When we were looking for somewhere to stay in Fiji we mulled over our decision for quite a while. You might have gathered that I’m not an all-inclusive type of holidaymaker but if you go to the Yasawas that’s pretty much your only option because most of the islands are so small that the resorts are the only things on there. This certainly proved to be the case where we ended up – Mantaray Resort – but the experience so far surpassed all of my expectations that I wanted to give it a little plug before I finish up writing about my time in Fiji.
Mantaray Resort is on Nanuya Baluva in the Yasawa Islands, which means you need to catch a boat to get there. The airport in Fiji is in Nadi, so depending on what time your flight arrives in, you might need to spend a night on the mainland and then catch the boat the following morning. It leaves daily at 8.30am and takes around 3 hours (depending on how many stops it makes along the way) to reach the island.
If, like us, you have to stay at a hotel in Nadi the night before, there will be a transfer from the hotel to pick you up in the morning and take you to the port where you catch the high speed ferry. Most people staying in Fiji go to the Yasawas so they’re fully prepared for this and you’ll find a lot of people staying with you do are probably doing the same thing. When you book your stay at the resorts on the Yasawas you can book your ferry transfers at the same time. Mantaray also booked us on the courtesy shuttle from our hotel in Nadi which made the whole process really easy.
Mantaray Resort offers 4 different types of accommodation which range from a room in a dorm, to bures (individual platformed huts) to villas. While the dorms and villas are self explanatory, when it comes to bures you have a choice of two types.
The treehouse bures are further back on the island, behind the bar and lounge and near the dining area and bathrooms, while the jungle bures are close to the beach. What accounts for the price difference is that the jungle bures have their own en-suite and are larger. They have a few that can sleep families and so accommodate up to 4 whereas in our treehouse the bed took up almost all of the space. It was fine for us though as we didn’t spend any time in there other than to sleep and having an en-suite wasn’t a top priority either as all of the toilets on the island are self-composting (but odorless!) anyway. We were also in a prime location to hear the dinner drum (extremely important) and did enjoy hanging out on our little balcony.
A Fiji holiday might not be for everyone. I mean if you don’t like tropical paradises, sandy beaches, warm weather and ocean-based activities you might want to think again. Similarly you’re not going to find a big city, loads of shopping and unlimited wifi or great phone reception because you’re on an island in the South Pacific… if the thought of going without these things causes you great stress I’d suggest you stay away too (and also learn how to relax!) For most of us burnt out by the intensity of our technology-filled everyday life your time in Fiji will leave you more relaxed and happier than ever. I didn’t use the internet on my phone for FIVE DAYS. I’m not sure I’ve gone that duration of time without a connection in a decade… and it was amazing.
That doesn’t mean Fiji life is about lying on a beach all day long – although if you want to it can be, you do you! – Mantaray Resort has a whole array of activities every day to keep you occupied in between those pina coladas.
You can opt to kayak to the beach on the island opposite, take part in basket-weaving or bracelet making, go on a visit by boat to the local village, take a bush walk around the island and much more. We did most of it because we stayed for a full 5 days… we just didn’t want to leave!
THE SEA, THE SEA
Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, there’s an ocean so blue at your feet that even if you’ve got a fear of water you’d find it hard to resist having a quick dip. Venture below and that’s where the magic happens. The coral reef is right on your doorstep on this island which means you don’t have to swim very far to see an array of incredible fish as well as octopus, eels, turtles, starfish and much more… it’s all out there! The reef is actually so close to the beach that some of it becomes exposed at low tide meaning you should get your snorkelling in during the morning or late afternoon.
If you’re feeling more adventurous – or you really want to see a turtle or reef shark – you can also go scuba diving. You don’t need to be qualified as the staff are qualified to take new divers out fully supervised and if you find you love it you can also take your open water course at Mantaray (and it’s way cheaper than Australia). They also offer opportunities for freediving if you’re into that kind of thing. Personally I haven’t decided if the prospect is terrifying or exciting.
One of the main reasons a lot of people come to the Yasawas is also the chance to swim with manta rays and if I’m honest it was a big deciding factor for me as to where we stayed while in Fiji. Although quite a few of the resorts nearby offer the same trip to swim with the mantas I figured my best chance would be at the resort actually named after them! These guys definitely know what they’re doing and love the animals and I have no regrets in our choice. I got to swim with the mantas but also had an all-round amazing time in Fiji thanks to the wonderful staff, beautiful scenery and once-in-a-lifetime chance to get so close to some more of the gentle giants of the ocean.
You can find all the information you need about booking to stay at Mantaray Island Resort here or feel free to ask me in the comments!
Note: This is not a sponsored post. We paid to stay at Mantaray Resort but we just thought it was so great we wanted to spread the love.