Barefoot Kuata is the place that really made me fall in love with Fiji. Not just because of the crystal clear waters and amazing views on every side of the island, or the enthusiasm of the staff as they welcomed us into their lives, but also because of the unpretentiousness of a resort that refuses to call itself a resort. It’s a place that works hard to support the local communities that have welcomed it into their land. A place that not only wants to help protect the beauty around it, but also show visitors just how beautiful this place really is.
HOW TO GET TO BAREFOOT KUATA
THE ROOMS AT BAREFOOT KUATA
All private rooms are equipped with shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and soap (they smell SO good) and though they have power outlets, the wifi does not work in the rooms, so make sure you download stuff in advance if you like falling asleep to a show or podcast (as we do). Also be aware that the beautiful flowers that are decorating the bed are really fresh, so you may have to sweep off some ants before you get cozy.
Seaview Queen Bure
Beachfront Safari Tent
We loved the vibe of the Beachfront Safari Room, which seemed to be inspired by classic African safari camps. It had a writing desk, table and couch, as well as a lovely porch looking out toward the beach. It also featured an ensuite bathroom, though this one offered us a fully private open-air shower and larger toilet area.
The room offered more ventilation than the previous one, and it was lovely to listen to the waves on the beach and the tropical rain hitting the roof of the tent. It was also a shorter walk to both the beach and dining area. The only thing we would have liked was the addition of a lock on the door, or even a safe inside the room - though you can leave valuables in lockers at reception (bring a padlock), it can be a bit of a pain to have to keep doing this.
ACTIVITIES AT BAREFOOT KUATA
Even if you're only on Kuata for the day, there's tons to do in the water. The resort offers free use of snorkeling gear, as well as kayak and paddleboard rentals. There are also daily trips to the protected Moyia Reef, a 20-minute boat ride from the island, where you can snorkel or dive with reef sharks.
Shark dives are offered for both certified and non-certified divers. Even if you're not into diving, the shark snorkel is well worth the extra cost. It's totally safe and even a great option for families and those who aren't confident swimmers - you can grab a lifejacket before heading out or one of the pool noodles they bring along.
The main beach of the island also has some great snorkeling - the reef is super close to the beach so you don't have to go far to see cool little fishes and beautiful coral. Just remember to respect the sea life by admiring it without touching it.
There are also 3 separate pools at the resort. Though none of them seemed large or deep enough for adults to swim, they seemed to be perfect for families with young kids. There were several lounge chairs beside each pool to relax with a drink from the nearby bar, and a couple hammocks with stunning views of the water and other islands.
Though the highlights of Barefoot Kuata are the amazing water activities that it offers, it's also possible to immerse yourself in the tropical beauty of the island by enjoying one of several walking trails, which the staff are happy to direct you to. You can take a short hike to the edge of a cliff, or a longer one up to the peak.
The resort also offers visits to a local village, guided walks through the forest and classes where you can learn to make local artisan goods like jewelry and baskets; these can be organized on request.
For those wanting to catch a good sunset view, make sure you head up to the deck just across from the bar.
DINING AT BAREFOOT KUATA
There's only one restaurant at Barefoot Kuata, and meals are served at specific times throughout the day. I recommend bringing some snacks in case you get hungry at other times - we packed some granola bars and crackers and were glad we had them.
The restaurant is a covered room with open walls and a floor of soft white sand, conveying the perfect tropical vibe. Meals are served buffet-style, made with mostly locally-sourced food and the background music is the resort's own talented staff playing guitar and ukulele. There is extra seating on the lawn in front of the restaurant and a separate covered bar is located just beside it.
There wasn't much variety in the food options for lunch and dinner, but the food was good. There are options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians, however I recommend that those with allergies or dietary restrictions double- and triple-check ingredients.
On one of the nights we were there, dinner was served near the beach as a multi-course meal with a couple different options to choose from. On this occasion, guests all sat at the same table, which made it a wonderful opportunity to make some new friends.
Barefoot Kuata is a member of the International Ecotourism Society (TIES) and does what it can to help the local communities and the environment around it. The Barefoot Collection, which also owns Barefoot Manta resort, employs a team of marine biologists, and they help educate people about marine conservation, as well as take on conservation projects that anyone can get involved with.
The resort also recruits most of its staff from villages around the neighbouring islands and encourages guests to purchase locally-made souvenirs to bring back home to help support the local artisans who make them. Optional village excursions help support those communities, as well as introduce guests to traditional Fijian culture.
Barefoot Kuata is also partnered with the fantastic organization Pack For A Purpose, which is an easy way for anyone to make a small difference. Just pack a few extra items like school or medical supplies, children's clothing or kitchenware and you'll be helping provide the local villages with things they need.
I absolutely recommend this place to those who want a fun multi-night stay, or just those who are looking for a quick escape from Nadi. It's not only one of the closest of the Yasawa Islands to Fiji's mainland, it's also one of the cheapest places to stay off the mainland, which makes it a great option for backpackers. Though it's not a luxury resort, Kuata is wonderfully authentic and welcoming, and there's so much to do.
Just keep in mind that rooms can get quite hot in the summer since there's no air-conditioning, and you'll want to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellant and snacks to have between meals. I also recommend bringing your own beach towel.
If you're looking for a fun romantic weekend away, try to book one of the lovely safari tents. I also highly recommend doing Barefoot Kuata's shark dive or snorkel - it's not that scary, I promise!
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