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Fiji Beyond the Honeymoon: World-Class Surf, Cultural Bliss, and Diving the Soft Coral Capital of the World

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I’m stomach up, floating in a pool, the backside of which is festooned with easy, white stones to learn Bula Brittany and Eliza! There’s a freshly hewn and cracked coconut inside arm’s attain. And I can mosey off my residence proper on to the seaside and the sprawling South Pacific. You see locations like this from the sweeping, cinematic vantage level of a drone throughout Instagram, or the pages of a shiny journal (Males’s Journal journal), nevertheless it makes you just a little slap-happy to be in such a spot your self. I’m in Fiji on project with a pal from faculty (whose been mistaken for my spouse half a dozen instances; we’re touring in a storied honeymoon sizzling spot, in any case), and it’s straight bliss.

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The humorous factor about planning a visit to Fiji is definitely the lack of planning. Name it American neuroticism, however I’ve solely ever traveled with a reasonably regimented schedule. So I made the lengthy haul from New York just a little apprehensive, with little in the means of an itinerary besides a handful of deliberate actions. “You’re on Fiji time,” common managers reminded us at every resort. You are able to do no matter you need, and nothing you don’t. In case you deliberate to go scuba diving, however wanna sway in a hammock palming a cocktail, go for it. The opposite purpose for such a lax schedule? The climate dictates most excursions.

Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji at sundown Courtesy Picture

Temperatures hover round 80 levels year-round, however from November to April, tropical storms are identified to roll by way of fairly regularly. Fiji’s peak season stretches from July to September, when it’s driest (although it’s also possible to anticipate vacationers to flock right here over the holidays).

You in all probability know Fiji as a diver and surfer’s paradise (it consists of 332 volcanic islands, scattered carefully collectively in the southwest Pacific Ocean), nevertheless it’s additionally one of the most culturally important locations—excellent for culinary die-hards, adventure-seekers, and anybody trying to escape actuality on the different aspect of the world. Take into account this your blueprint for exploring Fiji—we’re hitting Viti Levu, the largest of the islands, in addition to Royal Davui, a non-public island resort in Beqa Lagoon.

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How you can Get to Fiji

In case you reside in California, good for you: The flight from Los Angeles or San Francisco through Fiji Airways is a continuous 11 1/2-hour flight (red-eye) into Nadi Worldwide Airport. In case you’re touring from the East Coast (or wherever else in the U.S.), you’ll should make your option to the West Coast first. It’s a trek, particularly because you cross the Worldwide Date Line.

Standup paddleboarders at VoliVoli Beach Resort, Suncoast, Rakiraki, FijiStandup paddleboarders at VoliVoli Seashore Resort Courtesy Picture

Day 1-2

VoliVoli Seashore Resort, Suncoast, Rakiraki

Take a highway switch from Nadi Worldwide Airport (we suggest coordinating forward of time with Pacific Locations) to VoliVoli Seashore Resort, up on the Suncoast in the Rakiraki district of Viti Levu. As the title suggests, it’s virtually eternally idyllic. We’re speaking Pixar-blue skies and water. Their lately renovated Luxurious Ocean Entrance Villas are nestled alongside the entrance edge of the resort, with capability for 4 folks (two bedrooms with king-size beds). Loll about in your personal pool—and in the event you can muster the will to depart your secluded little oasis, head over to the Daulomani Spa. Bask in a fast foot soak and rub, or keep for a coconut physique buff or fragrant therapeutic massage (there’s even a sunburn remedy in the event you’re a bit too overzealous basking in the solar); both means, you’ll hear the water lapping in opposition to the shore and have the ocean breeze wafting by way of.

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If you wish to preserve your first day informal, head over to Ra Bar & Restaurant, proper close to the resort’s dive bar. Snack on BBQ hen and pineapple pizza or beer-battered fish and chips, and wash it down with a frosty Fiji Gold beer. If you’d like extra lively pursuits, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling gear can be found. Fiji’s the gentle coral capital of the world, and the Bligh Waters simply off the coast of Rakiraki are house to a menagerie of iridescent fish and rainbow coral. Naturally, the scuba diving is top-notch as properly.

Kokoda fish at VoliVoli Beach Resort, FijiKokoda fish lunch at Nuku Bar & Grill Courtesy Picture

 

Rinse off, then head over to the on-site Nuku Bar & Grill, an open-air restaurant overlooking the pool and horizon. Sip on sauvignon blanc or a fresh-herb mojito as the solar units, and be sure you order kokoda. It’s a beloved dish likened to ceviche. Uncooked fish (sometimes Spanish mackerel, or walu) is “cooked” in a single day in recent lime juice, then tossed with chilis and greens, and bathed in recent coconut cream. End off your meal with gentle shell crab or New Zealand lamb shank with whipped potatoes. Earlier than you head in for the evening, take a minute to stare upon the stars—particularly in the event you’re a metropolis dweller—the visibility is spectacular.

In the morning, prepare for a taxi to convey you to Rakiraki Market. Peruse the distributors’ bevy of produce—together with pineapple, avocado, guava, passionfruit, and unique varieties, like soursop and tarawao. It’s a fast however beautiful drive by way of the countryside, together with cane fields, cassava patches, and rocky volcanic outcrops. Get a coconut for the trip again and sip it in a single of the hammocks scattered about the property. Or, embark on the Dolphin Expertise, a three-hour safari that finds you snorkeling alongside the gentle coral reefs in Bligh Waters. Some visitors have been fortunate sufficient to see pods of as much as 100 dolphins (small, swift Spinner dolphins are native to the space).

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Seize lunch—spicy Thai noodle salad or grilled fish tacos—and sip a cocktail by the pool, getting some down time in earlier than one other one of Volivoli’s signature excursions, the Sundown Cruise. You’ll set out at Four:30 p.m. aboard a catamaran, having fun with small bites and free-flowing champagne, beer, and/or wine as golden hour units in. You’ll loop round Malake and Nananu-i-Ra islands, making a pit cease to discover the heat waters and sand.

Cap off the evening with a feast: Get caramelized pork stomach with apple and celery salad to begin, adopted by ika vakalolo, recent fish cooked in lemon-infused coconut miti, and a cheese plate with seasonal fruit and native Rakiraki honey for dessert.

Postcard with an illustration of Fijians at sea paddling in canoes and a drua, large and fast canoes built from planks and powered by huge triangular sailsPostcard with an illustration of Fijians at sea paddling in canoes and a drua, giant and quick canoes constructed from planks and powered by large triangular sails Smith Assortment/Gado / Contributor / Getty Photographs

 

Day three

Suva

Guide the Nabalasere Waterfall Tour with Talanoa Treks. In case you simply need a fast journey, you possibly can meet a information at the Forestry Workplace in Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve and meander by way of the forest (previous the plaque Prince Harry devoted to the Queen’s Commonwealth Cover), and leap in the decrease swimming pools (there’s even a rope swing). It’s slick, so undoubtedly put on good sneakers. The Nabalasere Waterfall Tour is longer; you’ll go to the native Nabalasere village, the place all the properties are painted mint inexperienced. The thundering waterfall pours right into a pool, prime for swimming, and you possibly can meander by way of the Wailotua caves. Deliver a change of garments and a sulu (a sarong you’ll wrap round your waist) to put on in the village.

In the afternoon, head to Novotel Suva for the Drua Expertise—a one-of-a-kind conventional canoe tour that takes off from the Bay of Islands in Lami. You’ll set sail aboard Fiji’s solely conventional drua, opting to only circle Suva harbor or dive amongst the reefs, then get pleasure from a bagged lunch. Its huge masted sail, powered by wind, is modeled off a standard crusing drua Fijians used to journey throughout the sea. The younger workers is extremely educated (some have even sailed from Fiji to San Francisco on one) and glad to recount the islands’ wealthy nautical historical past.

Nanuku Auberge Resort staff welcomeNanuku Auberge Resort workers welcome Courtesy of Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Assortment

 

Subsequent, take a highway switch to Nanuku Auberge Resort Fiji. You’ll obtain a heat customary welcome from the workers—everybody sings “Bula Maleya” upon arrival and “Isa Lei” at departure—that, actually, by no means loses its allure. Get settled in your suite, villa, or residence.

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In case you’re touring with a gaggle, go for the Four Bed room Beachfront Pool Residence, a sprawling two-bedroom Beachfront Grand Pool Residence with an Oceanview Suite only a stone’s throw away from a non-public pool (one of the largest at the resort), sizzling tub, and thatched-roof bure with double daybeds. In case you’re honeymooning, take into account the 2 Bed room Beachfront Duplex Villa. In truth, you possibly can’t go fallacious with any lodging. They’re all a brief stroll to the coronary heart of the resort, however it’s also possible to name for a golf cart to select you up, or use the complimentary bikes out entrance of your lodging. Spend a while soaking in the Jacuzzi, sipping a coconut, and enjoyable earlier than dinner.

Nanuku Auberge 2 Bedroom Beachfront Duplex VillaNanuku Auberge 2 Bed room Beachfront Duplex Villa Courtesy of Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Assortment

Head over to Kanavata Restaurant and Lounge.The three-course dinner menu adjustments each day, however showcases the freshest native fare. Although it’s also possible to choose to dine al fresco on a cliffside perch with the waves proper beneath, on the seaside, or on a treetop platform. Unwind at the outside movie show, then name it an evening.

Day Four-5

Nanuku Auberge Resort, Pacific Harbour, Fiji

You have got an exhaustive record of actions to select from, however there are some notable excursions you possibly can’t miss. If the tide and climate are allowing, have a picnic on Chicken Island, a non-public, uninhabited island smack-dab in the center of Beqa Lagoon. You may snorkle, then nosh on a gourmand lunch with champagne. Journey buffs can surf the legendary Frigates Cross, a world-class reef break 12 miles out to sea. Peak wind and swell circumstances render 500-foot-long wave breaks. Or, enterprise into the depths of Beqa Lagoon and dive with tank-like bull sharks. Underneath the steerage of dive masters, you’ll descend all the way down to 100 toes (plan on getting your PADI Open Water Certification previous to the journey), and swim with wherever from tens to tons of of sharks, as much as eight species in all.

Private island picnic on Bird IslandPersonal island picnic on Chicken Island Courtesy Picture

If you’d like a extra mellow underwater expertise, discover the greater than 50 totally different dive websites, rife with gentle coral forests billowing beneath, shipwrecks, and tropical fish flitting about. Deep-sea fishing, jet-ski safaris, and spearfishing are additionally available. On land, you possibly can roll by way of Pacific Harbour through off-road buggy, or take a chopper to Natadola Bay Golf Course, an elite-level course designed, partly, by former World No. 1 Vijay Singh.

Whether or not or not the climate’s appearing up, make investments a while over these couple days for actions that immerse you Fiji’s tradition. Learn to forage for coconuts (together with how you can spot ones embedded in the sand)—to find out in the event that they’re loaded with coconut water, or dried up and previous their prime, in addition to how you can husk, puncture, and scrape the meat out. Take a standard cooking class, the place you’ll make your individual kokoda and put together prawns in bamboo shoots to prepare dinner over a blazing open hearth. Or, plant mangroves and coral with the onsite marine scientist. The attractive factor about these cultural actions is you get rather a lot of private time with the Fijian workers—actually some of the warmest, happiest folks—and start to grasp their beliefs, spirituality, and distinctive connection to the planet. As an illustration, Fijians consider in mana, a supernatural high quality or religious power that guides each man to their destined path, be it a hunter, healer, or sailor. A sailor can slip their hand in water, really feel the present, and know which course to comply with to keep away from getting misplaced at sea.

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Be sure to take part in a standard kava ceremony. In case you’re visiting a village, you should acquire permission from the chief; however at Nanuku, a village priest will come and lead the ceremony. You’ll sit, cross-legged as the chief/priest/host prepares the kava—a mildly sedative drink constituted of the crushed root of the yaqona plant. The basis is pulverized right into a powder, positioned in a fabric bag, dunked in water, then wrung out repeatedly in a tanoa, a particular bowl made of hardwood. The tip product resembles muddy water. As a result of the plant is a member of the pepper household, it does have a bit of spice, however general kava has a bitter, earthy style that quickly numbs your lips and has a chilled impact. You received’t have the ability to comply with together with the dialogue and that’s OK. All you have to know is when it’s your flip to drink, they’ll ask if you would like a low tide (small cup) or excessive tide (full cup). Clap as soon as (a robust, cupped-hand clap), then obtain the cup with each fingers and drink all the kava without delay, clapping three extra instances whenever you’re executed. Kava is the Fijian equal of ingesting beer with buddies; it will possibly settle disputes, function a ceremony of passage, and function a social drink.

Additionally be sure you pencil in a while at the spa. In case you’re touring along with your associate or honeymooning, the couple’s spa bundle contains an orange blossom milk tub (don’t cross on the alternative to sip a cocktail whilst you soak), a physique exfoliation, physique wrap, and scalp therapeutic massage. In fact, sizzling stone remedy, a deep-tissue therapeutic massage, and the males’s bundle—Fijian Bobo therapeutic massage (“thumbing, kneading, and knuckling”), hydrating facial, and mini pedicure—are additionally best.

Royal Davui Island Resort Sunset LoungeRoyal Davui Island Resort Sundown Lounge Courtesy Picture

Day 6-Eight

Royal Davui Island Resort

It’s a fast 45-minute journey from Nanuku to Royal Davui (highway switch, then boat), an adults-only resort perched on its very personal island. Get settled in your villa or suite, all of which have plunge swimming pools, lounge rooms, and solar decks overlooking the water. The lodging mirror the relaxation of the resort—every part ethereal and open, reflecting conventional Fijian structure: thatched roofs and lots of wooden (in an effort to guard the setting, no old-growth bushes have been minimize down). Have a tropical juice (or cocktail) and relish the magnificent banyan tree at the coronary heart of the aptly named Banyan Bar & Restaurant, then discover the resort. There are catamarans, paddle boards, and sea kayaks at your disposal, in addition to alternatives for deep-sea fishing to occupy your time till dinner. Gorge on coconut-crusted tiger prawns, grilled mahi-mahi over roasted coconut risotto, and banana soufflé with a peanut butter ice cream earlier than stargazing and tucking into mattress.

Royal Davui Island Resort at nightRoyal Davui Island Resort at evening Courtesy Picture

In the morning, you possibly can feast on ricotta hotcakes for breakfast, then set out on an island-hopping safari. Snorkel the outer reef; plunge into hidden swimming holes; or head to the mainland for some whitewater rafting, zip-lining, or ATV excursions. Take pleasure in sundowners or a spa remedy again at Royal Davui. In your final day, go to Naceva Village—only a fast boat trip away—to fulfill college youngsters and observe a means of life that’s been preserved for many years. Word: Any time you enter a standard village, ladies ought to keep away from baring their shoulders, and each males and ladies ought to put on a sulu (sarong); additionally bear in mind to take off your hat. It’s an exquisite send-off that reinforces Fiji’s greatest draw: Its charming, affable folks. Their properties are easy, stripped-down to the naked requirements, however they reside with a richness and brimming sense of achievement that’s laborious to match wherever else in the world.

School children at Naceva Village in FijiCollege youngsters at Naceva Village in Fiji Brittany Smith

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