Traveling surfers began exploring reef-rich Fiji more than two decades ago. One of the spots they found, Tavarua island just west of Nadi, has served as the blueprint for the “surf resort” concept, catering to riders from around the world. Tavarua is just one of several primo breaks in the Mamanuca Group, some (including the big barrels of Cloudbreak, best left to the veteran surfers. A couple of resorts on Viti Levu also offer shuttles to the offshore breaks, including Cloudbreak.
Trails in scenic Koroyanitu National Park, near Nadi, lead not only into the rainforest but through villages. Use the opportunity to practice your village-visit social skills, because much of the vast network of trails that connect villages across Viti Levu is used only by the villagers themselves. For some of the most stunning island views, look to the Nausori Highlands, also near Nadi, where grassy hills look out over the Mamanuca and southern Yasawa chains.
Call it kava or yaqona (as Fijians do) but if you drink enough of it, your tongue will get a little numb and the rest of you will feel, let’s say, relaxed…. The brownish drink made from pounded roots won’t win many tasting awards among newcomers, but its ceremonial and social roles demand a certain, easily learned etiquette involving a handclap as you drink from a coconut shell. Think of the nightly village yaqona session as the Fijian answer to the British pub. Bula!