Sawa-i-Lau: the heart of the Yasawa Islands
Sawa-i-Lau is odd – in origin and in looks. But you can’t help but be drawn to this tiny island. Dominated by a jagged shoreline and a single high mountain, it stands out as the only limestone island in a chain of volcanic ones. But it’s main attraction, the beautiful saltwater caves - made famous by the Hollywood hit movie ‘Blue Lagoon’ are the real reason people visit here by the boatful.
Such a standout island attracts many legends. A local legend tells of a giant hawk that lived in the Sawa-i-Lau cave; how it carried off a princess called Naiobasali from the ancient village of Naicobocobo and how her prince, Rokoulu avenged her death by killing the hawk. It is said that the winds Rokoulu summoned to elevate him to pierce the hawk’s neck still blow in the Sawa-i-Lau caves.
Visiting the Caves
Sawa-i-Lau’s secret attraction is hidden within the bowels of its domed mountain. Two caverns, filled with turquoise seawater pools that are fed by the tides. Daylight floods the first (and larger) cave from an opening along its southern ceiling and wall. It’s a pleasant swim but surprisingly cooler than outside the cave.
You’ll need a guide (and a bit of courage) to lead you through the secretive underwater entrance to the second, smaller cavern. According to the guides, it’s only when you’ve entered this dark, inner sanctum that you’ve visited the true ‘heart of the Yasawas'.
There are a few options to get you here:-
Most Yasawa resorts in the vicinity have a daily trip to the Sawa-i-Lau caves.
Small ships cruising the Yasawa Islands include it as a stopover on their itinerary.
Check out seaplane day trip packages.
It’s worth staying at one of the resorts in the northern Yasawas to do this excursion – you’ll save on travel time and boat fuel cost.
There’s limited standing space so be prepared to tread water if it gets busy. Take a life jacket along if you are not a strong swimmer.