Vanua Levu Main

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Time to Be Laid-Back and Give Back In a world where even small remote islands have become popular tourist destinations, it's increasingly rare to find a sizable South Pacific isle that has remained largely undeveloped. And therein lies the basic charm of Vanua Levu, the second largest among Fiji's 300 or so islands.

Just over 100 miles long Vanua Levu (pronounced vah-NEW-ah LAY-vu) is a good base for adventurous souls who prefer rainforest hikes, bird-watching, and snorkeling to, say, golf, tennis, and spas. The interior of the island is rugged, and green fields of sugar cane cover the north and west coasts like a scene from long ago Hawaii. Gaze across the gloriously blue waters of vast Savusavu Bay (fine windsurfing, by the way), and you may find it hard to understand why there aren't more visitors.

Yachties long ago discovered the bay surrounded by steep hills, and although some new small-but-luxurious resorts have sprung up in recent years, Vanua Levu is still off the beaten track. The small (population 2,800) waterfront town at Savusavu is best described as rustic, the yacht club is the favorite local hangout, and the classic local market (fruits, fish, veggies, woven baskets and mats) is always worth a stop on Saturdays. Sounds almost like the old South Seas, doesn't it?

Vanua Levu is on our list of the Best Islands to Live On