Let’s face it, living in the urban sprawl of modern society has a way of disconnecting us from nature and the planet. To much concrete, to much machinery, and to much electronic clutter. Our connected world brings us closer together, and further from mother nature.
This might explain the rise in what is known as “ecotourism”. According to the International Ecotourism Society, ecotourism promotes greater understanding and appreciation for nature, local society, and culture. They define ecotourism as responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, and sustain the well-being of the local people.
We think this explains travel to Fiji’s Yasawa Island Chain perfectly. The Yasawa Islands were off limits to land based tourism until 1987 (with the exception of a couple of small resorts). This has allowed the Yasawa islands to stay relatively free from the explosion of tourist based industry that plaques most popular vacation spots.
Yasawa Island resorts tend to be made by local Fijians, or with the aid and blessing of the local Fijian villages. They are staffed by local Fijians, and they benefit the local Fijian community. This allows these resorts to enjoy a special relationship that supports the local villages and people, and helps to preserve the unique culture of the Fijian people.
Most of the resorts in Yasawa offer special activities that directly benefit the local Fijian villages. These activities range from cultural performances and village visits, to fishing, diving, and hiking trips that utilize local Fijians as guides.
Many of the reosrts in the Yasawa Island Chain are built with conservation in mind. The bures (Fijian for villa), dorms and other buildings are built by local craftsman using traditional techniques. The food served at many of the resorts is a combination of locally grown organic, and sustainable produce and fresh seafood caught by local fisherman (and sometimes the guests!).
Creating sustainable resorts in the Yasawa Island Chain has allowed the terrain to remain relatively free from the encroachment of modern society. You won’t find fast food joints, or factories in Yasawa. You won’t even find paved roads. What you will find is islands of the south pacific looking much like they did when westerners first arrived here in the 1700’s.
Of course keeping the Yasawa Islands a beautiful, natural, pacific island paradise makes them a tad bit difficult to get to. There are no international airports in the island chain. The best way to travel to the Yasawa Island Chain is to fly into Nadi, and then take a short, 30 minute seaplane trip to Yasawa. Turtle Airways offers multiple flights per day on our convenient sea planes. These flights will take you to the beach of your resort, and allow you to start your vacation sooner then you could if you took a boat to Yasawa (the boat only leaves once per day, and takes about 4 hours).
So if you are looking for ecotourism in Fiji, then exploring the Yasawa Islands is your best bet. And If you are staying in the Yasawa Islands, then booking a resort transfer from Turtle Airways will help make your trip more enjoyable.