I'm a huge fan of Wayalailai, as I was fortunate enough to make several visits here in 2007, spending a total of 8 weeks on the island. Wayalailai is a perfect choice for travellers who really want an authentic Fijian experience. It is an intimate resort operated by the local village, and you really get a chance to know the villagers. The same Fijians who drive the boat and carry your bags up the beach are the ones entertaining you in the evenings entertainment, which I find very charming.
First of all, the setting is stunning. Beautiful beach and lovely bures just up the hill. Besides incredible scuba diving and snorkeling (they have a PADI dive center on site), they have several daily activities available, based on guest demand. There is a gorgeous peak that overlooks the resort that you can take a guided hike to. This is best done as a sunrise hike, takes about 3 hours roundtrip. They have kayaks available for a small rental fee. You can easily paddle to a couple of small little beaches just to the left (as you look out at the water from the beach) of the resort. Each time I did this, there was nobody else there but me - your own private beach! Volleyball is available on the main resort beach - sometime organized matches, sometime not so much! They have different nighttime activities, such as beach bonfires and Fijian dance demos. Finally, there’s no shortage of wonderful hammocks to just stretch out in the shade and read.
There are a couple of small villages you can visit, one within a five minute walk, and couple of others a short boat ride away. You are welcome to wander over to the village next door and visit on your own, just be sure and respect their village customs (no hats, sunglasses, and cover your shoulders & knees). Remember that in Fiji their homes extend out into their gardens, so be respectful - but I wouldn't be surprised if you make friends! It's such a shame to come to this lovely place and just stay within the resort grounds the whole time - by all means, wander over and get to know the locals! They also have organized visits by boat to the larger villages on the island, including on Sundays to attend church service, which is meant to be incredible with the singing and all.
Regarding a bar and nightlife, they don't really have a fancy bar. Rather, they have a large outdoor patio attached to the dining hall, overlooking the water, with different arrangements of tables - some long for groups, some smaller for couples. The local vibe varies nightly depending who's on the island. If there are tons of backpackers, sometimes there will be a pretty energetic group party atmosphere that goes into the wee hours... other nights, not so much. Generally speaking, if you are looking to party hard and whoop it up, dancing to loud music til dawn, this is not the place! It is the perfect place, however, to sit around the kava bowl and appreciate the local pace of the islands.
What makes this place unique is the extent to which the staff are happy to include you in their regular social activities. There will usually be a few staff seated on a mat drinking kava, and as the evening goes on, the guitars come out and the singing begins, making for a truly special experience! Some of my favorite memories were after midnight when the generator shuts down, out come the kerosene lanterns, and the singing, guitar music and kava drinking continues by moonlight. The staff are genuine people; they won't put on fake smiles just to charm you, but if you approach them with respect and understanding for their culture, they are more than happy to share it with you. That is the charm of this place - if you show an interest and make friends, they are they warmest people in the world, and you'll get so much more out of your visit!
I could go on and on about Wayalailai.... if you have any specific questions, feel free to ask!
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- Also Known As:
- Wayalailai Ecohaven Hotel Waya Lailai
- Wayalailai Ecohaven Resort Fiji/Waya Lailai