Please note that this post may contain affiliate links and any sales made through such links will reward me a small commission – at no extra cost for you!
Heading to this tropical paradise for a holiday or part of a larger backpacking adventure and unsure which are the best islands to visit in Fiji? Look no further! Having travelled around Fiji twice now, and totally fallen in love with this incredible island nation, here’s my definitive list of the best spots to capture your heart too. Check out my IGTV video of Fiji in under two minutes here!
- 1 How to visit the best islands in Fiji
- 2 5 Best Islands to visit in Fiji
How to visit the best islands in Fiji
For any one to three week itinerary, it’s best to head out to the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups – they’re by far the easiest to access, whilst promising pure beauty. To make transport between each island easier, get yourself a Bula Pass with Awesome Adventures that will allow you unlimited travel on the daily island hopping boat for your specified period of time. The boat leaves Port Denerau on the mainland every morning and travels North to the top of the Yasawas, stopping off at each island on the way, before turning round to make the same stops on the way South too. Therefore, a boat comes past each island twice a day, once going North and once going South. A Bula Pass is expensive yes, but it’s definitely cheaper than paying for local transfers if you’re planning on exploring more than one island.
For each island, I’ve detailed the best things to do, a review of the accommodation and hotel facilities, and finally given a little information about the food in the resort’s compulsory meal charge. Yes that’s right, KNOW BEFORE YOU GO – all the islands in the Mamanuca and Yasawa group have compulsory meal plans enforced at the hotels. You really only have one dining option, at the resort on each island, so they cut the need for cash and make it all inclusive. The quality of the food on offer massively varies from island to island, so if you’re a foodie (like me), you’ll want to make sure you go to the islands with the best food!
5 Best Islands to visit in Fiji
Blue Lagoon (Nacula)
Blue Lagoon takes the top spot of all the best islands to visit in Fiji. Honestly, it’s phenomenal. It’s got that little bit of everything – great snorkelling, amazing food, and a stunning hotel to boot.
Things to do at Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Resort offers a real multitude of amazing things to do. Located on what I think is the best beach in the Yasawa island group, once you get bored of lying on this slice of paradise (personally, I could never get bored of it, but in case you do…), you can head to the resort’s dive shop to check out the day’s activities.
The snorkelling directly off the beach is wonderful, with a beautiful coral wall to follow far out to sea. All hotel guests can borrow snorkel gear, paddle boards, kayaks or enjoy the inflatable water slide for free, whilst paid activities such as a cave trip, village trip, or several scuba diving site options are all easy to organise. If you fancy getting active after your day of sunbathing, hike the hill behind the resort for gorgeous sunset views, or every morning and evening there’s a free yoga session. Lastly, there are nightly entertainment games organised by the hotel staff. Coconut bowling anyone? It’d be easy to spend a full week here!
Accommodation at Blue Lagoon
There’s a reason it gets first place on the list of the best islands to visit in Fiji! Resort facilities at Blue Lagoon are top notch. From exclusive beach front bures to the nicest dormitory I’ve ever stayed in, it caters for every budget. After months on the road backpacking, it amazed me that I could be staying in a hotel that’s so luxurious that many people arrive on sea planes, yet I’m sleeping in an 8 bed dorm! The dorm is all single beds (no bunks!), and they give you beach and bath towels accompanied with flowers on your beds each day – best dorm in the world you see! This resort has a gorgeous pool too.
Food at Blue Lagoon is also the best of all the islands. Every morning you’ll get a huge buffet spread, including egg and pancake stations, an a la carte lunch menu, before a three course dinner menu too. Yes, the meal plan is pricey at FJD$119 per day, but it’s worth every cent when the food is this good. And it’s all beautifully served in the open air restaurant, just off the beach.
The only thing to note with Blue Lagoon is that it’s about as far away as you can get from the mainland by boat (approximately 4.5 hours). If you’re using a Bula Pass to island hop around the Mamanucas and Yasawas, it’s the last stop. It’s for this reason that a lot of people use a sea plane if they’re only coming to this one island.
Located much closer the the mainland, Mantaray Island Resort is an absolute must go spot on any Mamanuca and Yasawa island hopping trip. I honestly believe the snorkelling here is the best in the entire world – and even better than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef!
Things to do on Mantaray Island
I wonder what this island is famous for? Why would it be one of the best islands to visit in Fiji? The mantarays of course! Every day, staff from the resort drive around the island in a boat, looking for the gentle giants of the ocean. And when they spot them, they radio back to the island, where their colleagues beat a massive drum. This is your cue – get your snorkel, and get down to the beach! They’ll then take you for the most awesome snorkelling experience ever, out on a boat to the mantarays. It does feel a little expensive, at FJD$65 per person, but unlike other islands, if you go on the boat you’re pretty guaranteed to see them.
Once you’re done swimming with the mantarays, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the reef directly in front of the resort really is world class. One of the few spots that climate change doesn’t seem to have totally wrecked just yet – the coral here is still incredibly bright, and in stunning formations. Best reef I’ve ever snorkelled by far.
Like Blue Lagoon, Mantaray also has a dive shop to arrange scuba experiences, but the list of free activities is a little smaller. You can borrow a kayak for free, but all snorkel gear has to be paid for (FJD$25 per day). Although nothing quite compares to the food at Blue Lagoon, I’d say the food here comes a joint second with Octopus Resort.
Accommodation at Mantaray Island
Like Blue Lagoon and Octopus, Mantaray caters for all budgets with a range of accommodation options, from beach front bures to a 40 bed dormitory. The dormitory here is not as nice as Blue Lagoon or Octopus, but it certainly serves it purpose, whilst it’s perfectly clean and comfortable.
Owned by the same company as Blue Lagoon, Octopus Resort shares a lot of its charm, making it place 3rdon my list of the best islands to visit in Fiji. With a more family oriented vibe (including a crèche and dedicated kids dinnertime), Octopus is another gorgeous resort that isn’t too far away from the mainland. Also boasting a gorgeous pool backing onto a stunning beach and reef, it makes for a perfect stopover to break the journey back to the mainland from Blue Lagoon.
Things to do on Octopus
The reef directly off the beach was sadly badly affected by a cyclone in 2018. However, the resort has undergone significant coral planting since then, and it’s still a gorgeous place to snorkel – there’s even tons of coral arches you can swim through! Snorkels, paddle boards and kayaks are all free to borrow from the dive shop. Also on offer are several paid activities such as a village trip or mantaray swim (although seeing the mantarays is not as likely from here as at Mantaray resort)
Accommodation at Octopus
Octopus shares similar accommodation standards to Blue Lagoon, with another fantastic 8 bed dormitory. The meals here are only marginally less nice than its sister resort, and all round its just brilliant.
Worlds apart from the previously mentioned best islands to visit in Fiji, Long Beach offers something a little different. It’s a much smaller resort, with a considerably cheaper price tag. Therefore, this place is perfect for those that want to experience a beach front bure but don’t have the cash to splurge on one at the more luxurious resort islands.
The staff here are incredibly friendly, keen to organise whatever activities you want for the next day. These could include village trips, snorkelling or even night time spear fishing! The food here doesn’t compare to the aforementioned islands, but the significantly cheaper cost makes it worth it.
Typically, you visit Beachcomber Island for one main reason – to party. With its reputation as Fiji’s main ‘party island’, backpackers come to this tiny island to let loose. With a 120 bed dormitory (!) and several lodge style private rooms, everyone pours into the bar in the evenings for happy hour.
That said, it totally depends on how busy it is when you visit. The first time we went, back in 2015, there were over 100 of us there at the resort, but this time there were maybe only 12 of us in the bar at night. It’s whatever you make it!
Aside from the nightly party, Beachcomber is well worth a visit for the opportunity to head out to Cloud 9 – possibly my favourite day of all our time in Fiji. Cloud 9 is a double layer floating bar/beach club, out in the middle of the ocean, around a thirty minute boat ride from the island. Eat pizza from their proper pizza oven, sip ice cold cocktails, and jump into that crystal clear blue water.
Enjoy the 5 best islands to visit in Fiji!