Savusavu: A guide to Fiji’s hidden paradise

Savusavu Bay is one of Fiji’s most glorious stretches of water and most charming towns. Formed from the caldera of a volcano, the bay is home to marinas, wonderful swimming and snorkelling spots, and a world-famous pearl farm. The town itself provides many diversions, under and on the water, and on land.

Things to do

Diving and snorkeling
Since 1997, fishing has been banned at Namena Marine Reserve, which means the sea life is spectacular at fancifully- named sites like Dungeons and Dragons, Alice in Wonderland, Dreamhouse (frequented by schools of hammerhead sharks) and Dreadlocks. Just 35 minutes from Savusavu, Natewa Bay is one of Fiji’s best-kept secrets, or you can journey on to the Great Sea Reef. Prime snorkeling sites right off town include Split Rock, Lighthouse, David’s Point and Nuggets. Some companies will take you to Namena or to visit Natewa.

Dive and snorkeling operators shops include:

Vuadomo Waterfall
Vuadomo Waterfall is an easy drive from Savusavu, just near Vuadomo Village. While there is no official entrance fee, you should present your sevusevu at the village before proceeding; women from the koro also sell handicrafts. Don’t forget to dress appropriately/modestly in the village. You need to walk an easy five minutes to get to the falls. If you’re staying at a hotel in Savusavu, they can also recommend guides.

The team at Savusavu-based Liquid State Freediving stress that freediving is not an extreme sport, but an ability we are all born with and recommend it to snorkelers, spearfishers, surfers, scuba divers, yoga practitioners and loves of nature. Courses start from a half day introductory experience.

J. Hunter Pearl Tour
An interesting tour where you learn about the pearl farming process in the tempting Savusavu showroom of this famous company, before jumping on a boat to see work on the pearl farms in the bay. During our visit, workers were cleaning and checking shells, but at other times of the year you may see women harvesting infant oysters, the full pearl harvest (usually March-May and August-October) or pearl technicians seeding oysters. The tour finishes with snorkeling, at the clam nursery or at Split Rock.

J. Hunter Pearl harvesters

After learning about the time it takes to produce chocolate (from bean to turtle) at KokoMana, you’ll think twice before quickly scoffing down a chocolate bar. The KokoMana tour includes an easy walk through the forest where cocoa and many other useful and beautiful plants thrive, a demonstration of the different stages of chocolate production (harvest, fermentation, drying, grinding) and then a tasting (and buying) session.

Also, check out Flora Tropica Gardens and its 300 varieties of palms, the Namaka Hot Springs (where information boards explain the geological forces at work) and bustling Savusavu market.

Where to stay

Lewa’s Loft
The artfully decorated Lewa’s Loft is perched above the airport and is perfect for family groups and friends. Lounge poolside where your view stretches to the horizon, cook in the well- equipped kitchen and make use of onsite facilities, including the great little spa.

Koro Sun
Koro Sun is luxurious and romantic. From your Edgewater Floating Bure (adults only), you can slip from your personal deck into your kayak. There are family options as well, and activities include guided snorkeling, paddleboarding, rainforest and herbal walks, golf, cycling and handline fishing.

Daku Resort
Daku Resort is a local favourite, also well-known for hosting ‘Paradise courses’ in art, yoga, writing, singing, diving and birdwatching.

Savasi Island Resort
Savasi Island Resort’s 13 villas sit on a 52-acre private island. Well-known for its fine food offerings, you can eat in the intimate dining room or escape to a private grotto or beach for peak-romance. Its signature experience is kayaking past the mangrove forests of the Qaloqalo River to local landmark, Salt Lake.

Other options include the 5-star Namale Resort and Spa, family-favourite Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Hot Spring Hotel, and the rustic Pearl Shack.

Lewa’s Loft

Where to eat and drink

For curries, it is hard to go past Mum’s Country Kitchen, Arun’s Taste of Hidden Paradise, Ethan’s Coffee Heaven or the offerings at the Planters’ Club (which is also great for a sunset beer, bu and chasers).

For waterside dining, the Captain’s Table (and Captain’s Café) at the Copra Shed is popular for its pizzas and perfect view. A drink and conversation at the tables under the trees of the Savusavu Yacht Club is one of the best places in town to while away an hour or two.

Planters’ Club

The new development at Nawi Island is home to Nautical Restaurant and Skippers Bar (local recommendation: the lobster special) and the new Sub Bakery. A ferry makes the short trip between Savusavu and Nawi hourly.

Also try: Surf n Turf (modest décor belies the menu), Sea Lovers (a pocket-gem and well-stocked deli), Savusavu Wok for solid Chinese food, and the new Peter’s Uptown Restaurant (especially good for Chinese and Fijian food).

Getting there

Fiji Link flies to Savusavu daily from Nadi. From Suva and Nadi, you can fly to Labasa and do the picturesque 90-minute drive from there to Savusavu (recommended pitstops include the Waka family’s Fresh Tea + Coffee at Seaqaqa and Urata Lookout Café outside Savusavu).

Fresh Tea + Coffee

Northern Air also flies to Savusavu from Nadi.

Island Hoppers and Pacific Island Air offer charter services from Nadi.

Goundar Shipping sails between Suva (Natovi Jetty) and Savusavu and has capacity for vehicles.

Interlink sails to Savusavu from Suva.

Captain Cook Cruises‘ Remote North Discovery Cruise also visits Savusavu.

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