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Mana Island Guide – Fiji

White Sand and Clear Waters, Mana Island
White Sand, Clear Water, Palm Trees. Typical Mana Island

Mana island is one of 333 fijian islands, just a 4 hour boat ride from Nadi from about $50 return. Mana island is a lovely little island you can easily walk round in about 3 hours providing you’re steady on your feet as you do have to clamber over rocks round some of the edges. The accommodation on Mana varies from budget to exclusive with the island having its own airstrip its a popular destination for families and honeymooners as well as backpackers. The island seems to be split in to 3 sections, the section where you arrive on the boat is where all the backpacker accommodation is, some more expensive than others. I stayed at ‘Serenas’ which was $35 a night with 3 meals included; the dorm rooms were basic as was the one cold tap used as a shower. Although the family that ran it were lovely and very helpful i wouldn’t recommend it, the food was questionable, often cold, and I personally don’t enjoy doughnuts for breakfast. The situation was similar next door at Mana Lagoon, although they have a small games room and the only shop on the island.

A Rocky Beach of Mana Island
The beach at low tide, exposing Volcanic Rock

A short walk down the beach there were a few more small backpackers and Ratu Kini’s Backpackers & Dive Resort. This is by far the best backpackers on the island and luckily you can go eat and drink there even if you’re not staying there. It’s only $30 per night in a dorm, but meals aren’t included. However, you can get packages where all meals are within included in the price of the room, and if you’re looking to dive or get certified this is the place to be.

Another short walk down from Ratu Kini’s is a landing jetty and the “Mana Island Resort’.’ As soon as you get to Mana, if your not staying there you’re told that you cant enter their side of the beach as its private property. But… between you and me, there’s nobody there to stop you. The beach at this end of the island is much more family oriented and has special areas cordoned off in the ocean for the children to play. You can’t see in to the resort itself, but you can see the lavish hotel and restaurants. This is definitely the higher end of the accommodation, having about 10 private cabins with their own private beach.

Sunset Beach, Mana Island, Fiji
The best beach on Mana Island, Sunset Beach

As with all the islands, its all sand and blue sea, but if you can handle a bit of a walk, the opposite side of the island is breathtaking. If you ask the locals they’ll tell you different ways to get through the bush over the “mountain.” Ok, its more of a big hill but its hot so it felt like a mountain. After this hike you’ll more often than not find yourself on your own private beach. Similarly if you walk round you’ll often find yourself alone for hours on a section of beach. But, the best beach on this island is “Sunset Beach”: white sand, crystal clear water, and snorkelling galore!! If you’re at one of the backpackers, they’ll say you can’t get to it as its owned by the resort, but if you walk down the beach in to the resort, you can easily walk down the side of the airstrip to it with no one batting an eyelid (as long as you’re not in a large group.) You can actually walk through the resort itself, but they don’t really like that.

The Pier From A Cabana
Looking out a cabana towards the Pier

The island is perfect for relaxing and laying in the sun; the snorkelling is amazing, but much better on the opposite side of the island. If you’re looking to dive, and are certified, I recommend talking to the locals, not the dive centres. They’ll often take you out for a much lower price, and they know all the best spots.

The center of the island, behind all the backpackers, is a local village. You should walk through and see how the locals live, there’s lots of stray dogs and their puppies, and children running around everywhere. You can visit the local church, and if you go up to the school, you can have a tour and even talk and teach the children. All of the locals are welcoming and appreciate you taking the time to look around where they live and see how their community works on this tiny little island.

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