Over the past month, we’ve slowed down our pace in California, spending time with my sister and her new baby, letting our hair down and unwinding. It’s been great to stop and reflect, and catch up with everything we’ve missed in the past few months.
But we are travel addicts after all and traveling is what we do, so our feet are starting to itch once again. Even though we’re spending three months in California (until May), we’ve decided to break up our time here with a few short trips in between.
As you’re reading this, we’re on our way to Fiji in the South Pacific, thanks to Air Pacific and Tourism Fiji.This will be our first time in the South Pacific, and we can’t wait to get a taste of it in Fiji. We can’t believe it only takes 10 hours to fly direct from USA to the South Pacific!
Photo from Captain Cook Cruises
Visiting Remote Islands
Unknown to many (including myself), Fiji is actually an archipelago made up of 332 islands – out of which only 110 are inhabited. We obviously will only get to see a fraction of it, but thanks to Captain Cook Cruises, we’ll be able to see several of the remote and lesser known Northern Fiji islands.
On board the small and intimate MV Reef Endeavour, we’ll be doing a one-week heritage cruise, exploring the unexplored islands far and beyond, getting to know Fijian cultural heritage and uncovering a different side to the islands. Some of our stops will include the historic island of Ovalau which still features 19th Century colonial architecture, the Bouma Waterfall lagoon on Taveuni Island, and the extinct volcanic crater and hot springs of Savusavu. Fiji straddles the 180 degree longitude line which is the international date line, which we’ll also be passing through on this trip.
We’re not usually fans of massive commercial cruises – but are drawn to small-scale environmental-friendly cruises and expedition vessels. One of the things that drew us to this cruise trip in particular is the emphasis on local heritage and culture. We will have the opportunity to experience village life and take part in kava cerrmonies as well as traditional meke (dance) and learn about their lives through the local guide.
Photo from Captain Cook Cruises
Learning About Village Life
After the cruise, we’ll be joining Sigatoka River Safari on a jet-boat safari tour along the Sigatoka River to visit authentic Fijian villages and experience a day in the life of the real ‘kaiviti’ (Fijian). A local guide will be sharing with us the history, customs and legends of the area. In the village, we’ll get to visit the village Chief’s bure, take part in a kava ceremony, and feast on a traditional Fijian lunch.
Sigatoka River Safari works with 15 different villages and visits a different village every day, to minimize the impact of tourism on the village lifestyle. I think that’s a key element to making tourism in Fiji sustainable.
Photo from Sigatoka River Safari
Next, we’ll be hopping on an off-road cave safari, where we’ll be exploring Naihehe Cave,Fiji’s largest Cave system, and learning about its history. What was once a fortress for a cannibal tribe is now still guarded by betes (priests) who are the traditional protectors of the site. We’ll be crouch through narrow chambers, wade through water, and hike in the darkness to get a feel was life inside the cave.
During our trip, we’ll be staying at an assortment of hotels: ranging from the funky and young Uprising Resort to the sophisticated and luxurious Outrigger on the Lagoon, and the city hotel Mercure in Nadi. We’ll be spending some time sussing out the quirks of each resort and reporting back from all our adventures in Fiji, so please stay tuned!
Photo from Off Road Fiji
Disclaimer: Our trip is made possible by Tourism Fiji, Air Pacific, and several other sponsors, but all opinions expressed above are our own.