Bula!! Just taking advantage of a long layover on my way home from Fiji to tell you all about this fantastic country. Or, as the Fijians would say: Totoka! Over the last 1.5 weeks in Fiji, I enjoyed traveling throughout the Mamanucas, Viti Levu and the Northern Islands, particularly Taveuni. I would like to focus on the Northern Islands and tell you a bit about the rich Fijian culture.
First, Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji and many nearby islands are considered in part of this region. This more remote region is known for their strong heritage and culture as it remains nearly untouched and unspoiled. The islands still hold many traditional, and primitive, villages whose values are inclusive of church, family and happiness. They tell stories through song and dance as written word was not originally developed.
A magnificent sunset on Taveuni Island. Image: Taveuni Island
While in the North, you will often come across such traditions and the Meke dance, cava ceremony, ‘Bula Maleya’ welcome song as well as the Isa Lei farewell song. Fijians have a wonderful singing voice and will share it with you and hope that you will join their song, family and traditions. Also, while there take a trip to a local village and attend Sunday church service. Church is traditional, so modest dress is required. Sunday is known as the day of rest and most resorts wish to honor the traditional lifestyle, allowing as many staff to return home on Sunday as possible ensuring minimal impact and cultural retention.
Warriors performing their Meke dance. Image: Tourism Fiji
For my fellow divers, I highly recommend a trip to one of the many wonderful reefs. Known as the soft coral capital of the world, you can see many different species of both shark, Ray, fish and coral. And the visibility was excellent! You can also see bright orange doves in this area!
The coral reefs of Fiji are amazingly colorful. Image: Vomo Island Resort
Last but not least, take a trip to the many waterfalls on Taveuni. I visited the Buoma National Park which features 3 spectacular falls. Jump off the ledge, enjoy a hike through the bush or simply go for a swim. Good physical fitness and a good pair of water proof shoes are recommended.
The magical waterfalls of Buoma National Park. Image: Taveuni Island