*A word heard everywhere in Fiji. Bula is deeply embedded in Fijian culture and means a number of things, from hello, welcome, goodbye, love and more. It is used as a blessing of health and happiness.
So it’s safe to say our week in Fiji was full of ups as well as downs. Having decided to visit during their rainy season, we were prepared for the fact that we might see some rain whilst we were there. However, we were not prepared for this rain to fall relentlessly for most of the day, every day. Nevertheless, in true English spirit we resolved not to let the weather spoil our time in Fiji.
After spending our first night on the mainland we caught the ferry up to the Yasawa Islands, where we were going to spend the week island hopping. Our first island was Blue Lagoon and it was absolutely beautiful. When we arrived on the island we were greeted by all the staff singing a welcome song in their native language. That night we had a wonderful BBQ meal accompanied by live singing and a kava ceremony, which is a common tradition in Fiji. After dinner we were given the option to do coconut bowling on the beach, which was a lot of fun. The staff had their own team and naturally blew us all away.
Our next island was Korovou, which left much to be admired when compared with Blue Lagoon Resort. Unfortunately the rooms as well as the food were very average and they offered very little activities in comparison to other islands. If you are ever island hopping in Fiji I would suggest avoiding this island if you can.
Next we travelled further south to Mantaray Island, which we had heard very good things about. Again the Fijians on the island were the loveliest people and also welcomed us with a song. The island is most well known for the amazing snorkelling you can do just off the beach. Between May and October you can even swim with mantarays – another reason not to travel during the rainy season!
Aside from the wonderful snorkelling, they offered a range of activities, including a Fijian cooking lesson, basket weaving and yoga on the beach. One evening while we were there the staff performed a traditional fire dance which was amazing!
Having had a lovely week, despite the rain, real disaster struck on the Saturday when we were due to return to the mainland. Unfortunately the boat was unable to come due to poor weather and extremely rough seas. We were literally stranded, meaning that we were forced to cancel our flight to New Zealand. Thankfully the boat was able to come the following day and we were able to rearrange our flight to Auckland for the Tuesday, so it could have been worse!
Moral of the story – aim to visit during their dry season!!