Mamanuca Islands, Fiji (aka a celebration of friendship)
My dear friend Cinzia returned to Italy this December, but before she was due to head home we decided to go on a holiday - to celebrate our friendship. A week on a small Fijian island seemed fitting for our celebration. Here's our first sight of Fiji from the plane:
And here's our first bit of Fijian currency (taken as we were giggling uncontrollably with excitement):
The people in Fiji were all exceptionally friendly. Everywhere you went people greeted you with a big genuine grin and "Bula!"
Our first night we stayed in Nadi at Smugglers Cove, for $20 a night you got a beachfront view and clean accommodation (highly recommend this backpacker hostel).
We soon left mainland Fiji for the Mamanuca Islands. Our new home for the week would be Ratu Kini Dive Resort on Mana Island, also known as a little paradise where the views are breathtaking and time moves a little slower.
Since we wanted to be spoiled on our holiday we stayed in a private beachfront cottage. The hammock out front was my favourite place to lounge on the island.
The staff at the resort went above and beyond to make our stay comfortable and unique. We really took to one staff member in particular, Amini, who showed us around the entire island and picked coconuts for us. The walk around the island only took us about 40 minutes in total.
Fresh flowers were picked by the staff each morning and put in our hair behind our ear. Left ear represents you are single, right ear shows you are married.
This (below) is a breadfruit and they were growing all over the island. They are as big as a bowling ball and taste like a potato.
Amini showed us how to hunt crabs on the island by sticking your arm into these holes in the sand. I don't think I will be taking up this activity anytime soon.
Here's Amini climbing up the coconut tree to knock down our refreshing afternoon snack:
He reassured us he was safe and that he has been climbing trees since the age of ten, but Cinzia and I would still worry as we watched in awe.
At the resort everyone ate meals at the same time, so by the end of the week our fellow travellers really felt like family.
At dinner each night Amini, along with a few other staff members, played live music for the guests.
After dinner entertainment included hermit crab races, dancing, and fire shows.
My favourite meal was breakfast. Despite the weak coffee, breakfast meant freshly picked fruits and a beachfront view.
One morning we found a local resident lounging on outside our room:
After breakfast we would grab our towels, books and sunscreen and walk the ten steps from our room to the beach.
We went kayaking one day. That day we learned that a one-person kayak really is just for one person.
One afternoon we took a trip to a nearby island, you may know the island from the popular Tom Hanks movie Castaway.
I was wary the island may just be a crowded tourist spot due to the movie being filmed there, but we got there and were the only people on the entire island. The beach showed off beautiful shades of blue water and white sand. We hiked to a view point at the top of the island and snorkelled in the shallow waters. This was a great spot for snorkelling - Cinzia even saw a small shark!
Another afternoon we spent making coconut jewellery. Cinzia and I had also found all these perfectly round shells on the beach with natural holes in the middle, perfect for a bracelet.
Let me tell you, coconut jewellery making is not safe. We were given the hard shell of a coconut and a flimsy, sharp saw blade. Then the staff told us to cut out a shape and sand it. I was sure one of us was going to leave the island with one less finger.
My last day on the island I asked Amini to take me up this hill where there was a 360 view of the island:
During our stay there was a "Fijian Night" where we ate traditional Fijian food for dinner and drank kava.
Kava was an interesting experience. The mixture itself tasted like muddy water and when you finished the bowl your mouth would tingle with numbness. It also is known to make you sleepy, so the Fijian's were falling asleep throughout the Fijian Night party.
Our holiday in Fiji left us relaxed, cheerful and very tan. We had met lovely people, eaten fresh food, and let our worries float out of mind. Now I am missing Fiji, my friend Cinzia, and witnessing these gorgeous sunsets together:
Wishing my friend all the best in Italy and looking forward to our next adventure! xx
Keywords: Fiji, adventure, beach, explore, friendship, holiday, island, mamanuca, mana island, nadi, ratu kini dive resort, snorkel, travel
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