For a more authentic Fijian island vacation experience, a trip or stay in the Yasawa Islands is ideal. The islands are famous for their crystal clear, blue lagoons that were romanticized in two “Blue Lagoon” movies. The Sawa-i-Lau limestone caves, also made famous by the movies, are a Yasawa highlight.
This chain of sun drenched islands sits above the Mamanucas and stretch for about 50 miles into the southern Pacific Ocean.
The inhabitants of these islands speak their own dialect and live a simpler life based on native crops and fishing. This makes the Yasawas a very authentic travel experience.
Compared to the rest of Fiji, tourism started slowly in the Yasawas. Inaugurated by Turtle Island Resort, the original 5-star property in Fiji. For a number of years, the islands were the domain of backpacker lodges that sprung up throughout the area. However, the expansion of tourism has accelerated in the area. A second upmarket property, The Yasawa Island Resort, has re-opened on the northern most island, named Yasawa Island. Both Turtle and Yasawa Island Resorts are served by private, charter plane or seaplane service.
Newer upmarket resorts include Navutu Stars, Nanuya Island Resort and Oarsman’s Bay. As part of your Yasawa Islands vacation, the standard transfer method is by the jet-catamaran Yasawa Flyer. If not staying in the Yasawas, let PacificIslands book you on a round-trip, 6-hour cruise through islands aboard the “Flyer”.
Perhaps the most popular way to explore these islands is aboard one of the two small ship cruise lines that made the islands famous. Captain Cook Cruises departs Port Denarau aboard the 120-passenger Reef Endeavour. Blue Lagoon Cruises serves the islands out of Lautoka, aboard either the 64-passenger Mystique Princess or Yasawa Princess ships. Both companies offer a 4 and 7-day itineraries as well as specialty historical cruises. Stops at remote villages are usually the only contact inhabitants have with visitors.
The Yasawas’ beaches are long stretches of white sand and are noted as the best in Fiji. There is superbly clear diving off of Ethel’s Reef and an exciting, newer adventure activity – swimming with large manta rays. The islands are also noted for their deep-sea fishing and snorkelling.