Lacing their way up the west coast of Fiji, the Yasawas are a chain of 20 ancient islands famous for crystal blue lagoons, rugged volcanic landscapes, abundant sunshine and some of the Pacific’s most ethereal beaches. They’re the big sister of the Mamanucas; grander in size and stature, sparsely populated and just what the doctor ordered for leaving civilisation and its consternations behind. Most of the people live in small isolated villages and have their own distinct dialect, which is known as Vuda. Technology is an enigma and any stay will nudge you surreptitiously into the true meaning of ‘Fiji time’.
Snorkelling, swimming and diving are avidly pursued owing to wide banks of coral around most of the islands. Ample peaks ranging from grassy hills to jungle climbs also provide spectacular hiking and views from some of the summits take in the whole chain from north to south.
After the famous mutiny on the Bounty in 1789, Captain William Bligh paddled through the island group on his way to Timor. His longboat was chased along by Fijian canoes.
Backpacker lodges have dominated accommodation options in the Yasawas for many years but a new wave of midrange and top-end options are making appearances, so families and couples looking for creature comforts and pampering are now well-catered for. You can prebook packages to the Yasawas but unless you’re travelling in peak season or with kids in need of facilities it’s not essential to have all your accommodation tied up before you head out. Many of the backpacker resorts go through ebbs and flows of quality and you’ll get your best advice from travellers on the Yasawa Flyer.