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This magical South Pacific paradise of Fiji has long captured romantic fantasies. More than 333 islands, of which barely 100 are inhabited, range from large, luxury resort-dotted utopias to tiny palm-fringed atolls whose only inhabitants are lizards and birds. With so many islands to explore, visitors are sure to find a place of their own in the sun. The most beautiful area of the Fiji archipelago, scattered above Fiji's main island Viti Levu, is the Mamanuca and the Yasawa Islands. With no public transport, and few roads, these islands symbolise the true sense of seclusion visitors to Fiji so often seek. The Mamanuca Group is made up of 13 islands, tiny coral atolls and a number of sandbanks that disappear at high tide. Each island is an idyllic getaway, boasting white sand beaches, coconut palms, private coves and crystal clean waters teeming with marine life (four of the world’s seven turtle species are native and endemic to the Mamanuca). The main Mamanuca Islands are well-known and include: Treasure Island, Mana Island, Beachcomber Island, Matamanoa, Malolo and Tokoriki.

The Yasawa chain, to the north, is a string of 20 remote volcanic islands noted for their beauty and relaxed lifestyle, private beaches, turquoise lagoons and traditional fishing villages. Exquisite properties within this group of islands make the most of their spectacular surrounds, including Likuliku Bay, voted one of the best ten beaches in the world, and Turtle Island. The island chain has a thriving marine environment, making snorkelling and diving popular activities with visitors. Yasawa’s best kept secret, however, is its series of mystical limestone caves known as Sawa-i-Lau, most of which are accessible only to divers.

Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu is the arrival point for most visitors to the region, and home to the nation’s capital, Suva. It is one of the most popular holiday regions, offering the great combination of a beach holiday with the convenience of a mainland location. A great number of resorts are dotted along Denaru Island, the Coral Coast, and the Pacific Coast. Denarau Island hosts deluxe resorts, an 18hole golf course, a tennis centre, marina, water sports and beaches. Its marina is the major departure point for cruises around the island.

The Coral and Pacific coastline is a combination of bays, beaches and mangrove forests with accommodation ranging from ‘bure’ cottages to 5 star resorts. A great variety of recreation facilities, restaurants, nightlife and culture are available to visitors, as is the underwater garden that awaits snorkelers and divers. Fiji’s Coral Coast also boasts a championship golf course offering more than just a game of golf. Players journey through stunning landscapes and breathtaking golf holes, many of which brag uninterrupted views of the reef. Beyond luxury resorts, poolside cocktails and candle-lit dinners are verdant mountains and tiny local villages that still follow a traditional way of life. But while the sheer beauty of these islands is beguiling, Fiji’s true magic lies in the warmth of its people. Broad smiles and an unreserved sense of hospitality meet visitors at every turn, epitomised by the cheery greeting, ‘Bula!’

Time seems to slow in Fiji. The relaxed daily rhythm of life is paced by the tides and the tropical sun, so visitors need to relinquish control over every minute of their normally hectic lives, and switch over to ‘Fiji time’. What needs to happen will still happen, it’ll just take a little longer!

Click here for our suggestions on events and places to go at various times of year

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