Sustainable Tourism seems to be all the buzz right now. Likewise, we think that is a good thing. On the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, we have been pioneering sustainable tourism for over 30 years.
Most people do not realize that before 1987 land based tourism in the Yasawa islands was severely limited. Visitors could take a cruise ship and sail through the islands. There, they could view their beauty from the deck of the boat. But if you wanted to step foot on Yasawa, with few exceptions, you had to live there.
Consequently, many people did live there. Dotted across the Yasawa archipelago were traditional Fijian villages. Here, people lived in much the same way that they had for thousands of years.
Sustainable Tourism In Yasawa
When the first resorts were being planned for Yasawa, in the late 1980’s, sustainability was a key factor in their design. Unlike other South Pacific travel Destinations that are overbuilt with huge, corporate run resorts, Yasawa kept things small. Most of the resorts in Yasawa are owned and or run by local villagers. As a result, these Fijians have a vested interest in keeping the islands that they call home safe.
The majority of Yasawa Island resorts are more intimate compared to other resorts. Therefore, instead of one large building with hundreds of cramped rooms, you are likely to find individual bures (Fijian for villa). This creates resorts with lower capacity, and more privacy. Some resorts do have larger buildings with “dorm” style accommodations. These allow for guests to spend time in Fiji without spending all of their money on a villa.
One With Nature
Staying at a boutique resort in the Yasawa Island Chain really does feel like getting back to nature. The small footprint of the resorts allow you to see the island in its natural state. It is easy to imagine the island looking exactly the same hundreds of years ago. (just without the wi-fi).
The beaches in the Yasawa islands are pristine and fresh. The waters of her lagoons are clear and calm. The forests are teeming with life and nature is in control.
Spending your vacation in the Yasawa islands will bring you back to a purer state of mind and help you reconnect with nature. You can even visit a local Fijian village and take part in an authentic Kava ceremony.
Getting to Yasawa
The Yasawa islands are about 50 miles to the north west of Nadi and the big island of Viti Levu. If you are heading to a sustainable tourism spot in the Yasawa islands you have 2 choices on how to get there: by water or by air.
The regularly scheduled boat could ferry you to Yasawa in about 4 or 5 hours depending on what island you are headed to. Most noteworthy, the boat only makes 1 trip per day and it leaves Nadi early in the morning. If your flight doesn’t arrive early enough, you may have to spend a night in Nadi. Likewise, the same is true for your return trip. Because of this, you may need to cut your trip short a day If your flight leaves before the ferry arrives back in Nadi.
You can also take a flight on one of Turtle Airways seaplanes. Turtle Airways has flights leaving about every other hour. These low flying scenic flights usually take about 30 minutes and offer you amazing view on the way. In addition to resort transfers, Turtle Airways also offers custom charters so you can have a flight when you want it.
Therefore, everyone who is interested in sustainable tourism has to visit the Yasawa island chain in Fiji. The local Fijians have found the perfect way to preserve their homes and share them with the world. In Yasawa, you can find a little slice of that natural paradise.