Part 2 of my Fiji trip was to spend a of days on one of the islands. The one I chose was Mana Island which is part of the Mamanuca Islands. I was booked in to a Backpackers hostel, Ratu Kinis Diving Resort. Both myself and Trish were picked up at Bamboo and brought to our transfer boat. The journey took about 45 mins and cost $F144 round trip.
The trip over was breathtaking with all of the mountains and islands (small and large) all in such clear view. Ratu Kinis is based right on the beach and we were greeted by the staff with a song and Bula! We checked in our stuff and after an introduction with Gus we headed off for a walk on the beach. Our dorm was 16 but there was only 10 of us in it. The room was really spacious and basic which is great because of the hot weather. We also had a furry friend come visit a couple of nights who managed to steal my food! Other than that, things were kept clean and tidy.
Mana isn’t a huge island but due to the show ‘Survivor’ being filmed on it we were only allowed on a small portion. The beach itself is white sand and you can see straight through the clear water. There are palm trees everywhere and sun loungers to relax on. Close by to us was another Backpackers called ‘Mana Lagoon’. This seemed to be busier with people and we ended up spending a good bit of our time over here.
That day we spent the afternoon snorkeling (which was organised for free through our hostel as part of the ‘afternoon activities’). The hostel also runs a diving course through Padi as well as different activities ranging between $F25 – 150. The snorkeling was brilliant though but if I was to go back I’d bring my own gear.
With a lot of accommodation on the Fiji islands, a meal plan is compulsory. With Ratu Kinis you have a choice to opt out. Depending on your diet though you may want to take up this offer as the meals themselves cost between $F10 and $F40. There is a shop but very basic. I got the dhal soup which was really tasty though!
After meals (which you have live music playing ion the background) there are games or entertainment held. This was a lot of fun and was a good ice breaker with the other guests. When this finished up myself and Trish headed over to the hostel (where Blake was staying) and hung out there for a while.
The rest of my time on Mana Island consisted of sun bathing, swimming, reading, making jewellery from coconut shells and having the chats. On the last day we even got a tour of the village school which was extremely sweet. This island really doesn’t give you any choice other than to relax and recharge the batteries. Also, there is no Wifi, so you’re completely cut off from the outside world unless you have a sim (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!). There are day excursions you can go out on from Mana like a trip on the Sea Spray (highly recommended by Trish) or a direct transfer over to Castaway Island where the film was shot.
Well, where to start with this place! Cloud 9 is a 2 storey bar floating in the middle of the ocean accessible only by boat. This was probably the highlight of my Mana experience.
The people over in the other hostel managed to arrange a trip over costing $F40 pp. Our hostel had quoted us $F120 and said there was a compulsory meal fee, which as it turns out wasn’t the case. We were able to get a cheaper price because Aja, Blake and a few others rallied together nearly 30 people. We were brought over in two groups and the journey takes around 45 mins.
The day was spent jumping from the 2nd floor, swimming and drinking. There was also pizza going around that everyone shared. The weather was absolutely amazing and we caught the most incredible sunset before we left. Also because there was so many of us, it was like having our own private party, it was pretty surreal! For drinks, the prices ranged from $F12 – 38 and the staff prefer guests to use card.
So if you ever find yourself headed out to the islands, make sure you make your way out to Cloud 9 for an evening, just paradise!
Overall Fiji was quite a success. Maybe it was because of the great people I met (especially Trish and Blake who I basically ended up going around Fiji with) or it could have possibly been because of the n
o rush, no panic vibe. Either way, I’ll be back again in the future!