When it comes to an island getaway, you have your typical tropical experiences such as sipping coconuts under the sun, reading in a hammock or going snorkelling, but what do the locals recommend trying?
Today we speak to International Model and Fiji Airways Ambassador Phillipa Steele to share the top Fiji experiences every traveller must try. Phillipa was born and raised on Fiji’s Coral Coast and even with her extensive travels she still spends 6 months of the year in Fiji. We figure that makes her uniquely qualified to know some of the best Fiji experiences and places to go.
These are Phillipa’s fab five:
Traditional Kava & Lovo Ceremonies
There are many beautiful traditions held by Fijians and the two that’s worth trying are kava and lovo ceremonies. A kava ceremony is a welcoming gesture that involves drinking the root of the kava tree. The kava acts like a mild anesthetic in the mouth, which in turn helps to relax the body. A lovo ceremony refers to the traditional way of cooking in Fiji, whereby produce like meat, vegetables and fish are wrapped in banana leaves and left to cook in the buried ground. Most resorts offer these ceremonies so be sure to add them to your must-do list.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
While water activities are the main attraction in Fiji, the sand dunes in Sigatoka shouldn’t be missed. Either spend the day sliding down the smooth sandhills or set up a bonfire for a sunset picnic. The soft sand also makes for a gruelling workout if you want to give your legs a challenge. Located in the Coral Coast (where Phillipa grew up), this National Park is a unique cultural heritage site and one of her favourite spots in Fiji.
Sabeto Hot Springs & Mud Pool, Nadi
Dousing yourself in mud and sitting in the sun may not sound like a pleasant experience, but you just may be surprised by how therapeutic it feels. The sulphur in the mud helps relax your muscles which may be overworked from all the surfing and snorkelling. The mud is also great for the skin thanks to the rich minerals coming from the volcanic soil. Allow yourself to dry in the mud before rinsing off to reap the benefits.
InterContinental Spa Experience
No visit to Fiji is complete without a pampering massage that will reinvigorate your mind, body and soul. The InterContinental offers a five-star spa experience boasting all the bells and whistles. My recommendation is to opt for the tropical beachside cabana experience, so you can feel the cool sea breeze on your skin. All treatments combine Asian, Eastern and Western treatment methods, making it a truly unique experience.
Dining at The Beach House and Cafe 30
Café 30 serves one of Phillipa’s (and my own) favourite dishes, Kokoda, which consists of raw fresh fish marinated in lemon juice or coconut cream. If you don’t make your way here, try to seek the dish out elsewhere – it’s a local favourite. The Beach House is also a great little bar featuring exotic tropical drinks, smoothies as well as fresh coconuts. The atmosphere is low key and is popular among the younger crowds, making it a go-to if you’re travelling in a group.
So there you have it, some top local suggestions for your time in Fiji. We spent Christmas and New Year in Fiji a couple of years back but although I did get a couple of spa treatments I haven’t been to the InterContinental Spa yet and feel that I might need to remedy that oversight! Have you visited Fiji or any of the other Pacific Islands yet? We’d love to hear your recommendations too in the comments below.
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