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12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting Castaway Island, Fiji (Our Review!)

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting Castaway Island, Fiji (Our Review!)

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Castaway Island is one of the many small islands you can visit during a trip to Fiji and we’re here to tell you all you need to know before arriving at this slice of paradise. With so many island tours in Fiji, it’s important to know what sets this one apart and whether or not it will be a good fit for you.

We know how overwhelming it can be when you’re in the trip-planning stage and it seems like the options are endless! We’ve spent a lot of time in Fiji and even had our honeymoon here and our trips have involved visiting many islands to see which are the best. Spoiler alert – Castaway Island is up there!

In this post, we’ll go through the 12 things you need to know before visiting Castaway Island. Keep reading for all the details you need for the best experience possible so you can decide if this getaway is right for you!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Castaway Island is a gorgeous place to visit in Fiji! By booking this tour to Castaway, you’ll get here via high-speed catamaran and then have time to laze in the sun or take part in snorkeling or other activities. It’s also a great choice for families with the on-site Kids Club!

1. About Castaway Island, Fiji 

Bailey with her friends on the beach at Castaway Island Fiji

Not to be confused with Monuriki Island where the movie Cast Away was filmed, Castaway Island (local name Qalito) is an island covered with dense rainforest, white sand beaches, and surrounded by coral reefs. While Tom Hanks may not have had to survive here, other movie stars make an appearance – like the cast from Finding Nemo! Okay, so it’s not exactly the same, but snorkeling here does make you feel like you’re in the movie.

Qalito is a part of the Mamanuca archipelago located off of Fiji’s west coast. In total, 28 volcanic islands are a part of the Mamanuca Islands which is in the Nadroga-Navosa province of Fiji. This area is famous for its snorkeling, friendly locals, and long-held traditions.

Castaway Island is a perfect spot for families, friends, and couples to spend a fun-filled afternoon enjoying everything this part of Fiji is known for.

2. Where is Castaway Island, Fiji?  

Castaway Island Fiji from above
Photo credit: Castaway Island Fiji

If you are staying in Nadi, Denarau, or Wailoaloa, hotel pick-up and drop-off services to South Sea Cruises in Denarau Port are complimentary when you book your trip to Castaway Island in advance. But, make sure you are ready to go by the pick-up time as they are very prompt. Depending on where you are, pick-up times range from 7-8:35 am. If you’re late, they will leave without you and then you will have to get to the dock yourself and potentially miss the ferry! 

To get to Castaway Island you will board a highspeed catamaran that takes approximately 1.5 hours to arrive. It is large and comfortable with clean bathrooms and has some observation areas if you don’t want to sit the entire time. You will anchor out in the ocean and then take smaller boats to the island since the water surrounding Qalito is shallow. 

3. How much does it cost to visit Castaway Island, Fiji?

Beach hut on Castaway Island Fiji
Beach hut on Castaway Island, Fiji

The cost for an 8-hour trip to Castaway Island is $140 USD for adults, $93 USD for kids aged 5-15, and free for children 4 and under. The cost includes round-trip hotel transportation as well as the ferry to and from the island. While lunch is provided, any other food and beverages you would like will have to be paid for separately. 

Snorkeling is the only activity included during this day trip. If you would like to use kayaks, paddleboards, or try your hand at windsurfing, you will need to talk to the staff about renting the necessary equipment for the day. There are also some motorized activities like jet skis you can rent, but there aren’t as many of those. Even with all these activities, we just enjoyed some time being lazy and relaxing on the beach! It’s made our list of the best beaches in Fiji because it’s so nice.

If you are traveling with children from ages 3-12 you you have the option to enroll them in the Castaway Kids Club for a day of activities for an additional charge. The Fijian staff are incredibly friendly and there are tons of fun activities and games for them to take part in. You can see the full list of activities here.

4. What’s included in a visit to Castaway Island, Fiji?

Castaway Island Pool in Fiji
Photo credit: Castaway Island

The Castaway Island Tour includes round-trip hotel and ferry service, a buffet lunch, use of the pool, snorkeling equipment, and sun chairs on the beach.

There are also hiking trails that go into the rainforest behind the resort that are open for you to use. It’s a great way to get a little exercise and see some beautiful scenery at the same time! Just be sure to bring appropriate footwear if you plan on hiking to the top of the mountain or around the island during low tide.

There are a multitude of other activities (some free some not) that take place at different times throughout the day from beach volleyball to guided snorkeling tours. You can take a look at what’s offered on the day you visit here.

There is a lot available when you book this day trip but there are still some items you will want to bring. Sunscreen, towels, and some bottled water are ideal. Even though water is available at the resort I liked having my own to bring with me to the beach.

Related Read: For another must-do experience, check out the Fiji Mud Pools or one of the other experiences on our list of the best tours in Fiji!

5. Where can you visit Castaway Island, Fiji from? 

When you book online with Viator, South Sea Cruises offers complimentary pick-up and drop-off from just about every resort and hotel located in Denarau, Nadi, or Wailoaloa Beach. Of course, if you are outside of their pick-up range you can always talk to your hotel concierge to arrange round-trip transportation.

Fiji does not have ride-share apps like Uber so I highly encourage you to have round-trip transportation figured out beforehand.

6. Do you need to book the tour to Castaway Island, Fiji in advance?

Two people swim in the ocean at Castaway Island Fiji
I could live here just fine!

Yes! You will want to book in advance since this is a very popular island getaway, especially during the busy season. The peak tourist season for Fiji is June to September and tours sell out sometimes months in advance. This is because the weather is perfect for those four months with moderate temperatures and less rain. 

If you are planning to visit during any Australian or New Zealand national holidays you will want to book your experience well in advance as well. For the most part, Fiji enjoys great weather year round so there is a constant flow of people visiting and the chance that a tour can sell out.

The nice thing about booking the Castaway Island tour on Viator is that you can reserve your spot well in advance and pay later. So if travel plans change, you can cancel your reservation for a full refund up to 24 hours before the tour starts. This is a cruise offered by South Sea Cruises (a great company in Fiji!) but the booking policy is better with Viator rather than booking directly with the company.

Related Read: Wondering if Viator is legit? You bet! It’s a company owned by Tripadvisor that we use to book all our tours.

7. How long do you get to spend on the island?

The whole tour is about 8-9 hours long with 3 hours being on the boat that takes you to and from Castaway Island and 5 hours on the island itself. We found that 5 hours was plenty of time to do everything we wanted to do and didn’t feel like we had to rush to do anything. We snorkeled, hiked, swam, and lounged. I even took a little nap! 

8. What extras can you book?

A small reef shark swims in the shallow waters of Castaway Island Fiji
A small reef shark swims in the shallow waters of Castaway Island, Fiji

Castaway Island offers lots of extras you can book depending on what you want to do. 

Additional non-motorized activities like paddleboards, kayaks, and windsurfing are available to purchase for the day. If you’d like to take a jet ski out, rentals are available by the hour. Those people who like to water ski and wakeboard will love tearing it up in the turquoise waters around the island for an additional cost. And if all that leaves you a little sore, you can follow it up with a massage!

As I mentioned earlier, parents traveling with kids can enroll them in the Castaway Kids Club for a day filled with fun and activities monitored by the excellent staff. There’s a full list of activities online to check out before you and your kiddos go.

All of these extras can be arranged and paid for once you arrive on the island. Keep in mind that they are limited by the amount of equipment they have, so if you really want to paddleboard I would recommend setting that up as soon as you get there. Especially during peak season!

9. What is the food like on Castaway Island, Fiji? 

The lunch buffet included when you book the tour is delicious with plenty of grilled meats, salads, and other sides available. It isn’t a Michelin restaurant, but I certainly enjoyed it! If you find yourself wanting more or something different you can always order food from their restaurant. I am a big foodie and love sushi so I had to have an Alaska roll which was fantastic! You can see the full food menu here.

10. Are there free sunbeds at Castaway Island, Fiji?

Day beds on the beach at Castaway Island Fiji
Day beds on the beach at Castaway Island, Fiji

Yes, there are lots of free sunbeds available! However, I do want to remind you that this is a popular destination and some people couldn’t find one because they were all taken. We bolted for two once we arrived and then went to explore after so we had them when we got back. 

If you’re worried none will be available, I suggest making that your first priority when you arrive. I would pack an extra towel as well so you can lay it down on the sand and have it as a backup just in case all of the sunchairs are taken. 

11. Is the snorkeling good at Castaway Island, Fiji? 

Even though all of the islands in the Mamanuca Island archipelago are known for their snorkeling some are better than others. If I were to give the snorkeling at Castaway Island a rating it would be 3.5/5.

It has some great snorkeling spots and since the island is so large there are plenty of places to do it without it getting too crowded. I was serious about my Finding Nemo joke at the beginning – you will see lots of clownfish! 

Related Read: If you’re looking for an island with better snorkeling opportunities, I suggest visiting Tivua Island!

12. Is Castaway Island, Fiji the best small island getaway in Fiji?

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo on the beach at Castaway Island Fiji
Take me back!

While Castaway Island is a fantastic getaway I wouldn’t call it my favorite in Fiji. That award would be given to the Malamala Beach Club.

We have gone to lots of places in Fiji and this is still one of my favorites! It is only 25 minutes from Denarau Port instead of 1.5 hours so the journey is much faster. While the waters of Fiji are beautiful, over an hour on the water is still a long time.

Tickets to the Malamala Beach Club are also much more cost-effective at $84 USD (compared to Castaway at $140 USD) giving you extra money to spend on their excellent food and drinks.  

The snorkeling available at Malamala is also much better compared to Castaway Island. I have seen more aquatic life at Malamala’s coral reefs (even some reef sharks!) than at other island locations we have been to. So if snorkeling is a priority for you I would consider this instead. You can read our entire review on Malamala Beach Club if you want more info!

The biggest difference is Castaway Island is much more family-friendly with its kid-oriented activities, trained staff, and atmosphere. If you want to have a great day with your family Castaway Island is an excellent choice. However, if you’re looking for a top-tier island experience the Malamala Beach Club is a must-do during your trip to Fiji. Either way, both are wonderful and will leave you with amazing memories!

Where to Stay in Fiji

the private island of Beachcomber Island Resort
This place is just wow! Photo Credit: Beachcomber Island Resort

There are so many great areas to stay around Fiji. You can choose to stay on the main island of Viti Levu or venture out to the smaller surrounding islands. With so many choices, it can be hard to narrow it down. To help, these are my top picks for each area in Fiji that fit a range of budgets.

Nadi – The Ramada

Located right on Wailoaloa Beach, the Ramada Suites by Wyndham is the most luxurious hotel in this area. It features an exclusive pool and restaurant for guest use only. It is the tallest building in the area offering incredible views of the coastline and sunsets!

Because of its close proximity to the airport (only a 15-minute drive), many people stay here for a night before or after their flight. It’s a good place to spend some time before catching a ferry out to an island. A King Studio Room with a sea view goes for around $200 USD. Check availability and book a stay at the Ramada here!

Port Denarau – Radisson Blu Fiji Resort

The Radisson Blu Resort is just stunning, and for what you get, the price is very reasonable too. This resort is huge offering tons of activities for both families as well as couples. There is an adults-only pool as well as an area specifically for kids. It is beachfront and offers spa services as well.

Rooms here start from around $400 USD per night and range from standard hotel-style rooms with king beds or two queens, up to two-bedroom suites. Some rooms feature courtyard views while others have a view of the lagoon. All rooms have a balcony and minibar. Check availability and prices at the Radisson Blue Resort here!

Yasawa Islands – Barefoot Manta Island Resort

Barefoot Manta Island Resort is perfect for those wanting a real island getaway experience without paying huge amounts of money. Surrounded by a vibrant protected coral reef, this is the best place to go for ocean lovers. You can even swim with manta rays just off the shore from May-October!

You can easily get to Barefoot Manta Island Resort on the Yasawa Flyer ferry that departs Port Denarau regularly. The ride should take about 3 hours.

They offer dorm beds for only $29 USD a night. There are also private beachfront bungalows available starting at around $200 USD per night. Check prices and availability for Barefoot Manta Island Resort here!

Mamanuca Islands – Beachcomber Island Resort

Beachcomber Island Resort is one of the most popular island resorts to stay in Fiji. Its affordable pricing mixed with its close proximity to Viti Levu make it one of the best places to stay in Fiji. You can reach the Beachcomber Resort from Port Denarau by riding the Yasawa Flyer ferry. The ride should take about 2 hours.

There are many different rooms and bungalows to choose from – something for every budget! Remember all these prices also include ALL your meals. Dorm beds go for as little as $60 USD per night, whereas you can get a standard twin room for $225 USD. Check prices and availability at Beachcomber Island Resort here!

Coral Coast – Maui Palms

Mixing beach life and luxury, the Maui Palms is perfect for those wanting a bit of pampering on their holiday. There are lots of on-site activities and the snorkeling right in front of the resort is great. Expect an infinity pool, games room, bar, restaurant, and beautiful ocean-view villas with private balconies!

The location on the Coral Coast means you don’t need a boat to get there but can still experience some of the tranquility and beautiful beaches you might find on the smaller islands. There are also a few restaurants nearby, so you won’t be confined to the hotel. Rooms and villas here start at around $250 USD and up. Check prices and availability for the Maui Palms here!

If you’re looking for more info about where to stay in Fiji, be sure to read our blog. It includes detailed info on each area, the best things to do nearby, prices, getting to hotels, and so much more.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie on an island in Fiji
Thanks for reading!

Well there you have it, all the tips you need to know before visiting Castaway Island in Fiji. I hope our review was helpful as you plan your trip and that you’re ready to book your Castaway Island tour. We had so much fun escaping to this little piece of paradise and are counting down the days until we go back!

If you found our guide helpful, make sure to look through our other Fiji blogs, including some popular ones below:

33+ BEST Things to do in Fiji – Your Ultimate Fiji Bucket List

Sabre Cruise Fiji Review – Is it Worth it?

10 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Fiji

13 BEST Tours in Fiji (that you don’t want to miss!)