March 2023: As part of a larger Pacific Island trip and a ‘Baby Moon’, my wife and I decided to end our trip relaxing in the Yasawa islands of Fiji in the rustic but tranquil beach bungalow island resort of Barefoot Manta. This was the ideal way to end our trip in heaven and we spent 4 nights in Fiji. 

 

 

Abouth the Yasawa Islands

Island where our beach bungalow was located

Someone told me that an old Hawaiin who had visited Fiji proclaimed that Fiji was what Hawaii was 50 years ago. This is because Fiji is still largely undeveloped and continues to maintain many of its traditions and a genuine kindness towards foreigners. After previously traveling to Fiji twice, the first time in 1997 on a month-long backpacking trip across the islands, and again 10 years later to the Mamanuca islands, I was definitely 100 percent in agreement with this statement. Then I returned, this time to visit the Yasawa islands, and the genuine kindness of Fijian people I experienced before despite Fiji being one of the most tourists visited islands in the pacific, remained unchanged. It was evident in everyone, hotel workers, taxi drivers, service workers. At times, I wondered if it was real, but I would always come to the realization that it was definitely real. Fijian people are just plain happy and nice, and I am happy that this hasn’t changed over the years.

Paula and I chose the Yasawa islands because they are beautiful and remote but easily accessible via an island-hopping speed ferry service from the Denarau wharf on mainland Fiji. The speed ferry drops off and picks up passengers on various islands with villages or hotels throughout the Yasawa islands. The boat trip is beautiful and comfortable and operates under a reliable schedule. A small motorboat from each hotel meets the ferry to pick up guests and transfer them to the hotel.

I chose the Barefoot Manta resort because it is more a cluster of affordable rustic beach bungalows than a resort. Aside from the bungalows and dining area on one side of the island, there is nothing but jungle and deserted beaches on the rest of the island. The island is also part of a marine reserve, and the surrounding coral is protected and excellent for snorkeling and attracts manta rays during certain months of the year. Unfortunately, we arrived just at the start of the manta season and missed them.

 

Yasawa island as seen from ferry

Paula and I had our own cozy private beach bungalow facing the ocean. There was no A/C just a ceiling fan and ocean breeze, which was perfect. My favorite was the open shower in the lush walled garden in the aft of our bungalow. We loved our little room and comfortable bed, although Paula sadly wasn’t fully able to enjoy her stay because she didn’t feel well during our stay.

 

Beach bungalow

Beach at Barefoot Manta

Hiking trail to viewpoint in middle of the island 

In addition to great coral reefs, and scuba diving, there was great nature on the island, hiking trails, deserted beaches and jungle and I took advantage of this and did a little exploration. The island parrot, a native and endangered rescue parrot from Fiji that wild on the island, paid me a visit on the hiking trail and again later at my bungalow. We were asked not to feed her but I when she landed on my shoulder when i was eating a few crackers, I confess I shared a few with her.

 

View from top of island in morning

The island parrot

The parrot visiting me at my bungalow

Paula walking the beach at sunset

Paula tried her best to enjoy our stay despite being sick and we still were able to have a good time. It was nearly impossible to dislike the Barefoot Manta and its relaxing vibes and low-key beach bungalow feel. From the Barefoot Bungalow, we took the ferry back to the mainland and spent our last night in the boutique hotel, First landing before flying home on Fijian Airways.

 

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