|NADI TO SAVU SAVU
Fiji has so much to offer. It can accommodate every traveler's needs (from honeymooners to families to singles) and budgets (from hostels to exclusive 5-star resorts). Visitors should do some research to find what's best for them, in terms of not only the best resort but the best island for them. Some islands are good only for lazy beach holidays, while others might not even have sand (those cater to adventure travelers). No matter what you want, for the real feel of Fiji it's best to leave the main island (Viti Levu) and visit the offshore resorts. One of my favorite places is where we are headed: Savu Savu.
Savu Savu is located on Fiji's second largest island, Vanua Levu (pronounced vah-NEW-ah LAY-vu). Vanua Levu is 100 miles long and largely undeveloped (though that is slowly changing, as Westerners have discovered this remote retreat and are building homes and time share developments). Savu Savu doesn't have the best beaches, but it does offer great activities and has the closest feel (so I hear) to the old South Pacific. Over the next couple of weeks, you'll see why.
LAYOVER HOTEL ON MAIN ISLAND
Because we couldn't get on an early flight to Savu Savu (we booked our trip at the last minute), we got a day room at the Tanoa Airport Hotel (a 5-minute free shuttle away). This was the perfect place to hang out and relax for six hours before our flight. Rooms have air conditioning and a TV (most resorts off the main island don't have these -- or even phones). The hotel has a nice pool, workout room, tennis courts, dial-up internet, and best of all a fantastic American/English breakfast buffet with all kinds of eggs, meats, baked beans, fresh fruit, juice and pastries. Tanoa International Hotel, PO Box 9203, Nadi Airport, Fiji; tel.: 679-672-2313. Rates: $92-$410.
NADI TO SAVU SAVU
Two airlines -- Air Fiji and Sun Air -- offer regular service to Savu Savu. The roundtrip cost is approximately $250 USD. Charters are also available, including large and small seaplanes (prices vary, but it's not cheap). Both airlines claim they allow only up to 15 kg (33 lbs) of checked luggage, but I've never seen them charge passengers for extra baggage. Even if they do, it's not expensive: just FJ$3 (1.75US) per kilo (2.2 lbs). I was worried about the hour-long flight, because the last time I thought I was going to die (it's a long story, but basically the 20-passenger Twin Otter DHC-6 dropped and an alarm went off, scaring the bejesus out of me). However, this time there was no problem. We took an EMB 110 Bandeirante plane. The flight took only 45 minutes, and was very smooth. Phew! Tip: These aircrafts are typical loud small planes, so bring noise-canceling headsets to hear yourself think.
Next week we check into a resort that is so nice that Conde Nast readers scored it the highest out of any resort in Fiji, Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia.