Fiji is known for its unparalleled luxurious beaches, stunning corals, gorgeous white sand and crystal clear waters. This country is all about relaxation and enjoyment; the catchphrase here is even "Don't worry, no hurry!"
The epitome of the beautiful spots Fiji is known for lie among the Yasawa Islands off the northwestern coast of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu. I spent eleven days hopping between them, soaking up all the magic.
Arriving in Fiji
All international flights to Fiji will arrive at Nadi's International Airport located just north of the city centre. I book most of my flights on StudentUniverse.com which allows travellers under 26 or students to get cheap deals. I flew from Bali, Indonesia with a layover in Sydney, Australia.
The immigration process in Fiji is super smooth; you will complete a boarding card on your plane before arriving. This will be handed to an officer at the immigration desk (while you are serenaded by live Fijian music!) who will stamp your passport if you meet conditions. As a Canadian, I did not need to get a visa in advance. Check for your own country's latest visa requirements before arriving.
How to Island Hop in Fiji
I chose a Bula Pass with Awesome Adventures as a convenient and (relatively) budget way to explore the islands. You can get Bula Passes in varying lengths, depending how long you want to travel for. The Bula Pass is basically a hop-on, hop-off pass on the Yasawa Flyer, a boat that departs from Port Denarau near Nadi each morning and stops off at each island in the Yasawas before returning to Denarau in the evening. You can board at any place and hop off at your next destination, any day.
I booked an 11-day Bula Pass allowing me to choose 10 nights on any of the islands that the Yasawa Flyer travels to. I also spent 2 nights at both the beginning and end of my trip in Nadi; check out my guide to Nadi here.
Which Islands to Visit in the Yasawas
I chose to do 2 nights each on 5 islands, giving me enough time to explore each place without feeling rushed, but still getting a chance to visit a good range of spots. I will give a detailed guide on each of these below, but here is the list of where I chose to stay, all classified as 'Simple Stays' (the budget range for Awesome Adventures):
- Wayalailai Ecohaven, Wayalailai Island (the friendliest staff)
- White Sandy Beach, Naviti Island
- Nabua Lodge, Nacula Island
- Oarsman's Bay Lodge, Nacula Island (the best beach + food + facilities + free wifi)
- Gold Coast Resort, Nanuya Island
Cost of 2 Weeks of Island-Hopping in Fiji
While I did mention that it is relatively budget-friendly in comparison to other travel options in Fiji, I did not find traveling in Fiji to be super cheap, even though I was on a strict backpacker's budget! Here's the basics of what I spent, not including my flight, travel insurance and accommodation/food in Nadi for 2 nights before and 2 nights after island hopping:
- 11-day Bula Pass - $526 NZD
- 10 nights accommodation including 3 meals/day at islands listed above - $1,020 NZD
- 3 bottles of water (unsafe to drink tap water here) - $12 FJD
- activities (ie. snorkeling, hiking) - $45 FJD
Tips for Island-Hopping in Fiji
- Pack sunscreen, bugspray, water bottles (you cannot drink tap water here), snacks, books and cards, flip flops, your own snorkel if you have one and plenty of swimwear
- There was only wifi at 1 place I stayed, although I have heard data coverage is quite good out here so I recommend getting some Vodafone data else you'll be out of touch for quite a long while
- Most places accept cash and credit card; I like to pay in cash to avoid credit card fees but bring both so you can be prepared
- The plug is the same as Australia and New Zealand - Type I with three prongs of which the top two are angled towards each other
- Fijians are super friendly - say Bula! to any of them as you go past (means hello!)
STAY: Wayalailai Ecohaven
Wayalailai Ecohaven Resort is situated on the island of Wayalailai, the southernmost of Fiji’s Yasawa Islands. This little dot in the ocean is a simple yet incredible place. The Wayalailai Ecohaven Resort is simple luxury. Made up of a cluster of bures (small shelters) with a variety of accommodation options such as privates and dorms, Wayalailai is situated right on the beach with the gorgeous summit of Wayalailai rising majestically behind. Each staff member learns your name and speaks to you as if you’re family. It’s truly a lovely place to start your island-hopping in Fiji!
- hang out in a hammock on the beach
- hike to the summit at sunrise ($30 FJD)
- go snorkeling with reef sharks ($60 FJD) or off the coast for free!
- enjoy the daily live music perhaps with some dancing
- try cava, a traditional drink served at a welcome ceremony
- drink from a fresh coconut
READ MORE: my detailed guide to Wayalailai Island can be found here
STAY: White Sandy Beach Resort
White Sandy Beach Resort and its’ neighbour Korovou Eco Tour Resort are situated on the western side of Naviti Island, the largest island in Fiji’s Yasawa Islands. The location is as beautiful as it sounds: white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters. The White Sandy Beach Resort consists of a row of bures (small shelters) with a variety of accommodation options including privates and dorms situated in a row in the sand right on the ocean. Next door is Korovou Eco Tour Resort. The stay here is simple, with a basic central building for all meals and activities and plenty of hammocks dot the beachfront.
- go snorkeling at Honeymoon Beach
- swim with manta rays ($50 FJD)
- hang out in a hammock
- watch the sunset from the beach
READ MORE: my detailed guide to Naviti Island can be found here
Nacula Island is in the northern part of the Yasawa Islands. The first place I stayed was Nabua Lodge on the southern coast of Nacula Island. Nabua Lodge is situated on the beach and is the largest of all the places I stayed at in Fiji. There is plenty of accommodation to choose from including small bures for single, double or family occupancy and a couple large dorms that could hold twelve people each. The grounds are spacious and the main building juts out on a large deck over the beach.
The second place I stayed was Oarsman’s Bay Lodge on the western coast of Nacula Island. This was by far the most beautiful resort I stayed at; the facilities were beautiful, open, welcoming and clean. The food was top notch and my stay was honestly lovely. I truly wish I could have spent more nights here! Not only that, this was the only place I stayed with free unlimited wifi! All the other locations either had pay-per-hour wifi or none at all. While it’s been wonderful to disconnect a bit, the demands of online work do require a wee bit of internet connection every now and then!
- hike to sunset point
- go reef-hopping and spot lots of fish and a sunken ship ($15 FJD) see featured image for this fab shot!
- snorkel off the beach at Oarsman's Bay
- watch the sunset
- hike the island summits
READ MORE: my detailed guide to Nacula Island can be found here
STAY: Gold Coast Inn
Nanuya Island is in the northern part of the Yasawa Islands. I stayed on this island for two nights at the Gold Coast Inn on the eastern coast. The Gold Coast Inn was the simplest stay in my time in the Yasawa’s but I liked that it was in walking distance of the renowned Blue Lagoon. The Gold Coast Inn was a very simple Fijian stay. Run entirely by a family – a brother and sister and their mother plus plenty of cousins – there is no electricity (save for one charging port in the main building), no light in the rooms and no hot water. Instead you’ve got plenty of beautiful palm trees, the ocean right in front of the bures (accommodation huts) and delicious home-style food.
- watch the sunrise
- go snorkeling at the renowned Blue Lagoon
READ MORE: my detailed guide to Nanuya Island can be found here