Not too long ago I found myself with a stopover in Nadi, Fiji. I decided to make the most of it and extend my stay by two weeks. The mainland was in flux because of a military coup (or plans of one) so I chose to stray away from Nadi. I met a wonderful Canadian travel agent who told me to go to the smaller island groups along the west of the two main islands. She told me about fancy resorts, party boats, secluded islands with power only two hours a day and tiny islands that you can walk around in less than fifteen minutes. I chose one of the sporty islands in The Mamanuca group and five of the smaller more isolated ones in The Yasawa group.
Here are some of my favorite moments:
Our Main Means of Transport
I knew we would have to take boats to get around obviously, but I didn’t know I would have to trot out in knee deep waters during high tide to get to the boats. Luckily the waters were warm and I had help with my bags.
This island you can walk around in less than fifteen minutes. It is full of vibrant entertainers and guests. It also has a 100 bed bunk for the backpackers and budget tourists along with a few bungalows. You can kayak to other small islands, snorkel, learn to dive, and jet ski! The food is great and the fruit is plentiful and delicious.
My humble accommodations on the water. All you really need is a comfy bed with a mosquito net and you’re set.
The Local Chief
At one point I was the only tourist on the grounds. There were three hotels total on the island and five tourists. The local village chief invited us down for a kava ceremony to welcome us.
The Local School
The principal invited us out to view traditional dances and visit with the school kids. It was by far the best day in Fiji being able to learn about the culture and hang out with the kids.
The Locals Of Course!
The locals in the islands are very very kind. I spent my days learning local crafts, playing volleyball, teaching them how to play cards, and trying to spearfish (mostly watching in awe at the cook catching my dinner!) On the mainland it’s a bit of a different story. You have to be careful of people trying to sell you overpriced or even non existent tours. Even the taxi drivers will try to take to you for a ride…. literally. They will sometimes make unexpected stops to restaurants and shops on the way to your destination, which in turn hand them a commission for each sale made.
The snorkeling and diving in Fiji is just unbelievable. You can get up close to so many vibrant underwater fish, snakes, and shell fish.
Meeting Other Travelers
The best part about traveling for me is meeting people. Whether it be the locals or other world wanderers, it’s what I look forward to the most.
(All Photography By: Aysha Manori)