Fiji is like summer year-round with its beautiful weather. The islands provide the most beautiful sunsets reflecting off crystal clear water. Also, Fiji offers hiking, scuba diving, relaxing, and more.
I afforded a chance to go to Fiji on a study abroad program with the intention of studying eco-tourism or “green” tourism. Interestingly enough, we arrived immediately after a terrible cyclone had blown through. It was quite destructive to the point where we considered not even going to Fiji. Because tourism is crucial to Fiji’s economy, it was helpful for us to come to the resorts and to the villages so that they were able to rebuild what had been destroyed. So, do not let the weather scare you away.
Although English is the official language of Fiji, here’s some Fijian common jargon.
Hello –> “Bula”
Thank you –> “Vinaka”
A Little Bit of Orientation…
Fiji is an accumulation of hundreds of islands very secluded in South Pacific Ocean directly between Australia and the United States.
Fiji has two main islands: Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Viti Levu is the main island where the city and both international airports are located. The most common airport to fly into is Nadi (pronounced Nandi) International Airport.
Fiji has a section of islands on the western side called the Yasawa Islands. The Yasawa Islands are a popular place for all travelers, because it is affordable and developed.
Day 1…Arrive in Nadi
We stayed in Tanoa Skylodge Hotel for the night. This is a great home base to store your luggage and take only what you need for the islands. It is fitted with a pool and single/double rooms with a personal bathroom. Also, you can run into the city to grab a Sulu, which is a wrap that women can wear whenever they enter a village to be culturally appropriate. Located near by is a lovely cafe with yummy food called Bulaccino.
Note: Don’t forget bug spray. Sand flies were terrible while I was there. Bring along some tiger balm or anti-itch ointment as well when you get itchy.
Day 2…Nadi to Botaira
Just as aforementioned, Fiji has many islands. The ferry allows you to island hop if you are feeling more adventurous, but it could be more costly. We took a bus to the ferry port and hopped on Yasawa Flyer to Botaira Resort in the Yasawa Islands.
The Fijian people are so bubbly and welcoming. They are also completely on island time, so be mindful to let go of expectations. If dinner is at 7 pm, do not be angry when it begins at 8:30 pm. Just be present and enjoy the weather and views.
Note: Kava is a type of herbal drink that is used during ceremonies. Whenever you enter a village, you may be offered some. It looks like dirty water and may cause some dizziness or hallucinations.
Days can be filled with snorkeling, scuba diving, sand volleyball, hammock-ing, and hiking. At night, there are fun ceremonies that are put on by the resort. There is plenty to do and also plenty of opportunity to do absolutely nothing.
Note: Tap water is technically not drinkable (it is rain water), but most islands provide water bottles for purchase at the bar.
Day 6…Botaira to Soso Village
We hiked over the hill to the other side of the island. This village is called Soso- the hike was steep, short, and beautiful.
Note: The village is a great place to get really unique souvenirs. Be sure when you enter the village to wear something that covers your knees and shoulders. There are also no plugs so bring a spare charger, spare battery, and flashlight.
Day 7…Soso Village to Botaira to Nadi
We headed back on the ferry to Nadi at the Skylodge Hotel. The weather is always a huge variable because of Fiji’s geolocation, so be sure to give yourself some buffer time to get to the airport just in case. A large storm came in the day after we arrived back in Nadi- all ferries were delayed for 3 days.