Fiji is best known to travelers as a destination of exclusive white-sand beach resorts, catering more to honeymooners than backpackers or budget travelers.
However, the more remote – and unspoiled – Yasawa Islands have a two-tier system in which resorts offer both private cabanas for well-heeled travelers and shared dorm rooms for about $75, including meals… a real find for frugal travelers.
The “Bula Pass” from Awesome Adventures Fiji gets you on board the Yasawa Flyer, which makes a daily run from the main island of Viti Levu to the Yasawas. The pass provides island-hopping for five or more days and costs much less if booked in advance.
The ferry hosts a reservations staff for the resorts so you can book both transportation and accommodations. Some island resorts will pick you up by boat as part of their package. Most people say that Viwa Island, with crystal-clear water, has the best beaches.
Day trips from the “mainland” of Denarau Island are available to the Yasawas for those who prefer Denaru’s hustle and bustle. Village homestays on various islands are available through several websites if you’re seeking a more family-oriented cultural vacation.
There are three levels of accommodation at the Yasawa and Mamanuca Island resorts to suit different tastes and budgets. Travel in one direction, so you maximize your time on each island.
The Flyer travels north up the chain of islands in the morning, stopping at each resort, and back south – again stopping off at each of them – in the afternoon. If you were to jump from south to north, back south and then north again, you're spending more time on the ferry than the beach!
Sunday is a day of rest and the usual activities aren’t offered, so organize your stay accordingly.