Fiji | Paradise Cove Resort

What is it about traveling to far off places that are so captivating?  Perhaps it’s the allure of adventure to tropical paradises, incredible scenery, and captivating waters.  Places we see only on television, social media, and magazine ads.  When we set out on our family vacation to Fiji, pictures on Instagram, YouTube, etc.,  were visions we hoped to see, experience, and share. Those pictures we see in the media are edited versions of reality?!  Being full of enthusiasm and excitement, we did our research trying to figure out which islands in Fiji were best.

Decisions…Decisions

There were so many options to choose from as every island within Fiji was its paradise.  During one of our many bedtime moments searching YouTube & watching travel videos for inspiration, my wife came across a video by The Bucket List Family during their family vacation at Paradise Cove Resort.  My wife reached out to them and wouldn’t you know it, they replied to her message with some helpful insight.  After some conversation, we decided that Paradise Cove Resort on the Yasawa Islands would be the perfect place to enjoy our first international family vacation!

Fiji Vacations

Our next task was deciding to either plan our trip to Fiji ourselves or have a travel agency do it for us.  We chose to use Fiji Vacations, as this was our first overseas family vacation with our daughter.

Initially, we weren’t sure about not doing the research and planning ourselves, but we made the right decision to go with Fiji Vacations. We had many questions about our trip planning, and Melissa was accommodating and patient and overall made our travel plans to Fiji go so smoothly. Once she booked & reserved our flights, transfers, and accommodations, we had nothing to worry about but to pack our bags and get to Fiji. Book it and forget it =)  We will most certainly go through them again and highly recommend anyone planning a trip to Fiji, to try out Fiji Vacations!

They understood the importance of family when it came to planning our vacation.  Our flight was a direct 10 hr flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Nadi, Fiji.  The trip was overnight ensuring our arrival time to Paradise Cove Resort would be approximately 9:30 am!  We were able to sleep as best we could, which allowed us to enjoy our first full day in Fiji.  A big shout out to Fiji Airways!  The most professional, polite, and friendly airlines we’ve flown.  What more could a family ask?

Arriving in Fiji

We arrived at Nadi (pronounced “Nahn-di”) International Airport in Fiji!  The views upon landing were magnificent as we flew closer and closer over the South Pacific waters.  We were already in awe of the tropical beauty we were witnessing.  All the videos, pictures, social media posts were as advertised.  Once our flight landed, we de-boarded and went straight to customs.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, to be honest.  The airport wasn’t that big, and to me, the number of people shuffling through seemed quite a lot.  To my surprise, customs was relatively fast and easy.

When we look back during our time in Fiji, our first thoughts are of the local people – their kindness, warmth, and genuine care for us.  The staff made sure we were taken care of as we arrived outside customs.  We were greeted by their warm smile, cold bottle of Fiji water, & a wet towel to refresh our faces.

They arranged a transfer from Nadi International Airport to Turtle Airways where we would then get on a seaplane to take us to Paradise Cove Resort.  The initial views outside looked quite industrial at first glance, but as we drove further outside the city, we were pleasantly surprised at the sight.

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Sea Plane to Paradise Cove

As we arrived at the sea plane dock,  we were able to get our first real look at Fiji’s beautiful scenery.  The clear blue water, gorgeous palm trees, and warm air left us speechless.  It was nice to see the water up close and personal as we walked on the beach waiting for the plane to be fueled.

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Our favorite Coffee shop

Before our last flight, they took us to Travellers Beach Cafe to grab coffee as we were still a bit sleep deprived.  The atmosphere made this an amazing place for a quick stop over to refuel on energy.  It’s located near the water with a chill hangout place out back for travelers passing through and also a small surfboard rental station out front.  If I ever decide to go into the coffee business, I want to own a cafe just like this one!  Can’t beat the environment!

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Flight to Paradise Cove

Absolutely nothing could prepare us for the breathtaking scenery we  encountered on our way to Paradise Cove Resort The sea plane ride was amazing!  I think it was at this point we knew we were going to thoroughly enjoy Fiji!  We took some of the most beautiful photographs flying high above the different islands of Fiji.

Our new Co-Pilot

Have I stated that the local Fijian people are beyond amazing!  The pilot we had was great!  We were roughly two hours into our vacation, and our daughter was having a taste of adventure already.  The pilot let her take the wheel of our plane. I mean to fly an aircraft in Fiji….who gets to do that!?  It made my wife, and I smile at watching her light up, realizing that here she was not only in paradise but getting an opportunity to fly a seaplane over the Fiji islands!  What a story to take back home!!!  I think we were more excited and beaming watching our daughter have a blast!  Moments like these are what make my heart extremely happy.

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Landing at Paradise Cove

We were in sensory overload for sure!  The views from high above, watching our daughter fly a plane, and about to finally land at  Paradise Cove Resort . We were stoked to smell the salty air, feel the warmth, and take it all in!  The arrival was the best!  We landed just a short distance from our island and waited a few minutes to get picked up by boat to take us to shore.  Sitting back with the plane doors open and taking in the breathtaking views filled us with such excitement!

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From Plane to boat

Transitioning from float plane to boat was pretty darn easy.  We could instantly tell that the staff and pilot had done this many times before.  I got a kick out of watching my daughter and wife’s reaction as this whole water, plane, and boat experience were new to them!  Can you imagine the smiles on our faces?!  This experience was memorable!

Once we got closer to shore, we noticed a group of people standing at the shoreline waving in our direction and greeting us with local music and song.

We made our way onto shore smiling from ear to ear.  The greetings, the plane ride, the boat pick up, and most importantly, the views!  All this and it was only around 9:30 am!

We were handed refreshing beverages before the manager gave us an overview of the resort, activities & meal times.

He made us feel extremely welcomed!  We sat by the pool, looking at one another with sheer happiness written all over our faces.  We couldn’t help but feel blessed as we took in the views where we would be spending the next six days!

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Accommodations

Just as we thought it could not get any better,  we got to our villa!  We entered the beach front villa in awe!  I mean come on this was truly paradise. We only see this stuff in photos!  A great sense of gratitude came over us as we walked through each room.  We looked at one another and stated how humbled we felt.

Everything from the views right out of our front door to the fantastic staff and knowing we would wake up in paradise every morning was more than we deserved!  The bedrooms were amazing, & we surely got a good nights rest during those six nights!

Of course, my wife and I enjoyed the main bed with views looking directly at the crystal blue water.  Every morning we woke up around 5 am! The sun rises every morning were breathtaking!

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Best {outdoor} showers

I am pretty sure we enjoyed showering almost as much as jumping into the blue ocean every day!!!  I even mentioned to my wife about wanting to  build one of these in our backyard at home in Oregon (of course I was dreaming…..the neighbors wouldn’t be very happy)!

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This place even had a lounge area for the entire family just to relax and get out of the sun for a bit (as if that was even an option…truth be told…we didn’t use this very much).  The scenery was absolutely gorgeous…have I mentioned that yet?!

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Endless Activities

Every day there was something new to experience.  We were surprised at how many different activities we accomplished while still having plenty of time to relax.  The staff did an amazing job at coordinating activities during different times of the day, and many different options daily so that guests had plenty to keep busy and never get bored.

There were so many activities that ranged from swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving, to name a few.  Local activities such as demonstrating how to open a coconut and its cooking use properly!  Of course, snorkeling and diving were the main attractions.  We spent most of the day(s) swimming just enjoying the warm blue water, and swimming with the many different types of fish (this was all done just feet offshore where we slept…AMAZING)!

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Free Diving

We were able to take a short boat trip roughly 20 minutes away from the resort for some manta ray snorkeling (unfortunately we did not see any this time).  The views yet again were breathtaking.  It seemed around every corner was a new piece of paradise.  All we had to do was follow our guides and let the current take us toward our pre-planned destination.  The guides used two boats. For our safety, one would drop our group off, and the other boat would go and mark where we would end up.  The first boat followed along in case swimmers got tired.

The current was soft and guided us around the islands as we drifted enjoying the underwater views.  This was a free-diving paradise!  The fish were plentiful (even ran into a couple of blacktip sharks don’t worry they were not hungry)!  Our guide was awesome! I think he was having just as much fun if not more than us.  You can tell that the staff enjoy their jobs!

The coral reef was to die for, and the marine life was thriving all around our bodies.  I’ve gone swimming in other tropical places with marine life, but this was overwhelming in a good way!

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Hiking

What sets Paradise Cove Resort apart from other resorts are the activities available on land.  Every morning, we would enjoy a nice walk along the hiking trail with exercise stations along the way. Pretty cool!

The hike took roughly an hour and a half if you choose to stop at each station and less if you simply do the hike only (mostly an uphill trail).  Our hikes were a perfect way to spend quality time together while taking in the views and enjoying a bit of nature.

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Sunset Point

The best part, for us, is the lookout at Sunset Point near the top of the hiking trail where you can watch the sunsets nightly. Sunset views was our favorite thing of all as it was so peaceful and surreal.  The different colors of Fijian sunsets are absolutely amazing!  We sat watching the sunsets for hours in amazement.  What moments!  This how life is supposed to be peaceful, fun, and enjoying the love of family!

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Family

FAMILY! This is exactly why we fell in love with Paradise Cove Resort.  To us,  they did an amazing job of weaving modern life and tradition together with what makes the Fijian culture so beautiful….FAMILY!  I think it’s safe to say in many ways we left our hearts in Fiji.  The hospitality, the welcoming Fijian people making you feel as if you’re home.  What we truly enjoyed about Fiji are the people without a doubt!

We miss walking to breakfast in the morning and hearing our names called…”Bula Brett and LJ!”  They seemed to remember all of our names with ease (a gift I do not have).  Our daughter made a few friends during her stay.  A particular staff member always took time out of her day to ask how she was doing and if she was enjoying her stay.  I do not have the words to express how appreciative we were towards the family atmosphere!

Soso Village

We scheduled a Sunday boat ride to a nearby village about 40 min away called Soso Village on Naviti Island to attend church service. We were greeted with infectious smiles and friendly hellos by the locals and happy children who were also curious to see who the new visitors were.

Guests are welcome to join the locals for church service and also book a village school tour during their stay at the resort. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go back for a school visit due to weather, but we were glad that we had gotten the chance to visit the church.

Out of respect,  we asked if we could to take photos of the village.  The locals were more than eager to grant this request.  The children were hilarious when the cameras were on them, especially two particular young boys who continuously kept posing and smiling. I do believe they enjoyed their session!  I can’t quite put into words the feeling of visiting Soso Village, but that you leave there appreciating life more. Locals may not have a lot, yet they’re surely full of life, laughter, and happiness.

Perhaps if I had to describe Soso, I would use peaceful, warm, and simplistic – perhaps how life should be even in today’s world full of distractions.  I often found myself drifting toward the thought of living in such a place.  How much love they shared for one another and doing so without the distractions, we allow ourselves to have in the modern world.  We will never forget our visit to Soso. Forever in our hearts.

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meals in paradise

Have we talked about the food yet!  The breakfasts!!!!  Please believe me!!!!  Nothing like getting up in the morning to a nice cooked meal. So many different options to choose from;  menu or breakfast buffet!  Mouthwatering fresh fruits daily and freshly baked chocolate filled croissants!

Every meal was amazing!  The food was so good; we put on a few pounds even with all the activities!  It was a nice break from our normal everyday lives. Waking up like this was the spark for our life transition we are currently striving for.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a view every day!?

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Music and Kava

My personal favorite! The live local music every night during dinner.  There is something romantic and calming about the sound of local voices singing in harmony with their acoustic guitars.  The Fijian music truly set the mood, and for myself, music has always been a way of keeping memories alive and defining moments in life.

After dinner, we participated in the Kava Ceremony. Kava is part of Fijian life and a cultural tradition to welcome their guests. It’s a traditional Fijian drink that is a crushed root of the yaqona (pronounced yang-GO-na) plant and strained with water into a large communal bowl.  It tasted bitter & muddy, but it didn’t stop us from this once in a lifetime experience. At first glance, all we saw was a bowl of muddy water, and we weren’t sure what we were getting into, especially when we sat down & joined the group. Leps (the gentlemen in the photo smiling) was looking at me with an enthusiastic grin — the kind of grin you give someone that you’re about to play a practical joke on!  Everyone had a cup while we had two! The taste wasn’t bad, but it made my mouth numb for an hour. Kava relaxes you and causes some numbness around the mouth, lips, and tongue – and we got a good night of rest after almost 2 days of travel.

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Good-bye for now

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Saying good-bye to such an amazing experience is never easy.  For us we always remember how blessed we were to enjoy such warm people, and gorgeous scenery.   It’s truly a humbling experience when we take the time to step out of our day to day lives sharing in the joy and appreciation of another culture.

We came to appreciate that everything we did during our Fiji trip was all about family and experiencing tradition.  Something I think gets lost in today’s world of advanced technology and the belief that newer is better.  My family was very fortunate to have experienced a small taste of the Fijian lifestyle.  I think it’s safe to say we’ll look forward to returning, and hopefully see many of the same faces we so enjoyed and shared laughter with.  Thank you so much for making our time in Fiji such a wonderful experience!

Vinaka Vakalevu!!!

Music from our stay:

 

A FEW MORE PHOTOS … Enjoy!

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Comments (25)

Just look at these beautiful pictures! I wish I was there by just looking at the pics. I am going to add Fiji to my bucket list. It looks like paradise.

You will absolutely love Fiji….so far Fiji has been our favorite destination. We recently booked a trip to the Cook Islands. Have a great week!

This is a good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

Brief but very accurate information… Thank you for
sharing this one. A must read article!

Thank you! We want folks that are thinking about visiting Fiji to have accurate & helpful information. Have a great week.

This is very timely. One of my favorite travel companies (Gate 1 Travel) just sent out a flash sale for $899 per person for 5 nights accommodation and airfare out of California. It has got me thinking about a trip to Fiji next year…maybe this resort is just the place! Thank you for sharing and I love the pics.

That’s a great deal, Cindy! We flew out of PDX and would love to go back. We’ve never heard of Gate 1 Travel, so we will look into that. Thank you =) Thank you for stopping by our website and loving our pics, Cindy. We look forward to following you travels on Instagram.

Wow what a great adventure. Fiji is on my bucket list and this made me want to go even more. Great descriptions and beautiful pictures. The Fijians sound like wonderful people. I can’t wait to experience it with my husband. Thank you for sharing.

They really are wonderful people, Melinda. We hope you and your husband will experience it soon and share it with us. =) Have a wonderful summer.

This looks like an incredible family trip! I love all the detail about how you arrived – traveling to such remote areas always makes me wonder all the logistics of getting there. Glad you had a great trip – bucket list location for me for sure.

Yes! We hope you get to check Fiji off of your bucket list one day. We enjoyed it very much, and Fiji is very family-friendly. The people are amazing and so kind.

Looks beautiful! Would definitely love to take a trip there!

Thank you, Debbie. We hope you get a chance to take a trip to Fiji one day. It won’t disappoint.

Beautiful photos!! Fiji is a huge bucket list location! Hoping to go next year on our way to Australia!! Thank you for sharing – well done! I also love that you added music!!

Thank you for stopping by our page, Erin. Fiji is our favorite by far, and we hope you and your family experience it on your way to Australia. {Ohhh we would love to go there one day} We look forward to following your travels on Instagram.

What a nice post and writeup. It makes me want to go there! Loved the photos!

Thank you, Lucy! We really hope to go back again. Hopefully you, too, will get to experience a wonderful time in Fiji! =)

Great post! This looks like such an awesome trip to Fiji. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you, Amanda! We hope you get to experience Fiji as we did. Beautiful place & such amazing kind people!

Fiji only recently became part of my dream vacation list and seeing this made me want to go even more! Looks like an amazing time and that BEACH #dreamy!!

It is definitely our most favorite trip we took so far. Experiencing a stay in an over the water bungalow was originally on our bucketlist , but our opportunity to be able to go to Fiji in itself, was a bucketlist checked of. We hope one day you get to check it off your list, CJ =)

You’ve got a wide variety of things in here for Fiji, love all the photos. Just for a recommendation, I would make the photos a little smaller so your page isn’t so large. It took me a while to scroll to the bottom.

But this is great! 🙂

Thank you for your feedback and recommendation, Shawntelle! We really appreciate it.

My goodness, what a fantastic vacation! I love all the excursions and experiences! Your daughter flying the seaplane might be my favorite part. Soso sounds like a place we all need to visit to take a step back, gain some perspective, and remember to find joy in all the little things. What a great trip, thank you for sharing!

Hi, Donna! Yes, overall a wonderful and memorable trip and ESPECIALLY seeing the expressions on our daughter’s face flying the seaplane. We look forward to going back and spending more time in the village(s) Thank you for your wonderful feedback, Donna!

Fiji fascinates me. I was interested in reading your blog! Great photos. I dream of being there!

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