The tropical country of Fiji lies in the south pacific ocean, in the ring of fire. Famed for its palm trees, sandy beaches, coral reef, blue lagoons and rugged landscape; consisting of 300 islands.
I have only visited Fiji once so far for a short break, flying into Nadi on the north west of Viti Levu then heading up to Latouka. I also decided to do a day trip to one of the islands (Beachcomber Islands) and ended up enjoying it so much that I stayed on the island for 4 nights. I want to share my experience of this island, our stay on the mainland and some of the other amazing things Fiji has to offer. As always there are plenty of things to see and do in this wonderful country, and I am itching to get back there again.
Tours from Latouka
On the mainland you can take a range of tours from zip lining to mud pools and much more in between. I noted some of the day trips we didn't have chance to visit after switching to the island for longer and listened to some of the other guests discussing their day trips too. Here, I have listed the key ones that we would love to visit on our next trip.
Mud Pools and the Sleeping Giant Garden
The best price for this experience comes from Viator saves you over £13.00. Visit the stunning gardens and explore the geothermal pools.
Click Here to find out more or book this trip | Price £43.30
If you want more time in this landscape and to further enjoy the mud pools, then you can join this trip. Allowing you to explore these more fully.
Click Here to find out more about the Tifajek Hot Springs and Mud Pools | Price £59.22
The Sleeping Giant Garden. This is definitely on our bucket list (source @Shutterstock).
Nature Trek and Waterfall Swimming Tour
Be introduced to Fijian culture and visit Nalesutale Village near the sleeping giants garden, before trekking a short distance to the waterfall.
Click Here to find out more or book this awesome experience | £59.22
The best price we could find for this was offered by Viator. It came cheaper than our local flyers that we saved and cheaper than 3 other tour provider booking agencies (over £22 cheaper than other offers). Go Tubing down the Navua River
Click Here to find out more | Price £62.53
Zipline and Cave Tour
This one is one of my favourites and offered by Get Your Guide, explore limestone caves and 5km of Ziplining through tropical rainforest with stunning pacific ocean views.
Click Here to find out more | Price £82.00
Island Hopping From Latouka or Denarau
One of the key draws for Fiji for me was the Mamanuca Islands. I had dreamed about visiting tropical islands all of my life. I wanted to snorkel the coral reefs, sit and read a book in complete peace and relax in the sun. We opted for Beachcomber Island to suite our budget due to it's partnership with the mainland resort. I have listed the islands we heard the most positive feedback about and wanted to revisit on any follow up trips. The best prices I have found in this case were on Viator. This is cheaper than other tour sales companies and matches the prices direct on the leaflets.
Malamala is similar to beachcomber island but think more luxury. They offer an al a carte menu from their restaurant using freshly caught fish, and ingredients sourced from mainland Fiji. It is perfect for snorkelling, paddleboarding and relaxation
Click Here to view the trip from Viator | Cost £54.29
Visit Monuriki Island of Castaway (2008)
With Seaspray you can visit the filming location where Tom Hanks. This island is uninhabited by humans, so visits are allowed but it is not an island you can book to stay on as such. On this trip you will also get to visit Mamanuca Islands and Yanuyanu Tatau to experience more of the traditional culture
Click Here to view trip from Viator | Cost £80.97
This day trip includes snorkelling and a bbq. The reviews from this trip are very positive and a couple that I spoke with on our original beachcomber day trip preferred this island and trip.
Click Here to view trip from Viator | Cost £79.03
Visiting Beachcomber Island
What To Expect When Staying Here
The price of an over night stay on the the island starts from £80 per night. If you stay more than one night you can get a great deal. During our stay we spent most of our days swimming in the sea, reading and snorkelling the shores. For context we were there for my friends 21st birthday to relax and celebrate but we had both worked a tough winter on the vineyards in New Zealand. I would like to say I wish I did more, but this was exactly what I needed.
As you can see, this island is as stunning as expected. There is a sandy beach that wraps around most of the island (with just a small area that is more rocky at the back of the island. This is where the boats access the dock and are able to avoid the coral reef and swimming area to the front of the island). On the island there is also a turtle rescue effort which you can see first hand as they are rehabilitated before being released back into the sea. The sunsets on the island also deserve credit. Each evening we were greeted by brightly colours skies (as you can see below).
There are a number of buildings onsite for accommodation from private beach bungalows, dorms and the regular hotel rooms. There is bar that has a sandy floor with a mezzanine upstairs area looking out over the sea and the rest of the bar. We stayed in a private twin room, they weren't luxurious but were clean and comfortable.
In the bar they offer entertainment from live music, cultural shows and Dj's. We were visiting during the world cup and they also had a covered shelter where they streamed this for guests. The cultural show following dinner from the local staff performing traditional Fijian dance, then followed by lots of music for those who want to let their hair down. By this time we were what i'd like to call 'Sun Fu*%ed'
Click Here to find out more about the Island or Book your stay.
Scuba Diving On Beachcomber
On site you have a PADI registered dive school. We saw quite a lot of other guests taking part in their PADI courses and raving about it at breakfast and dinner. There isn't a full sized swimming pool but with sea like this who needs one. There is a plunge pool at the back of the island that is used by the PADI groups to practice their initial techniques. Guests can use this when it's free to relax or cool down out of the way.
Water Sports On The Island
On Beachcomber you can take out kayaks t explore the surrounding area of the island. There is a nearby sandbar you can see from the island on a clear day.
There is a glass bottom boat trip and snorkel trip to allow you view the coral safely under the boat that we took part in. This was included in the price of our stay. We saw giant sea turtles and so many stunning fish. The boat operator was also really lovely.
There are jet ski's available and other trips to the neighbouring treasure island (this is an additional cost).
Overall the service was brilliant, the staff were so lovely and we had a great experience. I would go back but I would also spend more time on other islands.
Click Here to find out more about the Island or Book your stay.
As A Day Trip
Now the day trip currently has mixed reviews from Viator; some loving it and some hating it. The reason why I have chosen to still do a write up is based on my own experience. We went on a day trip here from our mainland resort which had been utterly disappointing (due to the resort and being misold our package). When we visited the island on a day trip we asked to go back the next day paid to upgrade to the Island for the remaining 4 nights of our trip and we loved it.
Click Here to book a day trip to the island | £75.88
Where We Stayed On the Mainland
Anchorage Beach Resort
Anchorage Beach resort was the place we had booked to stay as part of our hotel and flight deal. It wasn't what we expect but I'll start by sharing the Pros from this stay.
It it good for budget travel with prices starting from £40 per room night
The staff were all lovely.
The room was clean, modern and had a jacuzzi bathtub.
The rooms also had air conditioning.
We got to experience a traditional Kava Ceremony (Read Below).
The Massage Therapist was amazing
The Pool area is nice and they have hammocks up around the resort
Now for the Con's of the stay. Unfortunately was not going to include this in here as it has been a few years since this stay and I'd have expected the resort to have improved and be more transparent in their advertisement. There were a number of disappointments that we were miss sold on (this mainly by the agent), and it appears some of these are still the case (from reviews online). We ended up paying approx. £70 in the shoulder season (with expected monsoon weather some of the stay). So needless to say we didn't expect luxury or glamour but what we did expect was:
A beach - It doesn't have a beach (despite the name). It would be more appropriate to be called a waterfront resort or hotel
Water Sports (as advertised at the time, this was our biggest sell between this and another resort. It was stated that kayaks were free to use as well as other leisure activities, that we knew we'd want to do a lot).
The picture of Fiji we imagined from the pictures, the water and the landscape on the shores just weren't anything like what we had seen on the pictures.
Peaceful location and beautiful with it being named a resort and advertised that way... It's also out of the way of the other resorts and areas that most tourists go to (Denerau), so we expected it might be a more picturesque landscape. It wasn't great, There is a working train track that runs through the grounds which you can see and hear from some of the rooms. The road leading up to the resort is sketchy and dirty.
I am certainly not saying don't stay here but I would save a little extra money and spend to get a more comfortable resort that offers more to do or head to the nearby Denerau Island.
Above you can see a couple of pictures from the Kava (yaquona) Ceremony. Kava is a mild depressant and makes a narcotic drink that looks like muddy water. This drink uses the root powder of a pepper plant with water. This is then drained through a cloth and gives you a sense of numbness and relaxation temporarily. From what we were told by the locals, this is the traditional night cap opted for by the Fijian men (as oppose to whisky in the U.K).
Where To Stay On Mainland Fiji
I would recommend staying in Denerau Island (which is more of a peninsula than an island). Having spoken with many others on beachcomber and friends that have visited since, many have suggested the resorts here as being a great base on the mainland to explore the wild nature around Latouka and visit the Mamanuca islands. These are the few we heard lots of positives about.
This is the option we have picked out for our stay, although not the cheapest or the most expensive for me this one looks great, has great reviews and plenty of facilities. We wouldn't mind stretching our budget a bit for this.
Prices from £206 per night | Click Here
The Westin looks Charming, has great facilities and a friend of mind I worked with in NZ went here for a holiday. He said him and his fiance loved it here. They are particularly fussy with their accommodation choices which they wont mind me saying and part of this is from him working in 5 star hotels around the world. So I value his opinion here and definitely consider this one to be on the top choices (and looking at the reviews etc. I'm torn between this and the Sheraton now.
Prices from £191 per night | Click Here
The Terraces Apartments
This is the cheapest in this area but not quite as nice as others if you want a bit of luxury. I would go for this if I was on a tighter budget and wanting to be in Denerau.
Prices from £147 per Night | Click Here
The Sofitel Hotel
Whilst this one is the most pricy this is one if we had the money to, we'd chose this. It has great reviews, plus two of my friends honeymooned here; one during the time I was in Fiji, another years later and both loved it.
Prices from £256 per Night | Click Here