It's the fantasy tropical beach vacation: beautiful beaches, unspoiled tropical paradise... But, you say, a Fiji resort seems so far, so out of reach...
Think again. Logistics -- and price-- may be more manageable than you believe.
After a connecting flight in Los Angeles, a 10-hour overnight flight gets you to Nadi airport, on the main island of Viti Levu.
The Fiji archipelago in the South Pacific has over 300 islands. Viti Levu itself has rain-forest, waterfalls, reefs and beaches, and a range of properties; its outer islands can be reached by boat or seaplane. Or you can fly from Nadi in less than an hour to either of the next-largest islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Note: when you wake up after your overnight flight to Nadi, the date will be one day later: you lose a day when you cross the international dateline. (But don't worry: you'll get that day back, on your return trip. You may never understand how it all works, though.)
Why Pick a Fiji Resort?
- legendary beauty of the South Pacific
- coral reefs, with excellent snorkeling and diving
- blend of cultures: Melanesian, Polynesian, Micronesian, Indian, Chinese, European
The traditional island thatched-roof cottage is called a "bure", and most places feature this style in one way or another, to give guests the feel of the South Pacific.
Choices range from budget to luxury. Below are popular areas for Fiji resorts, and also some sample properties many of which are on small private islets:
- Viti Levu - the main island, where the town of Nadi is the tourism center. Resort choices include the Sheraton Fiji Resort and the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa on Denarau Island, which is connected by a causeway to Viti Levu. (See more about resorts in the Nadi area.)
- Coral Coast: begins 15 km south of Nadi; choices from budget on up. Sample: luxury Shangri-La's Fijian Resort has private island, 105 acres, kids' club.
- Mamanucas: tiny islands off the west coast, easily reached by boat from Nadi. Castaway Island Resort has a complimentary kids' club
- Yasawa Islands: chain of tiny islands, above northwest Viti Levu. Turtle Island is a private island resort with just 14 bures; though mainly a couples retreat, Turtle Island has some Family Time periods. Every child 5 and under has a nanny; kids age 6 and up have a “Bula Buddy” companion and playmate.*
- Vanua Levu: second largest island. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort has been voted the #1 World's top eco-resort at TripAdvisor.com, and bills itself as "the only luxury resort that employs a full-time marine biologist" to help guests experience Fiji's underwater life. All inclusive pricing includes meals, kids club and daily activities. The kids club gets rave reviews, serves two age groups, and has its own pools and clubhouse. A a nanny is assigned to each child under six; meanwhile, kids 6 to 12 get teamed up with Fijian "buddies." Teens are partnered with buddies as well. Daily activities highlight the marine life and local culture.
Also on Vanua Levu: the Koro Sun Resort has a kids' camp, 150 acres with rainforest hikes, tide pools to explore...
All Inclusive Resorts in Fiji
As noted above, the luxury Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort has all inclusive pricing and also has family promotions. Turtle Island Resort also has all inclusive pricing -- brace yourself for a four-digit price per night-- and the Warwick Fiji Resort & Spa is kid-friendly and has all inclusive packages.
Note also that VacationKids.com offers family packages to Fiji at a number of properties. Prices including airfare for four for seven nights start at under $8000.
*Always check resort web sites for updates!