What to do in Fiji
The perfect setting for a Blue Lagoon holiday (both the 1949 and 1980 movie versions were shot in Fiji), this postcard-ready South Pacific archipelago encompasses over 300 islands. It’s estimated that over a third of Fiji’s isles are uninhabited, and 87 percent of the country’s population inhabit only two of them (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu). That all adds up to an incredible array of remote, empty, and palm-lined beaches for a die-hard beach lover to choose among. Water sports are also the great attraction here: swim, surf, snorkel, kayak—and especially scuba—to your heart’s content. Share the waters with soft corals, manta rays, and hundreds of different kinds of fish in a spectacular underwater show. Inland, the islands are smothered with emerald rainforest, extinct volcanic craters, and giant waterfalls.
Captain James Cook, the first European explorer to the area, described the Fijians as formidable warriors and ferocious cannibals, but today the locals are better known for being some of the friendliest Pacific Islanders you’ll ever meet, and they frequently invite visitors into their villages and homes. The main island of Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva and the large town of Nadi (the location of the international airport), as well as important archaeological spots at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. Suva is a sophisticated, bustling town with a strong Hindu presence, but you can easily get away from any civilization by traveling to the more remote groups of islands like the Yasawas or the Laus. Fortunately, Fiji has a well-developed and smooth-running tourist infrastructure that does not take away from the region’s natural beauty and the culture’s friendliness. Some of the best resorts in the South Pacific are found here, including Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, founded by the son of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Despite a December 2006 coup that scared away some travelers, Fiji is a safe place to travel, and you’ll find many happy Australians and New Zealanders who use the islands as their “Caribbean getaway” during their winter.
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