South Seas paradise

Nanuya Lailai, the Blue Lagoon beach on Yasawas, Fiji

Nanuya Lailai, the Blue Lagoon beach on the Yasawas, Fiji. (Photo by Msdstefan)

Picture yourself in the South Pacific, snuggled away in your own private bure (thatched bungalow) on Viti Levu, one of the 333 sea islands of Fiji strung along the invisible line between local Melanesian and nearby Polynesian cultures.

Each island is a paradise of waterfalls and plunging mountains, fertile valleys, crystal waters lapping sugary beaches, and some of the friendliest folk on the planet.

A bit of background - Trouble in paradise

Fijian village of Navala in the Nausori Highlands
Fijian village of Navala in the Nausori Highlands. (Photo by Merbabu)
Fiji used to have something of a bad rep. Maybe it had something to do with the island chain's old name, "Cannibal Islands" back in the days when Captain Bligh, freshly cast adrift by his mutinous crew on the Bounty, had to paddle double-time to outrun the natives 'war canoes as he threaded through these islands on his way to salvation.

Maybe it has to do with the regular coups (1987, 2000, 2006) that keep the government rewriting constitutions, swinging favoratism back and forth between the two largest population groups—native Melanesians (57%) and ethnic Indians (38%)—and flip-flopping between military and civilian control. (Currently, it is operating under a military regime.)

However, everyone on Fiji is pretty careful not to let this eternal internal strife spill over into the tourism sector, because tourism is by far one of the island nation's biggest industries (right up there with sugar exports).

Fijians welcome visitors with open arms, a shell lei, and a hearty "Bula!" greeting, which means "Health!"or "Life!"

Section index

Tours Under $995 G Adventures

Related Articles


This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in October 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

about | contact | faq

Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.