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Sawa-I-Lau cave, Yasawa, Fiji. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini.
Sawa-I-Lau cave, Yasawa, Fiji. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini.

Sawa-i-Lau: the caves of the ancient Fijian god Ulutini

In the north of the Yasawa islands lies one of the most special attractions of Fiji: the caves of Sawa-i-Lau. The caves are located along the west coast of the island of Sawa-i-Lau, which is located off the south coast of the island of Yasawa. Sawa-i-Lau is a limestone island in the middle of a chain of volcanic islands. The island is small, it measures 1 km by 1.7 km, the highest point of the island exceeds 160 meters in height. The place is idyllic: white sand beaches, blue sea, lush tropical vegetation and limestone cliffs. The Sawa-i-Lau caves are considered by the Fijians sacred grottoes: here in fact it was the resting place of the ancient ten-headed Fijian god, Ulutini.


The boat will land you on a small stretch of beach, where some Fijians have set up stalls with their handicrafts. Just beyond the end of the beach, towards the south, there is a concrete staircase leading to the cave. The entrance, in moments of great turnout, is contingent, in fact only a few dozen people are admitted at a time. Climb the stairs and then entering the darkness descend towards the cave. Before your eyes steep walls open and below the water that has partially filled the cave.

Beams of light enter the large dome-shaped cave – 15 meters high above the water surface – where you can swim in a natural pool. Dive and swim to the center of the cave. The feeling that you have while admiring the sheer walls that surround you and the light of the sun that penetrates from above will amaze you. It seems that nobody knows the depth of the cave. We recommend wearing a life jacket to float easily in the center of the cave. The cave excursion is also suitable for children, they will be fascinated by it.


The caves are formed by ancient limestone formations partially invaded by water. The ceiling of the cave has partially collapsed and the sunlight filters from above. While floating in the center of the cave if you look upwards you will see the sky and the green vegetation. What is usually visited is the main cave. If you love adventure and risk, however, there is a second cave connected to the first by an underwater tunnel. In order to visit it, however, a local guide is needed to accompany you.

The caves are located next to one of the locations where the film “Blue Lagoon” was shot in 1980. Some of the excursions that are organized to visit the caves also lead to visit the “Blue Lagoon” which is located a few hundred meters north of the caves between the islands of Sawa-i-Lau and Nanuya Levu. The Sawa-i-Lau caves and the beach of the island of Nanuya Lailai were also filmed in the film Blue Lagoon. The Sawa-i-Lau caves are a fixed stop for those who take a cruise with the Blue Lagoon Cruises and with the Captain Cook Cruises. The resorts of the islands of Nacula, Nanuya Lailai, Yasawa and Tavewa also organize daily excursions to visit the caves of Sawa-i-Lau.


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