Wayalailai Eco Resort – Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Wayalailai Eco Resort
Ah Wayalailai, this was an adventure. Typically my blogs are about food, but this has to be so much more than that.
My wife and I just got back from our trip to Fiji. From Melbourne it was only 3.5 hours and it was a birthday gift, so I was excited to go. I had heard about exotic Fiji before and I was in much need of some serious relaxation. I take that back, when we travel we never relax, so on to the adventure.
We spent a couple nights in Nadi and also spent a couple of nights on different islands in the Yasawa Island region (Blogs to come). After two nights on Manta Ray Island, we ended up here, at Wayalailai. This place was different, but not necessarily in a bad way. We arrived by boat and were immediately greeted by singing locals on the beach. You see, this resort is entirely run by the tiny villages that are located on the island. This place pays for the school, most people’s incomes and keeps these people in work. It’s amazing really and it was Fiji’s first locally owned and operated resort. You could really tell that the people genuinely cared about your well-being and happiness whilst there.
We were shown to our room, which was really strange with 1980’s themed décor, warrior paintings on the walls, a cold shower and an ant colony in the washroom. It was a bit creepy, but the bed was clean, so that’s a bonus.
We settled in and started to take in the activities for the next couple of days. We swam with sharks (REMARKABLE), hiked up a mountain at sunset, went hand-line fishing and visited the local village/school. It was great. The people were marvelous and it was evident that they really appreciated us staying there. They did everything that they could to make our stay more enjoyable. It was really, really nice. Something you don’t experience everyday.
With our stay was included our food. We got three meals per day and hot tea in the afternoon. Breakfast was fairly standard – pancakes, fresh tropical fruit and one day they had fried dough that was quite good. Lunch usually consisted of coleslaw, some sort of meat (usually fish in thick batter) and soggy fries. Supper was a buffet style meal with a couple of meat options, coleslaw, roasted veg and rice. The food was ok. It filled a hole, but didn’t really do much for me. The thing about these islands is you don’t go for the food – you go to relax or take in activities. The meals were filling enough, had variety so that everybody had something to eat and were cooked fresh, but they were catered for the masses. And we all know that mass produced food is usually nothing more than ordinary. On the plus side – the booze was strong and not bad. Bounty, their local rum came in at 58% alcohol, compared to a measly 40% in Australia, Canada or the US. Needless to say, it packed a punch.
It’s hard to explain Wayalailai. It’s a hart-warming place that leaves one a bit nostalgic after departing. It’s the type of place you go to actually give back to the community. The staff were real and did care about your day, the setting was set at the base of a mountain on a Fijian island and the dining area was outside and overlooked turquoise seas. Accommodations and food were ok, but the experience was something unexplainable. The only way to really understand what I’m talking about is to go yourself.
On our way out, the staff sang us off and we departed by boat back to the mainland. It was sad to leave and I hope to get back there one day. It was one of my most memorable travel experiences to date.
Address: P.O. Box 6353, Lautoka, Fiji Islands
Phone: + 679.603.0215
Food Quality 4/10