Nanuya Balavu Island

Secluded bays, superb snorkeling, 40 dive sites, excellent fishing and gigantic manta rays make this tiny island the jewel in the Yasawa crown.

Nanuya Balavu is one of the smallest islands in the Yasawa chain. The island features only one resort, the Mantaray Island Resort, leaving the rest of the land deserted and free to explore. Stay at the resort or, for a great day trip, take a charter boat here from any of the nearby islands.

The biggest attractions on the island are the manta rays that rest in the island’s lagoons between May and October. The channel between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa island is rich in nutrients and plankton, which provides a banquet for the rays. These sea creatures can stretch up to 22-feet (seven-meters) wide, but they are gentle and harmless to humans. Take a chance to swim freely with these graceful creatures as they glide through the water. Diving is not allowed around the rays, however snorkeling is accepted and encouraged. 

If you don’t get a chance to visit when the rays are around, Nanuya Balavu still offers plenty of other attractions. Snorkeling and diving trips leave regularly from the resort and take you to local hot spots. Kayak around the island or across the channel and relax on the many deserted beaches. The waters surrounding the island are protected by reefs and are perfect for a casual paddle. 

Jump on a charter and head out beyond the reefs to cast a rod. You might haul in marlin, tuna or giant trevally. Your resort will cook up your catch — there’s no better feeling than being presented with a barbecued fish that you reeled in only hours ago. For those keen to explore deeper below the surface, Mantaray Island Resort has a team of qualified instructors ready to share their secret spots with first timers and experienced divers.

The Mantaray Island Resort has dorm-style accommodation and a small number of private, single-room villas. Other accommodation can be found throughout the Yasawa Islands. Nanuya Balavu is about a three-hour boat ride away from Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island.

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