FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Fiji: South Pacific Seduction

Apr 1, 2009
2009 / April 2009

Even in the loftiest of romantic daydreams, it’s difficult to envision a heavenly scenario that outshines the realities of Fiji. Basking in tropical splendor, this is an enduring Eden whose name alone ignites fantasies of amorous escapades.

How could it miss? All its elements — sugary beaches, thatched-roof bungalows, aquamarine lagoons, flourishing rainforests and dazzling reefs brimming with marine life — conspire to entice couples to fall in love with this exotic South Pacific paradise and fall deeper in love with each other.

If Fiji is on your radar for a refueling respite, this sublime escape will welcome you with open arms and embrace you like family. Amiable islanders are even warmer than the sumptuous weather: Genuine kindness, a zest for sharing and a friendly bula greeting from smiling strangers are simply the Fijian way of life.

Vacationing couples will undoubtedly rub shoulders with convivial Aussies and Kiwis as well as Westerners breaking up the long haul to Australia or New Zealand with an island respite. This convenience often poses a dilemma, however, since you’re prone to wish you’d targeted Fiji as your primary destination.

Unless you’re a veteran visitor, the lay of the land — or some 320 islands in this case — can be a bit baffling. Tourism is centered on Fiji’s two largest islands: Viti Levu, home to the capital town of Suva and Nadi International Airport; and Vanua Levu, drenched with visual feasts.

A mere one-third of Fiji’s islands are actually inhabited, with resorts rimming Viti Levu and Vanua Levu and scattered across far-flung isles accessible by puddle jumpers, seaplanes, helicopters, ferries and high-speed catamarans. Many couples immediately gravitate to these remote havens that epitomize the private island experience. Some are Fijian-style resorts with fewer than 20 bungalows each, while others are ultraexclusive with only a single property on the entire island.

From Viti Levu, you can also day-trip for offshore romps via South Seas Cruises (tel 679 675 0500, www.ssc.com.fj), departing Denarau Marina just north of Nadi. On the closest clusters of Mamanuca and Yasawa, couples find nirvana by spending the day swimming, snorkeling and kayaking in clear waters of fish-rich marine reserves, enjoying lunch and beverages served up island-style in beachside bures.

Obviously, couples into kicking back at idyllic hideaways have it made in the shade here. That’s not to say, however, that action addicts aren’t equally indulged. Adventures abound throughout Fiji, whether you’re into jet boating, sailing, surfing, hiking, deep-sea fishing, whitewater rafting or golfing.

Guaranteed to ultra-rev adrenaline junkies, Zip Fiji’s (tel 679 930 0545, www.zip-fiji.com) eco-action blazes along eight thrilling lines carved through Viti Levu’s Wainadoi Mountains rainforest. This jungle canopy trek bombards nature buffs with dense vegetation and wildlife, including flying foxes, endemic birds, parrots, colorful butterflies and unique frogs.

Anglers can cast the day away with Denarau operators like SeaFiji (tel 679 672 5961, www.seafiji.net). Other deep-sea charters depart the south shore’s splashy Pacific Harbour. If not for its dramatic tropical backdrop, you might mistake the Americanized development for a South Florida suburb with its canal-lined residences, modern shopping arcade and international dining.

Avid surfers are likely aware that Fiji boasts some of the finest and most consistent breaks on the planet. Spots like Cloud Break, Wilkes Passage and Swimming Pools off Namotu Island are legendary. You can fine-tune your moves with packages at surfing schools like Namotu Island Resort (tel 679 670 6439, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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) and Tavarua Island Resort (tel 679 670 6513, www.tavarua.com). Book early, since fanatics have caught on to the awesome wave action and superb instruction at these specialized camps.

An equally wet recreational rush takes you below the surface into an aquatic wonderland heralded as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World.” Serious scuba divers are consumed by nearly 4,000 square miles of reef serving up a treasure trove of marine biodiversity. Reef Safari (tel 679 675 0566, www.reefsafari.com.fj), Aqua-Trek Fiji (tel 679 345 0324, www.aquatrek.com), Crystal Divers (tel 679 669 4747, www.crystaldivers.com) and Beqa Adventure Divers (tel 679 345 0911, www.fiji-sharks.com) unleash the dramatic underwater world that overwhelms with 400-plus coral species and 1,200 varieties of vibrant saltwater fish.

Duos can merge their enthusiasm for the sport with their passion for pampering at Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort(tel 679 885 0188, www.fijiresort.com). Tucked within a 17-acre coconut plantation on Vanua Levu, these luxe, environmentally friendly accommodations overlook azure Savusavu Bay. Beginners can sign on for PADI certification while experts pummel their senses at sites like Namena Island, Canyons, Shark Alley, Nuggets, Goldilocks and Nsonisoni Pass.

Unless you’re dead set on rushing off to remoteness, you can best quench your cultural thirst by spending at least a few nights in the thick of things. Situated between Nadi and Suva along the Coral Coast, Shangri- La’s Fijian Resort & Spa (tel 679 652 0155, www.shangri-la.com) still affords solace for couples pursuing a little tender time to reconnect. On 109-acre Yanuca Island, which is linked via a causeway to Vita Levu’s southwestern coast, this legendary property pampers with new luxury bures in its couples-oriented Chi Spa Village. By definition, Shangri-La means heaven on earth and utopia. With a traditional Fijian bobo massage executed in side-byside hedonism, the mood meets the moniker.

Nearby are Nadi’s Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple, Suva’s Fiji Museum and the bustling markets of both towns. Vendors hawk everything from stunning jade and pearl necklaces to colorful produce grown in nearby Sigatoka’s fertile “salad bowl” region. Magnets in each market are the yaqona (kava) stalls where you can buy a bountiful bowl of the bitter beverage that brings a curious numbing effect to the lips and tongue.

Fijian traditions like the kava ceremony and lovo feast prepped in an underground oven still thrive, although the practice of cannibalism was eliminated from the cultural menu in the late 1800s. Most large resorts on Viti Levu have a weekly lovo celebration where you can explore the local fare that includes pig, chicken, fish and various vegetables such as taro root and spinach-like taro leaves. Be sure to sample kokoda, the Fijian version of fresh fish that’s marinated in lime juice and mixed with vegetables and coconut milk.

Purists may prefer to experience these cultural practices in authentic Fijian villages. Sigatoka River Safari (tel 679 650 1721, www.sigatokariver.com) jet boats venture deep into Viti Levu’s interior where hospitable tribes welcome you to their homes. Protocol requires the removal of hats and sunglasses to show respect to the village chief. Women must also don a sulu, a colorful cloth that resembles a sarong. And count on consuming your lovo lunch by hand while sitting on the floor. Napkins, utensils and dining tables are not customary touches in community dining halls.

You’ll especially appreciate how these musical people spontaneously break out in meke, an enchanting blend of dance, song and theater performed at feasts and on special occasions — which can be as simple as bidding farewell to new friends after spending the afternoon together.

Certainly, Fiji’s scenery and climate are insanely uplifting. But nature aside, you’ll discover that the beauty of her people is what ultimately sweeps you off your feet.


This upscale all-inclusive retreat at the edge of the Koro Sea includes an award-winning 10,000-square-foot spa sanctuary.$$$$
Savusavu, Vanua Levu Island
tel 679 885 0435

Convenient to cultural and recreational diversions, this 5-star beachfront beauty infuses Sofitel’s signature influences with exotic Fijian customs.$$$$
Denarau, Viti Levu Island
tel 679 675 1111

Just below Fiji’s popular Yasawa Islands, the elegant all-inclusive spa resort rests within a revered hawksbill turtle breeding ground. $$$$
Vomo Island
tel 679 666 7955


Chic local favorite for authentic Indian fare, including tandoori chicken tikka, fish curry and hearty vegetarian dishes.$$
281 Victoria Parade, Suva, Viti Levu Island
tel 679 331 0045

Tasty lunches, alfresco dining and trendy bar in the evening, serving international seafood and beef specialties.$$$
Queen’s Road, Nadi, Viti Levu Island
tel 679 672 7201

One of the few non-hotel restaurants with dining by lagoon’s edge serves fresh local seafood with Fijian and Indian touches.$$$
Queen’s Road, Sigatoka, Viti Levu Island
tel 679 653 0054


On the western side of Viti Levu Island, Nadi International Airport (NAN) lies 13.5 miles south of Lautoka and five miles north of Nadi. Buses operate from the airport to both towns until 10 p.m. Taxis from the airport cost $4 to downtown Nadi or $14 to Lautoka. Most Nadi hotels offer free transfers. Visit www.bulafijinow.com.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


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