The Pacific Islands are somewhere I’ve always wanted visit. I’ve had a fascination with their remoteness from home and the rest of the world and the way of life on these relaxed islands. When living in Australia I realised they were a lot closer than they had ever been before and therefore jumped at the chance to explore! We bought a Bula pass with Awesome Adventures Fiji which allowed us 10 days travel throughout the Yasawa Island Chain. We booked our accommodation all separately and made our way from Sydney to island time!
Our second stop along the Yasawas was at Barefoot Manta Resort. After saying a sad farewell to our first resort, Wayalailai Eco Resort, we boarded the Yasawa Flyer and cruised up for around an hour to the Mantaray Island stop. We were greeted with a warm welcome and taken to reception to check in and learn more about the resort.
Our first thought was that this resort had so many beaches! Located on the peninsula of an island, it has three beaches, with a minute walk between each. Our 4 bed dorm overlooked the sunrise beach which had beautiful waters. The real highlight of this resort for me has been the snorkelling which off the beach is free. There is a huge variety of tropical fish as well as some really healthy colourful coral, the best I think I’ve ever seen off of a shore.
There is a marine biology team here at the resort who help to restore the reef and keep it safe and healthy. We headed out after a good sized lunch to check out the snorkelling and were all really impressed. The tide came in quickly so we grabbed a section of remaining beach and laid out until it was time to shower. We walked over to the sunset bar which we thought would be busy but turned out to be quite deserted. It was a pretty sunset and we were able to sit and write our blogs and diaries.
That evening was a Fijian night and we were served a traditional Fijian buffet which was really yummy. There was even banana bread for dessert! We were also treated to some traditional Fijian dances and songs which were performed enthusiastically and with heart. We headed to bed pretty early, we always seem to be tired early on here on the islands!
The next morning we had a buffet style Breakfast and mused on what to do with the day. As it was a Sunday we were told to expect a more subdued day with few activities on offer but it seemed that more was on than the day before! To attend Church service with the resort was nearly $60 FJD which we thought was far too much for church so we chose to postpone going until we arrived in Tonga.
We instead chose to go Kayaking but after checking in to do the activity found there were too little kayaks to take out at the time. The British man behind the dive shop counter didn’t seem too bothered by it though, telling us that it was ‘just a bit shit init!’ We decided to go snorkelling again instead and although it was low tide saw some awesome coral and fish. I lay in a hammock until lunch and again had a great meal at the resort.
We tried to get the kayaks again and this time we succeeded. We paddled around the resort and saw some beautiful coral though the water. I can’t believe how clear the water is here, its like looking through glass into the water! We then went snorkelling again to see more of the coral and weren’t disappointed again.
We took advantage of happy hour and drank cocktails whilst watching the sunset and playing cards. Dinner was a three course meal that night although we weren't sure about the ‘mincestrone’ soup with ‘toast garlic bread’ which ended up being mince in gravy which I couldn’t eat and bread with butter. The veggie main was great though as was the pear tart for dessert! That night we were once again so tired that we all fell asleep at around 9.30pm.
Our last day was a rainy one but we made the most if it by trying to snorkel one last time. The WIFI finally worked as well so we were able to contact home and let them know we were all ok! Barefoot Manta Resort was a lovely stop for a short stay. Even though we didn’t see Manta Rays which is what we originally wanted to see, we enjoyed the snorkelling and food at the resort. However, we did find the dive shop staff rude and unhelpful and the overall feel of the resort not as friendly as our previous stop. Go for the crystal clear water, the fantastic coral and beach bum lifestyle. But I think there's some more beautiful resorts on the horizon in the Yasawas!