Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Fiji Travel Guide: Where to Stay + Where to Eat + What To Do



I am back, alive and well! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and great New Year's! I've taken a little blogging hiatus to enjoy the holidays with my family and friends back in Kansas (which was so great and much needed) but now that I am back in California I am back to blogging! Woo!! Which that means I am finally (I know I know) sharing my Fiji guide!!! Better late than never, right?

If you didn't know I traveled to Fiji at the end of October beginning of November and was there for 6 days and 5 nights with the family I travel nanny for. It was my first time traveling internationally and to Fiji so to say I was excited was a massive understatement. We stayed at an amazing resort which you'll see below and did some pretty fun stuff! So without further adieu let's get to it! 

Also fair warning this is gonna be a long post so bear with me.


HOW TO GET THERE



We flew Fiji Airways out of LAX on Friday night at like 11pm aka a red eye flight. It cost me around $900 roundtrip which was the most I'd ever spent on a flight but I mean I was going to Fiji and I did buy it 3 week before I left so you could probably get it cheaper. We did have meals and drinks included as well as one personal item like a backpack and one checked bag. The meals were pretty good, we had dinner and breakfast along with snacks during the middle. The flight was almost 12 hours long which is the longest I've ever flown but wasn't too bad. Since it was a red eye I slept like 3/4 of it and was only really away for the beginning, the food and the ending part. I was with a baby and a 7 year old but they were champs and slept through most of it too. The seats weren't that bad either and they gave you a pillow and blanket. 

Once we got into the airport we went through customs and headed to get our bags. The family I was with arranged for a private car to take us to the resort which was nice. We didn't have to stop at 10 different places after being on a plane for 12 hours. The shuttle was through Rosie Holidays and I'm not sure the cost as I didn't book it. It took a little less than an hour to get from the airport in Nadi to our hotel in Sigatoka/Natadola. 

WHERE TO STAY

We celebrated Halloween in Fiji thus the jack-o-lantern!

We stayed at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa, a five star hotel. This was the nicest place I have ever stayed when traveling. It's a beautiful resort that has several restaurants on the property, a spa, multiple pools, fitness center, kid's club, wonderful villas, beach access, entertainment, excursions, a couple of shops and a golf course. We stayed in a ground floor villa which was like mini apartment complexes.  

Our room was spacious, clean, modern and well furnished, the staff was soooo friendly, helpful,  attentive and accommodating. The photo below is our view outside our patio. The grounds were beautiful, the pools amazing, the spa heavenly and the food pretty good. It's a wonderful resort with beautiful views and I saw all types of people there from older couples to families with little ones to couples and at the end there was a big conference there. 


I do have a few cons if you will about my stay. There were 4 restaurants there, one was a fine dining that didn't allow kids so that was out, another was just like appetizers and kinda weird ones at that so we only ate there once, the other was a buffet which was wayyyy too expensive $50USD and was a little too different for us and the last which we ate at almost every day for lunch and dinner had normal food like chicken and pasta and french fries. But after eating at the same place for 5 days in a row it get's old. 
Another thing was that we stayed on the property the entire time due to safety and that we didn't have a car. As much as I love lounging by the pool that can get old too. We did do local excursions but only one a day to stretch them out. There were excursions on other parts of the island but it would be hours upon hours of traveling and with a baby and 7 year old that just wasn't doable. And they were expensive, almost $100USD. We wish there was either more to do on the property. 

Those are really the only two issues we had while there. The property is beautiful, the rooms clean and staff friendly and accommodating. If I were to come back I would stay for a shorter amount of time maybe 4 days which is plenty of time if you are just sticking around the resort. 

WHERE TO EAT





As mentioned there were 4 restaurants on the resort: fine dining, a patio bar, bar and grille and a buffet. 

For breakfast the buffet had tons of options from am omelet bar to pastries, Asian cuisine as well as 
American and traditional breakfast items. I don't remember how much it cost, I wanna say $25USD per day. I ordered off the a la carte menu, a coffee and apple juice and during my stay I ordered the waffles, pancakes and an omelet and they came with a little fruit plate. All three were really good and cost me around $10USD but the waffles were my favorite. 

For lunch we either ate poolside or at the bar and grille which was 20 feet from the pool. When eating poolside we ordered the pizza, nachos and one other thing which I forgot. The food was really good and the perfect poolside food. I ordered one of the tropical cocktails and it definitely hit the spot while I was laying out in the little cabana thing. It was the perfect afternoon, the beautiful sun, the pool and a tropical drink in hand. What could be better? 

The bar and grille had good food too and that's where we ate dinner almost every night. To be honest I ordered off the kids menu because A) I'm not a big eater and couldn't justify ordering the regular meals and wasting them and B) they were pretty pricey $20USD or more and I was on a budget and the kids meals were only $6USD.... The food was just as good and filled me up so it was a win-win. I did order the shrimp alfredo pasta and it was sooooooo yummy. Some of the best I've had. I also had these like eggroll type things which were out of this world good too. I definitely recommend those two items as well as the pizza and nachos from the pool. 

I wish there was more restaurant options but overall it wasn't too bad. The food was delicious and not too pricey. You can definitely get a good meal for your dollar! 

WHAT TO DO 

Spa


Would you believe that I had never gotten a massage up until Fiji? I knew that while I was there I wanted to get a massage and treat myself to a spa day. The second day we were there it was rainy/dreary out so it was the perfect day to spend a few hours at the spa relaxing. There was five "steps" to our spa day. The first was to put away our stuff and get dressed in robes and slippers. Next was the relaxation room where we had lemon water and could relax before our massage. After was the "prep" room where we showered, sat in the sauna (amazing), the hot tub (I could have lived there) and then finished with an ice shower. Once we did all that it was time for our massage. I got just a basic coconut oil massage which ran me $90USD. It was an hour long and absolutely dreamy. So wonderful I fell asleep like 10 minutes in. After we headed back to the "prep" room to shower, sauna and sit in the hot tub for a bit. After we got dressed and headed back to the room. It was such a great experience and I can't wait to get another one! 


Kayaking




On the property the resort had a water excursions hut where you could rent scuba and snorkel equipment, paddleboards and kayaks. I love kayaking so I rented one I think it was $18USD for an hour and went out kayaking in the gorgeous waters. It was so peaceful to paddle out and watch the fish swim under me and see the reefs. 

Pool



The resort had two pools, an adult only (above) and a family (below). We primarily hung out at the family pool but I did lay out at the adult only pool on my last day. It was so nice and relaxing and had a beautiful view of the ocean. It was paradise! 



The family pool was really nice too. It was super big and had little waterfall things in the middle the kids could swim under. They had umbrellas and loungers everywhere and if you were some of the lucky ones you could grab these little private-ish cabanas which was soooooooooo nice to lounge in. They also had poolside eats and drinks (see the food section) above which was amazing. I mean what's better than eating pizza poolisde? 

The Beach




The resort backed right up to the beach and ocean so we had direct access to it. Our room was about 20 feet from the beach and we could walk out directly to it which was so nice when you had a stroller and lots of beach bags. The beach itself was filled with seashells and pieces of coral which was so fun to walk and look for cool shells but it was not nice on your feet. We had to wear flip flops when we walked on it or else our feet would have been tore up. Since it was so shell-y you couldn't really lay out on the beach :( But that's okay cause we had the little cabana things at the pool. The water was sooo warm and just felt amazing. It wasn't very deep at all and I could wade out to the reefs and still touch (I'm 5'1" for reference). Since there was reefs there was marine life and I went and free snorkeled (see the snorkel section). 

Village Tour





Most of the employees at the resort lived in the local village just a few miles away. Fiji is a third world country and many of it's citizens are very poor. I had never been to a third world country but I wanted to see and experience how these people live. The resort offered guided tours that lasted a few hours and took us to the village and showed us around their community. It was $15USD per person for the afternoon. The guide was an employee of the resort and who lived in the village who walked with us to the village, a couple miles from the resort. Once we got to the village a community member was our tour guide and showed us around. It moved me to the point of tears seeing how these people live. In filthy conditions for shacks for homes and a handful of possessions. But they were so happy. Not a single person we passed wasn't smiling or saying "bula" (hello in Fijian). The kids were so happy following us around and waving. At the end they took us to their community hall and we had kava, a traditional Fijian drink and the community leaders led us in song and dance. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life and one that I will never forget. It reminded me that we have it so well here in the States and we should be immensely grateful for all we have. It was a nice reality check if you will. If you ever go to Fiji I highly recommend taking a village tour. 

Fire Show


During our stay in the evenings on some nights there would be a fire show/dance performance that show cased Fijian dance. It was a short program about a half an hour that took place on the outside patio. It was so cool to see the fire twirlers and dancers and they even got members of the audience involved! A fun evening for sure! 

Horseback Riding


Along the beach there were locals who offered horseback riding. I had never been horseback riding on the beach so we thought why not. It was pretty cheap, around $15USD for an hour and when in Fji, right? I have experience riding horses coming from Kansas and having 3 so I'm no stranger to them or to riding but this was a whole different experience. For one the horses were skinnnny, much skinnier than I am use to seeing horses, the saddles were old and worn English saddles that had seen better days and blankets under and on top of them for padding. The "bridles" were rope tied to a bit. I felt bad getting on the horse because I felt like I was going to break him :( The ride was okay, not great and then it started to rain on us so we had to cut the ride short. Overall it was not a great experience and I wouldn't do it again unless it was with a more professional outpost. I get that these people have nothing and are trying to get by but I just felt bad for the horses to be honest :( 

Snorkeling 


We went snorkeling twice, once with the locals and another time with the water sports through the resort. The snorkel with the locals didn't really have any fish but it was a good time! They were crazy and fun and really nice. The snorkel with the resort was on a glass bottomed boat which was super cool to see all the ocean life below. I saw a few fish and swam through a school of striped ones (see the video)! I also did a free snorkel by myself just from the beach and it was really awesome. There were reefs and I swam through them seeing quite a few really cool fish! 


So that's my Fiji guide! I know it's not as informative as my Hawaii one since we only stayed at the resort but it was a pretty awesome time. I am so fortunate to have been able to be given the opportunity to go. Fiji is a beautiful country and I would definitely recommend going if you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle and stress of life or if you want to disconnect from your phone. I wish we could have explored the island but we didn't have any way to so I'm kinda bummed about that but I still had an amazing time. 


Where have you traveled to that was just unbelievable? Where should I travel to next? 




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