‘Tropical paradise’ might be the most hackneyed cliché in the travel-writing world, but there’s no getting away from it here: the Mamanuca islands tick every box, with brochure-blue seas and beaches so brilliant they’re Hollywood celebrities unto themselves. With romance, relaxation and a disproportional number of fantastic resorts on offer, the Mamanuca group is unsurprisingly one of Fiji’s most popular destinations.
Though they’re valued more for their natural attributes than any contribution they make to the national culture, nobody could accuse the Mamanucas’ beauty of being shallow: kaleidoscopic coral reefs and masses of marine life await those who take the plunge into their crystal-clear waters. Despite the subsurface calm, the Mamanucas are also home to a collection of world-class surf breaks.
Back on sand, the islands have enough facilities, activities and adventure opportunities to satisfy every day-tripper (and there are a lot of them). Those who come to stay are welcomed with a bellowing bula! and sunny hospitality, whether they choose family-friendly, couples-only or budget accommodation.
Life here bears little resemblance to the realities experienced by most Fijians. Only two resort islands, Mana and Malolo, support Fijian villages, though tourists outnumber locals. Not that they mind – almost all resorts lease their land from local communities and so, while heavy physical and metaphorical rain clouds may hang over the mainland, the sun always shines on the magical Mamanucas.