Explore Fiji: from snorkeling and rafting to touring gardens and hot springs

Although the island paradise known as Fiji covers a wide 75,000-aquare-mile area swath in the South Pacific, only 10 percent of is actually land. But, that land is exactly what you might imagine the South Pacific to be: lush, mountainous islands surrounded by clear blue water and edged with sandy beaches that are fringed with coconut palms. The tropical climate ensures warm weather all year long, and the warm waters are great for snorkeling and diving among colorful soft coral reefs and exotic sea life.

Fiji isn’t a place for large, surf-able waves; instead, the many reefs create calm lagoons that are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Some of the loveliest beaches are onFiji’s Mamanuca and Yawasa island groups, which are popular with vacationers.

If you’re interested in learning more about Fijian life, consider visiting the main island of Viti Levu. The island has the capital city of Suva, which is home to 75 percent of the country’s population. Here, you can visit the Fiji Museum in the city’s beautiful botanical gardens, Thurston Gardens. You’ll see a history of the islands in the museum’s collection of indigenous artifacts and relics. Visit the Suva Municipal Market to sample an enormous variety of tropical produce. Near the town of Sigatoka, visit Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, where wind and water continually uncover pieces of pottery and other archeological relics that date as far back as 5 B.C.

Robbert van Bloemendaal, Blue Ribbon News special contributor and world traveler

However, many visitors to Fiji are content to remain on an outlying island to enjoy the sand and sea. If these dedicated sun seekers do get the urge to venture beyond the beach, many of the islands offer something unique to explore, such as coastal walkways, mountain trails, hot springs, waterfalls, caves, a raftable river or a historic village.

There are lots of options for places to stay in Fiji, where resorts are plentiful and range from lively to peaceful. Some encourage social time with other guests, while others are designed for serene privacy. Your travel professional can help you decide which is the one for you.

This travel column was written by BlueRibbonNews.com special contributor Robbert van Bloemendaal, an experienced world traveler, native of Australia, an Ambassador with the Rowlett Chamber of Commerce, and president of  Travel Leaders of Rowlett.

To submit your news and events, or a guest column on your area of expertise, email editor@BlueRibbonNews.com.