Paradise present in Fiji | Windsor Star

Fiji Airways flies direct Vancouver to Nadi

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It appears “revenge journey” is actually taking off today and Fiji is welcoming the world with open arms. COVID-19 compelled the tiny nation to shut its border for a yr and a half, wiping out worldwide tourism that’s value nearly 40% of the nation’s GDP.

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However we hope that these days are ceaselessly gone, as we had been simply as excited to journey as they had been to host us.

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We kicked off our keep on Mana Island, nestled halfway in a sequence of islands known as the Mamanucas. The palm-fringed islands of the Mamanuca and Yasawa archipelagos are Fiji’s — postcard good islands with white sand seashores and gently lapping, clear, turquoise waters. So idyllic are these islands that the films The Blue Lagoon and Forged Away in addition to the final a number of seasons of Survivor had been filmed right here.

The realm is only a few miles off the coast of the principle island Viti Levu, and occurs to have one of the best climate — drier and sunnier than the remainder of the nation. Whereas most islands within the archipelago are lower than a few kilometers lengthy, they’re all simply reached by an environment friendly community of ferries, catamarans and personal water taxis that function out of Port Denarau, a couple of 15-minute taxi trip from Nadi (pronounded Nandee) Worldwide Airport.

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Fiji’s beaches boast white sand and clear waters.
Fiji’s seashores boast white sand and clear waters. Picture by Diane Mar-Nicolle

One of many standout options of those 60 or so islands (and the remainder of Fiji as properly) is the vary of lodging obtainable to go well with each type of traveller and finances. That is no Bora-Bora. Sure, there are over the water bungalows (OTWs) and unique resorts costing 1000’s of {dollars} per night time, however there are additionally finances dorms that may be had for as little as $45 per night time in addition to acceptably priced household pleasant lodging that we discovered on the Mana Island Resort.

This sprawling resort takes up most of Mana island, occupying 30 acres of land leased from the native villagers. As Chief Operation Officer of Mana Island Resort, Hiroshi Matsumoto brings in eight tons of provides and laundry each week to maintain his 160-room advanced working. For company, this implies meals, drinks and provides are premium-priced. Since most accommodations rooms have fridges, it pays to do a little bit of grocery purchasing earlier than hopping on the ferry. Snacks, drinks, and fruit in Port Denarau are barely cheaper and definitely extra plentiful than on the islands.

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The islands are past preferrred — paradise involves thoughts. The water is bathtub heat (about 26 levels) and salty sufficient to help even probably the most inexperienced of snorkellers (me!). The vast, white sand seashores are by no means crowded, and the coral reef discovered inside a couple of hundred yards of the seaside teems with brightly coloured fish. Snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking and paddle boarding can be found to anybody prepared to lever themselves out of a hammock.

Sail boat seen through palm trees, Mamanuca Group islands, Fiji.
Sail boat seen via palm timber, Mamanuca Group islands, Fiji. Picture by Getty Photographs

We reluctantly left on the finish of 5 days to discover the southern coast of Viti Levu. For about $7, a neighborhood specific bus will take you from Nadi to Pacific Harbour, self-branded because the “Journey Capital of Fiji”. The rainier climate on this facet of the island makes for lush, dense foliage and waterfalls that hug volcanic mountainsides. For these desirous to attempt white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks and big-game fishing, that is your playground. One of many most important points of interest of Pacific Harbour is Beqa (pronounded Benka) Island the place fire-walking is claimed to have originated. Vacationers can see the ritual carried out throughout Suva’s Indo-Fijian fire-walking competition or at particular performances held on the Pacific Harbour Arts Village.

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The seashores alongside the so-called Coral Coast should not even near be what will be discovered within the Mamanucas and Yasawas. For a lot of the day, the tide exposes about 100 yards of uncovered rock and coral, limiting swimming and kayaking to excessive tide solely. The nicest swimming seaside that we discovered on Viti Levu was close to the city of Sigatoka (Singatoka) on the Bedarra Seaside Inn.

Travelling additional alongside the coast to the city of Suva is without doubt one of the greatest methods to see the countryside and the villages scattered alongside the Queen’s Highway. From the bus window, you’ll be able to see fields wealthy with cassava, taro and plantain, in addition to roadside fruit stands and locals going about their each day lives. Suva, Fiji’s capital, is without doubt one of the largest metropolises within the South Pacific and residential to wonderful Indian eating places, small purchasing centres, authorities buildings and a bountiful municipal fruit and vegetable market.

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Suva, Fiji’s capital, is home to excellent Indian restaurants, small shopping centres, and a bountiful municipal fruit and vegetable market.
Suva, Fiji’s capital, is house to wonderful Indian eating places, small purchasing centres, and a bountiful municipal fruit and vegetable market. Picture by Diane Mar-Nicolle

We found that the “huge metropolis folks” had been no much less useful and pleasant than their village counterparts. Sure, they’re certainly relieved to see the return of vacationers and for a lot of of them, their livelihoods, however we discovered Fijians to be genuinely useful — from the younger man who warned us that we wanted to flag down our rapidly approaching bus to the person who warned me that my backpack wasn’t zipped up correctly. Even Fiji Airways’ “Bula Vancouver” (Bula means hiya) billboards felt like a private welcome — although they had been merely promoting their new direct Vancouver to Nadi flights.

Had we stayed within the superb Mamanucas we might have been completely content material, however we might have missed the bounty and wonder wrought by the tropical rains and a glimpse of the surprise and jumble of Fijian life.

All costs in CAD.


Fiji Airways flies direct from Vancouver to Fiji twice per week.

Smaller institutions and a few accommodations typically have a 1.5% to five% surcharge for bank cards.

Deliver your vaccination certificates and proof of personal insurance coverage exhibiting you might be coated for COVID-related sickness. These paperwork should be offered earlier than you board your flight.


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