I don’t think I’ve met a single person who has told me they didn’t want to visit Fiji someday. I think it’s the one country that everyone wants to visit. I’m not entirely sure why, considering there are a lot of amazing islands out there (hello Seychelles and Maldives), but somehow Fiji has risen to the top of the list and is on most everyone’s must-visit-someday list.
I just happen to live in Fiji currently, and while my day-to-day experience is far from the world of pristine beaches and tropical drinks and lounging on the sand all day, I do get away to experience that touristy world now and then.
This past week I visited Mana, one of the Mamanuca (pronounced ‘MamanuTHa’) islands for a few days and enjoyed every minute of my time there. I highly, highly recommend visiting the Mamanucas and in particular, Mana island.
Mana island has several different choices of accommodations and there is something to fit every budget. Whether you choose to drop $1100+ a night to stay at the new, adults only, Tadrai Island Resort, or $25 a night to stay at Ratu Kini Dive Resort and Backpackers, or someplace in between, you are sure to enjoy your stay on the beautiful and peaceful Mana island.
Besides water sports, snorkeling (I definitely recommend going out to the sandbank for snorkeling), swimming, fishing, or just lazing on the beach, you can also go on a few different walks around the small island. The views from the lookout at the top of the highest hill are out of this world.
From the lookout you can see the entire island, as well as the sandbank that you can snorkel to. Up until recently a large part of the island was closed off for the filming of a television show, but as of last month the show wrapped up, and the island is once again open for exploration.
Tips for your trip:
- If you are on a tight budget, or want a more authentic Fiji experience, consider booking a dorm at Ratu Kini. They have dorms that are set in the middle of the local village, and you can often see the schoolchildren walking to school or playing volleyball and rugby outside. You can also join in a game or two if you like, they love having people join them!
- If you do stay at Ratu Kini, consider contacting them ahead of time to book everything all-inclusive. If you just book accommodation through a travel website, you will have to book your boat transfer separately. I contacted them and booked my transfer, my lodging, and a meal plan, all as one deal. As far as value for money, I definitely thought it was worth it.
- If you want to splurge a bit, but not to the tune of a thousand a night, consider staying at Mana Island Resort. The place is huge, and more western-style than is Ratu Kini. They also have exclusive rights to the beautiful North Beach that is off-limits to people staying at other resorts (although I did meet one guy who successfully sneaked in to see it. Not saying I recommend that but…) I did hear from others who stayed there that the food is cheaper and better at Ratu Kini, and those people actually joined us for dinner a a few nights.
- Do join a snorkel trip out to the sandbank. The views from the sandbank make it worth it, even without the snorkeling.
- Explore! There are trails and tide pools all over the island. You never know what you might find when you go exploring.
- Prepare for Fiji time. Things will happen when they happen. Relax and enjoy yourself.
Have you been to the Mamanucas? Which islands did you visit? What did you like best?