yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji

9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji

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!

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
An unforgettable bucket list beach in Yasawa Islands Fiji!

Bucket List Review: Yasawa Islands Fiji

My Overall Rating8/10
Who Needs to Add This to Their Bucket List?Luxurious beach enthusiasts
Best Time to GoMay – September
Traveling DifficultyEasy – Moderate
Physical DifficultyEasy – Moderate
Popularity Rating7/10
Group/Tour RequiredYes, for most activities.
Wheelchair AccessibleYes, talk to the resort/tour company.

If you need more information, you check out all you need to know about my Bucket List Reviews.

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Relaxing on a beach in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji.

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. 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Swimming in the Sawa-I-Lau caves!

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! 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
A sunrise hike over Fiji.

Waya Island

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. 

Mt. Tamasua

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. 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji

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. Know all risks and do not combine with alcohol or other substances. 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Just a mermaid exploring Fiji.

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! 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Watching a demonstration at a local Fijian village of making coconut milk.

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! 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Enjoying a fresh coconut at a local Fijian village.

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.

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!

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
Admiring the underwater Fijian locals at the Yasawa Islands.

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. 

Tavewa Island

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!

Naviti Island

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! 

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
No comment needed for a Fiji beach this beautiful!

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. 

Turtle Island

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! 

This place truly makes my bucket list start drooling!

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
A view of the boat arriving on a Fiji resort!

Tavewa Beach

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!

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
The Bucket List Mermaid enjoying a rope swing on a beach in the Yasawa Islands.

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. This is truly a once-and-a-lifetime experience!

yasawa islands fiji, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji
A good view of the clear Fiji water!

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, 9 Unmissable Bucket List Activities to do in Yasawa Islands Fiji

Yasawa Islands Fiji FAQ

It depends. Do you like relaxing and adventuring in the world’s most pristine tropical beaches surrounded by luxury? I personally haven’t met a lot of people who would turn that opportunity! 

Therefore, I would say absolutely! Visiting the Yasawa Islands is 100% worth it!

The Yasawa Islands in Fiji is known for being a remote tropical paradise that is just outside of the mainland. 

It is famous for its white sand beaches and bright turquoise waters! I heard this stereotype before and oh, boy! It did deliver!

The Yasawa islands is about 60 miles from the mainland, Viti Levu. Because of this, you are going to have to either take a ferry, sail on a small cruise ship (such as Caption Cook Cruises or Blue Lagoon Cruises), or fly on a seaplane (South Pacific Air or Turtle Air)! 

There are some options to take day trips to certain areas, but most resorts will also require this type of transportation. 

For me, who was a broke college kid, I headed to Denarau Port and took a Yasawa flyer. 

On my journey, this was similar to a bus. There were different stops for various resorts. Each resort would send a boat that would tender to the larger ferry. We grabbed our luggage, transferred to the smaller boat, and then made our way to the resort. 

Unlike a bus, however, the boat ride was a bucket list in itself! The Yasawa Islands are absolutely gorgeous and island hopping is a dream! 

There are so many resorts to stay when you visit the Yasawa Islands! To make things better, most of the resorts lie on their own private island. 

I’m going to be honest, any resort in Fiji is going to be a paradise on Earth. However, these were the ones that I either stayed at or heard amazing things from the locals:

  • Blue Lagoon Beach Resort
  • Yasawa Island Resort and Spa
  • Turtle Island
  • Octopus Resort
  • Paradise Cove Resort
  • Barefoot Manta Island Resort

If you are going the traditional ferry route to get from Nadi to Yasawa Islands, it takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes. Granted, sometimes it takes a long time for people to get all of their stuff and get on to the boat that takes them to their resort. 

When I took the ferry, it was closer to 5 hours and 30 minutes. 

If you have the budget and wish to take a sea plane, it could take as little as 33 minutes and you can leave from the Nadi International Airport. Now that’s luxury.

If you have the budget and wish to take a sea plane, it could take as little as 33 minutes and you can leave from the Nadi International Airport. Now that’s luxury.

I would go from May to October. This gives you drier weather and gives the opportunity to see some manta rays! 

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.

Adventure Bucket List Resources

I am here to help your travel adventures go as smoothly as possible! That way you can check off that bucket list with minimal complications and spending!

AIRFARE – It is no surprise that like many travelers, I have found that Hopper is one of the best resources to use when finding cheap flights. 

ACCOMMODATION – My two favorites are Booking.Com for hotels and VRBO for rentals. 

GUIDED TOURS –  If you are looking for quick and easy tours, check out GetYourGuide and Viator

MULTI-DAY TOURS –  For more in-depth tours that span several days, TourHub has many great options with reputable travel companies. Use my code (ALEXANDRA1GURU) for up to 5% off your next bucket list adventure. 

TRANSPORTATION –  You can either rent a car yourself with Discover Cars or do a guided bus tours like Big Bus Tours

CREDIT CARD –  I always use my Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all of my purchases. There is no annual fee and you get 1.5% cash back and 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel. 

SIM CARDS –  Avoid expensive roaming charges with an eSim card with Airalo.

TRAVELER’S INSURANCE –  Check out VisitorsCoverage for affordable insurance plans.

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