This is the second post in a travel series where I am sharing some tips and tricks for those looking to travel to Fiji. Check out my tips on booking flights here.
Being that Fiji was a dream destination that I discovered as a kid, I could not WAIT to begin planning the trip. However the more and more I looked into this destination (remember, my flights were already booked) the more overwhelmed I became. It was not the act of planning the trip that overwhelmed me, but the more I researched and learned about the pure and true beauty of Fiji, I had major FOMO. As soon as I would basically decide on one location, I would find another spot and completely change directions. This cycle repeated itself for a few weeks until I literally had so few options left that I feared if I didn’t book soon, we would be staying in shared dorm rooms sans toilet (which is not exactly how we envisioned spending our wedding anniversary if you know what I mean).
Knowing my love for Marriott Hotels, and infinity pools, I finally booked four nights at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. It seemed like a nice central location and a great mix of pool and beach. Located on the Southwest side of the main island of Viti Levu, this resort is located in a bay and not too far South of Nadi Town. Perfect. Phew. Okay, one spot down. After all we were already leaning on spending a few days on the main island to not only gather our barring’s about us, but also to site see around the island so this seemed like the perfect solution.
Okay great so the first four nights of the trip were booked! Now what? Well based upon my preference to leave the main island and explore the outer islands, we had three main options: Fly out to Savusavu, stay in the Mamanuaca Islands or stay in the Yasawa Islands.
So let’s start with our Savusavu research. Wow did this place look beautiful. We were originally drawn here because you could find some AMAZING homes on airbnb and VRBO to rent for really great prices. This spot was also off the beaten path (harder to get to) so it looked pretty remote, private and obviously provided unscathed beauty. However, I quickly realized how seldom the flights went out there and how expensive they were so nevermind Savusavu. While I am sure this is an amazing destination, we really didn’t have enough time when you considered the awkward flight schedule and limited flights remaining. Lesson learned here? Book flights early so this could even be an option for your trip. Backpacker Tip: If you have all the time in the world, you can take the commercial overnight barge from Suva, Viti Levu for a nominal amount. While this takes a ton of time, it also saves a ton of money!
At least I was making progress when I had scratched Savusavu off the list. At this point I realized how close the Mamanuaca Island Chain and the Yasawa Islands were to Nadi. So that is where my research took me. I repeatedly scanned airbnb and VRBO for cool spots, but there were few on these island chains so I gave up (these websites actually had me thinking about Savusavu again…face…palm). So yeah, I was having the same problem I mentioned before. You see, every spot I looked at and researched looked so incredibly beautiful I had absolutely no idea how to decided. My internal dialogue included (on repeat) “if I stayed here then I could not stay there, or there…or there.” I mean these are real problems, right? I was really feeling sorry for myself and took another hiatus in planning the trip.
Then another few weeks had passed and I was sort of desperate. I was only a week away and still had to finalize five nights of travel! I just started googling the island chain names, used Trip Advisor and found an AMAZING website called Hostel World. Really neat. They just have a ton of reviews and it included a lot of places I was not finding on other travel websites. Based upon my research, I realized the Mamanuaca Islands were a bit closer to Nadi. While this sounds cool, this means that a lot of ‘day trippers’ from Nadi come out to these islands to visit, lounge, snorkel, dive and recreate at the resort that you are staying at. While I am sure the ‘day trippers’ are also super cool, it turned me off a little bit. I don’t know if that was legit, or fair, but that was my impression from the reviews I read. Sweet, now I had crossed the Mamanuas islands off my list… To be fair I am sure they are amazing, but I thought well if we’re staying at Momi Bay for four nights, we could probably be a Mamanuaca ‘day tripper’ if we really wanted to explore so we decided to focus our search on the Yasawa Islands. AMAZING! We had decided to stay at the Yasawa Islands for four nights. This was a really big decision and I finally, after weeks of mulling this over and fighting my FOMO, felt like I could finalize our plans. So this means for the second part of our trip we…
Took the Yasawa Flyer from Port Denerau out to the islands and enjoyed two different villages for two nights each. We decided to spend two nights at Mantaray Island Resort and two nights at Barefoot Kuata. Both were INCREDIBLE (check out those reviews here). How did we pick these resorts?
It was finally sorta simple…first of all, there were only so many options left that were NOT dorms. You see the single bures / bedrooms / huts get booked up quickly because they have amenities like en suites and hot water. You heard me, personal en suites (bathrooms people) and hot water are NOT standard out at these islands, but more about all of that in my Yasawa Island Reviews. Anyway, since I was booking quiet late and we wanted a private room at a resort with great reviews this left few options. After reading a million reviews on these resorts I picked the two that had the best reviews on food (it is included in your stay since there are no restaurants on the islands). We landed on Mantaray Bay Resort and Barefoot Kuata. We left with ZERO complaints so thankfully all of this research and overreacting on where in the hell we were going to stay paid off as our stays were nothing short of magical. Again…check out my recap of these spots in the travel section of the blog!