Scuba Dive off Vanua Levu
If there were one place you could pick to see before UFOs attacked the world, you'd probably have to fight the rest of the planet to get into the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort. It's that relaxing.
Cousteau, as it's called for short, is a sister property to places like the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur and Hana on Maui. Like those places, you can count on a stunning setting that mostly owes its dues to wonderful natureswaying coconut palms, lemon trees, a vibrant reefbut also to the relaxing Zen-mosphere they've created. Think orange futons sitting by the pool under the swish of a paddle fan and in the shade of a thatched lean-to, airy rooms with vesi-wood floors and a cacophony of birds outside, a plate decorated with seared ahi tuna, mango salsas, and chocolate crème brûé. Add to that yoga classes, catamarans at your disposal, a water trail with absolutely superb snorkeling right off the dock (big fish, rainbow corals), and a dive shop with Cousteau's name attached to it, and you'll see why the rest of the planet would come here for one last great day on Earth.
The resort sits on 17 acres of land once owned by the high chief of the area. Sometime in the late 1800s the chief's son nearly drowned, only to be saved by a fisherman named Old Man Harmon. As a repayment, the chief gave him the land that would become Cousteau. Today, the resort sits just outside Savusavu, a vibrant port on Vanua Levu. Unlike many of the resorts on Vanua Levu, Cousteau actually has a beach, and a wonderful beach at that. (Secret tip: Head out around the resort to a spot near bure 25 for a swim off the point. Don't forget to bring a beer from the bar and float around while the sun goes down.) For breakfast, the staffers sometimes offer breakfast on a nearby island, Naviavia. Grab a kayak and head over there for fruit salads, mimosas, and a morning swim.
Diving here is A-1. If the seas are calm, be sure to book a dive out to Namena. This island south of Savusavu is hands-down one of the best dive spots in Fiji, if not the world. Dives like Grand Central have enormous amounts of fish feeding in the currents, while up on the surface, blue-footed and red-footed boobies will come down to check you out while you off gas during lunch.
800-246-3454; www.fijiresort.com. Cousteau has 25 bures, which run from $U.S. 535 to $1,950 for doubles per night, with a minimum one-week stay usually required. Prices include all meals and most activities, other than diving.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication
Best Hotels in Fiji