Snorkeling Two Resorts in the Yasawas Fiji – June 2024

By Debbie Florence

I wanted to share my trip report from snorkeling two resorts in the Yasawas Fiji in June 2024. We stayed at both Blue Lagoon Beach Resort on Nacula Island and Barefoot Manta Island Resort on Drawaqa Island. This was my second trip the Yasawa Islands of Fiji and I would definitely go back.

We flew direct from Los Angeles, California (LAX), on an 11 hour flight. The flight leaves at midnight, nice and easy. Then you have to make your way to the Yasawas. We started at Blue Lagoon Beach Resort and it was a three hour small boat ride, bumpy and wet. The other option is a five-plus hour ferry ride, which is smoother and has air-conditioning.

Snorkeling Blue Lagoon Beach Resort

Hard coral head with fish in Fiji

First 50 feet or so of the resort’s house reef is about half alive due to tide changes and general use. However, it’s in this area that I saw a fair sized octopus and many interesting fish.

The house reef goes on and on and on! Past the 50 feet mark the coral becomes beautiful and there is a huge number of small reef fish of all types. It seriously felt like we swam half a mile out and back each time we went out on the reef (three times per day).

During the week we were there, in June 2024, the lagoon remained lake flat with no waves and a very manageable current for snorkelers.

Visibility was hit and miss. Some days were great and others were cloudy in the afternoon.

We did a couple of snorkel excursions, the sunset float and the village trip. All were excellent.

In summary, we saw a lot of beautiful coral and variety of fish snorkeling Blue Lagoon Beach Resort. The fish were mostly smaller with no large fish sightings (no sharks, etc.). Sadly we also did not see any turtles.

What We Thought of Blue Lagoon Beach Resort

Clownfish with anemone in Fiji

The rooms were large with air-conditioning and nice furnishings. WiFi reached to the rooms. The pool was nice but we never go in a pool if the ocean is nearby. If you don’t get a beach front room with its own dedicated beach chairs you will have to fight for the remaining ones. Not enough chairs are provided.

All meals were sit down and order. Sometimes the orders were wrong and communication was rough. Many times the time from sitting down to signing the bill for any extras (drinks) was way too long. We clocked our longest dinner at more than two hours. The food overall was very good. Dinner was five courses every night and beautifully plated.


Snorkeling Barefoot Manta Island Resort

Juvenile Black-tip Reef Sharks in Fiji

The house reef here was superb! The resort is located on the tip of the island and has beach with coral offshore on three sides. The sunrise side was simply fantastic. Great coral, interesting drop-offs, tunnels and caves. There was a shark nursery area with black tip babies and larger black tips on the reef. We saw tons of fish. The sunset side was always super calm, the sunrise side occasionally had waves but we did not find it difficult snorkeling. The current was manageable.

Visibility was good but not great – maybe a different time of year would be better for water clarity. However, we still saw a lot of great stuff and we were there for the manta ray season.

For excursions, we did two manta snorkel sessions, the snorkel safari tour, night snorkel and a shark snorkel tour based out of Barefoot Kuata (a boat transferred us to the sister resort). All tours were fantastic except the night snorkel was really not worth it. It was fairly short and we did not see anything that was not there during the day. All the others were great, stunning coral, several manta rays, sharks, etc.

My brave kids did the bull shark dive out of Barefoot Kuata they are still talking about it! This can be done as an intro dive as well if not certified.

What We Thought of Barefoot Manta Island Resort

Reef shark over coral in Fiji

The rooms here are tents. We had the larger tent and one smaller tent room. They were interesting, no air-conditioning but the fans kept it cool enough to sleep just fine. There were plenty of chairs and loungers. They had no pool and WiFi only in the central lobby area.

Most meals were buffet style with some dinners as sit down. The food was decent and if we did not like it we supplemented with ice cream from the bar area.

We loved the vibe at Barefoot Manta and would choose it over BLBR for the excellent snorkeling and chance to swim with the mantas. BLBR felt more upscale and BM felt more like a remote dive resort.


Comparisons to the Snorkeling I’ve Done Elsewhere

I wanted to share my thoughts about the snorkeling in the Yasawas Fiji compared to the other places I’ve been. I have been snorkeling in Moorea and Bora Bora (Tahiti French Polynesia), Bunaken and Komodo National Parks in Indonesia, the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands in Australia, the Red Sea in Egypt, Hawaii (Maui and Big Island), and Caribbean (Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic, St Thomas and St John USVI, Mexico, Turks and Caicos).

Comparison is tough as each place has its own unique benefits, but Fiji was easy to get to (shorter flight for us) and cheaper than Tahiti and Great Barrier Reef. Red Sea in Egypt is fantastic too for great snorkeling from house reefs, and it’s super cheap. But its serious desert and other than the water there is not much to do (maybe this depends on the area or resort you go to).

Coral color and structure was very similar to Indonesia. Indonesia had slightly more variety of fish but Fiji had more fish overall. We saw turtles in Indonesia and not Fiji but manta rays in Fiji. I loved the Pink Beach in Komodo National Park! The combo of turquoise water and pink sand and great coral and fish was just wonderful.

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the review from a serious snorkeler point of view! I never know on TripAdvisor reviews if the person is a serious snorkeler or a newbie, so always take their reviews of how wonderful the snorkeling is with a grain of salt. (The TA forum is a better source.) We are going to Barefoot Manta and Oarsman’s resorts (sister resort to Blue Lagoon) in September so are very happy to get the real scoop from you. We are going to Blue Manta first for four days and then to Oarsman’s for another four days for the better food and the excursions. Thanks so much!

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