Castaway Island Resort is located in the tropical Mamanuca island group, Fiji. Easily accessible from Nadi International Airport. Simply hail a taxi or take a short shuttle bus ride to Denarau Marina. I chose to take a scenic boat transfer from the marina (approx. 1hr sailing) to Castaway with the friendly crew from South Sea Cruises https://www.ssc.com.fj/. Guests are also invited to arrive via seaplane, water taxi or helicopter.
The very second Castaway Island comes into view will be your ‘aha moment’ it is truly an idyllic paradise, almost otherworldly in essence. There’s a tangible sense of magic here and yes, a peaceful island vibe. Set on a 174 acre rainforest preserve, with its palm draped beaches, dazzling coral reefs and resonant Fijian culture I asked myself ‘what’s not to like?’ The question of course remained unanswered throughout my stay.
The Beachfront Bure was my home away from home while at Castaway Island. Each Bure (bungalow) is free standing and features traditional thatched roofs and high vaulted hand painted ‘tapa’ lined ceilings. All rooms are stylishly appointed with natural timbers and have air-con, however I was happy to enjoyed the sea breeze instead. The bathroom is spacious and stocked with Pure Fiji products, the bath towels are soft and the shower pressure is great; sure this may seem like minor details to you the reader but as a seasoned traveler it’s the little things like this that I really notice.
A sliding screen separates the bedroom from the living area for privacy purposes if you require. I however kept mine open to take in the uninterrupted ocean views from the comfort of my king size bed! Please check http://castawayfiji.com/fiji-accommodation/ for additional information about the other styles of Bures on offer, I guarantee you’re sure to find the perfect one to suit your requirements.
Water’s Edge Restaurant has an A La Carte menu as well as the meal plan option available. The daily buffet (breakfast, lunch & dinner) here is a sumptuous affair. I found the quality of local ingredients to be super fresh and tasty. There was an abundance of dishes to choose from and absolutely everything was presented beautifully. It was refreshing to see a wide variety of food choices for children also.
Sundowner Bar as the name suggests this is a pearler spot to sit and watch the dreamscape sunsets and happy hour is oh so conveniently timed from 5-7pm. Most afternoons I could be found here with cocktail in hand, casually tucking into their infamous wood-fired pizzas (available from 12-9pm).
“1808” Situated by the beach this outdoor restaurant is a unique dining venue. It is touted as a ‘Fijian Asian Fusion Experience’ and its well executed menu is inspired by Fijian history, culture and culinary techniques. Sit out under the stars, unwind and enjoy. The open plan kitchen is a cool twist and watching the talented chefs create the dishes before your eyes is a real treat.
Many of the traditional Fijian cooking techniques have been handed down through the generations via the Polynesian, Micronesian and Melanesian settlers. A menu highlight for me was the Kovu Peking Duck Curry and also the local caught Snapper poached in fresh coconut milk and paired with local greens aka the Lemon & Coconut Ika Vakalolo. Word to the wise the wine list here is pretty impressive so take your time to select a vino to compliment your meal. Don’t go skipping desert either, the Nutty Volcanic Chocolate Fondant is truly epic, I’m still reminiscing about it weeks later – true story.
A Castaway Island experience can be as relaxing or as adventure packed as you like. Popular water activities include but are no limited to;
- World-class diving at their 5 star Gold Palm dive facility operating at over 30 PADI dive sites.
- Windsurfing, parasailing, paddle boarding, sail a catamaran or water ski on the stunning lagoon.
- Dolphin Safari Cruise – put this on your must do list!
- Island hop via speedboat and treat yourself to champagne picnic.
- Hike through pristine rain-forest to the top of the island and take in the panoramic vista.
- Surfing charters. Book your boat transfer at reception and surf world renown breaks such as Namotu Lefts and Cloudbreak. Please note the aforementioned breaks are for confident and advanced surfers only, do consider your ability levels before heading out. Wilkes Pass and Swimming Pools are most suited to intermediate surfers and on gentler days a beginner could even get a small wave.
- Snorkeling the coral reefs about the island. The water clarity here at Castaway Island is 10/10. I was stoked to see turtles, sea-snakes, giant clams and a variety of tropical fish up close.
“Terrific to see the resort has an active educational and engaging marine conservation program that includes; information about protected species, coral planting, giant clam and turtle (Vonu) conservation projects to name but a few”.
I must say I really liked the lay out of the resort, it is both intimate and spacious. I visited during peak season and never found it to feel ‘busy’ even though it was operating at a high capacity. There are two gorgeous swimming pools of which one is adults only complete with swim up bar. The kids club is fun hub of activity and private babysitting services are available too. During my stay I found all the staff to be personable and genuine, they really do make an effort to ensure your time at Castaway Island is a pleasant experience.
The resort is owned by the famed Outrigger Hotels and Resorts; a family owned hospitality group who pride themselves on attention to detail in all aspects of hotel operations. This November Castaway Island is celebrating its 50th Birthday! There will be celebrations abound so keep an eye on their website for more info. I found it hard to believe the resort was indeed 50, it still looks fresh and vibrant and not at all dated.
I certainly wasn’t surprised to discover the resort has a high percentage of return guests. It’s the kind of place that makes you want to come back again & again. A slice of paradise in the Pacific Ocean that remains true to its cultural heritage. I for one would recommend a holiday to Castaway Island for couples seeking a romantic getaway and/or families wanting to create a very memorable holiday. Or if you’re fortunate enough to be cruising the Mamanuca Islands get the captain to at least drop anchor at Castaway Island, take in the scenery, grab a cool drink and relax.