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BULA: It’s Fiji Time

F 0041 300x200 BULA: It’s Fiji TimeAfter a tearful goodbye following our time home for the holidays, we took off on the second leg of our around the world adventure. Leaving behind single digit temperatures and promises of snowfall, we began our journey to the South Pacific. Two layovers and 26 hours later, we arrived at the much anticipated destination of Fiji.

Everything you’ve heard about the natural beauty of the romanticized Fiji Islands is absolutely true. Deep in the Pacific Ocean the 333 Fijian isles stand tall, perched above turquoise waters lined with exquisite beaches. The size of each island differs greatly. Some look no larger than an enormous mound of sand while others are palm-studded with dense rainforests and mountains rising to magnificent heights. Uniform to every island are the surrounding crystal-clear waters and incredible coral gardens lining the ocean floor. The views are as dramatic as they are stunning.

Fiji 032 300x200 BULA: It’s Fiji TimeTrue to our laid-back travel style, we arrived at 4 a.m. without a plan, map or reservation. Typically, we like to be a bit more prepared than this, but with the hectic holiday calendar and last-minute errands, we placed planning our Fiji holiday on the backburner. Luckily, we were greeted at the airport by vultures disguised as travel agents clad in traditional Fijian garb (long skirts and flower-printed shirts) with the sweet-smelling frangipani flower in their hair. They greeted us with a warm “BULA!” (Fijian for hello or cheers) and helped us orient ourselves and plot our stay.

As we predicted, Fiji is not ideal for a budget traveler and trying to make the most of our time here on a tighter budget proved to be quite challenging. The majority of accommodation options include high-end resorts, and the strong monopoly on transportation and island activities has prices skyrocketing. Begrudgingly reminding ourselves we aren’t on vacation and have a budget to stick to, we opted for a cheaper backpacker resort on the string of islands known as the Manamuca Group.

Fiji 047 300x200 BULA: It’s Fiji TimeWe arrived by boat to the beautiful island of Mana and settled in to the budget resort which would serve as our home base for the next few days. I had grown quite accustomed to the comforts of home over the holidays so readjusting to this traveling lifestyle, and in this case sharing a bathroom with 15 other people, was not easy. A quick look around, however, at the stunning views, abundant sunshine and blue waters, proved to be just the wakeup call I needed.

Just as I began to readjust to this basic travel style, we hit the jackpot. We got word of a resort on the neighboring island of Malolo offering free upgrades to their guests to the private beachfront villas dotting the coastline. Off we went on the first boat we could find to take advantage of this offering. Here on Malolo we found a little bit of heaven waiting for us in our one little bamboo roof hut overlooking the turquoise waters.

Both accommodations offered all the amenities of nice resort.They had snorkeling gear and kayaks to rent and arranged a variety of excursions, including fishing, sunset cruises and diving. We partook in an island hopping adventure, which gave us the chance to explore nearby islands like Mandriki (where the movie Castaway was filmed). Lucky for us the island still maintains the remote appeal characterized in the movie. So isolated, in fact, that our arrival broke up a nice little nudist gathering on the beach.

Fiji 052 300x200 BULA: It’s Fiji TimeWhat sets Fiji apart from all other exotic locales I’ve had the chance to experience in my twenty seven years of existence is undoubtedly the water. Still, green and clear, the vast ocean looks more like an aquarium, providing a look into a richly exotic underwater world.

The large banks of coral made water adventures activities a real treat and a daily dose of snorkeling and kayaking became standard. Swimming with schools of brightly colored red, yellow and rainbow-colored fish and coming face-to-face with blue starfish and brilliant coral reefs will always be my Fijian highlight. It certainly made the long flight more than worthwhile.

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Comments (10)

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  1. roundwego says:

    The water is that amazing! Photos don’t lie. I want to go back. Thanks for following our travels, Greer!

  2. Greer Goings says:

    Ok, the pictures of the water in Fiji look fake! Are you sure you didn’t photoshop:)??? Enjoying living vicariously through you!

  3. Shannon OD says:

    I’ve only been in Fiji as a layover, and this post makes me really wish I’d had the opportunity to stay! It sounds like a little piece of heaven to snorkel and kayak every day! Gorgeous photos :-)
    .-= Shannon OD´s last blog ..A Little Recap & Plan…Ah, Saturday =-.

  4. Mom Keller says:

    Sounds like you both are back in the swing of things.
    Always enjoy reading your blog and getting jealous at the same time. Enjoy, enjoy. Love you, mom K

  5. roundwego says:

    Fiji is a must. It’s actually not a bad flight – nine hours direct from LA and there are some really nice rates from there, too.

  6. Greg Dawson says:

    Fiji is definitely on my list!

  7. roundwego says:

    Glad you enjoyed reading about our Fiji adventure! It was truly paradise. We’re so lucky to have had the chance to experience it. It was quite a treat.

  8. Dad Keller says:

    Loved reading about the islands and the beach. You two just manufacture goof fortune, don’t you? Love you both.
    DAD

  9. Amy Wellington says:

    Wow, Loll – what a fantastic description of your stay in Fiji! I feel like I was right there with you. Everything sounds incredible! I’m so glad you all made it safely. Enjoy the rest and keep the updates coming! Love you!

  10. Brigid Pritchard says:

    Loved reading about a place I know!! Hope you guys enjoyed paradise!! Cant wait to hear what you think of the Kiwis and Aussies!! safe travels! xoxo