Island life in Fiji

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Sadly our island life in Fiji has come to an end - currently in Auckland New Zealand I wanna take some time to sit, reminisce and dream about our tropical island adventure in the beautiful Fiji and review it for anyone interested in visiting in the near or distant future.

We were lucky enough to have 16 days in Fiji, which is more than enough time to explore a decent amount of different islands, do a good fair share of activities whilst still having time to nap in a hammock and soak up the sun. We went through the company Awesome Adventures and booked up the 'tropical island explorer' package - although fairly pricy at £810 each it included all our food, all our travel and boat transfers and some free drinks! The entire trip was curated and organised really well (especially considering everyone's running on Fiji time).

For the first few nights we stayed in Nadi at a hostel call Bamboo Beach. The staff were super friendly and helpful, dorm was airy and clean and the food was cheap and delicious. However Nadi beach isn't up to much so I highly recommend you spend as little time as poss on the main land and get your bum out to the islands...

South Sea Island
This was our first stop on the Yasawa flyer (the big yellow boat that transports you to all the different islands). When we pulled up I couldn't believe my eyes - a tiny little mound of white sand, adorned with palm trees and hammocks, surrounded by crystal clear blue water - it was my first glimpse of paradise! South sea is the smallest island in the Mamamucas (you can literally walk round the entire island in 5 minutes). We were welcomed by the south sea staff singing to us which was so lovely (they do this to welcome you on all the islands)! The island only has one big dorm as it's super small - we managed to have our own little section which was nice- the room was cool, clean and airy. Two of the best things about South Sea island were the staff and the food. Unfortunately both of us picked up a bit of a sickness bug whilst on the island but Mike (the guy in charge) was a life saver making us hot ginger, honey and lemon tea and making sure we were well looked after and all recovered before heading to our next island. Also the food (big buffet breakfast, BBQ lunch and 3 course dinner on the sand watching the sunset) was really special! As the island is closest to the main land it get full up with lots of family's on holiday during the day - we really enjoyed the buzzy atmosphere but if you're after a secluded paradise this probably isn't the island for you! One of the best thing about the day trippers was blending in with them and getting loads of free drinks (including beer throughout the day)! The island also offers a good selection of trips, we did the morning snorkel trip and really enjoyed it - they also offer diving and glass bottom boat rides. I would say South Sea was the perfect starter island as is picture perfect, loads of fun and a good introduction to island life.

This was probably my favourite island! The family that ran it were amazing - so warm and welcoming and the people we met on this island were all so lovely - we had an amazing time sharing our time with them all. Although the island perhaps wasn't as picturesque as South Sea it was still so beautiful - a lot more lush and tropical with great snorkelling surrounding the island - all in all it felt a lot more tropical and wild! The dorm was good with fans and mosquito nets (trust me you need them) - and although the food was a lot more basic it was still really yummy! Our favourite trip we did in Fiji was from Naqulia and it was swimming with sharks (see next post) - I 100% recommend doing this trip if you're ever in Fiji, it was easily the best £20 I've ever spent! The evening entertainment was also super fun, loads of singing, dancing and Kava (a traditional Fijian drink served at a Kava ceremony - makes you giggly and sleepy).

White Sandy Beach
Don't be fooled by the name! I hate to be a negative nelly/ungrateful traveller but ohhhh dear - white Sandy where do I start?! Okay so let me start by saying we didn't have a bad time at White Sandy - luckily the people were all amazing, staff and fellow travellers BUT compared to the other islands it wasn't great and it was very disorganised. When we arrived our friends soon alerted us to the shortage of loo roll - which inevitably ran out (not what you want on a desert island). They then ran out of bottled water and beer - it was a long two days. Unfortunately the beach didn't live up to its name and sea was always too hot to swim in due to it ALWAYS being low tide! To top it off we couldn't do any of the trips as they had also ran out of fuel for the boats. However a highlight from White Sandy had to be watching Abo give a coconut demonstration. He climbs the tree like a gecko to then hack them down with a machete. We then all got to sit and drink out the coconut water and munch on the flesh after - yum. All in all and experience I'll never forget!

Long Beach
Beautiful and laid back! Chris, the guy organising all the trips was great and helped us carve rings out of coconuts - such a fun chilled afternoon. The food wasn't bad - basic and filling and me and Craig were luckily enough to be upgraded to our own Burro for the two nights - was great to have a little bit of luxury whilst backpacking! Long beach was defiantly one of my favourite islands - amazing long white Sandy beach, cool, clear water (however be warned of the stingrays!) and loads of shady hammocks. Also learnt a traditional Fijian game called Flicky Flicky (not as rude as it sounds) and I was actually rather good! One of the best things about Long Beach was the group hike to the top of Goat Island - a free activity it was well worth doing, the views we got at the top of the island was breathtaking. Well worth the struggle in bare feet (bring trainers)!

Safe Landing
This was the furthest north of the islands we went and was probably the island with the most rugged yet beautiful beach. The first day we arrived on Safe Landing it crashed down with rain - and I'm talking tropical storm kinda rain. It started whilst we were snorkelling in The Blue Lagoon (which for the record is amazing - tones of fishes including clown fish, I even saw a sting ray!). A short walk across the island on Safe Landing is an adorable tea and cake shop run by a man who sadly lost his entire home in the recent cyclone. He runs the cafe to help fund a new home for him and his family. We decided the heavy rain and cooler weather was the perfect set up for tea and cake and enjoyed the yummiest banana cake ever - it was so good me and Craig went back the next day to try his chocolate one! The second day we went caving (shout out to Erin and Emily for your spare tickets!).This was a really cool experience as you actually get to swim inside the cave - the water is lovely and refreshing and it was awesome to float onto your back and look up around the cave. If you were brave enough you could swim into the second cave which involved holding your breath and diving underwater for ‪around 4-5‬ seconds. Craig went through but I decided to float around the safety of the first cave with Erin and Emily. Whilst on Safe Landing I must also mention MAGIC MOSES. Now as far as Fijian entertainment goes Safe Landing wasn't up to much in comparison to the other islands, that is except for magic Moses! The first evening on the island he came round to our table whilst we were all playing cards and wowed us with a few magic tricks. Already blown away by him guessing cards he then announces that he can in fact read minds. Taking a pen and paper he then asked me to think of three things - my mums name and age, my favourite colour and something random. He then proceeded to 'read my mind' wrote down the answers. I was astounded when he got Sue 63 out of nowhere - guessing my mums name and age correct. He also guessed apple as the random thing but sadly got colour wrong. He also got Emily's personalised car number plate correct - we were amazed! If you ever stay at Safe Landing ask to see some of Moses' magic!

Beachcomber was our final island. Only 45 minutes from the main land it is not too dissimilar in appearance to South Sea. A little bigger, a little bolder and more crazy than South Sea, with a ‪24/7‬ beach bar serving amazing VERY alcoholic cocktails and a slightly dodgy DJ playing banger after banger - it defiantly is the party island and a great island to end on! We met some lovely people on this island and also enjoyed being entertained by a very drunk Australian stag do! Again picture perfect, bright blue water and powdery white sand.

So there you have it my tropical island adventure review! 5 out of 6 islands ain't bad (although white Sandy was still a laugh)! I will 100% be returning to Fiji at some point in my life. This is mainly down to the Fijian people, who are the nicest people you will ever meet! Although the beautiful beaches and island life may have something to do with it!

Elly x

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