Robinson Crusoe Island - A 3-Day Fiji Stopover
"BULA!" The warm Fijian greeting was shouted after the small gathering of locals on beach finished singing us a traditional welcome song. Our boat had just pulled onto the sandy shores of a small Fijian island resort. Enroute to Samoa we once again had connecting flights in Fiji. This time it was more than just a dinner stop though, with three full days to relax which we chose to do on Robinson Crusoe Island - a basic, no frills beach retreat just offshore of the main island of Vita Levu. It was a perfect stopover island with a Club Med type atmosphere with all our food and activities included. The dark sand island sits in the tranquil waters sandwiched between Vita Levu and an offshore coral reef. Covered with arching coconut palms and tropical vegetation, the pastel coloured buildings and thatched bures are dotted along the tropical paths providing basic accommodations and a shipwrecked, deserted island atmosphere.
Robinson Crusoe was an ideal stopover for our few days in Fiji. It is a basic island with mostly shared facilities, cold water bucket showers which added to the uninhabited island charm. The energetic, fun outgoing staff provided plenty of activities that kept us as busy as we wanted to be and left many additional activities to spare in case we had an extra burst of energy and enthusiasm. Every other day the island population increased by about fifty guests - day-trippers from the five star resorts on the mainland. Although our quiet beach got a little busier, it also meant lunch was a huge traditional Fijian feast and it was once again show time. The performances were excellent, complete with various Polynesian and Melanesian traditional songs and dances, including the swinging hips, knives and flaming batons throwing heat so close I thought it might have singed my eyebrows.
Our three days were idyllic - swaying in oversized hammocks under the arching palm trees, snorkelling the off shore reef and taking part in some of the island activities like fish round-ups and a welcome kava ceremony. The laughter of the Fijians continuously echoed through the air as the staff were either having fun with the guests or sharing a gut-busting laugh about something behind the closed doors of the kitchen. Regardless, it would bring a smile to your face.
Without a doubt, our short time on Robinson Crusoe Island was perfect. We could not have asked for a better 3-day stopover and it has wet our appetite for more. For now though, we are off to explore the traditional, less touristed Polynesian Islands of Samoa before we return to the friendly Fijian smiles for the month of August and our final stop in the South Pacific.
1. If you have a few days stopover in Fiji and are looking for a budget resort for your stay, Robinson Crusoe Island is a great choice. The island is relatively close to the Nadi Airport, the staff is fun and friendly and there are plenty of activities to do or hammocks for lounging around and doing nothing at all.
2. If you are spending longer in Fiji, you can find nicer beaches (more white sand than the dark sand and bluer lagoons) in the Yasawa Islands that are further from the main island of Vita Levu.
3. Remember if you visit Robinson Crusoe Island that some days are much busier than others when the day-trippers arrive. This is not everyday though and they are well prepared to handle the volume of people on the island.
4. Book your accommodations in advance especially if you want one of the Lodge rooms with an ensuite bathroom as they can book up well in advance.
5. If you are looking for a similar type of stopover but with a little more upscale facilities such as hot water showers try Beachcomber Island. It is a little less cultural (Robinson Crusoe really promotes the Fijian culture in all their activities) and they charge extra for activities such as snorkelling, kayaking, fishing etc but is a little more upscale and comfortable. It is however very much a party scene though so decide ahead of time if that is for you or if you prefer more of a quiet retreat.www.carlhenderson.cawww.imagestoframe.com