Archive for July, 2009

Castaway on Fiji

July 8, 2009


Fiji was our chosen honeymoon destination, so this year for our anniversary we decided it was time to go back to one of our favorite places. There are so many islands and resort choices in Fiji, so rather than return to the same places, we opted for a new itinerary. The Outrigger on the Lagoon (on the Coral Coast), and Castaway Island Resort, being sister properties are offering a great deal: Split your stay between the two and they throw in a free helicopter transfer between the resorts. We spent the first 3 nights at the Outrigger, one of the few 5 star resorts on the main island Viti Levu. This extensive resort is modeled after a Fijian village with traditional thatch roofed bures (bungalows), as well as resort and ocean view rooms. We opted for an ocean view room, since we would have a beach bure at Castaway. The rooms are very tastefully appointed in modern Fijian style, with large verandahs overlooking the lush property and the clear blue lagoon. The beaches in this area are prone to extreme tidal fluctuations, so swimming and snorkeling can only be done at certain times of day. The resort makes up for it however, with a very large swimming pool and 4 great restaurants and bars. The food at Outrigger was top notch, ranging from simple lunches at the pool bar, to fine dining at their award winning Ivi restaurant. We celebrated our anniversary there and were warmly serenaded by the restaurant staff, and presented with a beautiful and delicious custom made dessert. The Fijians our famous for their beautiful singing voices and harmonies. Even the breakfast buffet was accompanied by guitars and Fijian songs. The Outrigger’s hillside spa and is sweeping views seduced us into splurging for a couple’s massage, which was worth every penny, especially with the current exchange rate The helicopter transfer was one of the highlights of the trip. It takes off from Outriggers onsite helipad, and after traversing lush forests, rolling hills, azure seas, and tiny islets, touches down directly on remote Castaway Island.
Here is a short video of the flight Castaway is a private island resort in the Mamanucas island group, the closest and most popular chain to the main island. By private island, I mean it is the only resort on the island-actually the only facility of any kind on the island. I know, sounds expensive right? Not necessarily- island resorts are the norm in this region, so there are offerings for every budget. Castaway is a mid- range property, and popular with families. It has around 65 bures on its lush tropical grounds, with 2 large amazing beaches, a myriad of water sports, and 2 restaurants. The staff are very friendly and by the second day many would address us by first names. Our days were spent swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling (there is an amazing reef system, just 50 yards off the beach) kayaking, sailing and just relaxing.  We kayaked around the entire island in less than one hour, and the waters around the island are crystal clear, revealing their colorful coral reefs below.. We spent 5 days on Castaway, so one day decided to venture off on a little island hopping tour. They take small groups on their stayed of the art speedboat to visit neighboring islands and have a lobster and champagne lunch on a deserted beach. We visited Plantation Island, Musket Cove and Malolo Island, also whisking by the newer overwater bungalows at Likuliku Lagoon Resort, now popular with honeymooners. Evenings at Castaway are mellow affairs, listening to the serenadors, drinking kava, the national herbal drink with is mild sedative qualities, enjoying great meals, and just taking it easy. For excitement they have the hermit crab and frog races, on which you can bet. Our last night was graced by the Meke (traditional dances) and Lovo feast, with its underground oven, similar to a Hawaiian luau.  During our romantic dinner, the staff came out and sang their anniversary song to us, which almost brought us to tears. Upon departing Castaway, we were again serenaded, this time to the tune of their well known farewell song, “Isa Lei”. We returned to Nadi on South Sea Cruises, the high speed catamaran that ferries guests between these islands. The return transfer was about one and a half hours to Port Denarau where we saw a beautiful sunset wishing is farewell. But we know we will always return to our beautiful Fiji. For more information on travel to Fiji, visit