The Coral Coast offers both the full-resort experience and a chance to visit the real Fiji in the many villages along the way. Get up close and personal to Fijian culture, from watching a fisherman selling his day’s catch on the roadside, to bargaining with a local at the Sigatoka Market.
Visiting a traditional village is one of the highlights of a trip to Fiji. As soon as you arrive at a village, excitable kids call out “bula!”, elders take the time to shake your hand and you’ll invariably receive offers to stay for a meal or longer. This is an amazing way to get unique insight into Fijian culture.
A Fiji village tour is a lovely way to spend a morning, afternoon or even the entire day. It's recommended that you take part in a guided tour, rather than showing up unannounced. Depending on the tour chosen and village location Fiji village tours can include the following activities:
- Welcome song upon arrival
- A traditional kava ceremony
- Meke performance – the traditional Fiji dance
- Handicrafts demonstration (you may choose to purchase souvenirs)
- Chat with the locals and learn about daily village life
- Visit to a local primary school and/or kindergarden
- Traditional food preparation demonstration
- Rainforest walk (look out for the native parrots)
- Waterfall visit
Explore the Sigatoka Markets and immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life. It costs nothing, unless of course you buy something.
The markets spring of life in the early hours of the morning offering shoppers a true local experience featuring the freshest local produce for sale. Fringing the embankments of the Sigatoka River, this weekly market occurs every Saturday and is frequented by holiday-goers and locals alike. Support local Fijian industry and buy plentiful in-season fruits such as fresh bananas and pineapple, or pick up a few trinkets and souvenirs; the local ladies craft some beautiful floor mats.
It’s worth noting clam shell, turtle shell, whale tooth and coral products cannot be taken out of Fiji and immigration offices can be strict on what’s brought back into the country. Many products will need to be inspected and may need treatment or permits. Certain items will not be allowed in, so it’s best to check before you buy.
Tavuni Hill Fort & Kula Eco Park
There is one place in Fiji that definitely tells the tales of the turbulent times their ancestors had to live through.
Located in the interior of Nadroga, the Tavuni Hill Fort is clear evidence of the fierce tribal wars that were fought in the name of Fijian beliefs and against Christianity.
Kids will be fascinated with the remains of this fortified village at Sigatoka, 70kms from Nadi, on the Coral Coast. Sitting atop a 100-metre ridge it features remnants of ancient house foundations, a sacrificial stone and even human remains (bodies used to be buried by relatives underneath houses).
Across the road, Kula Echo Park, which breeds two types of Fijian iguanas, native birds and turtles, is worth a look. The park traverses hillside and valley forests and seasonal streams through walk-through aviaries and animal displays which you can explore from the extensive wooden walkways to the elevated path through pristine rainforest. All around you the sounds, smells and sights of nature entice and enthral. The majority of the inhabitants of the park are hundreds of species of colourful birds such as parrots and doves in the most amazing primary hues. There's also iguanas, lizards and boa constrictors which you can handle; tropical fish, turtles and soft corals in an aquarium and flying foxes. Time your visit just right and you can also feed the sea turtles by hand at 11am, 1pm and 3.30pm daily.
This colourful mixture of creatures is complemented by the lush botanical gardens with a mix of local floral, fruit and medicinal plants and trees. The ecological reserve has also established captive breeding programs for some of Fiji's endangered wildlife species, and this popular attraction has won many awards for tourism, as well as raising awareness about the environment, ecosystem and nature conservation.
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