9 Top Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to Visit

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Looking for a vacation amidst traditional island villages, honeycomb rock formations, placid lagoons, and picturesque resorts?

The majestic Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands — hands-down one of the best parts of Fiji — are for you! Featuring dramatic landscapes, pristine beaches, and relaxing environments, these islands are sure to give you just the rejuvenating holiday experience you’ve been yearning for.

There are amazing Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to visit. In total 40 islands, so choosing the best ones can get overwhelming. From Kuata and Viwa Island in Yasawa to Beachcomber and Castaway Island in Mamanuca, these archipelagos of Fiji have lots in store for wandering souls. 

In that regard, follow us through this article as we go through the top 9 Yasawa and Mamanuca you just can’t miss.

Bula Vinaka and Welcome to Fiji!

1. Kuata (Yasawa)

Kuata — a slice of bliss — is located in the south of Yasawa. Actually, it forms the gateway to the Yasawa island chain. You can get to the island through a ferry or seaplane; you’ll get the bonus of enjoying the turquoise Fijian waters along the way! 

Here, you can enjoy the best watersports, including diving and snorkeling with reef sharks, in the marine protected area. Kuata is also famous for its summit walk, which allows you to enjoy wrap-around vistas of massive rock formations.

The Barefoot Kuata Island is the resort on the island. The price levels accommodate a range of different budgets, this is why it fits every wallet.

IslandAwe - Fiji - Yasawa Flyer South Seas Cruises
Great Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to Visit – The Yasawa Flyer Connects Many Islands

2. Naviti Island (Yasawa)

Naviti Island is towards the north of Kuata, on the route of the Yasawa Flyer. As such, you can get there by cruising on the catamaran of Yasawa Flyer or catch a seaplane from Viti Levu. The island is home to several small coastal communities and plenty of fishing villages.

Naviti Island offers opportunities for both action and relaxation. You can go snorkeling in the coral reefs on the western side of the island or cruise the secluded coastline on the east. You can also enjoy village tours to spend time with the locals and hike to the island’s volcanic hills.

Accommodations range from cheap to medium-priced, including bures (wood-and-straw huts) and dorm rooms. The White Beach Sandy Resort is a famous favorite, featuring simple meals and plenty of hammocks.

3. Waya Island (Yasawa)

IslandAwe - Fiji Yasawa Waya Island Octopus Resort
Stunning Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to Visit – Octopus Resort on Waya Island

Waya Island follows directly after Kuata and Wayasewa island at the beginning of the Yasawa Group. Either the Yasawa Flyer can drop you off there or the Octopus Resort‘s transfer vessel will pick you up in Nadi/ Denarau harbor. This exquisite resort – the only one on the island – is idyllically located at Likuliku Bay, one of Fiji’s most beautiful beaches, and features a range of accommodation types and lots of activities. The weekly movie night under the stars is clearly one of the resort’s highlights.

Besides snorkeling, diving, and strolls along the bay, be sure to hike in the hills and take a walk to the village Nalauwaki on the east side of Waya. And don’t forget to take part in a traditional kava welcome ceremony.

The island is a great mix of bizarre mountains and rocks and great beach life. Whatever you’re in the mood for, entertainment or tranquility, you’ll find it.

4. Viwa Island (Yasawa)

Viwa Island is situated to the east of Viti Levu and can be accessed by a seaplane or ferry. It is not a secluded island; the population is relatively large compared to the land size.

The vivid reefs of Viwa, teeming with turtles and dolphins, attract divers and fishermen alike — you’ve got to try these activities here even if you’re not a fan! Fun fact: many people consider them the best reefs Fiji has. There are also numerous beaches, including Manta Ray Beach and Sunset Beach. Additionally, you can experience basket weaving or hook a wahoo on a fishing charter.

The price levels are moderate, and the island is home to a boutique-style adult-only resort (the Viwa Island Resort). However, this resort is worth it, given the thrilling activities around you.

5. Nanuya Balavu (Yasawa)

Located a little south of Naviti, Nanuya Balavu is another one of the best Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to visit. It is one of the smallest islands in the Yasawa chain. Just like the other islands, the best way to enter this island is by water.

Nanuya Balavu is famous for its manta rays (also why it’s sometimes called ‘the Mantaray Island’) found abundantly in the summer season in the island’s lagoons and the passage towards Drawaya island. Remember — snorkeling around these mesmerizing creatures is encouraged, but diving isn’t allowed. You may also kayak around the island or catch a fish or two on guided fishing tours.

The price levels are low to moderate, and the only resort in the area is the Mantaray Island Resort, featuring dorm-style living spaces and small, private villas. 

6. Beachcomber Island (Mamanuca)

IslandAwe - Fiji - Mamanucas - Bounty Island and Beachcomber Island
Gorgeous Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to Visit – Beachcomber and Bounty Island

A part of the picturesque Mamanuca Islands, Beachcomber is a small yet stunning destination. You can get here by ferry — many tourists often begin this journey from the tourist town of Nadi (on Viti Levu). 

Beachcomber Island offers plenty of activities to its visitors. You can parasail high above the ground or dive deep into its sea life-filled waters. You can also experience climbing coconut trees. The Beachcomber Island Resort is a famous accommodation made especially for the young (including the young at heart).

Beachcomber is the backpacker island; it’s really that budget-friendly. So if you want to experience where to experience island life for less, you know exactly where to head!

7. Malolo Lailai (Mamanuca)

Malolo Lailai, another one of the best Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to visit, is an inhabited volcanic island having close proximity to Viti Levu. This makes it accessible plus easy to reach. To get there, you can take a short seaplane ride or join a cruise. 

Malolo Lailai offers various activities. You can go snorkeling (the Musket Cove Marina is a must to check out!) and ride the island on a bike to discover why it’s called the ‘Plantation Island’. Your resort may also offer fun activities, such as guided walks.

The price levels vary per preference; you can find high-end options as well as budget-friendly ones. Have a look at the Plantation Island Resort.


8. Mana Island (Mamanuca)

Mana Island is located in the center of the Mamanuca Islands. You can get there by booking a flight or sailing its waters on a ferry. It is a very sparsely populated island, making it ideal for people seeking seclusion.

Mana offers the best of watersports, so be sure to add snorkeling, paddleboarding, and swimming to your list of activities. You can also simply lay back and get a tan on its beautiful sandy beaches.

A range of accommodations is offered at Mana, including resorts and hotels. You can find decent spaces to stay on a low-budget or higher-end side (check out Mana Island Resort or Tadrai Island Resort).

IslandAwe - Fiji Stary Nights
Magic Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to Visit – Moonrise over Waya Island (Yasawa)

9. Castaway Island (Mamanuca)

Mana offers the best of watersports, so be sure to add snorkeling, paddleboarding, and swimming to your list of activities. You can also simply lay back and get a tan on its beautiful sandy beaches.

The final contender for our list of the top Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to visit is the Castaway Island (also called Qalito Island). Castaway is located in the heart of the Mamanuca Islands and features lush rainforests and white sand beaches. The island is home to only 140 people and is largely undeveloped.

The tranquil space makes it ideal for snoozing in a hammock, but there are also plenty of thrilling activities to do. Explore the majestic marine life under the island’s pristine waters or windsurf its shores. You can also enjoy a game of volleyball on its sandy beaches and enjoy a cocktail at one of its bars.

Accommodation is largely provided in private thatched bungalows spread across the island, meaning your stay can get slightly pricey (Castaway Island Resort). It will definitely be well worth the money, though!

Final Words

On that note, our list of the 9 top Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands to visit comes to a wrap. Be sure to add at least a handful of these to your visit (you’ll thank us!) and make the most of your stay by engaging in the activities each island is famous for.

No matter where you’re heading, we wish you safe and happy travels!

You’d like some more pictures of Fiji? Then check out our Fiji Impressions.

For more information about Fiji and travel requirements due to the pandemic, see the official Fiji Tourism website.

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