There is a mystique that surrounds the beautiful Fijian Islands for most Americans since, indeed, it is a long way to travel and the culture couldn't be more different than what we know in the United States.Â Nevertheless, there is something for everyone with Fiji's 333 islands dotting the Pacific Ocean like jewels.Â Deciding which island is the perfect one for you might not be so easy, but choose a few and then take the time to visit each one for two or three nights.
Let's start with your arrival at the airport in Nadi.Â A good place to have a rest before heading off to a more far flung destination might be The Orchard.Â Perfect for early morning or late night flights (most from America are early morning and late night), The Orchard offers day rooms and breakfast and lunch for visitors just passing through.
To really acclimate to the island, take a few days at the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.Â I could have stayed at this property for my entire trip. It's located on the remote Natadola Bay, "the world's best beach" as they like to call the area where the property is found.Â Designed in the traditional layout of a Fijian Village for the most part the grounds span 35 acres with a number of open spaces also including an uber-hip modern dÃ©cor as well and the two combined at this luxury property works just right.
The main lobby is open throughout with the sound of the ocean waves and the breeze making for a constant reminder of where you are in paradise.Â However, more than just being seen and heard, another sense will quickly be aroused too with the smells of frangipini.
Guests have a choice of five restaurants to choose from, several bars and then of course, there's the spa.Â Signature to the resort is the Cleopatra style bath tub on a private terrace in the guest rooms.Â Depending on your choice, before you retire for the evening staff will draw a bath for you in your tub and incorporate one of the Cleopatra rituals; the calming ritual, essence of love or the Queen Cleopatra ritual; a bath of milk and honey.
Alas, after two nights it was time to move on, this time to visit Castaway Island Resort.Â First stop, a one-hour drive to the Denarau Marina for a boat road to Castaway Island.
Two nights on Castaway Island, only you won't feel like Gilligan since there is so much to see and do while visiting.Â One recommendation: make sure you reserve a room (or bure) on the water, we had one in the middle of the island, which defeated the purpose of staying on an island at all.
A private island, the property sits on 174 acres covered with tropical rainforest and surrounded by white beaches and coral reefs.Â Activities are diverse from champagne picnics to dinner on water's edge to water sports like snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking or parasailing.
Following our stint on Castaway Island we were then whisked away to the airport for a short flight to an island called Taveuni.Â For two nights we stayed at Taveuni Island Resort before heading to the remote Qamea Resort and Spa by boat from Taveuni.
At Qamea Resort and Spa guests stay in Fijian-styled huts and newsletters give the best information as to what the day will hold from specials at the spa to nature walks to guided snorkeling trips.Â If you want seclusion with an option for activities at your leisure then Qamea is the perfect island getaway.
For a real step back in time to the Pacific Islands, Fiji is an excellent place to visit and enjoy a different culture and way of life. Tradition is strong on the islands and, remember, for women, it is still a male-dominated society with a hereditary chief system still firmly in place.Â In Fiji you really are blessed with some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world, so in the end, it's all about Lomani and Demeni, Fijian words meaning pampered, cherished and cared for.Â Indeed, on the islands of Fiji no matter which destination you choose you really will feel like the most special person in the world.
Air Pacific "“ www.airpacific.com
Things to Know:
Your passport must be valid within three months beyond your intended stay.
Local time in Fiji is 12 hours head of GMT and 20 hours head of PCT.
For more information visit Tourism Fiji at www.fijime.com.
Rita Cook is a writer/editor who specializes in writing on a variety of subjects, primarily travel. With over 1000 articles to her credit in the past 10 years and four books, Cook is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Insider Magazine and Managing Editor for Celeb Staff Magazine. She started her career in Chicago working with well-known Sun Times Columnist Irv Kupcinet. She writes a weekly eco-friendly column called "The Green Life" for the Dallas Morning News and has also worked many other national and regional publications. Cook can also be heard on the radio every Sunday morning in Los Angeles on The Insider Magazine Radio Show's featured segment "I'm Standing Here."