Glowing sunsets and warm Fijian welcomes are what awaits you on Wayasewa, or ‘Waya’ Island. It is one of the most southerly islands in the Yasawa archipelago. A chain of volcanic islands stretching out from the North of Viti Levu (the largest of Fiji’s islands that contains the capital Suva).
With a handful of small villages, homestays and locally owned resorts, if you want to experience true island life and ‘Fiji time’, this is the place to visit. It offers up all of the Pacific island beauty you would expect from Fiji, from coral reefs and palm trees, however it’s central mountain allows you to gain a unique perspective across the surrounding island and down to the village and sea below.
CURRENCY | Fijian Dollar
TIME NEEDED | 2 – 4 days
SEASONS & WEATHER | Warm in winter, hot in summer. Visit anytime, November to April is the rainy season and prices will be cheaper but there are still plenty of hot, sunny days. I visited in February and had only light rainfall in Nadi one evening.
LANGUAGES | Fijian, Fiji-Hindi and English
HOW TO SAY HELLO | Bula
HOW TO SAY THANK YOU | Vinaka
TRANSPORT | Walking, boat transfers and ferry
NEAREST AIRPORT | Nadi Airport (NAN)
NEAREST FERRY PORT | You’ll likely catch the Yasawa Flyer from Port Denarau in Nadi to get to Wayasewa.
I flew into Nadi, the second biggest city in Fiji. It was late afternoon and after the sweetest Fijian welcome from singers at the airport, I caught the Bamboo Backpackers shuttle bus to the hostel. Leaning an arm on the open bus window and watching the bustle of local life as we sped along laneways.
(To board a flight to Fiji you need proof of onward travel so make sure you have a flight or ticket booked to show at the check in desk before boarding.)
At Bamboo Backpackers I arranged accommodation and travel for the next week, and set off at 7am the next morning to catch the bus down to port Denarau where I had a one way ticket for the Yasawa Flyer boat.
You can book a ticket for the ferry online, or if you’re already staying somewhere on the mainland, your accommodation should be able to help you book.
I sat out on the deck, marvelling at every island we passed, each that definitive look of tropical Pacific paradise that people from the far northern hemisphere dream of.
It will take about an hour to get to Wayasewa, when you arrive the ferry will pause in the channel between Waya and its sister island Kuata, and a smaller motor boat will then take you to shore and your accommodation.
Things to do…
In Fiji, there are a few obvious things you have to do, no matter which island you find yourself on. Including snorkelling, swimming and eating and drinking coconuts! However Waya Island has a few beautifully unique experiences you have to check out…
Snorkelling | You can snorkel straight off the beaches and over coral bommies and a small coral wall. There are shoals of tiny rainbow coloured squid, turtles and plenty of clown fish colonies out there! You can also arrange with your accommodation to go out to another beautiful reef further off shore that’s frequented by reef sharks too.
Climb the mountain | The trek up to the top of Waya island is a must do. It’s definitely best to go with a guide as the trail is not always clear, and otherwise you’ll miss out on all of the amazing things your guide can point out. The view is just incredible, go for the sunset, it’s ridiculously beautiful.
Diving | The Wayalailai Ecohaven resort has a dive shop, and they do PADI certifications too. I mean, could there be a better place to learn to dive than Fiji?
Village and School trips | I visited the school on Waya, hopping in a boat one morning with the children and being taken around the coast to their school. The children were so incredibly sweet, and the staff and teacher I met were brilliant. Definitely visit if you can!
Your accommodation or host on Waya island will help with arranging any trips or boat transfers, just ask!
Places to stay
Homestays | There are a few homestays on Waya that are definitely worth considering. It’s a great way to experience true Fijian island life, as well as knowing you are contributing directly to a family. I stayed with Manu, and had an amazing time.
Wayalailai Ecohaven | The beach out front is exceptional, and it’s locally owned and run. I spoke to the guys at the dive shop and they were super sweet and welcoming!
Naqalia Lodge | A little further up the coast, this secluded spot is another locally owned and family run hotel. I didn’t visit here but the reviews speak for themselves. Waya island really is the perfect place for an authentic Fijian experience.
Barefoot Kuata Island | Another beautiful option is this tiny hotel that sits on Kuata island, just south of Waya. Just bear in mind that you lose the sun a tiny bit earlier here as the main beach faces east.
A few top tips…
Remember to bring cash. There are currently no cashpoints or card readers on the island so make sure you carry enough money for your accommodation as well as any extra activities you’ll be doing, e.g. paying for a guide or boat transfer.
Bring some extra water. Although the homestays have a water supply (usually large rainwater tanks), and the resorts do have small shops or provide meals, consider visiting the supermarket in Nadi to bring a decent sized water bottle with you and to fill your reusable bottle. The water is generally safe, but if you have a sensitive stomach, bring some extra water.
Try the local food, especially the fruits! From the familiar coconuts and crab, to cassava and guava. One of the best ways to experience a place is through food!
The Yasawas are a beautiful chain of islands, and although Fiji has a huge number of places to explore, the Yasawas are well connected to Nadi using the Yasawa Flyer boat service. Tourism is fairly new to the archipelago, but through homestay’s and guided visits, it has become a great way for locals to earn whilst sharing and educating visitors about their beautiful lifestyle and culture.