Sawa-i-Lau Caves: How to Find the Most Beautiful Secret Lagoon in the World


I float in the most beautiful lagoon in the world. You may think I’m talking about Bora Bora or maybe the Maldives.

But no, this one is much closer to home. And much more secret. It’s so isolated that no satellite on Earth can pick it up. This is because it is hidden inside an island.

Welcome to the Fiji Islands of Yasawa and a place known as the Sawa-i-Lau Caves.

Many people make a mistake when vacationing in Fiji by spending their entire break in Port Denarau on the main island. Although there are a few glitzy resorts, you need to venture further afield to explore Fiji’s true beauty – places like the Yasawa Islands.

READ MORE:
* Paradise found: The best places to bask in the Pacific
* Matangi Private Island, Fiji: The Tropical Treehouse Island You Must Visit
* Golden Bay: Escape the crowds to a hidden slice of the tropics

This beautiful archipelago is only accessible by ferry or plane from the mainland of Fiji, and here life is simple: there are no roads, shopping malls or supermarkets.

You’ll find a series of towering islands shrouded in turquoise waters and fringed with golden sands. And best of all, there’s a hotel for every budget, from $35 dorms to beachfront villas with private pools.

The island of Sawa-i-Lau is home to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

The island of Sawa-i-Lau is home to one of the most beautiful lagoons in the world.

One of the northern islands is called Sawa-i-Lau, which is home to the secret lagoon.

The easiest way to get there is to stay at a nearby resort, such as Blue Lagoon Beach Resort. He organizes several trips a week to the caves, which start with a short boat ride, before arriving at a deserted beach.

We are then led down a stone path to find a small cave entrance. When you enter you are greeted with an almost mythical beauty; a pool of turquoise water sits inside an almighty cavern, with rays of light streaming from a crack in the earth above. It looks almost too beautiful to bother – but your guides all invite you for a swim.

Sawa-i-Lau Island lies in the northern Yasawas.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

Sawa-i-Lau Island lies in the northern Yasawas.

As you would expect with such a dramatic setting, legends swirl around the caves. One of the most popular is that a young chief and his lover fled to the cave, after being threatened that she was about to be married off to a rival chief.

He swam around the cave with food until the couple managed to escape the island and find refuge, where they lived happily ever after.

The lagoon is difficult to spot from above.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

The lagoon is difficult to spot from above.

But these are not all the secrets that this lagoon conceals. There’s a hidden second chamber you can explore – but you need to be prepared for some serious adventure to get there. It can only be accessed by swimming through an underwater tunnel for a few seconds, where you pop up in a pitch-black cave.

It all seems a bit overwhelming, but you’ll have guides to help you out and light the cave with their torch. (You can also skip this part of the tour, as many do.)

I preferred the first bedroom, full of cinematic beauty. If you want to start international travel again with some serious adventure, a trip to the most beautiful lagoon in the world should be on your to-do list.

The lagoon is easily accessible from the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort.

Brook Sabin / Stuff

The lagoon is easily accessible from the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort.

Essential

Getting to Fiji: Fiji Airways has services from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to Nadi. See: fijiairways.com

Getting to the Blue Lagoon Resort: Most guests arrive on the Yasawa Flyer, an inter-island ferry service connecting Port Denarau to major resort towns. You can also take a seaplane or helicopter to the hotel.

Stay: Blue Lagoon Beach Resort starting at $204 for lodge rooms and $366 for villas, with an additional meal plan. See: bluelagoonresortfiji.com

Access to the caves: Blue Lagoon Resort offers regular excursions to the Sawa-i-Lau caves, which cost around $65 per adult ($89 FJD) or $35 ($45 FJD) for children.

The author traveled to Fiji before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic courtesy of Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways. This story was produced through an editorial partnership with Tourism Fiji. Learn more about our partnership content here.

Previous On This Day in History - June 5 - Almanac
Next Column | An Anthology of the Best Indian Writings on Cricket | Cricket News