Mana Island is a little slice of paradise. White sand beaches fringed by coconut palms, plenty of turquoise blue water, and lots of smiling Fijians greeting us with the traditional, “Bula!”
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After nearly a week on Fiji’s mainland, our arrival at Mana Island Resort was a highlight. We felt as we had encountered the Pacific Island paradise that we were seeking (and had seen in the brochures!).
Located 1.45 hours from the port in Denarau, the trip to Mana Island Resort and Spa was a nice length, with views of a couple of other islands. South Seas Cruises offers several transfers each day.
Mana Island Resort and Spa is one of the most economical options in the whole of Fiji. Part of the attraction of Mana Island Resort Fiji was that it did not have an obligatory or compulsory food program, which many other of the island resorts offer. Remember that Fiji tourism largely caters to the travel agents. As such, do get in contact with a travel agent to see what deals they offer.
Thanks to Anita Burgess of Burgess Travel Company we ended up with a complimentary kids meals program. This “saved the day” in terms of our budget. Also, make sure you read the fine print. We also got $50 daily resort credit which covered our meals in the Bistro. There was also the option of an evening buffet for $75 FJ per adult (and the kids would have eaten free).
The food itself struck us as “resort style” – somewhat American influenced, and a tad bland. However, the morning buffet was not overcrowded. We never got that claustrophobic zoo like feeling that we’ve had at other resorts.
On Mana Island itself, there are two beaches from where you can swim: the South Beach and the North Beach. The South Beach is the “jetty side” where the South Seas Cruises boats arrive. It is simply stunning with turquoise waters and white sands.
On the South Beach, there was a dedicated kid’s snorkeling area which meant the kids could easily access some coral reef and get to see brightly colored reef fish. Free equipment hire for snorkels and kayaks meant we also had plenty of time on the kayaks which were a hit with our 7-year-old.
We’ve not stayed at a lot of resorts, but at Mana Island Resort we learned that planning is essential to getting the most out of your stay. You must check the tides and winds early so that you plan your activities appropriately . Also, the snorkeling was easy, but not as spectacular as we might have hoped.
Mana Island Resort and Spa has recently refurbished their well thought out pools. There are 3 linked pools with a swim up bar in the middle; ranging from a kids depth pool to a deeper infinity pool at the other end. There is also a little kids wading pool in the middle. We ended up not spending so much time in the pools because the ocean was so incredibly warm and fun to swim in.
There are plenty of organized activities. Activities like dancing and singing at night and fire walkers from the Fijian island of Banga. Our little girl even did a Kids Club activity on Fijian culture day ending with a performance of Fijian singing and dancing in front of the other guests.
There are a range of different accommodation options at Mana Island Resort and Spa. We stayed in a Deluxe Beachfront accommodation which was an older style. There is also similar (more economic) options back from the beach. Plus one option called the “Premium Beachfront “ which appeared new. Finally, there were also cheaper hotel rooms meaning that if you needed to economize there were other options.
Contact with local community
One of the things we love about Mana Island is that the island is shared with a local village. There is backpackers lodge in that part of the island. For a break in resort life you can head over to the village for cheaper water! You can even have your hair braided by the local ladies, or walk to the top of the hill, like our Papa traveler did, with a local guide who also showed him around the village. Lots of resort guests were spotted at the backpacker’s restaurant, not because of the prices but the fun, relaxed, island vibe and good food.
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