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As the days continue to get colder, you may find yourself fantasizing about your next tropical getaway. While the Caribbean islands are a popular choice, it’s worth the extra hours on the plane to head to the South Pacific instead.
Of the thousands of postcard-perfect islands in this vast region of the Pacific Ocean, it quickly became clear to me on a recent trip why Fiji is one of the most popular tourist spots here. You’ll discover the white sand beaches, turquoise waters, top rate scuba diving and snorkeling among vibrant coral reefs — and so much more. With 333 islands, only a third of which are inhabited, Fiji is diverse not only in its environment, but also in its culture.
Here are some reasons to consider Fiji the next time you’re craving a real escape.
“Cheap” and “private island.” There’s no way those two words go together, right? Only billionaire investors and Brad Pitt vacation on their own exotic paradise.
To be the bearer of great news, we’re happy to share that, actually, you can possibly afford a wee vacation on your very own island — no crowded resorts or overpriced mojitos.
If you’ve ever dreamed of splashing around with dolphins, Flipper-style, singing with crabs like a certain redheaded mermaid, or simply like the sound of “sleeping with the fishes,” then here are eight epic hotels that bring you as close to the deep blue as you’ll ever get.
Pemba Island, Zanzibar
What if you could book your own, private island? Well… you can, kinda. Essentially a three-story, private, floating island in the midst of the Zanzibar archipelago, The Manta Resort (from $900 per night) features everything from a perfect sunbathing deck, open-ocean swimming, and a bedroom submerged 13 feet below the ocean.
If taking a romantic getaway was your 2014 resolution, then you have lots to look forward to next month. Hotels far and wide are putting together some nifty Valentine’s Day packages to help lovebirds get the most out of the holiday. From free spa treatments, to add-ons like champagne and rose petals, there’s a trip here to suit every taste, and save you some money.
For laid-back lovers…
In Curaçao, the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort is making itself extra-accessible to lovers on a budget with their “Love In the Caribbean” package, which is available even after Valentine’s Day. Starting at $379 per night with a 3-night minimum, this deal packs in a couple’s massage, daily breakfast for two, a complimentary dinner at Shore, welcome cocktails, and (why not?) a two-day car rental. Valid for stays through the end of 2014.
With wide sandy beaches and more shades of blue water than you can count, winding down in Fiji isn’t exactly difficult. But despite the ample opportunities to chill out, there’s one way to relax like the locals do – not at a bar, but around a bowl of kava. Read more
It wasn’t until I vacationed in Fiji that I fully understood the monumental amount of hurt that an essential fluid can put on one’s budget. In the United States, it’s fairly easy to find bottled water at well under 50 cents for 20 ounces if you buy in bulk, and in most cases, you don’t even have to – the water is safe to drink right out of the faucet. But many people take the ability to consume water from the tap for granted. In select nations that don’t have good filtration systems, it can become exorbitantly expensive to buy bottled water. Read more
This weekend ushered in the official start of fall, but that doesn’t mean you need to put away your bathing suit just yet. With beachfront resorts from Mexico to Aruba to Fiji, this week’s top deals allow you extend your summer a little bit longer, so you can dig your feet into the sand – and not dig deep into your wallet.
On Mexico’s golden Pacific Coast, the Paradise Village Beach Resort in Nuevo Vallarta is featuring rates for just $86 per person, per night this fall. That’s a savings of over 25 percent at the sprawling all-inclusive resort. The one catch is that a four-night minimum savings is required to reap these savings, but with a championship golf course, two spas, a marina, and a wildlife preserve, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to stay for less time. In nearby Los Cabos, the upscale Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach Resort & Spa is offering all-inclusive rates for as little as $148 per person, per night through October 31 – a savings of 55 percent at this 4.5-star resort on the tip of the Baja Peninsula. Read more
Romance is revving up all over the place during the month of February, from sun-kissed beaches to sophisticated big cities. Here are 25 deals and packages – from Fort Lauderdale to Fiji, Maine to Madrid, and St. Kitts to Sedona – that you can still book to make this Valentine’s Day the most memorable ever:
IN THE U.S. & CANADA
The Grand Del Mar: Unplug and relax with the “Disconnect Package” at the luxurious The Grand Del Mar near San Diego (shown above at left) and you’ll get one night’s accommodations (with the room TV unplugged and upgrade upon booking if available), berry-infused champagne cocktail upon arrival, choice of a 60-minute couples massage, or a 2-hour horseback ride for two, breakfast in bed for two, and late checkout, from $795/night. Read more
Bula! Although the effusive and ubiquitous Fijian greeting was not heard at all during Monday night’s broadcast of ABC’s The Bachelorette, (the action was focused solely on Bachelorette Ashley and her three remaining suitors as they frolicked on beaches and in waterfalls), the final roses are being doled out in the exotic and welcoming South Pacific island nation of Fiji. As Ashley whittled down her remaining men from three to two (Greek restaurateur Constantine was not feeling the love and respectfully bowed out before the overnight date, leaving just Ben and JP), the action unfolded at two leading resorts on Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu, while next week’s finale is set at a resort on an island in the Mamanuca group. Here’s the scoop on the properties and on The Bachelorette packages being offered:
Even with newfangled GPS gadgetry out there in increasing numbers, a good, old-fashioned map remains a staple for any self-respecting adventure traveler.
To that end, the National Geographic Society, the gold-standard source for maps for nearly a century, recently announced plans to expand its AdventureMaps line. The expansion will bring travelers a slew of new options for finding their way in increasingly popular adventure destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand. Countries and cities in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Europe are also on deck for a total of 60 new destinations by the end of 2012, and 30 more by summer of next year.
Put the good cop, bad cop act to rest. Both mom and dad earn major brownie points through the new Air Pacific promotion, which includes free airfare to Fiji for one child per paying adult. With fares starting from just $960 (plus $300 for taxes and fuel), families land in the beautiful South Pacific among undeveloped hot springs, remote beaches, and rainforests. Forming a 333-island archipelago, the Fijian paradise lies largely uncharted by human footprints, providing some of the most secluded and rare sights around the world.
THE VALUE: A tremendous savings of at least $683 per child, and “coolest parent” lunchroom nomination.
THE CATCH: Passengers are still required to pay a tax and fuel surcharge starting from $256.70 per child.
THE DETAILS: Children 11 years old and under apply. With a booking deadline of August 15, flights depart between August 1 and February 28. Blackout dates are from December 15 through January 15. Call 1-800-227-4446 to reserve.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Find International Flight deals to remote, island destinations.
Check out our Family Vacation blog for other great getaway ideas.
Use our Travel Search price comparison tool for savings on hotels, airfare, and packages.
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Looking for a reprieve from your hectic work schedule? Brendan Vacations is giving you the perfect excuse to leave that cubicle and experience complete solitude, serenity, and spectacular surf in the sultry South Pacific. Starting from $1,399 per person for travel between April 1 and November 30, this sizzling special includes a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Nadi, Fiji (fares for this route routinely cross the $1,000 threshold), as well as a 5-night stay with daily breakfast at The Naviti Resort – located on the verdant Coral Coast. Also included in this deal are round-trip airport transfers to the resort, and all hotel and ground taxes. The Fiji’s Tropical Delights package must be booked (and paid in full) by March 31.
To book, visit www.brendanvacations.com.
About the Resort: This award-winning property is perfectly positioned on 38 secluded beachfront acres brimming with floral gardens and coconut palm trees. The 220-room family-friendly resort has an executive 9-hole, par 3 golf course on the premises, as well as four tennis courts, and a large pool with a swim-up bar. The Naviti Resort is also near a coral reef teeming with exotic marine life, which provides favorable snorkeling for guests.
The Luxury Itineraries for Blue Lagoon Cruises maximize Fiji’s remote appeal. Passengers spend only a few hours each day at sea aboard the 70-passenger Fiji Princess, and the rest anchored in isolated lagoons. En route to the Yasawa Islands, the six-night Gold Club sailing includes visits to traditional Fijian villages where guests are greeted with an ancient welcoming ceremony. Back on deck, tropically inflected dinners are accompanied by live island music. The trip finishes up with a visit to the private island of Nanuya Lailai, where guests can snorkel, kayak, or simply enjoy the secluded oasis. Read more
THE LUXURY Itineraries for Blue Lagoon Cruises maximize Fiji’s remote appeal. Passengers spend only a few hours each day at sea aboard the 70-passenger Fiji Princess, and the rest anchored in isolated lagoons. Enroute to the Yasawa Islands, the six-night Gold Club sailing includes visits to traditional Fijian villages where guests are greeted with an ancient welcoming ceremony. Back on deck, tropically inflected dinners are accompanied by live island music. The trip fi nishes
up with a visit to the private island of Nanuya Lailai, where guests can snorkel, kayak, or simply enjoy the secluded oasis.
THE VALUE Sherman’s Travel readers will save 30 percent on all three- to six-night itineraries through April 30 booked by March 15. With the discount, the price for the six-night Gold Club cruise starts at $2,171 a person.
THE CATCH Airfare to Fiji, which runs at least $1,100 round-trip from the West Coast or $1,400 from the East Coast, is not included.
THE DETAILS Call 877/252-3454 (mention code 30%OFFALLST), or visit www.bluelagooncruises.com.
From the February/March issue of Sherman’s Travel Magazine.
Do you and your fiancé agree that you are truly, madly, deeply in love—but that you also truly, madly, deeply disagree on where you’ll enjoy post-wedded bliss? Take heart: Plenty of couples face a honeymoon split decision. She wants relaxation and he wants adventure; she wants a safari and he wants museums; she wants gourmet cuisine and he wants an all-inclusive party scene. To avoid an endless debate that can ruin your big day, compromise is key. So here are 21 options designed to satisfy you both:
Beach + Culture
• Bali — This Indian Ocean gem is ringed by beaches while its lush, jade-hued interior bursts with temples (Balinese-Hindu), creativity (jewelry, carvings, music and dance) and a soul-stirring karma you’ll never forget.
• Greece — Pair a few days ogling the Acropolis and other ancient wonders in sprawling Athens with isle-hopping to sunny outposts such as stunning Santorini, hedonistic Mykonos, mythical Crete or scenic Corfu.
• Thailand — The southern beaches around Phuket and Krabi are some of the world’s most stunning, while Bangkok and Chiang Mai brim with remarkable temples, markets and traditional dance. Read more
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