Heaven is a place on Earth


The Details

Date: 14 May 2010 to 20 May 2010
Where I’ve Been: Naviti and Waya, Fiji
Where I’ve Stayed: Botaira Beach Resort on Naviti and Octopus Resort on Waya.

Collage of travel photos

I genuinely have never been as relaxed and totally stress free as I am at this exact moment – sat in a hammock looking out across the sea, with two great travelling companions and a host of other fabulous people we have met, waiting to go for cocktails at the bar and watch another amazing sunset. If there is a heaven I am here.

Amazing Naviti

Our choice to stay on the island of Naviti has been inspired I must say. If you come here please stay at Botaira Beach Resort – the place is wonderful, the staff are so so friendly, it is like staying with people you have known for years almost immediately, there really is no one else around aside from the people staying here and thankfully we got on with them all – it is like one big family!

Backpacking in Fiji
The dorm at Botaira Beach Resort

Aside from that we spent one night in the resort dorm, which was really colourful as my photo shows, but then me, Lucy and Faye moved into a bure, a simple, but beautiful beach hut, with en-suite literally right on the sea. Between the three of us it worked out only a marginally more expensive than the dorm. The bure is lovely.

Visit to a traditional Fijian village

On our first full day here (14 May) we were taken on a walk to the local village which was fascinating. Everyone living here lives in fairly basic conditions, their homes are pretty simple, but I have never seen such a happy community! They were all talking to each other and all smiling (probably as they knew some Westerners were coming to spend money!) completely the opposites of communities back in England where we barely even know our next door neighbours.

Backpacking in Fiji
Fish for lunch today!

Anyway I bought an anklet (to verify that I am a true backpacker!), a necklace and some bracelets at the village market, and we went to the Church and saw the local school. Life is here is so different and I really was struck by the strong neighbourly spirit. Was a lovely little excursion and I spent most of the walk there and back chatting away with Faye whom I get on with very well.

Happy Hour again and again and again

We got back for a delicious home cooked lunch, and then lounged around reading until 5.30pm – which is happy hour! The time coincides with the beautiful sunsets so it has become a tradition to meet at the bar and get a cocktail or a Fiji Bitter and sit and watch the sunset.

Backpacking in Fiji
Happy Hour! Myself and Faye

The Resort always organises entertainment in the evenings and on the first full day we had some drinking games (ie drinking a beer without using your hands) and then we had some crab racing (no crabs were harmed in this!). After dinner and a few drinks, gradually everyone drifted off until there was just Faye and I left and we went and sat in a hammock and chatted until midnight, underneath another amazing night sky.

Beautiful moments

On our second day in Naviti the weather was a bit hit and miss – sunny spells and showers – so I didn’t do too much, but in the evening they had some people from the island to visit and do a traditional Fijian dance and play music, which was mesmorising. I swear every Fijian I have met so far can dance, play guitar and sing beautifully!

Backpacking in Fiji
We were visited by some of local villagers who could all play guitar and sing beautiful

One of the most enjoyable (for me anyway) activities we have done was when we played Island Games a few days ago. This basically involved teaming up in pairs (I was with Faye) to take part in things like the three legged race, the egg throw and much more. It was great fun and my competitive spirit came to the fore!

Backpacking in Fiji
The lovely bure we moved into

We have also played a bit of volleyball and Faye and Lucy went on a snorkelling trip to see Manta Rays, whilst I stayed on dry land and relaxed even more. On our last night on Naviti Faye and I again lay in a hammock chatting and watching shooting stars dart across the sky. It was probably my favourite travelling moment, and a moment went I felt completely at peace with myself – the sea was gently lapping up against the beach, the sky was filled with stars, it was completely silently and I was with a person I really liked – perfect!

Backpacking in Fiji
And literally yards from our bure was this…

Moving on

Sadly the next day we had to leave Naviti and Botaira Beach Resort, as we had booked to stay on Octopus Resort on Waya Island as we had read so many good reports of it. Unfortunately we did not like it at all. Sure the accommodation and facilities were probably nicer than Botaira, but it had absolutely no character or charm about it, it was big and impersonal – like a chain hotel, the staff rarely smiled and there was no personal touch at all.

Backpacking in Fiji
Just another Fijian sunset

The only upsides were spending more time stargazing with Faye and we also caught up with a couple of people we had met on our first stop in Nacula. In fact Faye, Lucy and I spent the whole time talking about how we wanted to go back to Naviti, and then if by magic…

Back home

We managed to get away! Octopus Resort sold our beds, so rather than staying there for the four nights we had booked, we only stayed for two. We have arrived back in Naviti just after noon today and we are all so happy! We were welcomed back with traditional Fijian music and flowers – it is good to be home!

Backpacking in Fiji
The wonderful barmen at Botaira

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4 Comments

  1. Daniella
    May 22, 2017
    Reply

    Hi Steve,

    Great article!
    One of my biggest dreams is to travel to Fiji! This place looks so beautiful! As you’ve mentioned in the article, people seem very happy and friendly, which give a great feeling. One thing is for sure is that if I go to Fiji, I will definitely stay at Naviti and Botairi beach resort.
    I am usually a positive person, but unknown places make me uncomfortable. Are there things you would recommend not to do or places not to go? Also, will people from the US or Europe need a specific vaccine?
    Thank you very much for this excellent post!

    • May 25, 2017
      Reply

      No places in Fiji that I have seen I’d recommend you don’t go. Just stick to the Yasawa Islands and you will be fine. Speak to your doctor about vaccinations – you will need stuff like malaria, tetanus and typhoid injections I think. Well worth it though and glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Matt's Mom
    May 22, 2017
    Reply

    I do believe you are right, Heaven is a place on Earth! And everyone has “their” heaven. And wow, Naviti in Fiji looks like a great place to go hiking and backpacking. You certainly find great places to explore. I have actually been researching Naviti, since I have a travel blog and wanted to include parts of Fiji on my site. Looks like you and Faye are having a great time. I love the culture there that you have presented thru your photos with the local villagers playing guitar. What a wonderful experience for sure! How did you like the Botaira Beach Resort? Looks amazing!

    • May 24, 2017
      Reply

      Thanks! So many of the Yasawa Islands are beautiful, in fact I am pretty certain they all are. Botaira is lovely and I would certainly recommend everyone who has the chance to visit Fiji does so – it is just gorgeous.

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