m seeing resorts for $20/night(?)

Leave a Comment