How to Plan a Trip to Mamanuca Islands

Mamanuca Islands

Mamanuca Islands is a group of 20 islands in Fiji which can be accessed from Port Denarau in Nadi.  Mana island is one among them which I had an opportunity to visit.The turquoise water provides a stunning array of activities including snorkelling, diving, kayaking etc.

Here is how I planned my Mamanuca Islands/Mana Island trip effectively.

Choosing the right island from Mamanuca Islands 

As there are quite a few of them, the process of choosing which island to stay is a painstaking one. I ended up doing a lot of research to figure out the best options for me.

Spotting Mamanuca Islands / Mana Island

Each of the islands have one or more resorts. It is better to choose the right one based on your travel style & budget .

Style & Budget

  • Family/Medium – Mana Island, Musket Cove, Plantation Island
  • Backpacker – Beachcomber, Bounty, Ratu Kini, Funky Fish
  • High End – Tokoriki, Lomani, Matamanoa, Sheraton, Treasure Island, Tadrai Island, Castaway

I stayed in Mana Island resort which was undergoing renovations at the time. The stay was comfortable. I did like the roofless bath rooms especially!

Mana Island & Castaway Island is famous for being the shooting locations of ‘Survivor’ series & ‘Cast Away’  movie respectively.

Mamanuca Islands stay / Mana Island resort

Wanderer Tips:

  • Check for the inclusions in the resort cost . Some resorts offer Snorkelling & Diving gears/Tours/Kayaks/Canoe/Jet ski for free/reduces prices. Paying a bit high for getting freebies is a better deal. Wifi will not be included in most of them, so that can be a criteria as well.
  • Some of the islands have better beaches(clear water) and accessibility to Snorkel & Dive . Check out that if you are planning to do any activity
  • Some of the resorts have a mandatory meal plan which costs you a fixed amount per day but will cover all the meals . Check on that based on your preference as that will be a direct increase on your expenses (some of them mention the meal plan cost only after you book)
  • It is possible that you may have a better eatery in terms of cost as well as quality outside your resort but within the island . Assess and find out as this may provide you a better dining experience.  Mana island had couple of options within the island which served mouthwatering seafood based on your order.
  • If you are interested in island hopping or day trips to the nearby islands, you can contact the resorts to check on the options available.

Spotting Mamanuca Islands

Choosing the Transfer 

There are options to fly or to take ferry to reach Mamanuca Islands. Below are some of the options available.

  • Fiji Island Catamaran Transfers (can book through viator)
  • South Sea Cruises
  • Yasawa Flyer water Taxi (only one trip per day)
  • Sea Planes by Turtle Airways( as usual Planes are more expensive)

Port Denarau is the gateway to Mana island/Mamanuca islands for the ferries.I chose to travel with South Sea Cruises.

A return transfer ferry to one of the Mamanuca Islands will cost you 100 FJD plus approximately.

South Sea Cruises

Wanderer Tips:

  • Check out the route map of the transfer service & your destination island, as the transportation cost will increase based on the distance to your destination from Port Denarau.
  • Check with the transfer service if an airport transfer can be included, if you are planning to travel to the islands upon arrival at Nadi airport.

*South Sea Cruises has pick up from Airport for additional cost.

  • Transfers have their timings fixed.In case if you are planning for the last transfer service of the day, it is better to keep at least an hour gap between the flight arrival time and the ferry departure time to ensure you do not miss the ferry if the flight is delayed .

What to do once you reach?

Once you reach, you are in for countless options.I have written a separate post on the Top 11 Things to do in Fiji Islands.

What  can you bring in to the island?

You can bring almost everything to the island.

Wanderer Tips:

  • Few of the islands have small stores where you can purchase goods including phone recharge card (a little expensive). Best option would be to bring stuffs from main land as the options available in the island will be limited.
  • Most of the resorts allow you to carry food & beverages from outside

What to bring to Mamanuca Islands

My Regret 

  • I did not plan to stay for more days in Mamanuca Islands as I wanted to go around the mainland as well(Viti Levu). I loved Mana Island so much that I did regret not having enough time to spend in there.

Regret of leaving Mana Island

None of the photos in this article are edited for enhanced visual effects in order to bring out the authenticity of Travel experience.

Note: This article is based on my experience from February 2016.Options, costs may change with time and hence request to verify it before you travel.

Hope you enjoyed the post. Have you visited Mamanuca Islands yet? How did you feel about it ?, Please share your thoughts below.

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  1. I went to Fiji a few times when I was younger. David has never been there but we have discussed it a few times. My main concern is that we have heard quite a few of the island resorts are old and tired. Thanks for the checklist. For personal reasons we intend to stay closer to home in 2017 so Fiji might just make it to the top of our travel wishlist.

    1. Yes Lyn , I think for us being in Sydney, Fiji being closer is another advantage . I too got confused with too many resorts and options at the beginning . But finally the planning did pay off . Hope you have a good time too 🙂 – Thank You

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  3. Mamanuca Island looks so beautiful, I love how the clear the water is and how beautiful the sunsets are. The nature looks perfect there! I had no idea that this island is famous for the Survivor series. I used to watch it when I was a teenager. It’s also nice to know that Fiji has islands for every kind of traveler, as I would probably go to a backpacking one. Also, good tips about researching the resorts, free water sports and snorkeling is definitely worth having included.

    1. Hi Joanna,

      Yea I too thought initially it is more of honeymoon/family location, but it is not which is good. Good to know you find it useful 🙂


  4. I’ve never even been to Fiji, so I’ll have to say, I’ve never heard of these beautiful islands. I’d love to so some island hopping and see other sides of Fiji. Thank you for the great tips; I’ll bookmark this for if I ever visit!

  5. I’ve never heard of the Mamanuca Islands before, but they certainly look like paradise! Sad to hear that the Mana Island resort was undergoing renovations while you were there. Hopefully they didn’t disturb your stay. I’ve actually never stayed in a resort before, and the thought of having so many different amenities included would be a dream!

  6. I love how you break the islands down by value. It’s so helpful when deciding where to stay and you don’t know the area. Mana island does look so pretty. I guess you’ll have to put on your list to go back to at some point soon 🙂

    Great tip on bringing things you need from the mainland. Island living is always so expensive.

  7. I absolutely love your photos. Your guide is very practical and this is very helpful. I think I wouldn’t be able to stay in one place and will most likely end up visiting all of the islands just to quench my curiosity! I particularly like the photo with the sunset (in case you didn’t get it that I loved your photos 😋😋)

  8. My friends just got back from Fiji and I just checked with them, they went here. The turquoise water looks stunning. My friends took a drone and share the footage on Facebook. Truly amazing, thanks for the info 🙂

  9. Mamanuca Island looks really beautiful and peaceful in your pictures! I love how you add Wanderer Tips in each part, as they are useful and easy to follow. I’d love to stay at Mana Island resort as well since the pool looks really nice 🙂

  10. This is very interesting information for me because I’ve never heard of Mamanuca islands! I’ve heard (and seen gorgeous pictures) of Fiji islands but not Mamanuca. Thanks for sharing this post, I certainly hope I’ll be able to make it here one day! Love all your pictures by the way.

  11. I have always wanted to visit Fiji but I didn’t know about Mamanuca Islands but they sound and look like a paradise calling my name out. I love the fact that they have different styles and budgets to all different types of peoples needs. I am also a huge fan of the roofless bath rooms especially wow.

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