Island Hopping with Yasawa Flyer Bula Pass by Awesome Adventures Fiji
You’ve probably come across the stunning Yasawa Islands in Fiji by now and have started wondering how you’re going to get around. The answer is surprisingly simple, the Yasawa Flyer Bula Pass.
The Yasawa Flyer, run by Awesome Adventures Fiji, is the easiest and most convenient way of getting around the region.
In comparison to my adventures exploring Vanuatu by cargo boats that were often delayed by days, island hopping in Fiji is a breeze.
The Yasawa Flyer makes one round trip per day, passing almost all the islands twice. One northbound, and once southbound.
A complete trip from Nadi to the northernmost island called Nacula takes around 5 hours. However, if you’re visiting islands along the way and not heading straight to the end, then your average daily trip duration will be less than 3 hours.
This article outlines various options for island hopping in Fiji. At the end of the article, I will also give you some information on 5 amazing islands to visit on your trip!
Getting from Nadi Airport to Port Denarau
The Yasawa Flyer departs from Port Denarau about 15 minutes from Nadi. Note: That’s 15 minutes according to Google Maps and if you travel directly with a taxi.
Important: the Bula Pass includes a free bus transfer from the airport, saving you about 20 FJD (15 USD) each way. On the way back, the bus can transfer you to your hotel in Nadi or back to the airport.
Look out for that bus behind me in this poorly taken selfie. I was in a mad rush to reach the boat on time!
The bus passes the major resorts around Nadi first, making the trip from Nadi Airport to Port Denarau about 45 minutes.
If your flight lands early in the morning, you may be lucky enough to align it with the departure of the Yasawa Flyer. This is great if you don’t want to spend a night hanging around in Nadi first.
I landed in Nadi at 6am, made it through immigration, transferred to the port, and boarded by boat by 8.30am. By 11am I had already reached my first island.
Getting from the Yasawa Flyer to Resort
A few minutes before the boat reaches each island, the crew will call out the names of all the hotels and guesthouses. This makes it almost impossible to miss your stop.
If you’re on the sundeck rooftop the sound isn’t as clear so you will have to listen more carefully.
One of the loosely enforced pre-requisites of visiting the Yasawa Islands is that you have pre-booked your accommodation. The only time someone ever checked was by asking “have you booked your hotel” to which I replied “yes” with no further questions asked.
It seems one of the reasons for this is so that your accommodation is aware of your arrival. As the Yasawa Flyer typically moors a few hundred meters off the shore of each island, small boats are sent out by each accommodation to collect guests.
For resorts (even basic ones) this transfer is normally included in the cost of your night’s stay. Smaller guesthouses and homestays may charge an additional 10 FJD (7 USD) for a transfer each way.
You’re unlikely to be the only one arriving at your resort on any given day. Even if you haven’t pre-booked your accommodation, a transfer boat will probably still appear. No guarantees though.
How Much Does the Yasawa Flyer Cost?
There are several options for booking the Yasawa Flyer; single trip, Bula Pass, or the Full Monty Package.
Bula Pass – if you’re planning to go island hopping for a week or so, the most economical option is the Bula Pass. The Bula Pass comes in options for:
- 5 days for AUD 303
- 7 days for AUD 391
- 9 days for AUD 459
- There are also longer options for 11, 13 and 15 day passes
The Bula Pass works as a hop-on-hop-off ticket for the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. The first stop in the south is Beachcomber Island, and the furthest stop in the north is Nacula Island.
Single Trip – the only way a single trip ticket is more economical is if you are staying on an island for an extended period, longer than a Bula Pass allows. The price of a single trip ranges from AUD 60 to AUD 129 depending on how far you travel.
Full Monty Package – this is like the Bula Pass on steroids including all accommodation, meals, transfers, and activities. This may suit those travelers who want a no-hassle all-inclusive package. I prefer to maintain the flexibility and plan things myself, so opted for the Bula Pass.
How Does the Bula Pass Work?
There is an Awesome Adventures office at Nadi Airpot, located on your left-hand side as you pass through customs. You can arrange your transfer to Port Denarau or Nadi from here.
There is another Awesome Adventures ticketing office at Port Denarau. You can’t miss it as the line before morning departures are quite long. This is where you will have to check-in, pick up a pass, and drop your luggage for loading on the boat.
Once onboard you will be able to exchange your white paper pass for a yellow cardboard pass. This yellow pass is your hop-on hop-off ticket for the full duration, so don’t lose it!
The Yasawa Flyer has a set schedule for its round trip along the islands each day. This is noted on the back of your paper pass. Some days the boat arrives early, so be ready at least 30 minutes before scheduled arrival or you may be stuck on the island a day longer than planned.
You will have to show your ticket each time you board the Yasawa Flyer.
Yasawa Flyer Schedule
Awesome Adventures website makes it a bit confusing with 6 different routes listed. If you are island hopping through the Yasawa Islands instead of the Mamanucas, then you only need the following route.
This is a copy of the Yasawa Flyer Schedule as of March 2020. The boat does a loop stopping at all the islands as it travels north, then revisits them as it travels south.
The exception to this is Nanuya Lai Lai Island. The boat only stops here once, and while it is located south of Nacula Island, is it visited afterward on the southbound journey only.
You’re best off visiting Nacula Island first, follow by Nanuya Lai Lai, otherwise, you will need to arrange a private transfer across for about 20 FJD (15 USD).
Facilities on the Boat
The facilities onboard the Yasawa Flyer are basic. There are a couple of toilets and a small shop where you can buy snacks, coffee, beer, water and not so appetizing sandwiches.
If you are hungry, I suggest eating before boarding.
There is a large airconditioned section with indoor seats on the first floor. This can be quite refreshing if you are not used to the hot and humid Fiji weather.
On the top floor, and the front of the boat there are sundecks (pictured above) where you will get a great view of the passing islands. I spent way too long outside and got incredibly sunburnt along with a few other travelers.
There is also the Captain’s Lounge on the second floor (middle level) which seems to be a less crowded air-conditioned room at an additional cost.
Which Yasawa Islands to Visit?
The most difficult part about visiting the Yasawa Islands is figuring out which islands to visit. There is so much to choose from that you can easily fall into decision paralysis.
I’ve written an epic guide on island hopping in the Yasawa Islands for 9 days. This guide includes details on 6 islands, hotels on each, and loads of awesome things to do.
Here are a few highlights which can assist you in planning your trip:
- Waya Lai Lai: mountainous with a great hike to a sunrise viewpoint
- Kuata Island: scuba diving with Bull Sharks (without a cage)
- Drawaqa Island: snorkeling with Manta Rays ad replanted coral reefs
- Nanuya Lai Lai: the stunning Blue Lagoon and local village vibe
- Nacula Island: visit local villages and closest points to Sawailau Caves
- Yanggeta Island: chill as the super-luxe Navutu Stars Resort
Have any questions about using the Yasawa Flyer or Bula Pass? Fire away in the comments section, and I’ll respond as soon as I can.
Disclaimer: My trip was sponsored by Awesome Adventures Fiji. The Bula Pass is truly the best way to get around and I wouldn’t do it any other way. As always, all opinions are my own.