Back from Fiji

I’m back from Fiji and I have to admit, it’s been tough being back in the fast-paced urban world. It feels odd to be back to work, responding to hundreds of emails… heck, even wearing shoes feels weird after a week on the beach! But I want to write about my trip, while it’s still fresh, and so that I can then play catch-up and contribute to Vegan MoFo for the rest of the month. So here goes…

My fiance and I spent 7 days at the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort on Nacula Island in Fiji. Just getting there from Sydney Australia involved a 4-hour flight to Nadi, followed by a 5-hour ferry ride. It’s the most remote place I’ve ever been but the travel was well worth it once I saw the crystal-clear turquoise water and white sandy beaches.

Fiji-Blue-Lagoon-Beach-Resort

Our villa (small cabin) was great and we especially loved the fact that half of the bathroom doesn’t have a roof – so you can shower under the open sky everyday.

Fiji_Blue-Lagoon-Beach-Resort_Open-Air-Shower

The resort is very casual and there is even a sand floor in the dining area. There are only 12 villas (small cabins) and a small dorm, so there were never more than 40 guests at the resort at one time. This made the whole experience so intimate, because you could really get to know people and share travel stories. At first, I was a bit concerned that the whole thing would feel too communal, but Matthew and I walked 5 minutes to the “left” of the resort each day, to our own private area on the beach, and we really only saw the other guests at meals and in the evenings. This was the perfect mix of quiet and relaxation during the day, with some great socializing at night.

Fiji_Blue-Lagoon-Beach-Resort_1 Fiji_Blue-Lagoon-Beach-Resort_3 Fiji_Blue-Lagoon-Beach-Resort_2

It was so nice relaxing on the beach and lounging in the shallow water, which was 28C degrees! I also enjoyed photographing the many shells and pieces of coral that were scattered throughout the sand.

Fiji - Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Beach

We had way too much fun playing with all the hermit crabs on the beach. These little guys have so much personality!

Fiji-Hermit-Crab-2 Fiji-Hermit-Crab-1 Fiji-Hermit-Crab-3

Just a few meters into the water in front of the resort are a few coral reefs, and because the water is so still, the visibility is excellent for snorkeling. We literally snorkeled for 1-2 hours everyday and swam with thousand of multicolored tropical fish. Highlights for me included seeing many large blue starfish, a lion fish, and several little “Nemo” clown fish. I’m still sorting through all our underwater photos, but here’s a shot of me pointing at my little Nemo:

Fiji - Nemo clown fish

One morning, we went to a nearby underwater cave. We started-out by jumping into a section that was lit from above from a natural skylight. From there, we had to hold our breath underwater for about half a meter to finally arrive in a pitch-dark cave. I have to say that it was easily the scariest but also coolest thing I’ve ever done. Here’s a shot of me in the first cave, as well as a better shot that I found on the web.

Fiji - Underwater Caves

Our visit to the local village was really special. Most of the workers at the resort are from the village, so it was great to see how they live. We got to see their homes and churches, and they even put on a welcoming ceremony for us in their community center, and gave us each a beautiful lei made of fresh Frangipani flowers. I especially enjoyed visiting the village school. Matthew and I had brought the kids a shoebox of school supplies and small toys, as well as some pillowcases and clothing. It felt good knowing that our items would help such great kids.

Fiji - Village Welcome Fiji - Nacula Schoolchildren

One of the aspects that impressed me most about the resort was their amazing willingness and ability to create a variety of excellent vegan meals for me. Every night before dinner, one of the staff confirmed my dietary restrictions, and every night I was presented with a beautiful dish. From vegan sushi and spring rolls, to phyllo tarts and stir-frys, everything was prepared and presented with such great attention to detail. I ate better on this remote island than I have in many top-end restaurants in some of the world’s biggest cities. If the staff at a tiny resort in Fiji can pull off vegan food like this, what’s your excuse, Mr/Mrs fancy-urban restaurant-chef?!

Fiji - Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Vegan Food - 2 Fiji - Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Vegan Food - 1 Fiji - Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Vegan Food - 3 Fiji - Blue Lagoon Beach Resort - Vegan Food - 4

Matthew had spent a month in Fiji a few years ago, and had told me all about the famous sunsets there, but I had to see them to really understand what he was talking about. Every night, we watched in awe as the sun and clouds put on spectacular shows for us. These photos don’t do the sunsets justice, but give you a bit of an idea of their beauty:

Fiji - Sunset 1 Fiji - Sunset 2
Fiji - Sunset 3
Fiji - Sunset - 4

The last night of our vacation, Matthew surprised me for my birthday by booking a deluxe room at the Hilton in Nadi. It was gorgeous. We had our own private outdoor lounge bed and pool! He also spoiled me again before dinner by ordering a 2000 bottle of Dom Péringon. We savored every delicious drop! Thank you, my love, for a very memorable birthday and a wonderful end to a spectacular vacation!

Fiji - Hilton Angela Thompson

10 Comments

  1. Mandee says:

    Happy Birthday!

    Your trip looks absolutely beautiful, I feel like I was there thanks to your gorgeous photos! The hermit crabs are adorable :)

    I am so impressed with the food you were made, looks amazing!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks! It was certainly my best vacation yet. I want to be back there now! :)

      Reply
  2. Lood gorgeous, and sounds like you had amazing food, what a great way to spend your birthday, happy birthday!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much! It was definitely an awesome birthday! :)

      Reply
  3. Ian says:

    Sounds like an amazing holiday! Danna and I are veryyyy jealous! ;) I love that bathroom too.. such a cool idea.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      It was so awesome! And yes, if the Canadian summer was just a wee bit longer and more predictable, I’d look at having a shower like built in our next house. It was so cool, and not one creepy crawly came in to visit, surprisingly!

      Reply
  4. torontonium says:

    Great post Angela.

    Nacula seems truly serene. I am a vegan (over 12 years now) and from Canada, as well, and I’ve been looking at Fiji as my next possible volunteer/ work trade destination (specifically, it would be in Matei on Taveuni Island – helping with a permaculture start-up project, as described here; http://www.workaway.info/17933384374b-en.html )

    I know Taveuni is quite a distance from Nacula Island, but if Taveuni is anything like what you’ve described here, I’m sure it would be wonderful, too. The only thing I’m a little unsure about is the availability of fresh fruits (they mentioned “very few fruits now because the last cyclone” in their description) and for a guy that eats mostly raw vegan foods (a LOT of fruit), I hope I’d be able to make do without too much of an issue in that area.

    I’d love to spend time with the local villagers, getting to know them and help them out wherever I could.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks for your comments! The Fijian people are so kind. Working in Fiji would be an awesome experience and that particular work environment sounds amazing! As for food, I was able to eat fresh fruit everyday, including apples, bananas, watermelon, pawpaw, pineapple and papaya. Oh, and lots of coconut! The resort was also growing their own tomatoes and herbs. Also, when you fly into Nadi, there are lots of grocery stores so you could buy nuts/seeds and bring those with you. I brought granola bars and tofu from Australia and declared them at customs without any issues Anyway, hope that helps and keep me posted on your progress! It would definitely be an experience of a lifetime!

      Reply
  5. TK says:

    Thanks so much! We are looking for a honeymoon resort that caters for vegans and it’s so reassuring to know that one exists. How would you recommend the best way to approach the venue (without sounding too demanding?) Thanks again.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Congratulations! That would be a perfect honeymoon spot. Just email them! They’re super nice and totally used to accommodating vegans. They made me special meals every night, it was incredible.

      Reply
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