When a destination is made up of more than 300 idyllic islands, it nearly eludes description. However, “in a coconut shell” anywhere in Fiji equals island bliss. Made up of 7,055 miles of land that occupies 426,000 square miles of ocean, Fiji is mostly composed of unchartered, uninhabited isles surrounded by pristine white beaches, crystal clear waters filled with rainbow-colored reefs, lush tropical landscape and azure lagoons. The island archipelago bespeaks paradise in every direction.
Weather is perfect year-round for outdoor adventure, from underwater explorations to cruising, hiking and eco exploring. The other distinction you’ll discover year-round in Fiji is what locals call the “Bula spirit”—a relaxed, friendly attitude that prevails among Fijians and sets the tone for a carefree getaway.
Pick an island
Choosing which island paradise for your stay is the only “problem” you are apt to encounter on a trip to Fiji. There are hundreds of full-service hotels on the main island, five-star one-island hideaways and everything in between, from cruise berths to more economical choices. Plenty of family fun waits in Fiji, but there is no denying that the island nation’s biggest draw is its romantic menu, and those choices go over the top.
Couple-up in Likuliku Lagoon
Romantic travel in Fiji is a given, but a short boat ride away from the larger resorts and tourist offerings lie several hideaways designed specifically for romance. Nestled on the sandy shore of Masima Island, a universe bathed in greens and blues, is the adults only Likuliku Lagoon Resort situated on a calm seawater inlet. The magical sanctuary—which sees its share of celebrities seeking privacy—is set apart from others with its hand-woven thatch “bures” that hang over the water. Watch Technicolor fish swim under your suite’s glass floor at night, sit on your private patio over the lagoon or take the stairs down from your private deck to sail or motor through the islands that surround.
Likuliku, just steps from the beach, has an infinity pool, sparkling private plunge pools with adjacent cushioned daybeds, outdoor showers and the Tatadra Spa with ages-old Fijian therapies from natural island products. The resort’s restaurant offers top local cuisine for all meals, with home-grown foods and fish.
Don’t let romance get in the way of experiencing some of the resort’s special activities—from the evening torchlight ceremony with the traditional “kava” tasting to snorkeling adventures. The three-hour island-hopping excursion is well worth the time; combine exploring uninhabited islands with snorkeling and swimming. A special stop at Castaway Island, the filming spot for Tom Hank’s film of the same title, brings production remnants as well as spectacular fish-spotting.
Back in civilization—sort of
Denarau Island—a resort area on the western coast of Viti Levu—is a more cosmopolitan and populated destination than Likuliku and its intimate competitors, but, nonetheless, carries the charm of Fijian beauty and hospitality. The Sheraton and Westin Resorts here rank among the most popular with both families and couples, offering myriad activities and amenities like traditional Fiji-inspired spas. Not far from Port Denarau and about 20 minutes from the international airport at Nadi, the resorts are great stopovers before and after a smaller island escape.
Exploring Viti Levu
The marketplace in town is well worth a trip to capture local color. The outdoor venue is filled with home-grown vegetables, fruit and copious kava vendors. Kava, a popular crop of the western Pacific, is grown for its root which is used to produce a drink with potent powers—often used in ceremonial events.
A must side trip is an afternoon stroll through the Garden of the Sleeping Giant—formerly the home of the late Raymond Burr. Burr, best known for his starring role on “Perry Mason,” originally designed the home and gardens to house his private collection of orchids. Nestled in the shady mountain valley that lies under the Sleeping Giant Mountain, the tropical gardens are filled with acres planted in more than 2,000 types of orchids, tropical flower wonders, lily ponds and jungles.
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Photos courtesy of Tourism Fiji