When you’re hunting around for the best island in Fiji, Yasawa Island is a top contender. Stories of untouched beaches, vibrant dive sites, and beachfront bungalows often rise to the surface when the island is mentioned.
But does Yasawa Island live up to its reputation? Earlier this year, I ventured to the northernmost island in the Yasawa Island chain to find out.
After a few days spent exploring, relaxing, and stargazing at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, these are the ten reasons I think the island is worth a visit on your next trip to Fiji.
Getting to the island is an adventure in itself
The best way to get to Yasawa Island is by plane, an easy 25-minute flight that buzzes over the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands until it arrives at the loneliest isle in the chain–Yasawa Island.
Yasawa Island Resort and Spa Map
The flight itself to Yasawa Island is one of the most scenic I’ve ever taken. As you fly on the eastern side of the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands, you’ll see every shade of blue beneath you as the ocean floor shifts from white sand to coral reef. Arid islands punctuate the water.
The plane touches down at a grass airstrip, where you’re greeted with a cold drink, wet towel, and floral necklace before being whisked away to the resort itself.
The island’s only resort is one of the best in Fiji
The only resort on Yasawa Island is the eponymous Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, an all-inclusive luxury resort sprawled along a sandy beach on the western side of the island. While rooms are spacious, well-appointed, clean, and private, they don’t feel overly commercial. It’s obvious that this resort was built to suit its surroundings, and each room seems slightly different from the rest. While there’s plenty to do on the island, you can easily spend the entire trip lounging in a seaside hammock, on your bure’s front deck, or on the beach.
The resort has a main beachfront lounge and dining area that’s centered around the pool. The pool seems unnecessary given the long stretch of beach in front of the resort, but it’s a nice touch nonetheless and some guests do use it. The resort offers canapes and drinks at its beach bar–the best place to be for sunset.
Also onsite is an activity center where you can borrow kayaks, standup paddleboards, and arrange dive trips around the islands. A tennis court beckons those who want to play.
Because the resort is all-inclusive, you can leave your wallet tucked away in your beachfront bure. Each nightly rate includes day trips, use of non-motorized sports equipment, private beach picnics, meals, and midday snacks. Other charges like scuba dive trips, spa treatments, or alcoholic beverages are added as extra paid upon checkout.
The staff who work at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa add to the resort’s welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Many resort staff have been around since the resort’s early days, when the property was built by hand and materials had to be shuttled to Yasawa Island by boat in all types of nefarious weather conditions. Request to take a look at the photo book that documents the resort’s early days to see a fun glimpse at the island’s unique history.
You have a great shot at scoring sunny weather
Arid and flocked with sandy beaches, Yasawa Island is where you go when you want to find the bluest-of-blue water in Fiji and not have to worry about whether you’ll be caught in a tropical rain.
While of course the Yasawa Islands do get their fair share of storms–it’s the tropics after all–this chain sees less rain than the rest of the 330-island nation. So, you the chance of enjoying a sunny vacation is higher than anywhere else.
You’ll have dive sites all to yourself
Because there are no other dive resorts around, every dive site you visit on Yasawa Island is bound to be empty. Without mass pollution and commercialization, reefs are kept pristine and there are plenty of coral bommies to explore.
It’s common to see sea turtles, reef sharks, bull sharks, manta rays, rays, squid, and more on dives around Yasawa Island. And for those who prefer to take a look around without a tank, there are plenty of shallow reefs ideal for snorkelers, too. In fact, you can snorkel just in front of your beachside bure at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa.
Private beaches await
The resort claims that there are eleven main beaches on Yasawa Island–though by taking a peek around from the plane, I reckon there are quite a few more. Nonetheless, private beach trips are included in each stay, and guests can choose to go on one daily.
The resort arranges a picnic basket filled with food, an umbrella, snorkeling equipment, and lounge cushions for each private beach visit (if desired). Guests are dropped off on their own and given a radio to use when they’d like to be picked up. Needless to say, this is one of the most romantic features the island offers. Who wouldn’t want to be left alone on a deserted isle with one another?
Because I visited without my partner, I used the private picnic to learn more about the island and as an excuse to drone to my heart’s content–without worrying about whether I was annoying another guest. Now that’s love!
Yasawa Island is a photographer’s dream destination
Underwater photographers will delight at the high visibility. Drone photographers can film beaches without footprints. Everyday photographers are bound to snap something spectacular no matter what they click to capture.
You can swim and explore the Blue Lagoon
Yasawa Island is just a short boat ride away from the Blue Lagoon, a lagoon where Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins starred in the 1980 film called The Blue Lagoon. Locals say that Brooke returns to the lagoon every few years. Who knows, you might just be there the same week that she is?
The Blue Lagoon is a large cave perfect for cliff jumping. Test your fear of heights by scaling the limestone ledge, climbing a bit higher after each jump. Guides often take guests to one of the eerier parts of the cave–a section where no light enters–as part of the excursion. Pack a snorkel to search for eels in the cave.
Local artists occasionally sell handmade crafts at the entrance of the Blue Lagoon. It’s a relaxed scene and worth bringing some cash for if you’d like any woven goods, coconut shell crafts, or wooden sculptures to bring back.
It’s one of the few places you can enjoy an authentic village visit
There are a handful of Fijian villages on Yasawa Island, with resort staff hailing from the closest villages. Guests can go on trips to the village to learn more about how these communities live in a region that is so remote and removed from convenience of city life. Wear a T-shit and sarong (called a sulu) during your visit.
If you want to learn more about Fijian culture, book your trip during one of the island’s communal kava ceremony nights and make sure you stay for the Yasawa Island lovo–a family dinner where you’ll be able to sample authentic Fijian fare, listen to live music, and watch a dance performance called a meke.
Explorers will love kayaking and standup paddling along the coastline
A fun little wave breaks out in front of Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, perfect for those who prefer to wander around with a paddle in hand and a board underfoot. Kayaks and standup paddles are available for guests, included in the nightly rate, and make for a fun few hours in the sun.
Yasawa Island Resort and Spa is built for relaxation
You won’t get far without finding a lounge chair or hammock to relax into at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa. The pool area, bure patios, and shaded lounge areas all exist to reward relaxation.
The pinnacle of the property’s laidback set-up is the onsite spa. Venture here to enjoy a massage at an open-air spa while feeling the sea breeze blow above and beneath you. If you can keep your eyes open, the treatment deck overlooks the ocean. If you do just one thing while you’re at the resort, make it a massage at the seaside spa.
Why would you pay a visit to Yasawa Island?
I visited Yasawa Island Resort and Spa as a hosted guest. All words and opinions are my own.