Forming part of the Fiji archipelago, the Mamanuca and the Yasawa Islands are some of the most popular day-trip destinations, offering some of the most picturesque settings and sweeping panoramic views. With white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and luscious palms flowing in the breeze, it truly is a scene fit for the movie screens and photography chasers. They’re the closest group of islands to Nadi international Airport, offering family-friendly snorkelling, surfing and some of the best beaches within the Fijian isles. Once forbidden to set foot on the island, since the 1950s it has become a highly populous area. The islands still retain their tranquil and natural environment, with an ease to find a serene beach or two as you wander between villages.
Budget accomodation for backpackers and solo travellers mostly decorate the Yasawas and boutique resorts on coral islands or secluded bays are most recognisable on the nearby Mamanucas. A usual day on the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands involves soaking up the sunshine, snorkelling or scuba diving, as well as hiking or trekking to the hilltops to admire the iridescent sunsets. The most popular time to visit is between March and December where you can absorb the warmth and laze about in the hazy sunshine as long as you wish. Prices peak in June and July so ensure you check before you travel.
‘Yasawa’ translates to heaven and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the Yasawa Island Resort & Spa, an all-inclusive resort characterised by remote and unspoiled settings. Stay in one of eighteen luxury bungalows, relax on one of ten private beaches and completely rejuvenate at Fiji’s first beachfront spa. For the romantics, Lomani Island Resort is situated on the largest Mamanuca island, intricately detailed with white sand beaches and pristine lagoons; a haven for honeymooners and lovers alike.
It is quite easy to access the Mamanuca Islands via light plane that takes about fifteen minutes from Nadi. The islands are also accessible by catamarans and boats travelling between the islands and Nadi. Tourists can find several tours taking place all across the island which allow you to escape from the chaos.
At a distance of merely thirty minutes from Denarau, the South Sea Island can be a fun day trip for the family. It has many activities to offer such as a swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, coral viewing, etc.
You can explore Mamanuca’s beautiful lagoons, beaches and clear waters onboard ‘Seaspray’ which is an old sailing schooner, and takes you to the secluded island of Modriki and other places on the island.
Get lessons in Fijian craft, do coral viewing and have delicious cocktails at a brilliant bar. You simply cannot miss scuba and snorkeling when visiting Beachcomber Island.
From the air you can see that the Mamanucas group is two clusters known as Mamanuca-i-ra and Mamanucai- cake. Within the Mamanucas is the Malolo group, five kilometres inside the barrier reef, extending in a curve for 120 kilometres. A number of resort islands are scattered throughout the Malolo group, each offering bure accommodation, a relaxing holiday atmosphere and a range of water activities. There are boat excursions, fishing trips and water sports including waterskiing, windsurfing, snorkelling, diving, sailing, speed-boat rides and coral viewing. Malololailai is the centre for most tourism to and from the Mamanucas. It has safe anchorage, a cosmopolitan community and an airstrip serviced regularly from Nadi.
Tourists can find several interesting activities to do on the Mamanuca Islands including swimming, sailing, snorkeling, coral viewing (semi-submersible), kayaking, swimming next to reef sharks, hiking, windsurfing, mini-golf, village tours and exploring isolated beaches.
In addition to these activities, there are some brilliant dive sites on the Mamanuca Islands, particularly the Supermarket and Gotham City. Surfers can find several decent breaks close to the southern islands.
Lazing under the sun can be an ideal way to relax and enjoy the island’s beauty and calm. There are plenty of secluded islands such as the Monuriki (featured in Cast Away) and Bounty Island for this kind of peaceful relaxation. If you’re looking for good walks, head to the Navini and Tokoriki islands. You can indulge in some brilliant native bird-watching as well game fishing.
You can also find several tours taking place on the Mamanuca Islands which help offer you an escape from the huge crowd.
Quite naturally, seafood is a staple on the Fiji Islands. There is amazing cuisine offered on the Mamanuca Islands, particularly its seafood. A very surprising fact about the cuisine on this island is that the food is quite strongly influenced by the Indian cuisine. It was the Indian laborers who introduced several interesting dishes in the 1800’s and 1900’s.
If you’re visiting the Mamanuca Islands, you must try the rourou soup, kokoda as well as some refreshing tropical fruit.
Kokoda is known to be a popular Fijian delicacy and tastes like ceviche (Hawaiian poke). It is made with raw fish pieces marinated using coconut milk and lemon juice and is typically accompanied by onion, tomato and pepper.
A Lovo is famous as a classic feat meal. It is prepared by cooking inside the earth and tastes similar to barbeque. It considered as an efficient mean to prepare large food quantities.