Tuesday, May 3, 2011
If you hadn't been to one of the smaller, more pristine islands as I had, CC would seem like a lot of heaven - palm trees arched over blue water-lapped beaches, exotically landscaped resorts with all-inclusive or a la carte arrangements that are filled with jolly Aussies and Kiwis, a city with ATMs and shopping (Sigatoka), and excursions - jet boat trips to inland villages, rafts to cannibal caves, jaunts to waterfalls and pottery villages.
Tip: Well, if you are a Leveler, many of those resorts come with lots of stairs and not all activities are worth the effort.
I visited five - Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, Outrigger on the Lagoon Resort, Fiji Hideaway Resort & Spa, Naviti Resort and Warwick Fiji. Stayed at one, Hideaway, and compared notes with guests at all the others.
Naviti received universal thumbs down from its guests despite its sophisticated landscaping and appearance. Management intransigence and inadequate supplies of basics such as towels and soap seemed to be the major problems. Good number of stairs here, too.
Tip: This is the best choice for Levelers, but get a room midway between the often noisy poolside bar and the end of the line of duplexes, which is a hike from the center of activity.
Tip2: If you don't want to be deluged by children and teens, avoid the dates of New Zealand and Australia school spring breaks. Personally, I found the older ones fun; it was the crying babies that got tiresome.
Tip: Better to take the same company's waterfall tour.
Tip: Keep your purchases small; this pottery chips easily and doesn't ship well, even wrapped in dirty clothes in a suitcase.
There will be a short stop for shopping in Sigatoka. This is a pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon, especially with a guide as affable and informational as Rony.
Kula Eco Park was a hit, especially with photographers.
Not worth it was the consensus on the salt making, red train and Robinson Crusoe Island tours.