Some destinations are identified as exclusive destinations for honeymoon couples.
Fiji Islands, at least for Europeans, often are on this list.
They are in fact “on the other side of the world” and getting there requires at least one stop and almost 1 full day of flight. If this were not enough, being used to live in the Sardinian sea and traveling alone should be sufficient reasons not to make me consider a trip here.
So why I went to Fiji Islands?
Several times I happened to rotate the globe quickly and then stop it with a finger.
For some strange reason (perhaps simply for statistics, given that the Earth is approximately 70% covered by water) I often ended up in the middle of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean.
And in the end I found the reasons for coming here.
Fiji is home to one of the most adrenaline-pumping experiences ever: diving without cage with some of the most dangerous sharks.
You can also swim with giant manta rays and discover a beautiful coral reef.
But Fiji are also an excellent base from which to travel around the various Pacific nations, often linked to Nadi Airport by direct daily flights.
The most difficult part of organizing a trip to this part of the world, especially for those with little time and lots of curiosity, is to choose where to go.
There are a lot of islands that make up about 25 countries that can be visited in this area.
I wrote the list of all the nations first and I inquired about the reasons why I should go. Then I assigned preferences and started to shorten the list until I was almost a third of the way through.
I then started researching all the possible flights combinations, defining my trip to Fiji, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Cook Islands and New Zealand.
HOW TO GET TO FIJI ISLANDS
Nadi International is the most important airport in Fiji.
Main flights are operated by Fiji Airways, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Air Vanuatu to Suva (Fiji’s capital), Sydney and Brisbane (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand), Nuku’Alofa (Tonga), Hong Kong (China) and Port Vila (Vanuatu).
From Nausori Airport, a few miles from Suva, there are connections to Funafuti (Tuvalu) and Auckland (New Zealand) operated by Air Vanuatu, Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand.
A small curiosity: on my trip to Oceania I travelled in Business Class for the first time.
I had obviously booked the cheapest ticket, but about 5 days before departure I received an email from the airline inviting me to make an offer to change from Economy to Business.
With any hope, I offered € 30,00.
After a while they accepted my offer.
For me, used to travelling low cost and with only one hand luggage, it was the discovery of a new world: reserved paths at check-in, baggage control and priority access in the plane, reserved entrance to the airport lounge (with huge sofas, TVs, food and buffet drinks included), inside the plane tablet available and menu reserved, and at arrival, to finish, luggage delivered first.
The only problem with Business Class is that come back to Economy becomes much more difficult.
WHAT TO DO IN FIJI
I’m not traveler for relaxing holidays. Or I don’t spend my days just sitting on a beach lazing around and only move when it’s time to eat, drink or sleep.
Holidays are the days of the year when I get the most tired. But it’s a good tiredness, that allows me to recharge waiting for the next trip.
Here, however, the frenzy have to fight against Fiji Time.
To understand it, just think of a phrase that I have heard several times: “don’t do today what you could do tomorrow“.
In short, relax and live slowly.
The concept of time is subject to free interpretation: punctuality is often an unknown word, something could be lost (but usually found) and reservations could be handled poorly.
In general, all problems are always solved and losing patience makes things worse.
Swimming with giant manta rays
Here you can enjoy spectacular activities surrounded by nature.
The Republic of Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands and 500 atolls. To the west of the main island Viti Levu, there are about twenty volcanic islands that make up the Yasawa archipelago.
I chose to spend a few days in Barefoot Manta Island because the surrounding waters are often frequented by giant manta rays.
When they rise to the surface, the boats immediately leave their moorings to allow guests to swim a short distance from them.
Unfortunately I waited for 4 days but the wind was always strong and the manta rays didn’t show up.
However, I spent some pleasant days, between the beauty of the coral reef and the calm of the island… but not having seen manta rays was a great disappointment, similar to that experienced in Mexico at Holbox Island with whale sharks.
Shark dive without cage
I’m an islander so I have a very strong love with the sea.
I took scuba diving certification because you can’t know the marine world without going deep. Then I started thinking about sharks.
I have seen many videos of excursions in South Africa but cages were not my dream.
I don’t like being in a cage and I’ve read that this activity is very cruel to sharks. In fact, they are attracted with baits and it is not uncommon for the shark to get hurt or to get stuck in the cage until it even dies from his injuries.
In my travels I learned to respect animals and this was not the experience I was looking for.
To see the sharks I wanted to go to their natural habitat, to see them free.
So I looked for a way to make this dream come true (but it would be better to call it madness) and I found 4 possible destinations: South Africa, Hawaii, Bahamas and Fiji.
Do you like to know about?
WHERE TO SLEEP
I came to Fiji to get around and if you’re going to be “beachcombing” in a resort for a long time, I’m not the person to give you advice. If you’re just looking for a bed to sleep in and a friendly atmosphere in a convenient location, I recommend two hostels that are very close to each other.
The Bamboo Backpackers is the perfect choice for those who love hostel life.
There are people from all over the world, it’s just a few steps from the beach, the kitchen offers 24 hours a day delicious dishes at low prices, the tour desk is open most of the day, the bus to Port Denarau passes near the hostel, wifi works everywhere, the van/shuttle is available from the airport, luggage storage is free, there is a laundry, bathrooms and showers are clean, there are several shops and restaurants nearby.
Above all, I have to give special mention to the kindness and hospitality of the staff. They are so nice and helpful that you feel at home and you are really sorry to leave.
Il Tropic of Capricorn mi è sembrato il suo fratello minore.
It’s just a few metres away but is smaller than the Bamboo Backpackers. They have in common, of course, the beach and the bus stop to Port Denarau.
The airport shuttle is free of charge and waits in the forecourt outside when international flights arrive.
The Uprising Beach Resort offers both luxurious beach bungalows and dormitory accommodation at very low prices.
It can be reached by shuttles (similar to the colectivos in South America) that connect Nadi airport to Suva airport, passing through Pacific Harbour.
The Uprising Beach Resort is surrounded by greenery and directly on the beach.
Obviously it is the perfect choice for those who have come here to experience one of the best activities in this area: the incredible shark diving without cage in Beqa Lagoon.
When choosing to spend a few days in the Yasawa Islands it’s important to understand what you are looking for, because apart from accommodation, each island has its own characteristics.
Those closest to Port Denarau are often frequented by young people looking for fun. Going further away, and therefore spending a little more for the boat trip, you arrive at the more peaceful islands.
Find the solution that fits your needs with Awesome Adventures Fiji.
I chose to spend a few days at Barefoot Manta for the chance to swim with the giant manta rays, which usually enter the channel adjacent to the island.
Unfortunately due to the wind they didn’t show up but I know this is nature.
The island is beautiful and relaxing: there are two beautiful beaches, shallow water on the shore suitable for children and a thriving coral reef a few metres away, where you can swim peacefully among coral, plants and hundreds of colourful fish.
There is also the possibility of diving, walking almost everywhere in search of the most beautiful views, eating well and resting. But most importantly, the staff is wonderful.
They are very kind, they do everything to put you at ease and help you, they joke and greet everyone by name (I don’t know how they remember them …).
Upon arrival they wait for the guests on the beach and dedicate some welcome songs. But it’s the final goodbye songs, as they leave the island, that are most emotional.
You might think that they are the same every day, but they put such a transport into them that you can’t help but feel great joy and nostalgia.
I wish them all the best.