When visiting Fiji, you will have the opportunity to take part in a traditional Kava ceremony – an important cultural and social custom. When receiving kava, a drink made from the bare root of a pepper tree, you clap once with a cupped hand, drink in one gulp and then clap three times. When participating in a kava ceremony it is important to dress conservatively and sit respectfully. Even children can be included in the ceremony, and are not expected to drink kava (which in truth looks and tastes like muddy water). The experience is offered at most resorts (often the resort band will be drinking kava), and on visits to Fijian villages.
Snorkel and Dive
Fiji is famous for its fertile sea life, particularly its array of colourful coral. The Great Astrolabe Reef is the world's fourth-largest barrier reef and wraps around the remote southern island of Kadavu. Somosomo Strait between the northern islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni meanwhile is famous for its stunning soft corals. In Fiji there are literally hundreds of incredible dive sites and most resorts offer both snorkeling and diving and have PADI-qualified staff. You can swim with manta rays, feed sharks, or just explore Fiji's beautiful coral gardens. You can see clams, swim through crystal clear water filled with tropical fish, and if you're lucky you may encounter a shy turtle. You'll be hooked!
Most Fijians still live in traditional villages in a multicultural society that hasn't been neutralised by mass tourism. When visiting a village it is customary to present a gift of yaqona, which is also known as kava. Expect traditional dancing and to learn about the customs and villager's way of life. A visit to a village is fun for the whole family, as typically there are many kids to meet, plus it's a great place to buy locally made handicrafts. In some villages you can also visit the local school and being Fiji, there is always harmonious singing to enjoy. See your hotel or resort to arrange a visit.
Search for Wilson
Among the first to be developed for tourism, the famous Mamanuca group of islands is where the Tom Hanks blockbuster Castaway was filmed. Today you can visit the uninhabited Modriki Island aboard the classic schooner Seaspray to see various locations where the movie was filmed. If you are staying in the Mamanuca islands, some resorts, including Malolo, offer personalised tours to this magical, deserted island. The snorkeling just offshore is terrific. See if you can find Wilson while you're there. www.ssc.com.fj.
Fiji's tropical spas offer a mix of South Pacific hospitality, laid-back charm and locally sourced products - from virgin coconut oil, seaweed harvested in the Yasawas, through to frangipani and tropical papaya. Try a revitalising Bitu Bamboo massage, using bamboo sticks, at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa on Fiji's Coral Coast, or a traditional Bobo massage in a rustic spa bure with waves lapping the shore. At the 3000 square metre 'Chi' spa at Shangri-La's the Fijian Resort on Yanuca island, treatments range from traditional massage to the remarkable couple's Dusk Till Dawn package, which involves an overnight stay beginning with a Himalayan bath therapy under the stars and CHI facials when you wake the next day. With kids clubs, baby sitters and warm capable nannies available, the kids will be in good hands while parents get some important downtime.
Sheriden Rhodes is a travel writer and photographer who travels the globe with her 'frequent small flyer', Ella. You can follow their adventures and pick up family travel tips on the Frequent Small Flyer Facebook page.
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