Thursday, November 22, 2012

Top 10 Things to do in Fiji... and then some

1. Visit a local village

Be sure to bring a traditional gift of grog/yaqona/kava with you. I recommend finding a youth from the village to introduce you to the turaga ni koro or chief and show you the ropes of a traditional kava ceremony. Learn how to weave mats (tali ibe) or shine a kava bowl (coconut shell).

2. Dive world renowned Rainbow Reef – The soft coral capital of the world
There are a ton of dives to appeal to any type of diver. Soft coral dives, wall dives, drift dives, cave dives, shark dives, nudibranch dives, night dives, and wreck dives. You could even get certified in Fiji for a decent rate or just simply snorkel. What is so wonderful about Fiji is the abundance of natural beauty everywhere you look.

3. Visit the waterfalls of Taveuni, or any waterfalls for that matter
Situated right next to the Waitabu Marine Park, a marine protected area, the Bouma National Heritage Park offers stunning waterfalls and easy to vigorous hiking trails. For a fee of about $8 you are allowed access to these must-see natural wonders.

4. Snap a few photos of spinner dolphins at Moon Reef
Stay at Takalana Bay Retreat or in Natale-i-ra Village for the exclusive visit to Moon Reef. Just a short boat ride away to pods of these beautiful creatures whose acrobatics cease to amaze.

5. Play in the mud at the elusive mud pits near Nadi

6. Tour the Fiji Water factory and hike the tallest mountain in Fiji
Take a bus from Tavua towards Lautoka. You will exit at a dirt road and therefore I recommend hiring a driver or clearly communicating to the local bus driver that you are trying to get to Fiji Water. He will stop the bus at the appropriate road and yell at you to get off, as nicely as possible of course. Next, you will have to hire a taxi from the road or walk in about two miles. This is no easy task. Only the determined end up reaching the plant and the tour is worth a glance if you really care to see where this expensive water comes from. On the other hand, close-by, and equally hard to get to, is the 4341 foot tall Mount Tomanivi. I recommend a four wheel drive vehicle, a $20 gift of kava/grog, and a few nice villagers off the side of the road. Most will be able to speak some English and lead you in the right direction.

7. Participate in a Fijian warrior dance

8. Learn some history about the Fijian people at the Fiji Museum in Suva

9. Take a dive with some of the largest bull sharks in the world
Dare devil Fijians carry down an enormous trash can full of chum and feed the docile monsters right out of their hands (with chain mail of course). Hang out at the "arena" and watch dozens come feed. Beqa Adventure Divers and Aqua-Trek both operate bull shark dives out of the Sigatoka area. Stay at a hostel nearby (The Uprising, Club Oceanus) or the more luxurious Pearl Resort or Taunovo Bay Resort and Spa.

10. Volunteer in a local school
Most schools require a background check to actually teach a class, but you can always stop by and meet the students or bring by some books/coloring materials/pencils/or a smiling face.

Other things to enjoy
Enjoy the beaches, float down the jaw-dropping Navua River by inflatable raft, seek out an Indian for some authentic Fijian style Curry, visit the white sands of Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, take a windsurfing lesson on Nananu-i-Ra, see firewalking ceremonies, hit the waves at the famous Cloudbreak near Tavarua, help prepare an Earth oven, visit an island preserved exclusively for 30,000 birds, take a treacherous boat ride with locals, sign up for a cleansing yoga retreat, pay respects at the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple in Nadi, skydive over the rainbow palette of atolls and islands, cheer on a team at a rugby match, enjoy some fishing with the locals, relax on Lacula Island, a 7 star resort, or see stunning and indigenous orchids at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Fiji has something to offer for every traveler, whether you are wanting a cultural experience or simply a few days by the water.

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