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First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Costa Mesa...
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First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Hello! My wife and I recently had our May 2014 trip to the Caribbean cancelled due a resort closing for renovation, and we are considering a 7-night stay somewhere in the Pacific Islands instead. We were curious about Fiji. We've only ever traveled to the Caribbean, and we have only stayed at all-inclusives. For this trip, we are comfortable staying someplace smaller, quieter, and more romantic. That being said, we do like a little bit of activity (water sports/snorkeling) and sight-seeing (waterfalls, local landmarks, hiking).

I don't even know where to start with evaluating a trip to Fiji. Does anyone have any good resources? What do most people do about meals and transportation? We're certainly fine going off resort property for meals and what-not, but just am not sure what the usual ways are people go about things. Is May a good time to travel? And is a budget of ~$6k for 7 nights (flying from Los Angeles) reasonable?

Not to sound naive, but like I said, we've only ever experienced all-inclusive in the Caribbean, and a pretty self-contained trip to Oahu. Thanks for any input!

1. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

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Edited: 6:33 pm, February 08, 2014
Reno, Nv
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for Matangi Island, Fiji
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2. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Hi mrwiseguy85, and welcome to the forum.

May is a good time to go weather wise. It is winter in Fiji. Won't be overly hot or humid, and is outside the rainy/cyclone season. May is high season, so many resort rates are higher then.

Transportation to the outer islands varies depending on the island/resort. Some can only be reached by plane, others by boat, plane, helicopter, of seaplane.

As for meals. Some resorts are the only thing on the island so no choices for dining. Some resorts include meals in the prices. Others have meal plans available, or a la carte menus.

Have a look at the websites for the following resorts for prices, specials, accommodations, activities/tours, meals, transportation, and other helpful information. Some prices are in FD, AUD, or NZD, so do the conversion rate to USD. You may be pleasantly surprised. All are small, intimate and adults only. All may not be in your budget, but can't hurt to have a look.

Lomani, Royal Davui, Tokoriki, Qamea, and Matangi our favorite resort in Fiji. Other small resorts worth a look are Viwa, Navini, and Coconut Grove Beach.

For other resorts, the dot points "Which Island" to the right lists resorts in the various regions of Fiji.

The following links have pictures of our vacations to Viwa, Navini, and Matangi. Will give you an idea of the bures, beach, resort grounds, snorkeling, etc.

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-0439-1408-d5f4…

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-042f-1fde-de34…

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-0758-63f0-a16d…

Hope this helps. Enjoy the researching. It's half the fun. :)

Ballarat, Australia
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3. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Hi,

To do the land based activities such as hiking, ziplining, water fall etc you are better off staying on the two main islands. Beautiful beaches, snorkeling and other water sports are better on the islands.

My wife and I usually travel in May and as already stated it is a really good time of year to go. School holidays in Australia are in April, July and September and I would recommend you avoid those periods.

One of the regulars on TA has just returned from Paradise Cove and loved it so have a look and maybe put that on your list before you do your final short list.

We all have our favourites and I think that you will have an absolute hoot!

Baz

Costa Mesa...
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4. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Thank you for the pointers thus far. I've started taking a look at the recommendations and have a couple questions:

-What is a reasonable daily budget to assume for 3 meals at most small-ish resorts?

-It seems a direct flight to Nadi (the cheapest) would get us there at 6am. Is that a reasonable time to then try to arrange a transfer (boat or helicopter) to get to another island for our stay, such as Qamea or Tokoriki?

I'm sure I will have more, stay tuned!

Waitakere City, New...
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for Mamanuca Islands
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5. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

If you decide on Tokoriki you should have plenty of time to catch the morning boat out there...

http://www.ssc.com.fj/irc_timetable.aspx

Generally it doesn't take a great deal of time to clear customs and the port is around a half hour taxi ride away. you should have time to sit and have a coffee and/or breakfast watching the boats come and go. :)

If it's to be Qamea then E&C can provide you with that info, as she has said Matangi is their favourite resort which is located in the same area.

As for the cost of meals I'm sure others can help or you could email the resorts to ask if they have menus they could email to you.

Reno, Nv
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for Matangi Island, Fiji
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6. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Provided your flight from LAX is on time, will have plenty of time to get to any of the outer islands.

Some resorts include meals in their prices, others to not. They have have meal plans or a la carte menus.

Getting to Qamea requires an approximate 1 1/2 hour flight from Nadi. We book the earliest flight from Nadi to Taveuni with Pacific Sunwhen staying at nearby Matangi. Compare prices Pacific Sun, with Island Hoppers plane charter for the best price. There are prices for meals and tours and other information on their website.

http://www.qamea.com

Tokoriki is a favorite of regular poster Mitch007. Am sure he will respond with information for you. Tokoriki can be reached by boat, or helicopter. For meal plans, menus/prices and other information:

http://www.tokoriki.com/food-wine.html

Reno, Nv
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for Matangi Island, Fiji
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7. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Forgot to mention Qamea, offers hiking tours to the Bouma Water Falls and Lavena Coastal Walk on Taveuni.

Costa Mesa...
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8. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

Thanks so much for such informative and prompt responses! It has been a great help.

E&C-My wife and I are actually quite interested Qamea, so that is very helpful to know. Costco seems to offer a fairly inclusive package there for 7 nights (food, transfers, etc), though we may have to bend the budget a little bit.

It seems like most of these resorts are small, intimate, "isolated" (in a good way) affairs. My wife and I typically like to mix in R&R with adventuring and exploring. As a good baseline, when we travel to the Caribbean for say a 6-full day trip, our itinerary usually looks like 2 days of exploring the island (excursions), 2 days of water sports/snorkel/sailing, 1 day of relaxation (beach naps/reading/spa treatment) and 1 day of pool time/drinks/making friends. Not that rigid, but it conveys the idea.

While we'd love to get lost in a small resort like Qamea (for example), we'd want to make sure there was the possibility of doing some exploring off the resort. We're not thrill-seekers, just rather site-seers. Thoughts?

Thanks!

Reno, Nv
Destination Expert
for Matangi Island, Fiji
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9. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

You are very welcome. Glad to help.

Qamea offers a lot of activities/tours to keep you busy or not each day. Have a look at their website. As mentioned there are tours off island. You can even visit a pear farm or go fishing. Snorkeling off the beach is said to be excellent as is the spa. The snorkeling tours to the outer island reefs are a must. Matangi goes to the same reefs being the resorts are so close. All are very different. Kayaks are also available. The village/school tour is a must. Will give insight into the daily life of the Fijian people. The smiles and laughter of the children will melt you hearts.

Basically you will have breakfast then do one of the tours available. After returning swim, snorkel, kayak off the beach or have spa treatment. Matangi had an afternoon snorkeling tour to the outer reefs. Qamea may, but would have to check with them. The next day pick a different tour. Different tours are offered each day.

Fiji is very laid back with the most genuinely, friendly, happiest people on the planet. As strange as it sounds you arrive as guests, and depart as part of their family. We really enjoyed doing as much or as little as we wanted. On our first trip to Matangi we took a day trip. The next day we spent the day snorkeling, kayaking, and walking on the beach. Didn't take the staff long to know our routine. The next day notified us to the tours available, then said you will probably be on the beach the next. Downtime so to speak is a good thing.

I suggest you contact the resort with questions about tours/activities via e-mail on their website. Has been our experience resorts were quick to respond.

Hope this helps.

Edited: 11:08 pm, February 09, 2014
Seattle
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10. Re: First Timers - Where to Stay, What to Do

We booked our 3 week Fiji trip through Costco and I was very pleased with everything. One thing to note is that if you are an Executive Member you usually get an 'extra' bonus. For Matangi it was free WifI, which more than paid for the upgrade to executive to get the bonus.

2 weeks of the stay were at Matangi, and it was awesome. I picked Matangi over Qamea for a couple of reasons...Horseshoe Bay and Bird watching. The Spa at Matangi is also awesome, don't remember if Qamea has a spa? Anyway, a private visit Horseshoe Bay costs extra, but is well worth it.