Paradise found: a collection of palm-peppered islands sprinkled like confetti over the turquoise South Pacific, Fiji is the home of spotless white beaches, hammocks swinging in the sea breeze and a host of sublime traditional-style beach bungalows to stow away in.

Fiji is much more than just a pretty face, however: uncover the islands’ fascinating history, intertwined with ancient myths of warriors, armadas and shipwreck; warm, clear lagoons and colourful coral reefs present perfect conditions for snorkelling and scuba diving for aspiring Jacques Cousteaus – indeed, the marine explorer’s own son chose these shores as the setting for his luxury resort and diving mecca.

Fijians themselves are the reason why this glorious destination reaches new level of luxury and hospitality: whichever of the plush beach bures you opt for, practically every whim is catered to and almost anticipated before even saying a word. You’ll be welcomed to the sounds of ukulele and guitar, feast like the village chief on fabulously fresh seafood and tropical fruit and after dark, dine on the sand in the glow of tiki-torch flame, as if you’re on your very own desert island.

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HIGHLIGHTS OF FIJI

Fiji has two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. On Viti Levu you will find the country’s two cities: Suva, the capital and Lautoka, a port town. Visit Suva for its colonial buildings, modern shopping plazas and abundant eateries. Lautoka’s downtown area has bric-a-brac shops and a large market as well as a picturesque waterfront. Just northwest of Viti Levu are the Yasawas, a chain of sparsely populated volcanic islands. They can be visited by a daily catamaran and offer an authentic Fijian experience- worth checking out.

Rugby is almost a religion in Fiji and provides a great way to witness the compelling culture. Ask your hotel where the closest field is and watch these barefoot, care-free men walk out onto the field for a game of rugby on a glorious Saturday morning.

After a holiday indulging in the smells and flavours of the traditional coconut-infused seafood cuisine, you might want to learn how to create the succulent dishes at home. With half-day classes available at the Flavours of Fiji Cooking School, learn how to prepare the local Fijian and Indian dishes of taro and kokoda, using an exotic array of local style curries, homemade chutneys and tropical juices. 

A near-perfect string of white sand isles that hover in blue waters, the paradise that is the Mamanuca Islands is only an hour or so boat ride away from Viti Levu. Used as the filming location for the 2001 Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, the uninhabited Monuriki Island (part of the Mamanuca group) is definitely worth a day trip for its wide lagoon and fantastic snorkelling.

HOLIDAYS IN FIJI, HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

PLACES TO STAY IN FIJI, HANDPICKED BY EXSUS

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