If you’re planning a trip to the South Pacific, it is a no-brainer to add the Yasawa Islands in Fiji to your bucket list. It’s a magical place where you can experience pristinely clear waters, white sandy beaches, adventurous water sports, dramatic sunsets, and delicious local cuisine.
The Yasawa Islands are located about 60 miles (100km) north of Fiji’s main island and are made up of about 20 volcanic islands that offer opportunities for your dream vacation.
Let’s discuss 9 unmissable activities to do in the Yasawa Islands that will leave you with unforgettable memories to check off of your bucket list!
Bucket List Review: Yasawa Islands Fiji
|My Overall Rating||8/10|
|Who Needs to Add This to Their Bucket List?||Luxurious beach enthusiasts|
|Best Time to Go||May – September|
|Traveling Difficulty||Easy – Moderate|
|Physical Difficulty||Easy – Moderate|
|Group/Tour Required||Yes, for most activities.|
|Wheelchair Accessible||Yes, talk to the resort/tour company.|
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1. Visit Sawa-I-Lau Caves
Sawa-I-Lau is a must-visit attraction in Yasawa. This natural wonder is made up of limestone-formed interconnected caves that are filled with crystal-clear turquoise water.
The upper cave is accessible via a short walk, but the lower cave requires a swim-through underwater. Don’t worry–it isn’t as scary as it sounds and will be perfectly fine for any decent swimmer.
Once inside, you can explore the magical world of stalactites and stalagmites and the stunning underwater features that make this place surreal.
It is about a 20-40 minute boat journey from Blue Lagoon Resort.
Fun fact: these caves are said to be the final resting place for the 10-headed Fijian God, Ulutini.
2. Swim with Manta Rays
Manta ray snorkel tours are a definite bucket list activity in Fiji. The Yasawa Islands are home to some of the world’s most exquisite manta rays, and swimming with them in their natural habitat is a fantastic experience.
You will find them all over the Yasawa Islands, but if you want to increase your chance of seeing them, I would check out Manta-Ray Passage. This is between Navititi Island and Drawaqa Island. There are also some great tours going out of Barefoot Manta Island.
These giant creatures are known to be friendly and playful, making it an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.
The best time to see the manta rays is May-October when plankton is funneled throughout the Yasawa Islands.
Watching them glide effortlessly through the clear blue waters is awe-inspiring. You can do a guided snorkeling tour, and some tour operators offer a “no-manta-no-pay” guarantee, which ensures that you spot them.
3. Hike in the Tropical Islands of Fiji
Who says you need to be deep in the mountains to hike? What about some tropical island hiking?
Fiji is an amazing destination for hiking and the Yasawas are no exception. There can be some steep hills and rocky terrain, but the majority of hikes will reward you with pristine views of this island paradise!
Although there are several amazing trails throughout the islands, here are a few to get you started!
Waya Island is known for providing some of the best island hikes in the Yasawas. You can take several tracks that wander the island on your own or through Octopus Resort.
You can start this hike from Nabukeru. Or, if you are on one of Captain Cook’s cruises, you can go on this hike if you are cruising for long enough.
Blue Lagoon to Safe Landing Resort
This is a quick hike that connects two resorts on Yasawa Island. You will get some coastal forest, beach terrains, and a remnant of a village.
Honestly, any hiking on Nacula Island is going to be an epic tropical adventure that I highly recommend!
Drawaqa Island Hike
This one has something for everybody. You can explore caves, jungles, and rocks, or go all the way up to the peak.
It has multiple trails up to the peak and gives you stunning views of Kuata and Waya Island. This one was a little bit hard to find, I would recommend asking your resort or guide for more information.
4. Experience Fijian Culture
The Yasawa Islands are the perfect place to immerse yourself in Fijian culture. There are many different villages across the Yasawas, and each has its own unique culture and traditions.
Here are some bucket list cultural ideas that you can do when you are in the Yasawa Islands!
Drinking Kava in Fiji
Partaking in a kava ceremony is an amazing traditional bucket list activity to do while in Fiji.
This drink is a muddy-looking concoction made from the root of an indigenous plant. The locals may be followed by Fijian singing, dancing, and entertainment.
Being an extremely popular bucket list activity in Fiji, you should have no issues finding one of these ceremonies!
*Please note that kava is a depressant. Please know all risks and do not combine with alcohol or other substances.
Learn Common Fiji Phrases
When moving to every country, it is a fun activity (and respectful) to learn some helpful phrases from that culture.
Although I love learning different languages, I noticed that learning Fiji phases was extra fun and I still use some of them to this day! Here are some of my favorites that I learned!
Bula (Boo la) – Life/good health
If you walk away with one Fijian phrase, “Bula” will be it! In fact, you will hear it so much it will be hard to forget it.
Although it is used as a greeting, it directly translates into “life” or “good health”.
Ni sa moce (ni sah mothey) – Good morning
Ni sa yadra (ni sah yan dra) – Good evening
Yalo vinaka (yalo vee naka) – Please
Vinaka (vee naka) – Thank you/good
Sega na leqa (seng-na nah len-gah) – No worries
The reason I put “no worries” is this is exactly how Fiji operates – no worries! You are truly on “island time” here. There is no hurry and no worry!
Attend a Traditional Lovo Feast
This is a banquet that uses an underground Earth oven! This is a special occasion in Fijian villages and is a core piece of their culinary arts.
They dig a pit into the ground and place hot coals into the Earth. Everything from vegetables, meats, and other traditional Fijian goodies are wrapped (sometimes in banana leaves) and placed underground. It is then covered in banana leaves, soil, or potato sacks and left for hours.
The result? Sinfully tender meat and perfectly cooked accessories that quite literally melt in your mouth.
My stomach was not ready for this honor!
Tour a Local Village in the Yasawa Islands in Fiji
It’s valuable to get to know the locals and learn their way of living. Many tours allow you to visit a traditional Fijian village and experience authentic Fijian culture.
Fiji can seem like island paradise dripping in luxury, but it is also important to see also the incredible Polynesian culture that surrounds Fiji.
In fact, visiting and supporting the local villages in Yasawa was one of my favorite parts of my trip! I met several locals, saw churches and schools, and drank the local coconuts! Needless to say, I met amazing people, ate amazing food, and made lifelong memories!
5. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
The Yasawa islands offer excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities. There are many sites which have an array of colorful fish, coral reefs, and marine creatures.
Scuba diving in this tropical paradise will provide an opportunity to see a diverse range of marine life, including turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish, and innumerable coral varieties. You can do a recreational dive, night dive, drift dive, or even explore sunken wrecks in the waters around the Yasawa Islands.
As a mermaid, I LOVE diving. I have to admit that Fiji was one of the only places that I have dived that had thriving coral ecosystems. In today’s modern times, coral bleaching is a major problem. Not in the Yasawa Islands! It was alive and booming!
It actually made me a little teary…if you are a fellow mermaid or an avid diver, this is an unmissable bucket list adventure for you to check off!
Barefoot Manta Island
As the name so cleverly suggests, this dive site is famous for diving with manta rays. It also sports some of the best coral gardens known to Fiji.
This one is known for a variety of dive sites. There is plenty for each dive level here and you will not be disappointed with all the incredible aquatic species that will cross your path while scuba diving!
This island would give cave diving enthusiasts a giant smile on their faces! The Caves of Babylon offer amazing cave exploration for certified divers and more hard coral reefs for more beginner divers. If you go to the south channel, you might even spot some manta rays!
Nanuya Lailai Island
This is truly an island paradise–complete with white sandy beaches, idyllic palm trees, and thriving coral reefs. This is also known as Blue Lagoon and you certainly won’t be disappointed
6. Relax on the Pristine Beaches
It is no surprise that Fiji excels at one thing in particular: the beaches! And if you plan a trip to Fiji, I will no doubt find you relaxing on a beach for part/most of your trip.
Note that most of these islands are occupied by a single luxury resort. Therefore, most of these beaches belong to a resort. You may be required to be a guest in order to access these fantastical beaches.
Here are some of the best beaches in the Yasawa Islands! I can feel the sand in my toes already!
The Blue Lagoon
The Yasawa Islands’ most famous attraction, the Blue Lagoon, is an idyllic and romantic spot. With its incredibly clear water, coral, and tropical fish, it is without a doubt one of Fiji’s most beautiful swimming spots.
This is located on Nacula Island and is near the Blue Lagoon Resort. This is the definition of “idyllic”.
I always joke that there is “blue” water and then there is “Fiji blue” water. This long-standing saying all started at Blue Lagoon.
It would be hard for an island that is called “Turtle Island” to not have amazing beaches! This is a private island that houses a luxurious resort that will make your jaw drop straight to the floor!
This is an extremely exclusive resort that only houses 14 couples at a time and each one can get their own private beach. If budget is not an issue for you, this is definitely going to be one of your best options!
One of the most popular beaches on Tavewa is coconut beach. Your relaxing bucket list won’t be disappointed with the white sand, beautiful palm trees, and that “Fiji blue” water.
Octopus Resort Beach
This is a mile long stretch of beach that would be perfect for a nice long walk. It is a part of Octopus Resort. It is on Waya Island and you can always go out for a good snorkel without strong currents if you get tired of walking on a pristine Fiji beach.
Yasawa Island Beach Resort
This one gives you long and silky beaches at Yasawa Island Resort and Spa. Plus, guests enjoy 11 private beaches!
7. Go Sea Kayaking
It is no surprise that due to Fiji’s crystal blue waters and shores lined with booming coral reefs…sea kayaking is a must-do bucket list activity if you visit the Yasawa Islands.
In fact, there are several tours that are all-inclusive that just focus on sea kayaking!
There are several amazing options around the main islands of Tavewa, Matacawalevu, Navotua, Sawa-I-Lau, and more.
I have also found that on several of the resorts that I visited and stayed at, they had snorkeling gear and sea kayaking gear that was free or available to rent. If that is the case, you can go directly from your resort’s island.
8. Fly over the Yasawa Islands
Whether it is a day trip from Nadi or organized through an Island Resort in Fiji, a scenic flight over the Yasawa Islands is an absolute bucket list dream!
Fly over archipelago islands, pristine beaches, and the small volcanic islands.
9. Watch a Fire Dancing Show
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Polynesian culture, the epic traditional fire dancing comes to mind!
A trip to Fiji would not be complete without watching one of these daring performances!
To witness this incredible display of twirling and dancing with fire, I would talk to your resort manager or front desk. Fortunately, I have found that most resorts put on performances or can organize transportation so that you can check this off of your bucket list.
Yasawa Islands Fiji FAQ
Final Thoughts on Bucket List Ideas in Fiji
The Yasawa Islands in Fiji are truly a paradise destination that can’t be missed. From natural wonders, cultural experiences, and adrenaline-pumping activities, there’s no shortage of amazing things to do on the islands. Whether you’re a traveler, explorer, or vacationer, there’s something for everyone on the Yasawa Islands. So pack your bags, head over to Fiji, and experience the magic of the Yasawa islands.