A Fijian getaway offers a family an opportunity to experience culture, adventure, and relaxation in an idyllic setting.   The ease of this trip was in part due to our simple (and frugal) planning.  The flight was overnight and nonstop.  Flights were about $600RT per person. Our lodging was primarily in airbnb’s; we shopped for groceries and typically ate out only once per day (if that).   Several of our ‘excursions’ were completely free!  The trip averaged us $120/day per person (is that less than major theme park admissions?!?).

So, what were our top 5 adventures?  Read on. . .

1) Sabeto Mud Pools near Nadi.  The cost was about $20 adults/$15 children (FJD).  The lady that escorted us through the process (and captured epic photos) told us, “You have not been to Fiji, if you have not experienced these mud pools”.  Surprisingly, our older boys had no interest in slathering their bodies with warm mud, so it was only our 2 year old that decided to partake in this adventure.

2) Robinson Crusoe Island Day Culture Day Tour.  The cost was about $199/adults and $85/children (FJD).   This was our biggest “splurge” and oh so worth it!   The children loved every moment of it- the beach and water activities, the  lovo, the fire dancing, the traditional meke, the coconut opening and milk making demo, and the free juice and soda!    I really enjoyed learning more about the native plants and the weaving demonstrations.   My husband and mother in law did the snorkeling and spear fishing, which was also apparently a fun time.  The staff is delightful and carries that warm, friendly Fijian spirit!

3) SNORKELING.  The cost of this incredible adventure was FREE!!  Most of our vacation rentals supplied snorkel masks and fins, however we brought some of our personal equipment.   The snorkeling in Fiji is unmatched to any snorkeling I have done in the last 15 years- Mexico, Belize, Cayman, Colombia, Florida Keys and Hawaii do not even come close to  comparing to the brilliant colors, variety and population of fish and coral.  One small suggestion- be responsible when snorkeling.  Coral reefs apparently make up .25% of the ocean, though they are home to nearly 75% of the earth’s marine life.   Our reefs are dying and being damaged at an exponential rate; it is critical that you use “reef safe” sunblock, reef-friendly footwear, and be responsible.  Remember we are simply borrowing the earth from future generations- I sincerely hope my grandchildren will have the opportunity to adventure in the ocean’s reefs.

4) Church service.  The cost was free!  This was one of those “highly recommended” experiences in Fiji, that seemed interesting enough to pursue.   The setting was an open air church, with a lively trio, playing drums, keyboard and percussion, and a congregation made up of Fijians and Indians.   The “Bula” spirit was beaming in the smiles of all the members that greeted us as we walked in, and continued through the very energetic celebratory service.   We left about half way through the second sermon, mostly because the children were hot and sleepy from the prior day’s journey, but it was definitely an interesting experience.

5) Visiting open air produce and fish markets.  The cost was free! The first day we were in Fiji we stopped in the Latoya market which was absolutely incredible.  A feast for all the senses- colorful assortments of fruits, vegetables, and spices, the lingering smells wafting from the fish monger stands, and so many jovial vendors (not pushy) ready to answer any question and even provide recipes or suggestions on how to prepare this fruit you may have never felt, seen in the USA.  Outside of the market, there were several food vendors selling fresh “Bara”, bags of “Muruku”, roasted nuts, and Indian mixtures.   Every town we visited had lively open air markets, some smaller than others.   The “Fijian Cream Buns” were an instant hit with the boys- a great sweet warm bread filled with fresh whipped cream.

So that summarizes our top 5 list.   A few of our family’s other favorites included beachcombing, shorefishing, dining in roadside stands, and kayaking.     As mentioned earlier, we found that “less is more”. We typically did not schedule more than one adventure or excursion in a day, which allowed us to honor nap times, maintain a reasonable eating schedule, and avoid the hottest hours of the day (indoors with A/C).   Fiji is truly a paradise, and a spectacular country for any family to visit!