When we think of a dreamy island vacation, the South Pacific often comes to mind. One of the area’s most idyllic places is Fiji, a destination that has it all. Gorgeous beaches, delicious food, exciting nightlife, historic sites, camping and water sports are all at the ready. Moreover, Fiji offers accommodations from 5 stars to modest and clean, making a vacation affordable for just about everyone. The icing on the cake that makes Fiji a world-class vacation spot is the friendly and outgoing people, who welcome everyone with an enthusiastic “bula,” meaning health.
Fiji actually consists of more than 330 islands and is the crossroads for South Pacific travel. The islands form an archipelago in an upside-down horseshoe configuration around the shallow Koro Sea. Two of the islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of Fiji’s population of almost 850,000. The capital city is Suva, located in Viti Levu. Flights land at Nadi International Airport, and the booming Nadi area, with its large assortment of resorts, serves as a base for many who want to tour other Fiji islands.
Yasawa Islands, a string of islands with rugged mountains and sparkling white sand in northwest Fiji, are an oasis of unspoiled beauty and famous for having the best beaches in the world. The beaches include Champagne Beach, Lovers Beach, Paradise Beach and Valawalu Beach. Viti Levu is also notable for its excellent beaches in areas such as Sunshine Coast on the northeast side, Coral Coast in the southeast and Pacific Harbour at the south end. The Yasawa Islands and Viti Levu also contain a large array of accommodations of all kinds.
Visitors can combine beaches and sightseeing when they go beach hopping on the beautiful Yasawa Islands, a 2-hour ferry ride from Nadi. Some of the islands are uninhabitable yet have small resorts or beach bungalows designed for the budget traveler.
Fiji’s better land attractions are on the island of Viti Levu. The Arts Village is a lakeside village where ancient Fiji comes to life. It can be explored by foot or boat and contains the tallest traditional temple in Fiji and bures, which are cheaply-built Fijian houses constructed of local materials including leaves, reeds and bamboo. Arts Village is packed with shops and restaurants. Another popular attraction is the Coral Coast Railway in Sigatoka on Viti Levu’s southeast edge. The adventure’s scenery varies from a scenic coastline to a thick green forest to the underground Muka Caves. Guided by Mr. Coconuts, the journey takes 90 minutes.
Adrenalin Fiji at Denarau Island in the Nadi area is a premier provider of numerous activities, including hot-air ballooning, parasailing, kayaking, water skiing, snorkeling and fly fishing. For golfers, the Denarau Golf Club, though expensive, is of championship caliber, featuring a 72-par course, driving range, two practice putting greens, a golf and tennis pro shop as well as clinics and lessons. Finally, Fiji has no shortage of organized activities, such as the Nadi Tivua Island Cruise, Nadi Dinner Cruise and Cultural Show, and Suva Full-Day Sightseeing Tour.