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12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting South Sea Island, Fiji

12 Things to Know BEFORE Visiting South Sea Island, Fiji

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Fiji is home to some of the most beautiful small island getaways in the world. It makes sense that millions of people make the trip every year for that perfect island retreat. South Sea Island is by far one of the most popular to visit and if you’re reading this it means you’re probably wondering what you should know before you jump on a boat to see it for yourself.

We have been to tons of islands in Fiji over the years and had heard great things about South Sea Island so we wanted to go see it for ourselves. After spending a day here we have answers to all those questions you have about visiting this beautiful place and if it should make your Fiji bucket list! Keep reading to see if a tour to this top Fiji destination is right for you.

Don’t have time to read the full article? South Sea Island is a beautiful getaway in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji. When you book a full-day tour to South Sea Island, you not only get white-sand beaches and crystal-clear water, but you also get free extras like snorkeling, a submarine ride, food/drinks with a cultural show, and a Kids Club for the little ones!

1. About South Sea Island, Fiji

Two people relax in the shallow waters of South Sea Island, Fiji
Paradise!
A small reef shark swims off the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji
A small reef shark!

Located only 30 minutes from Port Denarau, South Sea Island (also known as Vunivadra) is a small, but beautiful getaway in the Mamanuca Islands of Fiji. It’s a popular destination for its white sand beaches, clear waters, and activities to enjoy. 

As far as water sports are concerned, there is no shortage of great ways to dive in and experience the beauty that surrounds the island. Paddleboards and kayaks are readily available, as well as snorkeling gear you can use to see all the different fish in the coral reefs nearby. We thought the snorkeling was really good here, so definitely plan to grab some snorkeling gear if that interests you. (We found there isn’t a ton of snorkeling equipment, so make this your first priority once you arrive!).

If you are interested in scuba diving you can pay extra to rent some gear and get up close and personal to some aquatic life. However, if don’t want to get wet, there is a semi-submersible submarine you can take to look at all of the different fish that call Vunivadra home!

Besides water sports, there is a range of other things to do on the island. It’s a pretty small island, so we found that we could easily walk around it in about half an hour before coming back to enjoy the pool, a massage, or catch a Fijian “Meke” performance at lunch. Loungers, WiFi, and a fully stocked bar ensure you have the most relaxing experience possible. 

2. Where is South Sea Island, Fiji?

Views of the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji
Views of the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji

South Sea Island is located northwest of Denarau Island and tours like this full-day cruise leave from Port Denarau Marina. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach it and we found this is a little bit farther than some of the other destinations in the Mamanuca Islands. It is however considerably closer than other getaways that offer the same activities.

Related Read: Another fantastic getaway that leaves from the same port is Seventh Heaven Fiji. This floating oasis is one of our favorite spots!

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

A lady kayaks at South Sea Island, Fiji
I’ll never get sick of the crystal-clear waters!

When looking at the cost of a tour to South Sea Island it is important to keep an eye on what’s included (lunch, drinks, towels, use of WiFi, etc) and how long you get to spend there before you need to board and head back. 

We took this 8-hour all-inclusive full-day cruise to the island which only costs $115 USD and it was great. Alternatively, you can book a 5-hour all-inclusive half-day cruise for slightly less at $101 USD.

If you’re interested in getting a massage, renting scuba gear, reserving a day bed, or ordering a craft cocktail you will have to pay for each separately. It is worth noting that you get 30 minutes of free WiFi, but after that, if you would like more while on the island you will have to buy it (there is still cell service). Otherwise, each of these tours has no surprise costs and everything else is covered.

4. What’s included in the South Sea Island, Fiji tour?

Fijian dancers perform a show on South Sea Island, Fiji
Meke cultural performance
Bailey and her friends pose for a photo on South Sea Island, Fiji
The highlight is the beaches!

So much is included in this South Sea Island tour

Hotel pick-up and drop-off means you don’t have to worry about transfers and the catamaran there and back is also covered. As soon as you step onto the catamaran there is unlimited beer, wine, water, and soft drinks for the whole day. The boat also has WiFi, airconditioning, and clean facilities making for a comfortable ride. 

If you enjoy water activities you have access to kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkel equipment. We’ve often seen other experiences charge extra for these, so this was a huge bonus for us that they were free! All you need to do is talk to one of the friendly staff and they will get everything set up for you. There is also the spectacular Subsea semi-submersible submarine that takes you through coral reefs for no extra charge.

If you have kids along, there’s a Kids Club for children ages 3-12 that you can access for free! Other island tours, like the Castaway Island experience, also have a Kids Club, but it’s an additional fee. So the fact South Sea Island has this as complimentary is a huge perk if you’re traveling as a family.

If you like to lounge you can make your way to the saltwater pool or one of the many chairs located on the white sand beach of the island. After visiting, we think South Sea Island has one of the best beaches in Fiji!

For lunch on the island, you are served a delicious BBQ buffet with beer, wine, or soft drinks while you watch a Meke cultural performance.

5. Where can you visit South Sea Island, Fiji from? 

Day beds on the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji
It’s not hard to see why this is one of the top places to visit in Fiji!

Both tours offer transfers to and from Port Denarau from most accommodations in Nadi, Denarau, and Wailoaloa. However, the full-day tour does offer transfers from some other resorts as far down as Momi.

If you want to see if your accommodation is approved for pick-up and drop-off there is a “pick-up point” search bar on the Viator booking page where you can type in your hotel and check. If your accommodation isn’t listed you can book your own transfer or check if your hotel offers private transfers. 

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

A beautiful beach and water as we arrive at South Sea Island, Fiji
It’s really that beautiful!

I highly recommend booking as far in advance as you can. This specific tour is a very popular one with the busiest season being from June to September. Holidays such as Christmas see an influx in travelers as well as all school holidays for Australia and New Zealand.

One of the best things about booking on Viator is that it makes everything stress-free. You can reserve your spot well in advance and if travel plans change you can cancel your reservation for a full refund up to 24 hours the day before your experience. No questions asked! This is a cruise offered by South Sea Cruises (a great company in Fiji!) but the cancellation policy is better (and you avoid credit card fees) if you book with Viator rather than booking directly with the company.

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

Two people walk along the beach on South Sea Island, Fiji
Can you tell we had fun!

Each tour offers a different amount of time on the island. The full-day tour is 8 hours long with 7 of those hours being on the island and 1 hour for transfer to and from Port Denarau.

If you don’t want to spend as long on South Sea Island the half-day tour is only 5 hours long with 4 hours on the island and 1 hour for ferry transfer. 

8. What extras can you book?

South Sea Island has several extras you can book when you visit. For a VIP lounging experience you can book day beds out by the ocean. Or if you really want to relax, talk to the staff about setting up a time for a massage. Do you know how to dive? You can rent scuba gear to explore the coral reefs nearby!  

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

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo on the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji

The food on South Sea Island is fantastic. You can expect fresh cooked BBQ meats and fish as well as salad and vegetables. Fijians love a good buffet and we found this one was no different. There are lots of options to choose and it all tastes great. Good thing there are plenty of places to take a nap after you chow down! 

10. Are there free sunbeds at South Sea Island, Fiji?

Beach hut on South Sea Island, Fiji
Free sunbeds!

There are lots of free sunbeds available on the island for you to choose from, but I recommend walking around and claiming your favorite one when you arrive. If you go during peak season they can be taken fast so make sure you get yours as soon as you get off the boat. I like having a spot with a little shade so I snag the ones under a palm tree as fast as I can!

11. Is the snorkeling good at South Sea Island, Fiji?

A small reef shark swims in the shallow waters of South Sea Island, Fiji
Look out for reef sharks!

The snorkeling is pretty great! We saw lots of neon-colored fish and even a few reef sharks making their rounds. These little guys are harmless, but I thought it was so cool to see them up close! Overall I would say it was a 4/5 snorkeling spot with plenty to see.

The biggest problem with snorkeling here is that they don’t have a lot of gear so you might have to wait to use it like we did. If it’s busy and you only are there for a half day you may not have the chance to use it at all. That’s why I personally recommend the full-day tour and then making a beeline for snorkeling gear as soon as you arrive!

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

Bailey with her friends on the beach at South Sea Island, Fiji

While South Sea Island is a great experience and lots of fun I personally wouldn’t call it the best small Island getaway in Fiji. If I were to pick my favorite it would have to be the Malamala Beach Club on Tivua Island

The coral reefs are prettier and snorkeling is much better overall. They have lots more gear for you to use so you don’t have to worry about having to wait and missing out. South Sea Island just doesn’t have as many kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling gear so you end up waiting for hours sometimes especially during peak season. We never had this issue on Tivua Island. We have a whole review on Malamala Beach Club if you decide to go there too!

While the BBQ buffet on South Sea Island was really good, the food and drinks at Malamala Beach Club blew it out of the water. They have tons of delicious food and beverage options available and I love having a variety of items to choose from.

Either way, if you decide to spend a day on South Sea Island or at the Malamala Beach Club you’re going to have a great time. Both offer something a little different depending on what your travel needs are and are worth visiting! 

Related Read: Before booking your plane tickets, check out our full list of the best tours in Fiji to help plan your dream trip!

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!

I hope our review of South Sea Island was helpful as you narrow down which islands in Fiji you want to visit. If you’re sold on visiting this little paradise, you can book your South Sea Island tour online here. We had a blast spending the day here and can’t wait to come back again!

If you found this guide helpful, there’s lots more where that came from! Have a look at our other Fiji blogs, including a few other popular ones below:

13 BEST Fiji Honeymoon Resorts & Honeymoon Planning Guide

10 BEST Day Trips in Fiji

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