Introducing Yasawa Group
The Yasawas are just as beautiful as the Mamanucas, although until relatively recently they have been overshadowed by those bolder upstarts nearby.
But times change. In the 1990s the Yasawa chain was considered prohibitively isolated and, apart from a few hardy souls and an occasional cruise ship, these islands saw few travellers. Today the daily catamaran stops off at almost each one, offloading passengers into a waiting armada of small boats.
The Yasawas have beautiful land- and seascapes – along with enough remoteness and sense of isolation to appeal to the Robinson Crusoe in many a traveller’s heart. Which is just as well, as the quality of resorts here varies dramatically: a bure could be anything from a hut that you could blow down with a hair dryer to an upmarket villa with an outdoor shower. This new wave of midrange and top-end accommodation options is now enticing families and well-heeled couples into what has traditionally been the stomping ground of backpackers. Before long, they too are nudged surreptitiously into the true meaning of ‘Fijian time’, where anything more than two snorkels and half an hour on the volleyball court constitutes a busy day at the beach.
The Yasawa chain is composed of 20 or so sparsely populated and surprisingly barren islands. There are no roads, cars, banks or shops and most of the locals live in small, isolated villages, surviving on agriculture and tourism for their livelihoods. Most resorts help make the tourist dollar go further by buying local crops or fish, supporting village schools or sponsoring older kids to get further education on the mainland.
The land is mostly hilly; four of the larger islands have summits close to 600m above sea level. While the relatively dry climate is a plus for visitors, the land is prone to drought. During such times the need to conserve water is a priority, and visitors may be asked to take fewer and shorter showers.