Life on the Job

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more stunning location to work, in terms of both the scenery and the people you'll be living with. The Yasawa villagers are known for their ear-to-ear smiles, their cheerful 'Bula' welcome and their warm, friendly nature.

Where you'll be based: the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

One of Fiji's most stunning regions, and where the Vinaka Fiji volunteering programs are based, are the remote Yasawa Islands group consisting of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands. Four of these islands have dramatic elevations with summits just short of 600 metres above sea level. The pristine white sandy beaches and dramatic monoliths surrounded by crystal-clear lagoons provide a beautiful environment in which to relax or enjoy the many activities on offer.

The northern islands are home to the famous Blue Lagoon and is mostly where our volunteers are based. As the name suggests, the water is the most inviting shades of blue you will ever see!       

The remote Yasawa Islands were formed millions of years ago by volcanoes, most evident in the southern most islands of Kuata and Waya Lailai with their dramatic elevations, honeycomb rock formations and summits just short of 600 metres above sea level.

Further north, azure lagoons surround the pristine white sandy beaches. This - the Blue Lagoon Region - is the Fiji you dream of. The beautiful environment is perfect for relaxing or enjoying the many activities on offer.

There are just over 20 resorts sheltering in the peaceful bays of Kuata, Waya and Waya Lailai, Viwa, Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa. Further north is Naviti Island, Yaqeta, Matacawalevu, Nanuya Lailai, Tavewa and Nacula. 




Getting to our volunteer base

Your journey into the Yasawa Islands with Vinaka Fiji begins at Denarau Marina, where you'll board Awesome Adventure Fiji's famous yellow boat, the 'Yasawa Flyer'. The 'Flyer', as she's fondly known, will have you cruise up through the tiny isles of the Mamanucas, where you'll discover the picture-postcard Fiji. Then, as you cross into the ancient volcanic chain of the Yasawa Islands, you'll uncover an entirely new, perhaps grander, paradise.

The journey on the Flyer takes about 3 hours to get you to Barefoot Island Lodge, our base camp.

If you'd like to arrange welcome and departure packs for your time in Nadi/Denarau, pre and post volunteering, please speak to us.





The Culture - what are the people like in Fiji?

Fiji offers a diverse cultural experience with the Fijian and Indo-Fijian people. From remote island villages to the capital Suva (still with its colonial feel), Fiji will provide an endless string of wondrous experiences. 'Bula'- you'll hear it all the time – it symbolises the warm, friendly outgoing nature of the Fijian people.



What to expect - Monday to Friday & weekends

All Vinaka Fiji Volunteer programs are based on a Saturday to Saturday week-long stay, with each separate program operating Monday to Friday in the schools and villages. Saturday and Sunday are spent at leisure.

A typical day will begin with an early breakfast at around 6.30am, followed by a 30 to 60 minute longboat transfer from the base camp to the schools and villages where you'll be working (note: on the rare occasion of rough sea conditions, we will not be able to run transfers due to safety reasons and volunteers will have to remain at Basecamp for the day). Lunch is either provided by the village or taken with you from base, depending on the day's activities. You will generally depart the villages and schools heading for base around 3.00pm in the afternoon on the longboat transfer, in time to have a shower and attend a debriefing on the days achievements and planning for the next day, before you enjoy an evening meal with other volunteers and resort guests from around 7pm.

Working in the sun and heat of Fiji can be very tiresome and most volunteers retire to bed early to get a good nights rest before the next adventure begins!

Saturdays and Sundays are for leisure and the Yasawa's many charms provide a multitude of opportunities to experience the culture and traditional ceremonies at Fijian villages, dive or snorkel the beautiful reefs in stunning remote island locations, relax and enjoy tropical white sandy beaches, explore caves and bush walking, climbing volcanic mountains or cruising to nearby islands…. the list is endless and allows you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life. Sunday is typically a day of rest in Fiji so supervised activities are limited, but volunteers are always welcome to attend the traditional Village Church Service - generally a very moving experience.

After your week/s of volunteering relaxation is big in Fiji, but if you’re in the mood there are incredible activities available throughout the Yasawas including hiking, some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving, local villages to visit, cultural activities, hand-line fishing, visits to caves… even swimming with manta rays depending on the season!

The remote village environment and expected working hours required for the volunteer programs is not suitable for children therefore we have a minimum age policy of 16 years. 




Where you stay - Barefoot Island Lodge, our 'base camp'

Standard accommodation in the Yasawas is generally in either a dorm or sharing a bure (pronounced 'boo-ray'). A bure is a traditional Fijian wood and straw house. Traditionally bures were houses where adult Fijian men would socialize, eat and sleep - while families lived in a house known as a Vale. These days, bure is a term often associated with Fijian holiday cabins, which are modeled on the basic shape of a traditional bure and built with materials that pay homage to the traditional buildings.

Barefoot Island Resort at spectacular Drawaqa Island lies in a superb location between two beaches. One of the beaches overlooks the lagoon where the awe inspiring manta rays come to feed each day. Much of the surrounding waters of the island have been declared a Marine Reserve.

The Rooms

Barefoot offers standard Double/Twin Bures and Dorms (just 4 per room), set amongst mature trees just back from the beach with a central facilities area for bathrooms. The Deluxe Bures are safari tent style with a full opening wall and deck toward the beach and an ensuite bathroom with outside shower.

The resorts owners have a strong commitment to the environment both on land and in the ocean. Their background is in diving and they have undertaken a lot of research and conservation work in Fiji and Australia. There is a Marine Biologist at the resort to provide in depth interpretation and information.

There is excellent snorkelling straight off the beach including some great drift snorkels. An experienced dive team are also there to take you on some of the most awesome dive experiences you’ll experience in Fiji. The resort offers a relaxed nature based experience in a location you’ll never get tired of photographing.

All rooms are serviced daily with staff making your bed, sweeping out your bure and replenishing water in your foot bowl. Bed linen is provided however, you will need to bring all other linen including towels and toiletries. There is a basic laundry service available for a small fee.
 
Upgrade Note: At Barefoot Island Resort there are Deluxe Bures available, each with a semi-enclosed outdoor ensuite bathroom. One of the great delights of the Yasawas is taking a shower under the stars!



Meals

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your package costs, with the resort offering a good variety of simple fare. Also available at the resort for purchase is a small range of snacks, soft drinks and alcohol. With regards to alcohol we ask you to treat this with respect so that it does not inhibit your participation on the programs. The Program Managers have the right to refuse the supply of alcohol to any volunteer and or to deny participation in the work program if they feel this is at odds with the program or posing a risk.

We will do our best to work with any dietary requirements you have, but please check this prior to making bookings as some resources can be limited in the remote locations we work in!

  Fiji is breathtakingly beautiful. You'll be based in some of the most scenic of Fiji's islands and work alongside some of the world's most friendly people.



Yasawa Islands fiji
The Yasawa Islands are a chain of more than 20 ancient volcanic islands.



Fiji islands
The Blue Lagoon, where many of our volunteer programs take place.



Awesome Adventures Fiji
Your journey into the Yasawas is on board the famous 'Yasawa Flyer'.



Fiji culture
The Fiji culture is still very much intact and a way of life in the Yasawa Islands



volunteering in Fiji
A typical day will begin bright and early with a longboat transfer to a local village and an enthusiastic greeting!



snorkelling in fiji
Saturdays and Sundays are for leisure - get out and discover Fiji!



Barefoot Island Lodge fiji
Barefoot Island Lodge, Fiji - our base camp.



Barefoot Lodge
A double bure at Barefoot Island Lodge.



Barefoot Island Resort accommodation is in traditional Fijian bures.



Breakfast, lunch and dinners are included