In the center of the boundless South Pacific Ocean, Fiji stands out from all other attractive tropical island countries for its pure environment, rich experience and all-year-round pleasant climate
Fiji is composed of 333 islands, 106 of which are inhabited. The main island of Fiji is Viti Levu while others are known as off-islands. Turquoise waters, endless beaches, colorful corals and fish, as well as towering forests, and majestic volcanic outlines make Fiji a perfect getaway. Along with the natural beauty is the smiling faces of local people, who will cordially greet you with “Bula” and invite you to join their singing and dancing.
Fiji offers more activities than you can imagine, on-water, under-water and off-water. Most resorts and hotels have prepared for you a long list, while you can also cruise to a certain island to enjoy them, jet ski, kayaking, surfing, diving, to name just a very few. Nature lovers will be satisfied with exploring primal rainforests and gardens while relaxation or romance seekers can fulfil their dreams at the most luxurious resorts, many of which own a whole island themselves. Pure Fiji is a signature local spa brand based on the rich natural offering of Fiji, to offer not only bespoke products but also spa locations.
Island-hopping is undoubtedly a great way to experience Fiji. Thankfully, there are many cruise companies to choose from, offering different routes and services. If you want to stay close to Viti Levu, the Mamanucas is a perfect destination, with worldwide top resorts and a wide arrange of water activities. If you seek a more laidback experience, Yasawas are less developed but just as beautiful, giving you the opportunity to learn about Fijian culture with villages dotted throughout the group. And if you are indeed a nature lover, Taveuni, the Garden Island, is the one for you.
Viti Levu – Nadi
The main island of Viti Levu is the biggest island and the place where most Fijians work and live. Located on the west coast of Viti Levu, Nadi is surely the gateway to Fiji, not only being the home to the international airport, but also boasting developed transportation to take guests to different attractions via water, land or air. Nadi town is vibrant with many restaurants, cafés and stores, with popular Hindi or Fijian music flowing out from each.
Nadi gathers a variety of global delicacies from India, China, Thailand and Europe, as well as the most authentic of local dishes. Kokoda is a cold dish that you can find at nearly every Fijian restaurant. Natural coconut juice is poured on cold fish, dressed with secret sauce, giving a sweet-sour taste. Then there is the coconut crab, the unique crab in Fiji and the biggest crab in the world, 35 centimeters in length and 9 kilos in weight, featuring extremely elastic meat. Kava, the national drink of Fiji, is made from the root of the pepper tree and served in coconut shell, with a spicy flavor. Lovo is another dish that you should never miss, for its bespoke Fijian way of cooking. Juicy meat and vegetables immersed in coconut cream are firstly wrapped in a big banana leaf and put on the heated stone, covered with soil above and baked for several hours. Afterwards, the banana leaf are removed and lemon juice is sprinkled on the food. Remember to enjoy it with pepper.
Wide accommodation options are available in Nadi. Most are affordable economy hotels. But if you want to be closer to the beach, Wailoaloa bay and nearby Denarau Island offer more luxurious coastal options such as Hilton, Sofitel, Westin, Sheraton and Radisson, which provide complimentary shuttles to and from the airport.
A twenty-minute drive from Nadi Airport is the Koroyanita National Heritage Park, which will definitely lead you to another world. Navilawa Village lies just at the gate of the park. This is a traditional Fijian village set in a tranquil setting in Sabeto foothills next to a mountain stream, with about 200 residents as well as lots of free-ranging chickens. There is an Eco Lodge Visitors Centre with toilets and sleeping for 8 people.
After entering the park, take one of the treks and explore the stunning landscape of volcanic mountains, green forests and vast grasslands, as well as jungle vines, fruit trees, beautiful butterflies and colorful parrots. More amazing is the zip tours when you can fly through a tropical rainforest canopy over gurgling streams and waterfalls, an unforgettable life experience.
Located just off the western coast of Viti Levu, the Mamanuca Islands are visible from the Nadi coastline and easily accessible from the main island. You can get there by boat, seaplane or helicopter. The Mamanucas are possibly the most picture-perfect in Fiji, and a backdrop ideal for the screen. Tom Hanks’ movie Cast Away was filmed here.
The Mamanuca group is composed of 20 islands, like several pearls lost on the ocean due to their particularly white beaches. The most popular experience here includes luxury resorts, diving, surfing and Cloud9.
Malolo Island may be the most famous in Mamanucas and is home to three dreamy resorts, Six Senses Fiji, Likuliku Lagoon Resort and Malolo Island Resort. Featuring an idyllic ambience, Six Senses Fiji comprises 24 pool villas and 10 luxury residences for families and larger groups. Dining options highlight local ingredients picked in the resort’s organic garden or from local farms. The resort offers water sports for all skill-sets. Guests can snorkel, scuba dive, sail and surfers will be awed by the world-famous Cloudbreak just a 20-minute boat journey away. Likuliku Lagoon Resort is Fiji’s first and only resort with authentic over-water bures. The resort is adults only. The Malolo Island Resort, tucked away in a quiet bay, is more suitable for family guests with many children facilities.
The sea water around Mana Island is full of color thanks to the red, white and purple coral just under the water surface, amid which lovely starfish hide. There are two resorts here. The Mana Island Resort & Spa is the biggest island resort in Fiji, with 4 beautiful sand beaches and a well-equipped kid’s club and kiddie swimming pools. Tadrai Island Resort has won awards as the most romantic honeymoon hotel, offering just 5 villas, giving you utmost privacy.
Matamanoa Island Resort occupies the whole island itself. The resort highlight is its SPA which is perched on the hillside. While enjoying the utmost pampering of the body, your mind will be further relaxed by the scenery before your eyes. Vomo Island Resort, due to its big fan Madonna, attracts many guests. Enjoy the most stunning sunset at the Rock Bar or try sea fishing and then entrust your catch to the resort chef for a coveting dish.
Amidst the beautiful islands of Mamanuca, there is an artificial tiny “island” – the only floating bar in the world – Cloud9. Order a cocktail and rest on the deck, a vast blue sea is just before you. If you are the thrill type, plunge into the water and snorkel among the tropical fish or try the windsurfing under an expert’s guidance. You can also cozily lie on the sun bed and enjoy the vibes created by the DJ while having a bite of various delicacies. Remember to try their star Italian pizza, which is handmade and freshly baked. Cloud9 is 40-45 mins boat trip from Denarau Port.
Also, many people come to Mamanucas for diving. In addition to the multitude of fish and corals, the high visibility and ideal water temperature make Malolo Barrier Reef well-known globally. The two hottest diving spots here are Gotham City where muraenesox cinereus dwells and Supermarket where you can see many sharks.
The famous heart-shaped island Tavarua is also in the Mamanuca Group. It is a haven for surfers, with some of the most challenging waves in the South Pacific, including Cloudbreak.
If you happen to be interest in arts, then visit the Gallery of Art and Craft on Malolo Lailai Island. It is just a short five-minute walk from the airfield, perched part way up the hill, overlooking the breathtaking Malolo Lailai Bay. You will see beautiful paintings on glass, tiles, ceramics, wood and magnets. Appreciate the dying art on a range of sulus, wraps, shirts, scarves, bags and hair bands. Or indulge in other uniquely designed handicrafts.
North of Mamanucas are the soaring peaks of the Yasawa Islands that make up Fiji’s western border, a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands.
You won’t find any shops or banks here, but just so much natural beauty. Visiting the islands was once limited to cruise ships, and passengers were forbidden to set foot on the Yasawas until the 1950s. Thanks to a Government ecotourism initiative, the islands are now dotted with accommodation options. For backpackers, there are simple bungalows which offer basic facilities like hot water bathing. Although most of them don’t provide air conditioner, the sea breeze will help cool you down. There are also a range of decent resorts, such as Nanuya Island Resort, famous for its variety of water activities; Navatu Stars Resort, inspired by authentic Italian style; Yasawa Island Resort & Spa, located on the quietest south; and Viwa Island Resort, featuring a combination of 50 staff+11 bures.
If you are not in a hurry, find a cruise company, possibly South Sea Cruises, and have a day trip around the islands of Yasawas. The cruises offer star services and food. So you can just sit back and enjoy the scenery.
In the northern part of the island group, the limestone caves of Sawa-i-lau are a great destination. For the more adventurous, you can dive with manta rays on Drawaqa Island and snorkel with sharks on Kuata Island.
One thing to remember is that there is hardly any independent restaurants on Yasawas, except those within the hotels and resorts. The good news is that many hotels will offer local tribe visits when you will offered homemade Fijian dishes.
Fiji’s third largest island is known as the Garden Island for good reason. Lush jungle, gorgeous beaches, secluded waterfalls and abundant wildlife make Taveuni an eco-tourist’s dream.
Bouma National Heritage Park, 150 square kilometres of coastal forest and Fijian jungle, makes up 80% of Taveuni’s total area and is home to Tavoro (Bouma) Falls, the most iconic waterfalls in Fiji. Begin your journey at the very end of the road on Taveuni’s eastern coast, with breathtaking beachfront scenery, but soon you’ll be part of your very own jungle adventure. Immerse yourself in the sound of rare native birds. Then swim between the high rock walls of a deep water ravine as you venture upstream to discover secluded waterfalls. When you pass some local villages, the lovely children will joyfully treat you with fresh coconut juice.
Afterwards, have a mouthwatering adventure at Gaiatree Sanctuary located on a hill. This is not a simple restaurant, but an organic spice plantation, day club and nectar lab. Feast on handcrafted seasonal menus and delicious concoctions from their nectar lab. Every dish is a piece of art.
Upon arrival, you will be presented with cool drinks and a warm welcome into the nectar kitchen. After getting settled and soaking up the ocean views, a guided tour of the organic farm and spice gardens will begin. It is an informative journey into tropical botanicals, fruits and flowers as you travel through exotic pathways. The gardens include a developing food forest with over 50 varieties of fruit trees, holistic herbs and superfoods including cocoa, acai, vanilla, starfruit, peppercorns and turmeric.
Fiji offers more than you ever imagine. Come and find your own favorites. For more information, visit http://www.fiji.travel.