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Barefoot Manta Island, known traditionally as Drawaqa Island, lies in the Southern Yasawa Islands. This modest lodge property is deliberately quiet, simple and unsophisticated. The sensational surroundings and natural beauty encourages an immediately relaxed and carefree frame of mind. With three stunning beaches allowing you to watch both the sunrise and sunset, beautiful coral gardens located right off the beach, crystal clear waters and Manta Rays feeding in the channel off the aptly named Manta Ray Beach, Barefoot Manta Island is a tropical paradise waiting to be explored.
In conjunction with the Manta Trust, Barefoot Manta Island houses a manta ray research facility with a dedicated team of marine biologists and conservationists leading practical and applicable research into the population, behaviours and habitat of the manta rays that aggregate in the channel between Naviti and Drawaqa Islands.
There are 21 rooms on the island ranging from dorms to traditional bures and eco-luxe tented safari bures, which cater for budget and alternative travellers searching for a special getaway. Families are most welcome too.
The Yasawa Flyer, also known as the Big Yellow Catamaran, departs Denarau Marina at 8:30am every morning to island hop through the Mamanuca Islands en-route to their majestic neighbours, the Yasawas. The journey up through the Yasawas is magical: the Flyer stops along the way in the most scenic channels and bays, picking-up and dropping-off tourists who are moving on to their next slice of paradise. At each stop resort tenders (small motorised boats) whizz out to meet the Flyer to transfer guests to/from the resorts!
The Yasawa Flyer arrives at Barefoot Manta Island at 11:30am then heads further north to the famous Blue Lagoon, before turning around and heading back south, stopping off at all the islands again, passing Barefoot Manta Island at 2:45pm before arriving back at Denarau at 5:45pm.
Alternatively a scenic 30 minute seaplane transfer can be arranged from Nadi to Barefoot Manta Island and vice versa.
A unique dining experience maximising the island’s natural assets (spectacular sunsets, cool breezes and clear night skies) ensures the most desirable ambiance for your tropical island meals. Breakfast and lunch are served in the main bure with outdoor and undercover seating options, table seating or communal style alongside the Bamboo Bar. Dinner is served beachfront at the Waterfront Sunset Deck and Bar. The weekly Saturday traditional Fijian “lovo” and Meke is not to be missed. A volleyball court, shaded hammocks, wireless internet access and 240v mains power is available.
The onsite dive centre offers scuba courses, boat and shore dives, and conservation programmes and marine talks with resident marine biologists.
Barefoot Manta Island provides traditional bures for fuss-free travellers looking for comfortable, rustic accommodation. Guests can choose between a shared-facility dormitory or a more modern bure, which offers combined living space with an ensuite bathroom.
Traditional Beach Dorm : These original bures situated beachfront on Sunshine Beach are spacious dormitories that accommodate four people in bunk beds and/or single beds with mosquito netting. Shared bathroom facilities.
Sunrise Beach Dorm (3) : Recently renovated, these spacious dorms are located right on Sunrise Beach, each accommodating four people in single bunk style beds with mosquito netting and modern shared bathroom facilities.
Traditional Beach Bure : older style queen or twin bedded bures with mosquito nets designed for two adults located just metres from the water on Sunrise Beach with modern and comfortable shared facilities close by.
Beachfront Safari Room : tent walled queen bed bures with large windows designed for two adults including a charming semi-covered bathroom with outdoor shower and decking leading onto Sunset Beach. A single bed can be added for an extra person at additional cost.
Beachfront Family Safari Rooms : safari tent style with mesh and louvered windows designed for small families featuring a double bed, bunk bed or 2 single beds for 2 adults and 2 children. An extra guest can be added for additional cost. The Family Safari Rooms have a semi-enclosed bathroom attached to the bure.
All bures are fan cooled and sparsely furnished. Hot water is not available throughout all the bathroom facilities.
A compulsory Resort Package of FJ$99 per person, per night is required to be purchased (prices subject to change at any time without notice). This package includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, WiFi and use of non-motorised water equipment.
Spectacular snorkelling and diving, nature walks and hikes, bird watching, visits to nearby Fijian villages, kayaking, fishing and the opportunity to swim with Manta Rays (May to October) under the guidance of trained staff and marine biologists.
The deep natural channel between Drawaqa Island (also known as Barefoot Manta Island) and Naviti Island funnels strong nutrient rich currents through it’s waters. This provides a favourite feeding ground for migrating Pacific Manta Rays between the main months of May to October. The manta rays come here to filter feed on the concentration of plankton that streams through the channel. An average sized Manta Ray takes in approximately 20-30kg of plankton per day and thus can grow to extraordinary sizes. With a wing span that can reach over 6 metres wide, they are one of the biggest creatures in the ocean, their only natural predators being large sharks and orcas.
Graceful and elegant to watch as they glide through the water, slowly flapping their enormous wings, the Manta Rays are a spectacle to behold as you swim alongside these majestic creatures. As many as thirteen Manta Rays have been recorded in the channel at one time.
The easy and relaxing reef dives range from colourful shallow reefs and coral gardens to walls, pinnacles and caves in the Yasawas famous clear, blue water. Marine conservation and sustainable tourism practices are of great importance to the dive team at Barefoot Manta.
In 2016, two 40 metre Chinese long line fishing vessels were laid to rest in the Naviti region of the Yasawas to form artificial reefs. Both wrecks are accessible from Barefoot Manta Island. Glory is just a 10 minute boat ride south of Barefoot Manta (max. depth 24 metres) and Navigator sits in 32 metres of water 10 minutes west of the property. Penetration of both wrecks is possible and both have attracted numerous species of fish and coral life.