Tourism in Fiji almost died away completely due to domestic political and military conflicts in the past. Yet, its many amazing islands are screaming to be visited by thousands of awe-stricken tourists from all over the world. Since the Fijian government promoted its resort areas and lowered the costs of getting there, the country has steadily gained recognition as a top tourist destination. A leading international attraction is the place known as the Yasawa Islands.
The country of Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands with more than 500 tiny islets located in southwestern Pacific among the island-nations of Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga, Wallis and Tuvalu. Fijian islands are grouped into nine regions, namely Viti Levu (the largest island where the capital city of Savu is located), Vanau Levu (second largest island), Taveuni (exclusive habitat of the rare Tagimoucia Flower), Kadavu, Mamanuca Islands, Lomaiviti Islands (the central islands), Lau Islands, Rotuma (home of a different Polynesian ethnic group), and Yasawa Islands.
The remote northern islands of Yasawa regularly receive hordes of international guests. With 12 major islands and 30 scenic resorts, Yasawa is the most popular destination for island-hopping. The beaches and dive sites are spectacular, unspoiled, and simply among the best in the world. They are what every dream paradise vacation is made of – pristine white-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, swaying palm trees, picturesque hills, exotic wildlife, interesting local dishes, and friendly locals. There are also fruit plantations, caves and hiking areas that keep visitors engaged throughout the day. A hike to the top of Wayalailai Hill is scenic and unforgettable. The surrounding waters are great for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. In fact, divers from all over the world come here to see the colorful reefs and resident manta rays.
Some islands are inhabited by friendly village locals who habitually invite tourists to local yaqona celebrations. Yaqona is a popular native wine from the roots of a yaqona tree. Although the drink is not really considered alcoholic, it can numb one’s lips and mouth for minutes. Local villagers are very friendly; it is considered rude to refuse their invitation. They also normally invite tourists to church on Sundays.
To get to Yasawa Islands, bookings may be done in the cities of Suva or Nadi in Viti Levu. The islands of Yasawa are best reached on board the yellow Yasawa Flyer boats. Not only do the boat operators know the islands like the back of their hands, they also know what time of the day it is best to visit which island. They take tourists to picnic areas, dive sites, and the caves at the most appropriate hours of the day. For a cheaper but slower ride, several water taxis are plying the area. Boat fees are negotiable. However, while a ride on the Yasawa Flyer is more expensive, the ticket includes a Bula Pass that allows entry to any of the islands in Yasawa. Without a Bula Pass, entry to the different islands could cost around $45 to $70.