Fiji’s Best Private Island Snorkeling Resorts

At these favorite Fiji island getaways, great snorkeling begins right at the beach


The Mamanuca Islands are home to some of Fiji’s favorite resorts. Lying just to the west of the main island of Viti Levu, they are just a boat ride or a quick 15-minute flight away from the International Airport. Many of the 20 small islands in this group are ringed in coral reefs that can be viewed with a short swim from shore, making them especially attractive for snorkelers. For avid fish watchers, the resorts with the most to offer are set on the smaller, private islands with no other hotels or day-trip excursions to crowd the reefs. Here are four of the top-rated resorts for a memorable Fiji snorkeling vacation.

Vomo Island Resort

At 225 acres, Vomo is one of Fiji’s larger private islands. And it is a case of bigger is better when it comes to beaches and coral reefs. Guests at Vomo Island Resort have two and a half miles of white sand beach to wander and more than five miles of coral reef to explore. With no other resort on the island and just 28 villas tucked into the lushly landscaped grounds, crowds aren’t a thing. Avid snorkelers could spend their entire vacation discovering new areas of the surrounding coral reefs, both from shore and on the regularly scheduled snorkel boat excursions. And when it’s time to surface, there’s plenty more to do.

Rocks Bar Vomo Resort

A popular stop at Vomo Island Resort is the Rocks Bar. Photo: Vomo

Vomo is an all-inclusive, five-star property that offers elevated dining experiences, spa services, and a wide range of activities and amenities. In the water sports department, there are expected offerings such as kayaks, windsurfers, and Hobie Cat sailboats, plus a unique Fliteboard experience where guests can learn the sport of gliding above the waves on a powered hydrofoil. Ashore, there are lighted tennis courts, a full- featured fitness center, basketball courts, yoga decks, and a nine-hole golf course. The island is laced with walking trails, including one that leads to the island’s central peak for 360-degree views. The resort’s culinary team has earned a reputation for creating some of the top-reviewed cuisines in Fiji, and they can also accommodate a wide range of special dietary requests. Accommodation options include beachside and hillside villas, along with 3-, 4- and 5-bedroom private residences that are well-suited for families and groups.

Family VIlla Vomo Island

Large family-sized residence at Vomo Island Resort. Photo: Vomo Island

Matamanoa Island

Avid snorkelers have plenty of options at Matamanoa Island. Set on its namesake private island, this mid- sized resort is ringed by reefs that are easily accessible right from the beach. These reefs lie within a private marine sanctuary and boast some of the region’s best displays of hard corals. A favorite area for shore-based snorkeling begins in front of the resort’s beachfront villas, which are set on the island’s northeast shore, a bit apart from the other resort amenities. Guests can explore the waters of the Matamanoa Marine Sanctuary on their own, engage a snorkeling guide, or hop aboard one of the resort’s boats for a guided snorkel safari to more distant sites. For deeper explorations of the reefs, the resort also includes a full- service PADI dive center. 

Matamanoa Island Resort

Aerial view of Matamanoa Island Resort with two beaches. Photo: Chris McLennan/Matamanoa

Matamanoa guest accommodations include ten beachfront villas, 24 beachfront bures, and 13 garden resort rooms. All villas and bures feature an outdoor shower, thatched gazebo, and plunge pool. Accommodations are spread across the southern half of this 27-acre island, keeping everything within walking distance of the restaurant, pool, watersports center, spa, and other resort amenities. Guests are provided with the full range of expected activities, from kayaking, sailing, and scuba diving to coconut husking, basket weaving, Fijian cooking lessons, and traditional song and dance performances. The staff can also arrange trips to adjacent islands, including nearby Monuriki island, which was made famous by Tom Hanks in the film Cast Away.

Matamanoa Island

Snorkelers swimming over the reef at Matamanoa Island. Photo: Matamanoa

Navini Island Resort

Navini Island Resort sits in the center of one of Fiji’s original marine preserves, and the benefits of three- plus decades of protection are obvious to anyone who peeks below the water’s surface. The pristine corals that ring this private 6-acre island teem with all manner of tropical fish. The one thing not found here is an abundance of snorkelers. The reserve is not open to day-trip excursions from other islands, which means access is limited to just the guests staying in the resort’s ten private cottages. The reserve can be explored right from the beach, and there’s a lot more to discover with daily boat trips that take snorkelers farther afield to sites offering an even greater diversity of underwater landscapes, such as large plate coral formations and colorful soft coral gardens.

Navini Diving and Snorkel

Underwater shot of snorkeler and coral at Navini Island Resort. Photo: Navini

It’s not just the snorkeling experience that sets Navini apart. With a maximum of 20 guests served by a staff of 24, the focus in this secluded setting is on personal attention and personal choices. Arrivals are greeted at Fiji’s international airport and whisked to the resort by private car and speedboat. Once on the island, guests create their daily itineraries from a menu of complimentary water sports, guided activities, tours, and cultural experiences. While the resort is a favorite with couples and honeymooners, it is also a family- friendly destination, with available babysitting and children’s programs and accommodation choices that include a two-room villa and a family villa. All accommodation packages include meals, activities, and transfers to the island.

Navini Island

Private sandy beach at Navini Island Resort. Photo: Navini

Nakelo Treasure Island Resort Fiji

Treasure Island is one of Fiji’s original private island resorts, and 50 years later, it’s still a favorite. This four- star property has kept pace with the times through periodic upgrades and renovations, and today, it remains a favorite for family vacations. Like other private island resorts in the Mamanucas, Treasure Island has created a designated marine preserve in the surrounding waters. The resort also sponsors a hawksbill turtle conservation program and hatchery that welcomes visitors. The reefs offer excellent snorkeling with the added bonus of dedicated snorkeling coaches and guides for both shore-based and boat-based snorkeling trips. This service is especially helpful for families with young snorkelers. Another unique snorkeling experience offered at Treasure Island is guided night snorkeling excursions that reveal octopus and other nocturnal marine life.

Nakelo Resort

View of Nakelo Treasure Island Resort, pool, and beach from above. Photo: Nakelo

Like most Fijian resorts, Treasure Island offers packages for couples’ getaways and wedding parties, but its strongest offerings are for family-friendly holidays. Nanny services are available for younger children, and the Little Treasures Club provides daily supervised activities for children aged 4 to 11, offering unique hands-on experiences of Fijian culture. The resort’s Eluvuka Restaurant provides special early children’s dinner hours with menus tailored to younger palates. Parents are not forgotten, as the kitchen also serves a range of innovative menus and offers memorable dining experiences such as a private sandbar island picnic, dinner under the stars, or private table service at the water’s edge. Families can engage in programs that teach traditional Fijian handicrafts, cooking, Fijian phrases, traditional herbal lore, and kava ceremony preparations. A weekly highlight for the entire family is the traditional Fijian lovo feast and dance ceremony.


Isolated sandy islet off the island resort of Nakelo Treasure Island. Photo: Nakelo