We arrived in Nadi airport on the 14th Nov 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. We didn’t mind too much, just sat and slept a little more in the airport. 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.
We 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 as well which we heard 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.
The next day we 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.
We scoured the streets for the locals market where you can find great fresh fruit and vegetables and then drank street water from a street tap (we didn’t die which is a bonus).
We did manage to find a couple of cheap supermarkets in front of the bus station where you can get most foods, snacks and alcohol from.
Getting on the cheap bus home was a great local experience… they drop you back at your door for 1/10 of the cost of the taxis.
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.
The main attraction in Fiji, in our opinion, is heading out to the islands. There’s a free shuttle provided from just outside the hostels to port denarau where all the ferrys to the islands go from. This 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 before you go, unless you know exactly which island resorts you want to do. The accommodation can easily be sorted out on the boat but all depends on availability. We would recommend 4-6 nights on islands altogether, it’s quite feasible to do most islands in one night. Anymore than this and you start running out of money/sun-cream/excitement for snorkeling and the sound of drums before your allowed to eat. This sounds like madness…how could you get bored on an island, but its so hot that you cant spend that much time in the sun!
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 as its so big. It was great fun though and we were there with a few people we had met on the islands before. There were great clean dorms although really far from toilets, 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!
Also each island has their own version of the BULA dance 🙂 so try and get to know each one. The best part of island life really was getting to know the locals who lived there and all the other traveler’s. You have every meal altogether so its nice to sit and chat, we met so many great people and got some great tips for the rest of our trip.