yasaw manta ray diving

Yasawa Island, Fiji

The volcanic archipelago of Yasawa is formed by 20 islands, a 80km/50mi narrow ribbon of lush peaks (max 600m/2.00ft high) that plunge picturesquely into superb white sand beaches and small bays, is one of the highlights of Fiji, with excellent diving & snorkeling. The Yasawa was closed to land-based tourism until 1987,

Yasawa Beach, Fiji.
Yasawa Beach, Fiji.

but has made up for the late start and is one of the most appreciated location in Fiji. Millennials, skip this one: this is where the steamy adolescent drama Blue Lagoon, starring Brooke Shields, was shot in 1980.

Yasawa Beach, Fiji.
Yasawa Beach, Fiji.

Where are the Yasawa Islands?

The Yasawa group ‘start’ at about 45km/27mi Northwest of Viti Levu making a near perfect straight line towards the Northeast.

How to get to the Yasawa Islands?

Yasawa Flyer: a high speed catamaran that operates between Port Denaurau near Nadi and resorts all along the Yasawa group. You can consult their routes and timetables online. Prices range from 35 to 73 usd depending on location. Passes for island hopping are also available. At each stop, the resort outboard will meet the catamaran and bring the passengers to shore. Guest houses usually include the transfer from/to these stops, check with them.

Taewa Seabus: another catamaran that operates along the same lines as the Yasawa Flyer, but from Lautoka Jetty, North from Nadi. Prices (2020) range from 35 to 73 usd. Has a reputation for being a bumpy ride. You can book online.

Seaplane: the average flight time is 30 mn, prices start at 180 usd one way. You can book through your resort, or directly with Pacific Island Air or Turtle Airways

Seaplane Fiji
Yasawa Seaplane. Fiji.

What are the things to do in the Yasawa islands?

Snorkeling

Be ready to get water wrinkles! Nice corals and plentiful marine life will keep you in the water forever, whatever your location. There are many snorkeling safaris to choose from, including some ‘meet the sharks’ tours. Better to have your own gear, at least mask and snorkel, but you can rent it easily.

Scuba Diving

Nice coral gardens, quite a lot of shark encounters and terrific wall diving. April to October is the best period for extended visibility.

Trekking

Lots of trails in all the islands, knock-out views. Pack insect repellent, hat, water & sun screen.

Sawa-i-Lau Caves

Limestone caves accessed by metallic stairs from the beach with spectacular stalagtictes. The roof’s first chamber is about 15m/5ft high with an openning that provides dramatic light effects. Those who wish can reach the second chamber by a short submerged opening. It’s a short 4/5 seconds swim, the guides provide light from the other side, but it’s a good idea to bring your own to have a better look around once you’re through. Don’t bring anything that is not waterproofed. There’s actually a third chamber, but as the under water swim to it lasts about 30 seconds through a bended tunnel, guides seldom bring anybody there. Try to arrive early so the crowds don’t spoil the muted cave magic.

yasaw manta ray diving
Yasawa, Diving with Manta Rays. Fiji.

When is the best time to swim with Manta Rays in Yasawa?

From May until October mantas swim through the channel between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa on a daily basis at the change of tide. To witness these enormous yet gracefull animals in the wild cannot be describe with justice, just do it!

yasawa shark
Yasawa, Diving with Shaks, Fiji.

When is the best time to dive with Sharks in Yasawa?

All year round. The Awakening Shark Dive, in Kuata island, Southern Yasawas, is quite recent (2016) and was created by shark specialist Thomas Vignaud, Ph.D. in partnership with the Barefoot Kuata Resort. (Disclaimer: these links are non-affiliated.) The star of the show is the bad boy Bull shark, supported by Tiger, Lemon, Silver Tip and Tawny Nurse sharks. Note: 1) the Bull shark is less frequently seen, understandably, during its mating season in November/December. 2) The dive is accessible to non certified divers.

Yasawa Island. Fiji.

Where to stay in Yasawa on a budget?

You can find accommodation for as low as 25 usd in the Yasawas, but it is in high demand so book early. Check your favorite booking platform(s) for more info. 

Yasawa, Fiji.

Where is Turtle Island Fiji?

Turtle Island is a private island in central-Yasawas that only have 14 bures (villas) that sleep a maximum of 2 persons, which means that there will not be more than 28 guests at any time in the 500 acres/2km² island. Be prepared to pay from 2.250 usd per night for the privilege.

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