From Navutu Stars, we boarded a ferry that shuttled us down through the Yasawa Islands, to the Mamenuca group of islands. The scenery was stunning! We had the choice to enjoy the air conditioned Owner’s Suite with snacks and drinks, or to lounge outdoors on one of several decks with the sea air blowing warmly. Green islands rose up dramatically around us and the water was a thousand shades of blue; taking this ferry was definitely part of the experience of Fiji.
We arrived by late afternoon at Castaway Island. We were warmly welcomed with a lively song and guitar music, drinks and cool towels, while we checked into our rooms. We each had our own buré, beautifully decorated with printed paper ceilings and comfortable beds. Even the garden burés were only a few steps from the beach. The resort was not too large and everything was easily accessible, though the resort still enjoyed many amenities. For this and many other reasons, this was a perfect family destination.
This island felt like a child’s dream of a lost island out in the Pacific ocean; perfect palm trees and white, sandy beaches, beautiful pools, boats and snorkeling, fun activities, and of course, excellent food. This was the king’s version of being a castaway.
We enjoyed dinner with the owner that evening, at their signature restaurant, 1808. The name signified the year the Chinese first arrived in Fiji, were shipwrecked, and then escaped the natives. The chef is an Australian of Chinese descent, and found the year to be significant, as his own discovery of Fiji had been nothing short of revelatory. Not intending to stay in Fiji for long, this chef fell in love with the place. In his restaurant, 1808, he has crafted a menu that takes full advantage of local and seasonal Fijian foods and specialties, blending the various cultural legacies that have impacted Fiji. Needless to say, the dinner was fantastic, definitely the best meal we had during the entire trip. The chef’s descriptions, passion and company were incredibly charming, as was the beach side setting and ambience. The resort owner was also incredibly warm and welcoming, with an obvious passion for his work. It’s meeting and knowing these folks that enables us to personalize our clients’ travel to Fiji.
After dinner, several of us took a swim in the adults-only pool. Lined with small, twinkling lights along the edge, the pool was a perfect nighttime hang-out spot, especially with the tropical heat. Though I would say Castaway is ideal for families, and particularly for young kids to run around with new-found friends, this would really be an ideal place for just about anyone to spend several days or a week. The cuisine was worthy of the most demanding gourmands, there were activities for everyone, the setting was stunningly beautiful, and the welcome was very warm. There were several young couples and honeymooners in the mix here, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the magic of Castaway. (continued)