Travelling around Fiji has become an exciting part of a round the world trip since so many tickets now let you stop in Fiji for no extra cost.
The South Pacific islands including Fiji are all idyllic to visit, but as a first timer or solo traveller, I think Fiji is the place to go. It’s easy to find your way around and can be explored surprisingly cheaply, compared to its neighbours in Australia and New Zealand.
When you arrive in Fiji, you’ll have the option of staying on the main island of Viti Levu and visiting popular places like the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour, or heading straight to Port Denarau to get out into the islands via boat.
A great way to see as much of Fiji as possible with the flexibility to travel to whichever island you choose has to be the high-speed, air conditioned Yasawa Flyer. You can buy a pass that includes your boat transfers and some island accommodation too - that's how I spent 2 weeks - the perfect amount of time.
The Bula Combo pass is amazing value as it includes all your travel on the Yasawa Flyer as well as pre-paid accommodation nights, allowing you to choose which island to hop off at as you go. For accommodation, you can choose from "1 coconut" stays (pretty basic shared dorms) to "2 coconut" stays (twin share 'bures'), and the pass can be booked for anywhere between 4 and 21 days. You can also stay for longer, and we can arrange for accommodation upgrades if you’d prefer.
As soon as I arrived at the port, I discovered there was a massive queue for boat tickets. I waited the best part of 2 hours to get my Bula Combo pass (a pass for boat transfers with accommodation pre-paid). This delayed my plans somewhat, which is why I always recommend booking the Bula Combo pass with us in the UK. The cost is exactly the same for this either way, it just saves a lot of time and headache once you’re in Fiji and ready to go. Once you’ve purchased your pass, it won’t get activated until you arrive at the port, so there are no date restrictions.
Once you set sail, you’ll be in the Mamanuca islands within 20 minutes. The first island that many people will get off at is Beachcomber Island. However, I fancied a quieter island to relax on first of all so I made my way to Bounty Island.
Like many of these islands, you can walk around the whole island in 15 minutes. Bounty Island is a single property island with a beach volleyball court. There were a few snorkelling locations and crab racing at night, but other than that, you’ll have nothing better to do than top up your tan!
After my stay on Bounty Island I headed to Beachcomber, the party island. Again like most islands, all of the buffet food is included in the cost of your stay (about £20 per night), so the only real additional cost is your drinks. This island keeps going well into the early hours and is a great place to meet fellow travellers and make friends to travel with over the coming weeks.
There are other islands you can stop off close by and having the Yasawa flyer pass gives you that flexibility to be able to see the island before you decide if you want to stay.
The next set of islands in the archipelago to the north of the Mamanucas are the Yasawa Islands. These were my personal favourite as the islands are larger and have more to offer in terms of things to do.
One of my favourites is Manta Ray Island which is specifically set up for snorkelling and diving and the snorkelling is amazing! The sea directly off the beach is part of a narrow waterway between two larger bodies of water, so the larger fish often swim through here. The current is so strong here that you can walk to one side of the island and then let yourself float down to the other side and then get out. If you’re lucky like me, you may come face to face with a huge leopard shark! Likewise if you opt to go diving then the chances of seeing larger sharks and manta rays is very high.
Another great island to visit is Naviti Island, which is the largest in the Yasawas. This island has a strong local community living in the interior which you can walk to and visit. I spent the morning with some of the Fijian children in their English lessons helping and spending time with them. That afternoon, some of the older men offered us a game of rugby on the beach. This is their main sport and they absolutely love it, they are also pretty good so I can’t say we gave them a good game!
That evening we were invited back to the local community to attend a Kava ceremony. This is a traditional Fjian ceremony where you are sat in order of importance and take turns in drinking the local kava drink. It’s made of a particular plant root and (beware!) it is said to have a small narcotic effect.
This whole day was not part of an organised trip, it was something we went and experienced ourselves. The people of Fiji are unbelievably friendly and this day was just another example. If you fancy a few upgraded nights, I recommend a stay at the Octopus Resort Fiji on Waya Island. The nightly cost is higher than usual but still affordable – it’s a great stop on the way back and finishes off your Fiji trip fantastically.
If you’re thinking about a trip to Fiji and want to know how to include Fiji in your round the world ticket, I can help. Awesome Fiji who operate the Bula Passes also offer a number of ‘fixed itinerary’ trips using the Yasawa Flyer which are very popular too.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, we have plenty of Fiji trip ideas and holidays and I can tailor-make something to suit you. I can arrange any flights, transfers, accommodation, tours or Bula Combo Yasawa Flyer passes you need – just contact Mark.