Never did I imagine that I would have the chance to experience a weekend getaway in the Fiji Islands, but I did! The trip had its positives along with its negatives, and even though Daniel and I were only there for a few days, if we ever went back we’d do it completely different.
Fiji is actually located fairly close to New Zealand, and ends up being only about a 3 hour flight from Auckland. Although short, the flights can be quite expensive during the peak season. The reason why we even went in the first place was because of a few things that ending up working out to make it a great deal for us to go. One of those things being flight credit, for a terrible experience I had flying, and the other thing being a great deal on accommodation at a 5 star hotel on the main island. So by cutting the flights and accommodation costs to less than half of the normal price, we thought “Why not”. We booked our flights on Fiji Airways and our accommodation through Accor Hotels and stayed at the Sofitel Resort and Spa. We packed our bags and took off mid-May! Here are some of my comments on different topics of the trip we experienced.
Because Fiji is a chain of islands, they do experience the crazy island weather, and you should only go during the ‘winter’ season to avoid being disappointed by the tropical storms. The peak season and most desirable times to go to Fiji would be from July to September, but the months on either side of those will most likely be fine weather as well. We could only go in May, and upon doing research, we found out that it would probably be okay to go then, but no guarantees. When we arrived, it was raining during our outdoor dinner by the pool. But other than a few clouds on our last day, the weather was pretty good and we had lots of sun for most of the weekend, which was a huge relief. We experienced a late afternoon rain storm almost every day, but it never lasted very long (30 min. max) and was usually after we had done everything we planned for the day, so it didn’t bother us too much. If you are planning on going to Fiji, I’d stick to going during the prime weather months, only because if we did get stuck with bad weather, it would’ve ruined the entire trip.
Also – bring sunscreen, and a lot of it. The ozone layer practically doesn’t exist over there, and you’ll burn like crazy!!
We stayed at a 5 star hotel, and to be honest, it was very “eh”. Of course it was beautiful and clean, and it had an amazing pool, but for what people normally pay for it, it was less than what I was expecting. The food and drinks were so overpriced for the quality, and we ended up paying a very large bill after signing it all to our room number. There didn’t seem to be that much to do around the area as well, which made it hard for us to enjoy activities or eat outside the hotel. I think our biggest problem was that we were going to the hotel for the discount, but we probably didn’t end up saving much after food and drinks. After this experience, we will be looking in to all-inclusive options for future trips like this. The hotel has a new adults only beach club at the hotel, that seems like a good idea if you don’t have kids, but again it was really expensive and you don’t get that many perks with it, so we didn’t opt for it. Overall, unless you get a discount, I probably wouldn’t recommend staying at that hotel.
The hotel we stayed at was located on the main island, Fiji, and we totally regret this. The Fiji Islands are made up of so many small islands, that we really wish we would’ve stayed on one of them after seeing them. There are so many accommodation options off of the main island, and they are just beautiful. After we realized that we can’t even go in the water on the beach off our hotel, we knew we were missing something. We decided to look into the day trips, and wondered what the surrounding islands were like. We didn’t know where the white sand and clear blue waters were, since the beach off our hotel was dark, gross water, and rocks for sand. After choosing a day trip (all inclusive – drinks and food), we were blown away with Fiji’s beauty. We took a ferry to a smaller island, and then jumped into a small boat with a local crew and left from there. As we were on the ferry, the tour guide with a mic was explaining of the islands that we were passing and the accommodation options on it. This was the first time Daniel and I realized that we could’ve stayed on the little islands, and we were bummed. Can you tell that we didn’t do much research? (oops.) The islands were so pretty, with an abundance of trees, white sand, and clear blue water. If you ever go to Fiji, do not stay on the main island – it is a tourist trap, and man did they trap us!
Have an experience with the Fijian locals. The hotel is pretty much run by the locals of Fiji, and they are extremely nice people, but they do kind of have to be when they work at a hotel. When Daniel and I went on the day trip, we not only had an amazing experience with the boat crew, but we also were able to visit an actual Fijian village. The boat crew were nonstop about feeding you amazing snacks, like freshly cut fruit from the island, and they made sure you always had a drink in your hand. Since we were on a boat for most of the trip going from island to island, they knew how to pass the time. They all had beautiful singing voices, and could pick up any instrument and carry a tune. Listening to the harmonies of their voices together, while sitting on that boat watching the islands go by, was truly such an amazing and relaxing experience. Towards the end of the day, we stopped by a local Fijian village, which was also a very different but great experience. The Fijian chief took our group into their village’s meeting room, and we all sat on the floor facing him with his wife and kids beside him. To officially be welcomed into the village we all had to accept and drink the ‘Kava’ given to us. Kava is the traditional Fijian drink, made from the root of a pepper plant mixed with water. It is an insult to turn down the drink from a Fijian chief, so make sure you drink it! It has relaxation effects, and doesn’t taste too bad. We survived it! After everyone was accepted into the village, we were allowed to walk through it and have a look at what it was like to live there. The conditions weren’t great, and you had the opportunity to donate to the village by buying the hand crafted gifts from the locals. The Fijians were more than welcoming, and I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to experience a different side of the “Fiji lifestyle” that we normally hear about from vacationers.
Overall, the trip was good, but it could’ve been better. I’m almost wanting to go back just so we could redo the trip properly, although I don’t think that will happen. I believe doing an all inclusive stay on a smaller, more private island would definitely be the way to go. We just didn’t do much research before we went, and were confined by the flights and accommodation we were getting discounts on. But, the hotel had what we needed for the weekend, which was a great pool and good service for a relaxing few days. Sometimes all you need is a few days away from being glued to your phone on social media, a good book in one hand, and a drink in the other, all while laying under an umbrella by the pool on a beautiful island.. which is exactly what we got. It was a fun, weekend getaway, and we were extremely grateful