In Fijian, Bula can mean many things and you will hear it everywhere you go! It can mean "hello" or "welcome" and that's the first thing you will hear when you arrive in Fiji! This is not meant as a totally all-encompassing report on every island and/or every resort choice you have when considering Fiji for your next holiday but an introduction to the wonderful world that awaits you just 10-1/2 hours west of Los Angeles!
As the Visitors Bureau tells us, Fiji is just "dinner, a nap and a breakfast away"! Come and tour the Fijian Islands with me - you will come away refreshed and renewed with the BULA spirit! There are over 300 islands and almost 900,000 smiling faces that await you!
Because I'm a Fijian "Matai" (specialist) I have specialized knowledge that can help you plan the trip of a lifetime. If you need more information about the islands, call or e-mail me or log onto www.bulafijinow.com.
Nadi is the main gateway to Fiji and also where flights depart to the outer islands. Nadi is also the main embarkation point for those traveling to the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands. Transfers can be arranged for all the hotels located on Viti Levu from Nadi Bay, all along the Coral Coast and to Suva in the Southeast.
It's virtually impossible to list all the resorts on the various islands but I'll list some of them. Keep in mind there are literally hundreds of properties to choose from. Resorts on Viti Levu range from budget properties to 5-Star Hotels and Resorts. Land tours can be booked from any of the tour operators located at the Nadi Airport or from the operators based out of all of the hotels. Diving and watersports are available from virtually all hotel properties.
Nadi area budget hotels:
Nadi area better resorts:
Nadi area upscale resorts:
CORAL COAST HOTELS
The Coral Coast begins 13 miles south of Nadi and features more than 14 resorts, hotels & motels along the coastline. Top sightseeing areas along the Coral Coast feature Sigatoka Sand Dunes, Navua River Gorge & Tavuni Hill Fort to mention just a few.
Coral Coast budget hotels include: Coral Village & Tubakula Beach Resort. Better resorts include: Crusoes Retreat, Hideaway Resort & Naviti Resort which has a great children's program.
Upscale resorts are Shangri-La's Fijian Resort, The Outrigger Reef Fiji and located just 20 minutes drive south of Nadi on a small island just 300 metres offshore is the wonderful Sonaisali Island Resort. There is 24-hour boat service across the lagoon to the resort.
Also off the SW coast of Viti Levu is one of the "Small Luxury Hotels of the World", Vatulele Island Resort, one of the most elegant properties in Fiji and fabulously popular with honeymooners and romantics. A maximum of 36 guests are housed in 18 villas there on one of the most beautiful lagoons in the Pacific. Vatulele also features a PADI 5-star Gold Palm operation.
Continuing along the southern coast you will come to Pacific Harbour and then the capital of Fiji, Suva. The Pearl is located in Pacific Harbour and offshore just a short distance is the Island of Beqa which is home of the legendary "Fire-walkers" and Beqa Island Resort as well as Lalati Resort.
Suva offers a variety of soft adventure tours such as riverboat trips; village visits and rafting the Navua River. Lodging ranges from budget to upscale in Suva.
Natovi Landing is the main ferry dock for passenger ferries to the islands of the north and outer islands of Fiji.
Nausori Airport is the other international airport in Fiji. It is the home base of Air Fiji as well as the arrival point of Air Pacific flights from Australia.
THE LOMAVITI GROUP
These are the offshore islands located to the east and north of Suva. Ovalau is the home of the original capital of Fiji, located on Levuka.
Kadavu is Fiji's fourth largest island. Because it is removed from mainsteam life, it is more traditional and more rustic in nature. Dive Kadavu Resort is located there.
Continuing around Viti Levi towards Rakiraki, you will pass through low, rugged mountains & remote villages. Wananavu Beach Resort is an upmarket resort located on the northernmost tip of Viti Levu and Volivoli Point. There is an excellent dive program in place here and they have one of the newest marinas and have linked seaplane air transfer service.
THE LAU GROUP
Lakeba is the hereditary seat of the Chief of Lau and thus the most important island in the group. Over 2,000 people live on the island, the tenth largest island in the Fijian archipelago. Travel to this area must be prearranged.
Continuing around Northwest Viti Levu, you will come to Lautoka, the second largest city in FijiŽabout a 40 minute drive north of Nadi. The Botanical Gardens are located in Lautoka. Lautoka can be reached by car, taxi, local or express bus from Nadi. There are numerous resorts located in the Lautoka area depending on your interests.
NORTH OF VITI LEVU ARE THE MAMANUCA & YASAWA ISLANDS
The MAMANUCA ISLANDS are located just off the western shore of Viti Levu. This area offers tourists some of Fiji's most outstanding retreats. Home to more than a dozen resorts, their closeness to Nadi allows easy access by boat, plane or helicopter. Two of the leading SURFING areas in Fiji are located in the Mamanuca Islands.
Resorts ranging from budget to upscale include: Beachcomber Island, Mana Island Resort, Plantation Island Resort, Malolo Island Resort, Matamanoa Island Resort, Musket Cove Resort, Castaway Island Resort, Navini Island Resort, Tokoriki Island Resort, Vomo Island Resort & Wadigi Island Resort.
Tokoriki Island Resort recently opened a beautiful traditional-style island chapel that is being used for guests and staff religious ceremonies and is available for multidenominational weddings.
The YASAWA ISLANDS are a chain of 20 islands stretching northeasterly from the top of the Mamanucas 90 kms out into Bligh Water. Because of their remoteness, commercial development is extremely limited.
Turtle Island Resort and Yasawa Island Resort are two luxury resorts located in the Yasawas. BLUE LAGOON CRUISES is another excellent way to tour the Yasawas. It is in the Bligh Waters that the Nai'a luxury liveaboard does a good portion of their diverse dive itineraries, diving the fabulous soft coral-covered reefs.
The NORTHERN ISLAND group consists of Vanua Levu & Taveuni Islands. Vanua Levu is the second largest island in the Fijian archipelago. Both islands are primarily mountainous with extensive rain forests and fertile lands. They are largely undeveloped but are home to over a dozen resorts and are easily accessible by air or ferry. Both of these islands are ringed by deep reefs and the area is generally acknowledged as one of the best areas for SCUBA diving. The world-famous Somosomo Straits is the body of water separating the two islands.
Savusavu is the main city on Vanua Levu and where the airport is located. Koro Sun Resort, Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, Lomalagi Resort, Mooney's Namena Resort, Namale Resort & Nukubati Island Resort are the most popular resorts in the area.
TAVEUNI ISLAND's airport is located at Matai. Taveuni is a volcanic island with a rugged coastline, a sunken crater lake & two of the highest peaks in the islands. It is covered by abundant rainforests and Fiji's national flower, the Tagimoucia, only grows in the higher elevations during the summer months. There are also over 100 species of birds to be seen, including the most sought after, the orange-breasted male dove with golden wings.
Bouma National Heritage Park features the Tavoro Falls and hiking is particularly good at the Lavena Coastal Walk.
The 180th meridian (the International Dateline) passes diagonally through Taveuni and you are welcome to stand across the line straddling two days!
The Somosomo Straits features world-known dive sites such as Great White Wall, Annie's Bommie, Blue Ribbon Eel Reef and Cabbage Patch along the famous Rainbow Reef dive sites.
Garden Island Resort, Maravu Plantation, Matagi Island Resort as well as Qamea Beach Resort and Taveuni Island Resort are a few of the resorts to be found on Taveuni and all feature top-notch dive operations.
SOFT ADVENTURE SPORTS
Bay Cruises features dolphin watching tours, sport fishing, snorkeling trips sunset cruises, parasailing and island safaris.
Beachcomber Cruises offers three touring vessels available for ferrying guests to Lautoka to the Resort or they can be made available for private charters.
Captain Cook Cruises offer private cocktail, day, dinner and tall ship cruises. Cycling: Most major resorts now offer regular or mountain bikes for guests. Cycle Fiji offers 10 day, guided cycling tours of the back roads of Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Most resorts have on-site dive operations and offer one-time familiarization dives and complete diving certifications as well as multi-day dive packages.
LIVEABOARD DIVE OPERATORS
NAI'A CRUISES offers 7 & 10 night trips on specialized itineraries as well as private charters and yearly trips to Tonga to dive with the humpback whales.
In summary, trying to cover the entire Fiji Island experience is virtually impossible in the space provided. Please call or e-mail me for in-depth information on the individual islands, resorts, tour operators, resorts specializing in weddings & honeymoons as well as dive operation recommendations. All information is correct at the time of publication. Resort operations/dive operators change hands occasionally so it is prudent to inquire as to current status of the various properties.
VINAKA VAKALEVU! (Thank you very much!)