In the excellent film The Truman Show, the main character played by Jim Carrey is obsessed with escaping from his monotonous life to the paradise of Fiji. Many travellers share this feeling but do not want to go there believing that it is too expensive a destination. Make no mistake, it is possible to visit this wonderful country made up of 333 breathtaking tropical islands on a limited budget. On the way to Fiji!
Upon arrival at Nadi International Airport, you will have the chance to be greeted by musicians with flower necklaces and traditional musical instruments. Although it’s cliché, you won’t be able to resist the urge to smile after a long flight that took you to the middle of the Pacific. If the city of Nadi has nothing exceptional to offer, it is a very good starting point to organize the continuation of your Fijian adventure.
Located on the main island of Viti Levu, this town of 40,000 people offers different types of accommodation, from the 5-star hotel to the hostel. To keep the budget and keep as much money as possible for future activities, opt for the Bamboo Backpackers. Attentive and helpful, the managers of this hostel will treat you like old friends as soon as you arrive. You will have the chance to discover Fijian culture while getting to know other travellers from all over the world. Samu, at the reception, will be happy to guide you and explain the different attractions that the region offers.
Upon entering my inn room, my gaze immediately rested on the map of the world hanging on the wall. It’s hard to imagine that I’m on this little island, lost in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. That’s when I realized how far away I was from home, feeling exciting and somewhat terrifying at the same time.
Travelling means getting out of your comfort zone.
The Kava Experience
Described in all travel guides, the kava drink is an interesting cultural experience that deserves a try. However, you have to be careful. There is a lot going on with kava, it’s good to set the record straight. This herbal drink of the same name is not a hallucinogenic drug as some claim. The effects are soft, one or two cuts will make you relaxed and somewhat sleepy.
Travellers tend to mix kava with Ayuhuasca, a ceremonial drink that Amazonian tribes use to “have visions”. What is in Fiji is nothing like that. If you are comfortable with your guests, don’t hesitate to try it. You will see that Fijians, who drink it every day, will be happy to share this ancestral tradition with you.
The kava ceremony is very impressive in Fiji. The Chef makes you sit in front of him, he asks you to clap your hands once, then he serves you the bowl of kava, which you must drink at a stroke, before knocking three times in your hands saying “bula”. Mixed with traditional music, the ritual will remain anchored in your head as one of your most beautiful memories.
What about the taste? A mixture of pepper, mud and cough syrup. It makes you want to, it’s up to you.
Some Suggestions For An Unforgettable Trip
In Fiji, you can count on turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, lush vegetation and a culture to make any country jealous. This little piece of country offers different choices whether it’s a trip to a decadent resort or a backpacking adventure.
333 islands, so many ways to discover this country.
Here are some options for you:
An hour’s boat’s boat from Viti Levu, these islands offer stunning beaches worthy of a postcard. One of these islands was even the location of the famous Tom Hanks film, Castaway. Taken by resorts as a tourist spot, you can visit the island of Monuriki on a day trip.
Another location, the famous film The Blue Lagoon this time, you will have the opportunity to explore the mysterious waters of the Cave Sawa-i-Lau and snorkel in the reefs frequented by manta rays, also known as “devils of the seas”. Reaching up to nine meters in wingspan, these funny beasts will give you chills. But don’t worry, although they are imposing, these rays are peaceful and quite harmless.
On my second stay in Fiji (the first was only a two-day stopover), I befriended a Fijian named Samu who invited me on his boat for three days. Fishing, swimming and snorkeling are on the programme.
If you want to think outside the box and get to know the authentic country, choose Kadavu. Although isolated, this island is easily accessible by air from Viti Levu. Several organizations will offer you eco-tourism (also called responsible tourism), which allows you to visit while establishing a privileged contact with the local population. The east of the island is bordered by the fourth largest coral reef in the world, inhabited by manta rays and an incredible diversity of fish. People come from all over the world to have the chance to try this fabulous “spot” fishing.
This was just a few suggestions, but Fiji is full of picturesque places where you’ll feel like you’re alone in the world. By intelligently choosing accommodation and activities, a trip to Fijian soil can be quite affordable. As always, avoid tourist traps and prefer small local agencies.