Fiji – Paradise holiday in the Yasawa Islands

To finish off my first big travel experience, I visited Fiji for just over a week and a half with a good friend from school. Fiji is a classic end-of-trip visit after a New Zealand or Australia trip. We did some island hopping on the Yasawa Islands and had a fantastic time. However, there are a few important pieces of information that we’re glad we knew and/or wish we’d known beforehand. 

The first thing you need to know if you plan on doing a trip to the Yasawa Islands is that you need to have booked your next night’s stay before getting on the ferry to the next island. You can’t be too spontaneous due to the fact that the islands have a limited capacity and the ferry only goes up the island stretch and then down again once a day. They make sure you have your ferry pass and booking information when you get on the ferry so try and keep that easy to hand whenever you get on the boat. When you get to near the island, a smaller boat from the corresponding resort will come and pick you and your luggage up to take you to your paradise stay.

You can book your hotel or hostels according to the coconut rating system if you plan on booking a package and visiting a few islands. One coconut is more of a hostel/dorm atmosphere in most places and the two coconuts are a nicer upgrade. Either way or if you book individual resorts you will have a fantastic time as long as you book with a little common sense and according to your liking. We went for the two coconut system when we visited because we fancied a bit of a nicer hostel stay than the party hostels that are on the one coconut system but it completely depends on what you’re looking for.

Every island you visit, you will receive a lovely “Bula!” welcome, the members of staff are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, and the views are more often than not, exactly what most people will picture paradise to be like. Every island is different in its own way but the blue water and wonderful atmosphere is a Fiji-guarantee.

Here are the main stops that I made along the way and some helpful recommendations and experiences to give you an idea of what’s install.


It doesn’t matter where you plan on going in Fiji, you will most likely arrive in Nandi. Nandi is the capital of Fiji and the largest city on the main island. The first thing most people will tell you, and I agree, is that you basically want to arrive and leave from Nandi but other than that you shouldn’t plan on spending much time there if you’re after the paradise, resort holiday feeling. Go over your itinerary while you’re there, maybe chat to some people in your hotel or hostel as they may have already done their island visits and could have some helpful tips for you. Find out the information you need on the ferry you want to get and see if you need to stay a night when you plan on flying home or if you can go to the airport straight from the ferry. This will totally depend on your flight time.

Now then, onto the actual islands…

Nacula Island – Blue Lagoon

Let’s start off with one of the fancier islands, the fanciest island that I visited on my trip, the Blue Lagoon resort on Nacula island. Even the hostel rooms here were fancy. As with most resorts they have lovely activities on offer during the day and in the evening including crab racing, traditional Kava times and much more. Some may be more to your liking than others but don’t shy away from trying something new! The dinners were a delicious five course meal, and the beach area was absolutely stunning! You could easily spend your day on a sun lounger near the resort and bar or you could take a stroll and take in everything from afar.

Mantaray Island

Mantaray island was a more adventure and fun island on our trip. There were different activities on offer each day, some included in the original booking and some for an additional cost. The atmosphere on Mantaray island was fun, active and all around entertaining. One of my personal highlights was the traditional Fijian evening where the locals told stories and performed dances and songs after dinner. They got everyone involved and the whole crowd was laughing and smiling the whole time. It’s a great way to learn about the local culture and have a great evening in the process. If you’re into diving, then you can also book a diving trip to go out and see…yep, you guessed it: manta rays! This is definitely the perfect island resort to give your trip a bit more of an adventurous factor.

Octopus Resort

Now this was my second favourite island on the trip. The food was amazing, the scenery was stunning and the whole resort just felt amazing! An absolute must, and I’m sure no one will have to force you into this, is watching a sunset on the beach here. The views are spectacular! The snorkeling around the island is also phenomenal. As with most places in Fiji the water is incredibly clear, and you can see so much of the underwater life from near the surface. During our stay we saw an entire school of squid whilst we were out for a swim and it was incredible! There are quite a few activities on offer during the day and in the evening. I distinctly remember having a great afternoon weaving jewelry with my friend and a couple’s young son (about 7) and we had great conversations whilst weaving on the beach and just enjoying the peace, the view and each other’s company. The Octopus Resort on the Waya Island is a wonderful mix of luxury (on a small level) and natural paradise much like my favourite island and resort…

Barefoot Kuata

Barefoot Kuata was the perfect Fijian paradise location for me. The peace and serenity of the island was amazing yet there was still more than enough to do. The staff were extremely friendly, the water was the bluest of blue and the island itself was simply beautiful. For me, this was about as close to the picture of paradise I have in my head that I could afford to get to. The island is quite small with stunning beaches and beautiful hills and rocky areas that you can explore. There’s one particular hike on the island to the top of the hill that is certainly worth doing for the beautiful view that awaits you at the top. You can do some great diving trips from the island or spend the day nearer the beach on a paddle board or snorkeling. Keep an eye out for the Kuata Warrior on the rocks of the island who acts as a “gatekeeper” of the Yasawa Islands on your ferry from Nandi and definitely go for the #Kuatahammock picture for that perfect holiday feeling to show off back home! The island is very peaceful and doesn’t feel as touristy as many of the others. I would definitely recommend putting the Barefoot Kuata resort on your Fiji travel itinerary.

This is just a small insight into a couple of the Yasawa Islands that you can visit in Fiji. There’s so much more to discover though! Be sure to research the islands before you go and maybe get some advice and booking assistance from a travel agent in advance. I’d definitely recommend getting advice and booking info from agencies like STA or travel counsellors because they can often give you great deals and more insider tips!

If you’re interested in more destinations, packing tips or general travel advice, check out some of the other articles and stay tuned for more! In case your questions aren’t answered here, or you have any comments or personal experiences you’d like to share, don’t be afraid to get in touch, comment and let me know. 

You can also follow @megsplaces on Instagram for regular updates, pictures and stories!

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