I have always wanted to go to Fiji

I have always wanted to go to Fiji; this has always been my dream destination. I have had this island archipelago on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I don’t know if it was a book or a movie that created my desire to go to Fiji, but I am ecstatic that we finally made it.

I’m looking for a new dream destination to add to my list. Your list may become my list too! Let me know your top bucket list destinations and how you plan to mark them off your list.

About Fiji

This South Pacific country consists of over 330 islands and is 1,200 miles from New Zealand’s North Island. Only 110 islands are inhabited; the two largest and most important ones are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. On the island of Viti Levu, Suva is Fiji’s capital and the largest city.

Fiji is a South Pacific paradise that attracts tourists worldwide and is increasingly popular as a cruise port destination. That is how we ended up here. Our 23-day cruise to Australia had two port stops in Fiji, one in Suva and one in Denarau on the other side of the island of Viti Levu.

Dress in Fiji

We participated in a few presentations on the ship related to our two port days in Fiji, in which we learned the proper attire on these Fijian islands, mainly if we intended to visit any of the local villages.

We learned that Fiji dress is very conservative and relatively strict. Bathing suits, shorts, and tank tops are discouraged in public as they are considered disrespectful and revealing clothing is offensive to many locals. Beach wear is okay, but only when on the beach.

We planned to visit a village, and our instruction was for women to wear tops that covered their shoulders and pants or skirts that covered their knees while seated. Men were encouraged to wear shirts with collars and long pants.

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

Our terrific guide and hostess during our village visit

Being respectful tourists

Another thing to remember is that while taking photographs is usually perfectly acceptable, you should ask permission first. Also, the chief is the only person in the village permitted to wear a head covering, so visitors should remove their hats and sunglasses when visiting Fijian villages.

Unfortunately, I forgot about my sunglasses during our Kava tasting ceremony in Denarau. I didn’t remember I had them on until we left in the taxi. I apologized to our taxi driver but was embarrassed and disappointed that I had failed to follow this simple rule and may have insulted our hosts.


The not-so-tiny town of Suva, with a population of over 77,000, was our first introduction to the lush tropical island of Viti Levu. We reserved a three-hour shore excursion trip to a Fijian village, about a 40-minute bus ride from Suva. We got off the ship and hopped right on the bus.

Welcome Ceremony

Kids playing in the river near the village we visited

Our tour guide pointed out many sights along our way, and we had a wonderful time gazing and the beautiful tropical scenery. Just a beautiful tropical paradise!

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

We were greeted at the village’s community center by a group of young men dressed in skirts made from long leaves, no shirts, and black paint on their faces and chests. Several village ladies, dressed in beautifully tailored dresses, greeted us and invited us inside their community center.

A Fijian village traditional dance is called a Meke.

The village elders welcomed us and invited us to sit and watch a fascinating native dance. We had a great time watching the performances but interacting with these amazingly welcoming and friendly people was the highlight of our day.

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

A craft market was available to us in one of the rooms, and we could get terrific souvenirs there. We were then paired, four guests to one guide, and given a tour through the village. These folks are religious, very family-connected, and proud of their village.

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

Lali, or slit gong, is a musical instrument made from the trunk of a local hardwood tree.

Shopping in downtown Suva

After our village tour, the bus returned us to the Port, and we wandered downtown to see what we could see. It was market day, and downtown was very crowded and busy. Craft and vegetable booths were everywhere. We encountered a few very aggressive locals, but these are the friendliest people I’ve ever met.


Our second Fiji port, Denarau, on the opposite side of the same island, was our second tender Port. The cruise ship organized our disembarkation much better here than in Kona. Of course, the water was calm, and the tender operation was a smoother experience for everyone.

Native dance at Port of Denarau

After watching another great native dance, we took a taxi tour through Denarau. We were fortunate to book this taxi tour with Susu with Denarau Destinations. Susu drove us downtown through local villages and stopped to visit the Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple.

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

Our terrific taxi guide, Susu.

Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple

This beautiful and colorful temple is the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. The temple is very ornate and impressive to see. Visitors are welcome to enter but must agree to respect Hindu etiquette. Signs posted at the entrance inform visitors of the rules to follow.

Kava ceremony

Susu drove down a dirt road and ended up at a church where several men were sitting on the ground preparing to have a traditional Kava ceremony. Susa obtained permission for us to join these gentlemen in their ceremony! We were both very interested in trying this concoction.

I have always wanted to go to Fiji

We were in the middle of nowhere!

The Kava ceremony was a big deal to us. These gentlemen were very generous and kind to allow us to participate and Susu is our hero for obtaining permission to participate!

Kava, a root grown in the pacific islands, is ground to a powder, mixed with water, and then consumed in a Kava ritual. During the ritual, everyone sits on the floor; the host prepares the Kava in a tanoa, a large wooden bowl.

The host offers a coconut shell cup (bilo) full of Kava to each participant who drinks it all at once; there is no sipping here. Each person claps as they return the bilo and shouts “Bula,” Fijian for good health.

Kava is a soothing drink that can cause a sensation of being high but certainly makes you feel relaxed. After drinking Kava, your mouth may become numb, just as it does after sedation from a dentist’s office. This is not a social beverage that is enjoyed for its refreshing taste unless you enjoy dirty dishwater.

Lunch and shopping

After our unique Kava experience, Susu returned to the Port of Denarau, where we enjoyed lunch at one of the local restaurants and eventually made our way back to the ship. We learned, once again, that a one-day port stop does not provide anywhere near enough time to visit.

We have added Fiji to our growing list of locations to revisit. Next time around, perhaps we’ll make it to one of the lovely beaches or waterfalls, huh?

I have always wanted to go to FijiI have always wanted to go to Fiji

2 thoughts on “I have always wanted to go to Fiji

  1. Love reading your views on your travels!!
    Ready to pack and go to Fiji!!

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