The Yasawa Islands are located in north-western Fiji and are one of the most popular island regions in the country, especially with low budget travelers. Approximately 30 resorts are spread through the 12 major islands in the group. Most resorts provide basic accommodation and include meals with access to natural and cultural sites. This islands caters to those not looking to spend thousands per night at a resort but still want tropical serenity. It’s Fiji without the huge prices. I loved my time here and would go back in a heart beat.
- Hostel Prices: Dorm beds at the resorts are around $26-$37 USD while private rooms will be $50 USD. On Beachcomer, prices are double.
- Budget Hotel Prices: There are only a few private, upscale resorts in this island chain. Rooms at these up scale resorts cost $125 USD or more per night.
- Average Cost of a Restaurant Meal: There are no public restaurants in the Yasawa Islands. Each resort as its own dining facilities and meals are included in the price of your room.
- Transportation Cost: If you came by the “yellow boat” (Yasawa Flyer) then it will pick you up on its daily run and take you to your next island. You can buy a 7, 14 or 21 day Bulu pass. Otherwise, an individual ticket between islands can cost between $45 to $70 USD.
Top Things to Do
- Snorkeling and Diving – Given the tropical waters that surround the islands, it’s no surprise Fiji is home to some incredible snorkeling and diving. Some islands even have spectacular snorkeling right off the beach. Diving is very cheap in these islands. I spent 300 USD to get my PADI certification. That’s about half the cost of getting it in the US.
- Hiking – Most all of the islands have good hiking. In Wayalailai, you can climb to the top of the mountain to see the sun rise, or hike the length of the island and cross the spit to Waya. Guides are available, or you can go alone. No matter what island you are at, the hiking is pretty easy and can be done in flip flops.
- Take a Plantation Tour – Ask the locals to take you through their plantations and show you the bananas, papaya, mangoes, breadfruit, casava and other fruits and vegetables. Most of the food grown on the islands ends up on on your plate at night.
- Enjoy a day boat trip – There are a range of boutique boat trip options for exploring the Yasawa Islands, including snorkeling, village visits and traditional magiti (feast).
- Visit the Villages – An excellent way to experience traditional life and mingle with the locals, villages are located on the larger islands. You can experience dance performances, traditional ceremonies, church services, and sample traditional food.
- Go kayaking – Most of the islands offer sea kayaking and the water is calm and safe to kayak around. Most resorts have kayaks for rent or offer organized sightseeing tours.
- Just relax – Honestly, these islands are far removed from civilization. You aren’t going to find TV, phone service, or constant Internet. Sit around, go for a swim, get a tan, drink a beer, read a book, and chill out. There’s no need to do anything else here.
- Learn weaving – Basket and bracelet weaving is a cultural tradition in Fiji. On almost all of the islands, locals offer workshops to teach visitors how they can do their own weaves. Weaves are simple and done with palm fronds and banana leaves.
- Kava ceremonies – Kava kava is a root that has extremely calming effects when ingested (it’s a mild sedative). Kava ceremonies are traditional and routine and at night time, you’ll see almost all the locals sitting in a circle drinking it. I participated in a few ceremonies while I on the islands. It is considered rude to refuse a bowl of kava. I found it made me sleep better but it didn’t induce some weird drug effect that a lot of people assume it does.
- Get a Bula Boat Pass – Even if you won’t use all your days (say you only plan to stay 5 days though the smallest pass offered is 7), the price of the pass still works out cheaper than paying as you go. Paying as you go can cost around $28 USD each trip. If you plan to to multiple islands, you’ll spend more money.
- Stock up before you go - Buy water and alcohol before you get to the islands as they cost about 40% less on the mainland.
- Skip Beachcomer island - Beachcomer, the famous party island, is a waste of time and drastically overpriced. Everything costs double on this island. You can have an equally good time on South Sea or Bounty Island. They both look the same as Beachcomer and aren’t as expensive.