Although it would be easy to go to Fiji and tan on the beach for seven straight days, there are so many cultural activities worth doing on the country’s largest island of Viti Levu. I had a hard time narrowing it down to just three, but here are my favorites.
Sabeto Mud Pool and Hot Springs
This was my favorite activity of the entire trip. A 20-30 minute drive outside of Denarau brings you to the no frills but fantastic Sabeto mud pool and hot springs, a family owned oasis. If you’re the type of person that likes their mud baths in a luxury spa then this is not the place for you. If you like the idea of a stranger rubbing warm mud all over your body and then jumping into a natural hot springs pool in the ground, then this has your name written all over it. Sabeto is not the place to be shy. You’re expected to slap on your swimsuit, get covered with mud and then walk around for 10-15 minutes as it dries.
I tried my hardest but could not stop from squealing as the ladies rubbed mud all over me and although I did not want to stand there trembling out in the open, there was absolutely nowhere to hide. Finally after the mud was relatively dry, I was led to a warm springs to clean off then to another hot springs where the water was cleaner. The entire experience was so soothing and my skin felt amazing!
The Arts Village, Pacific Harbour
I’m pretty sure I left the Arts Village as a married woman. The Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, is a complex that features shopping, a re-created ancient Fijian village and beach bunk house for budget travelers. There is also a skit that takes place in the above Bure (Fijian word for “home”) where a Chief, spokesmen, and tribal members act out a typical scene from life in a Fijian village. After they perform, the scene occurs again with travelers playing their parts, and we all take part in a Kava ceremony. Kava is a traditional mild narcotic drink that is still consumed today by most Fijians. Let’s just say that by the time the whole scene was over, the Chief decided that he was going to take me as one of his wives. As the guide tried to tell me that he was just kidding, the Chief replied “no, I’m not.” HA!
The highlight of Arts Village is undoubtedly the cultural show where performers re-enact Fijian legends, perform traditional Fijian Meke dances and battle scenes, sing and firewalk over hot stones before an entranced crowd. It was a great crash course on the ancient traditions of Fiji.
Fijian church service
I could sit here and create some story about how I was so moved by the sermon of the preacher at this church service and that’s why it was included as one of my top three cultural activities, but that would be a lie. In fact, I barely understood the sermon (I’m sure it was lovely). The absolute best part of attending church at a local Fijian village was the opportunity to finally interact with the BEAUTIFUL Fijian children!
Fiji has some of the most gorgeous children that I’ve seen in all my travels. They all look so happy and are very sweet and welcoming to visitors like myself and my group. Family life is very important in Fijian culture, so most of the kids I met at church were siblings and cousins and introduced themselves and each other with glee. As you can see above, all of them were in their Sunday bests and were the most well-behaved children I’ve ever seen! The service was two hours long and not a single child threw a fit of impatience.
The church service itself was very beautiful. There was a ton of gorgeous singing and the denomination seemed to be a mixture of Catholic and Protestant traditions. Although there were some guests that attended the service in their village on their own, my group was staying at the Outrigger on the Lagoon resort and they coordinated the church service village for us. More pictures from my favorite cultural activities are below!