Think Fiji is just for couples? Think again! Kristen Sarah from Hopscotch the Globe shares all the cultural and adventurous experiences you can have in Fiji no matter what your style of travel.
When you think of Fiji, beautiful beaches, turquoise waters and huts on the beach may come to mind. If this is in fact what you were thinking, you are completely correct. Fiji is indeed the ideal destination for couples looking to relax on perfect beaches surrounded by the most crystal clear water you will ever see. However, Fiji is more than a honeymoon hot spot. It is a place of endless possibilities for every type of traveller. Three girlfriends and myself spent seven incredible days exploring the islands of Fiji and discovered more than we could have ever anticipated. This destination located in the middle of the South Pacific is full of adventure and culture just waiting to be discovered. So, read on, but be prepared to put Fiji at the top of your bucket list!
White Water Rafting
If you are a thrill seeker and nature lover, white water rafting in Fiji will be sure to please. River’s Fiji is considered Fiji’s #1 adventure tour and the only company to offer whitewater rafting high in the lush interior of Viti Levu. Your adventure will take you along the Upper Navua River’s volcanic waterfall filled gorges and Namosi Highlands. Be prepared to get wet as falling out of the raft is not uncommon, but is also part of the fun!
Upon being picked up from your hotel, you will travel overland through the rainforest followed by a morning snack before departing on your epic rafting journey. You will have a chance to get a wonderful natural massage by one of the waterfalls found along the river followed by a delicious lunch, which will be provided by the River’s Fiji staff. Your rafting ends at Wainadiro Village where you will have a chance to dry off before driving to the Rivers Fiji office to get a chance to relive your adventure by watching a video photo montage put together by one of the staff photographers. The tour takes an entire day to complete, starting at 6:45am and ending at 6pm.
Fiji Cooking 101
Learning to cook traditional Fijian food is a great way to become immersed in the culture. Flavours of Fiji Cooking School offers a cooking course that will take you on a mouthwatering journey through traditional Fijian and Indian flavours and teach you about the Fijian culture.
The two ladies who run the course aren’t just passionate about food and Fijian culture, but are extremely friendly and funny which makes the lesson much more enjoyable. This experience will be fun, delicious and teach you a new set of cooking skills that you can take back to your home country to share it with friends and family.
Kava is a crop from the Western Pacific and plays a big part in the Fiji culture. Fijians grind up the kava root and mix it with water to create their national beverage, also referred to as Yaqona, which is consumed by many of the islanders on a day-to-day basis. The effects of kava depend on the amount consumed. Just one cup will make your mouth feel numb for a couple of minutes as the root produces anesthetic properties. Consuming larger amounts will make you feel relaxed and sleepy for several hours.
Participating in a kava ceremony during your visit to Fiji is a fantastic cultural experience not to be missed. It’s also an opportunity not difficult to find since kava is consumed at several ceremonial events and casual get togethers. A formal kava ceremony in Fiji will often accompany religious, political or social events. Kava is also commonly consumed on weekends with friends and family. While many tours include a kava ceremony in their package, it’s a more special to be invited to drink kava by a local, which is likely to happen at least one time during your stay.
Cannibalism is a dark part of Fijian history. The Fiji islands were in fact, avoided by explorers for hundreds of years due to the fear of Fijians man-eating habit. Don’t worry though, cannibalism in the country is long gone and today, the only vestiges of cannibalism are in museums, handcraft shops and Naihehe Cave.
Naihehe Cave is located in Sigatoka Valley and is Fiji’s largest cave system. The best way to explore the cave is with Off-Road Cave Safari. The adventure will start in an off road ATV ride through lush tropical plants, rolling hills and nearby villages. After a 30-minute drive, you will arrive at Sautabu village where you will partake in a Kava ceremony conducted by the village priest. At the ceremony, the village priest will give you his blessing to enter Neihehe Cave. Legend has it that those who enter the cave without the village priests blessing will get lost. Inside the cave, you will learn about the history of Naihehe, which wasonce a fortress for a cannibal tribe and still contains a cannibal oven, ritual platform, sacred priest chamber and other reminders of its cannibal history. This experience is for every traveller who enjoys adventure, don’t mind a little spook and enjoy learning about the history of a place.
Giving back to the places you visit and people you meet along the way can be a very rewarding experience. Vinaka Fiji Volunteer Program, in collaboration with the Yasawa Trust Foundation, aims to improve the provision of basic needs and amenities missing from village life in the Yasawa Islands.
Visitors participating in the program have the chance to volunteer in one or more of the following areas:
- Assistant teaching in English based on the Fijian National curriculum.
- Work on a range of community projects that assists in several critical initiatives including developments to improve access to sufficient fresh water through rainwater harvesting solutions, education of communities in resource management, environmental initiatives, sustainable agriculture practices and assisting in the set up of micro enterprises
- Marine conservation such as manta ray research, reef check, crown of thorn star fish watch, coral and clam nursery, marine biodiversity database, habitat mapping and teaching sustainable reef practices.
For more Volunteer opportunities in Fiji, visit www.govoluntouring.com
Have you packed your bags yet? For more info on travelling to Fiji, contact a Flight Centre Travel Expert at 1-866-502-4605 or find your closest store