Arrived in Nadi airport on 14th after leaving LA on 12th. The 13th got lost in Bermuda, feeling sorry for everyone born on 29th February.
* Buy your currency outside of the airport. Most hostels/ hotels/ etc., will have a better exchange rate. Or just outside of customs.
* BUY YOUR ALCOHOL AT THE AIRPORT – preferably before you arrive in Fiji.
You can however buy Bounty (58% volume) dark rum from the liquor part of the superstore, about $35 fjd (~£14) for a small shoulder.
We were missed from the pickup at 630am so had to wait for another car. They got us to the hostel in Fiji time, only stopping twice to have a 10 minute phone conversation and again to go to the shop… FIJI TIME, something you will become very familiar with.
Stayed in Smugglers Cove Resort in the 36 bed dorm 😮. It was a nice resort with the bonus of a great breakfast included such as pancakes, porridge, fresh fruit, etc. They do other rooms also which are much nicer. The massive dorm is a bit of a shocker, in more ways than one.*
NOTE* it appears that a lot of the dorms all over Fiji suffer with bed bugs so be prepared.
The views were fantastic and water like a 50 degree bath.
Walking down the beach we found these amazing clams; when the wave retreated 100’s were left exposed half way up the beach. It was fantastic to see them burying into the wet sand.
Took a trip to Nadi town in a taxi which cost $10 fjd (~£5) one way. Booked by the hotel, it’s probably much cheaper to get a street taxi if at all possible. We took the bus home which was $1 each – bargain. Quick ride, you see lots of scenery and get to ride on the beach.
Nadi was a great experience, lots of shops, local people and food.
* Don’t stop to shake hands and talk to everyone. They will try and take you into their shop to drink Kava and buy expensive things. Be friendly but not overly inviting. Wear sunglasses.
We went to the little curry shop recommend by lonely planet; enough for two to share for a light lunch.
Spotted the beautiful Hindu temple at the very end of the road.
Scoured the street for the locals market where you can find great fresh fruit and vegetables. Drank street water from a tap (we didn’t die which is a bonus).
Found a couple of cheap supermarkets in front of the bus station where you can get most foods, snacks and alcohol from.
Hop on the cheap buses home for a great local experience… they drop you back at your door for 1/10 of the cost.
Near smugglers cove there is a supermarket that is reasonably priced. Alcohol is very reasonable here also, we’d recommend black heart rum premix (7%) or Woodstock bourbon premix (8%).
Lastly there is an Asian restaurant called Grace Road. It’s cheap and absolutely amazing healthy food. You get free rice refills and is BYOB.
We commenced our journey to the islands- a free shuttle is provided from just outside the hostel to port denarau. Leaves at 0715 arriving at the port around 0750.
We had a pre – booked ferry/accommodation/food pass so it was quite simple getting on/off the ferry *
*Tip: book your ferry pass only before you go, unless you know exactly which island resorts you want to do. The accommodation can easily be sorted out on the boat. We would recommend4-6 nights on islands altogther, it’s quite feasible to do most islands in one night. Anymore than this and you start runing out of money/suncream/excitement for snorkelling and the sound of drums before your allowed to eat.
Each island resort is all inclusive, fussy/delicate eaters be warned! There is no choice, start training your immune system now.
*Tip: take plenty of suncream and hand wash/sanitiser.
Island 1 (two nights )
Wailealea: lovely dorm room with mosquito nets, good food portion sizes and really friendly staff. Massive thumbs up! Our favorite resort.
Great activities: snorkeling with reef sharks, guided hike, kayaking. If you’re on the activities pack you’re allowed to pick two.
Island 2 (two nights)
White Sandy: not such a great room but still ok, edible food, friendly staff (until one of them threw a crab on the fire for a joke). Beautiful (white sandy) island but be warned about the flies on this island!*
Activities:coral reef snorkeling ( you only get one at this resort).
*Tip : Korovu is another resort just next door: much nicer, cleaner, has a pool!! And they are taking 1 coconut but for some reason awesome adventures don’t advertise and the resort really want more people so if you get given white sandy, request Korovu instead!
Island 3 (2 nights)
Nabua Lodge: really picturesque island with perfect white sand and crystal clear water. Sadly the resort didn’t live up to the island. Really small portion sizes and very average food. Staff were miserable and seemed annoyed to have anyone staying with them.
Activities: blue lagoon snorkeling, cave trip, village trip, massage (you get to choose two).
Island 4 ( 1 night)
Mantaray: we booked this as an extra night, not included in our pass as we had been recommended by people back in the UK.
Really fantastic resort, can immediately see the difference from the family/locally run resorts and the commercial ones. Would recommend this resort for those on holiday, not necessarily travellers as the activities are more expensive and it’s harder to meet people and interact. But was great fun, nice clean dorm although really far from toilets and good food with a big menu choice which we hadn’t encountered before.
Acrivites: we didn’t do any here as we were not on the package and run out of money but we heard the sunset cruise was really good but the snorkelling nothing special.
Our resort tips (from our experience and word of mouth on the boats);
-The two barefoots
Obviously they are all beautiful islands and your time will be what you make of it.*
*Tip: ask other travellers for advice what to do / where to stay. Get involved with and speak to the locals on the islands!