Dirt Cheap – Fiji (Suva, Nadi, Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands)


My name is Chas Bruns. I’m just a goofy guy, who loves to travel. And just like you I want to see as much of the world as I can. The only difference is that I happen to be a filmmaker. And I bring my camera pretty much everywhere. Which means, you’re going to get to find out some of the best places in the world to eat… Some of the best people in the world to meet… And where to go to have a damn good time. And the best part is… I’m gonna show you how to do it all… DIRT CHEAP! So I gotta say, I was pretty excited to get to go to Fiji. Granted, it’s a 12 hour flight from LA to Nadi. But once you get there, you’re greeted by these 3 dudes playing guitar. Nice touch Nadi airport. I appreciated it. So what made me want to go to Fiji? Are you kidding me? It’s paradise! Coconuts… Hot chicks… And the best part is, it’s cheaper than Hawaii. It’s more or less a backpackers heaven. But before we can hit up the beaches, we’ve got to get the heck out of this airport. And the easiest way to do that is to hop on the local bus. The local bus is more or less the lifeline of Fiji. It will take you around the entire circumference of the island from anywhere from $1 to $25, depending where you want to go. And the best part about spending money in Fiji is that if you’re spending the US dollar, you’re getting twice as much. How do you like that Hawaii? And we just found out there are some open air markets along the way so we’re going to stop and get some snacks for the hostel. The open air markets are great places to shop. You can get fresh vegetables. Jewelry. Just about anything. I grabbed 5 bananas for $.50. So the market we just stopped at is in Sigatoka. It’s about half way to our first hostel, the Beach House. The Beach House is easy to find. It’s right off the main road and all the local buses stop here. And pretty much everyone has heard of the Beach House if they’re from here. They’re famous for their world class surf lessons and their wild nights. Lets go check it out. The Beach House actually used to be a private residence. Imagine having this for your weekend getaway. But luckily for us, one day the owner said, “Hey, I;m gonna open it up to the rest of the world.” And just like that, the legend was born. The Beach House became a backpackers paradise. And I know I’d only been in Fiji for a few hours but so far it was looking pretty good. Lets go take a look at the amenities. We decided to splurge and get ourselves a private room for about $60 US dollars a night. While there’s no AC, each room does have a ceiling fan and the windows are screened, so you can open them if you want. And each room sleeps 3 to 4 people so you can split it with your friends if you’re looking to save some cash. And my favorite part by far was the outdoor shower. It’s a great way to start your day if you ask me. And if you really wanna travel “dirt cheap,” you can always stay in the dorms. They seem pretty clean to me and they’re only about $25 a night. And they do have laundry but the sun is free. Enough about the amenities. Lets go get something to eat. The meals here are home cooked and average about $6. I’m about to have some ceviche. I’m having Fiji Gold, which is a local beer. And I can surf the Internet. Check Facebook and Gmail. There’s some guys behind me cutting some coconuts. We’re gonna go check that out. Cheers. It’s actually kind of a process to open a coconut. That’s why I asked my friend Paul here to do it for me. He’s a local and pretty much a seasoned pro. They’re trying to gather up as many as they can for the big party tonight. That’s right. New Years 2012. And we’re most definitely having a huge bonfire on the beach. So if you’re looking to spend New Years in Fiji one way to do it cheaply if to buy your alcohol at the duty free store at the airport before you come. We bought whiskey, vodka…pretty much everything and it’s working out pretty good for us so far. They’re cooking a huge feast for us tonight. Underground. It’s called a lovo. Or I think that is how it’s pronounced. Regardless, it’s a delicious pile of slow cooked meats. And they’re also setting up fireworks and getting the tiki torches ready. It’s gonna be a great night. Must be getting close to dinner. I wanna go check on that lovo. It’s smelling delicious. They had pork, beef, chicken, veggies and and something called a cassava root which is kind of like a potato. But crew the food. It’s New Years. Lets get the bonfire going. As you’d imagine, people started drinking pretty early. It was insanity. I grabbed my fireworks and joined the party. They were having a little trouble getting the fire going. So the Mainer in me decided to throw on a log. And some gasoline… It did the trick. It was like something out of a movie. And it was a personal dream of mine to have a bonfire beach party. so I was loving life. And did I mention I bought fireworks? $5 at the hardware store in Sigatoka. And they were totally worth my $5, but I was also glad that the neighboring hotels has some fireworks going on. All in all, I’d say I was happy with my New Years at the Beach House. It definitely beat drinking beers at the local bar. That’s for sure. And remember, if you don’t want to spend as much as I did, you can always cut back on the alcohol. And then, the sun came up. My producer just happened to be awake at 8 AM with a camera. What are the chances? And I’m not a morning person. The instant coffee was not doing the trick. Lucky for me, I had the outdoor shower. While I’m waking up, lets check out some Fiji Facts. There’s roughly 860,000 people here. The capital is Suva. And their native language is Fijian. But don’t worry, 80% of the population speaks English. Now lets get back to the beach. What else can you do at the Beach House? I’m gonna let Andrew, the owner of the place, give you his advice. One of the great things about being here at the beach on the Coral Coast is getting to enjoy the ocean everyday. In the last few years I’ve found Stand Up Paddle Boarding, or what they call SUP. It’s a great exercise and it’s sort of become a big part of my daily routine here at the Beach House. A lot of other people choose to surf or snorkel or things like that. But it certainly makes up a nice day. Other things to do at the Beach House…you can go fishing. You can walk in the jungle up to waterfalls. There’s horse riding on the beach. People make their own coconut jewelry during the day time. And basically just generally have fun. If you feel like going to the main city, Suva, again, that’s only an hour or two up the road. and you’ve only got to wait on the road a half an hour to get a bus. We decided to take Andrews advice and head into Suva. The capital of Fiji. There are two sides to the island. The quiet paradise and the hustle and bustle of the city. You’re gonna wanna do both. There’s some awesome architecture, some great restaurants and a mall if you want to go shopping. And since I saved with the free breakfast at the Beach House, I wanted to splurge on some sushi. And Andrew at the Beach House told us the best place to go was Daikoku. Daikoku is a Japanese steak house with sushi. I got myself a glass of white wine some fresh salmon and a house salad to start. And it was damn good, but I wasn’t full yet. Bring on the meat and seafood baby. I gotta give it to her. Cooking hibachi style is tough. Not only does she have to cook a world class meal, but she has to do it with style. I could do this all day. Is this what Anthony Bourdain feels like? It’s not a bad life. they should hire these chefs to build cars. Who needs robots when you’ve got hands like this? I’d say it was worth the money. And before you scoff at the price, think of what a meal like this would cost you back in the states. It would not be cheap. I had some steak, a bottle of wine, some sushi, a salad, shrimp, lobster, and salmon for $30. I then took a stroll over to the Suva Holiday Inn to digest my gluttonous meal. It was another great day. And it kind of works like that at most resorts in Fiji. They’ll usually let you come in because they’re hoping you’ll either eat at one of their restaurants or buy a souvenir. But it was starting to get late and we had had a busy day. So we decided to head back into the city to grab the last bus back to the Beach House. One of my favorite parts about staying at the Beach House was the free biscuits and tea. Every afternoon they would put it out on the table and it was first come first serve. And they usually put out free breakfast, but you gotta wake up early for that. There was a lot of stuff to do. You could play pool. Drink by the pool. Swim in the pool. Whatever floats your boat. And the kitchen is open all day, so you don’t have to worry about meal times. And in case you forgot to buy the cheap booze at the airport, the bar is open all day. But I was still recovering from New Years, so I opted to go on the $6 jungle hike and walk off some of my beer gut. The trip begins with a walk through the nearby Nuvola Village. But before they let you go traipsing off into the jungle, they make you sit down and listen to a few cautionary “ghost stories” told by Jiuta, one of the village elders. If you go there, all of you gone. You would be finished. You know why? Because you have white skin. They might like your skin and think you’re so plush and sweet-like. And I guess I hadn’t mentioned that yet. The ancient Fijians… They were cannibals. That’s one scary looking dude. And although Jiuta claimed he hadn’t personally eaten any human flesh, he did boast that his great grandfather had eaten over 800 dead bodies. But no need to worry. They told me ever since livestock arrived on the island, cannibalism is no more. And it’s not a hard climb, but it does take about an hour and you should probably wear some close-toed shoes cause it gets pretty muddy. But if you’ve never been on a hike in the jungle before, it’s totally worth it. Who knows what you’re gonna find up here. They’re still discovering all kinds of new species. And Jiuta decided not to kill us and eat us after all. He’s actually a pretty good guy. And the waterfall was awesome. It wasn’t 60 feet high or anything, but it was definitely worth the hike. And everyone got to go swimming and pose for pictures on the rocks. We had a really good time. And I had my “king of the world” moment. And then 30 seconds later slid my butt onto a rock. And the slipped and fell flat on my face. Live and learn. On our way back down we got to eat some homemade roti. It was prepared for us by one of Jiutas sons who still lives along the river. Not only was it delicious, but it was free. Included as part of the hike. After the hike I figured it was as good a time as any to get a massage. A $10 massage at that. Bula massage. This is Bula massage. And it was good. Real good. But of course I couldn’t stop there. I mean what kind of day would it have been if I didn’t at least go horseback riding on the beach? $15 So here in Fiji during the rainy season it’s rains about 2 or 3 o’clock every day for a few hours. We just waited for the rain to clear here. We’re gonna go out horseback riding with my friend Eddie here. And what we’re gonna do is head down the beach and go up into the mountains and check out the view up there. And I’m pretty excited, but the last time I rode a horse was like a pony at the fair in Maine. So this guy is a little bit more scary to me, but I’m looking forward to it. Lets head out. It’s pretty awesome. I don’t know how to ride a horse, but I’m learning. Oh it’s so beautiful. But if you don’t want to spend the $15, the dirt cheap alternative is to stay at the hotel and make coconut jewelry. The coconuts don’t cost you anything. I mean you can pick them up off the ground. But the class is free too. And you can’t beat free. During the class, the locals will teach you how to make coconut jewelry, or palm leaf hats. Put some coconuts in it. Ok, so this is how it starts. And with a lot of hard work, this is how it finishes. With a lot of love though. I’d love it if someone made me something like this. It’s cool. Yeah. And she’s not kidding. It takes about an hour to make this stuff. first you gotta cut out the hole. That’s where your finger goes, eventually. But before you can do that, you gotta put a little love into it and sand down those edges. It takes a little effort, but if you stick with it, eventually you’re gonna end up with something like this. It’s not perfect, but I kind of like it that way. And even if your jewelry comes out looking a little funny, it’s still a great way to meet fellow backpackers. BULA! BULA! BULA! As you might have guessed, bula is the word for hello. It also means goodbye. Beautiful sunshine. Warm sea. Ah, it’s awesome. Yeah it’s definitely one of our favorite places. So many things to do here. We’ve been making jewelry out of coconut. And we’re gonna go to some different islands and explore. I’m not sure what they’ve all got to offer, but I think that will be cool. And we’re gonna have a local meal tonight on the beach with some of the villagers up the road, so I’m not sure what we’re gonna get given, but we’re gonna have to eat it and hopefully it will be good. Yeah, so it’s good. Tammi was right. Life was good. No clock to punch. No boss to answer to. Just the sound of the waves. After a few strenuous hours of making coconut jewelry, I thought it best to relax in preparation for the feast the locals were preparring. Before I knew it, the sun had set. In Fiji, sunsets like this are the norm. My camera couldn’t do it justice. So after we had met Jiuta at the waterfall hike, he had invited us to dinner with his family. I was honored and super excited to have an authentic Fijian meal So every evening at 7 o’clock we usually sit down togther Sit down with family. To say thank you to God for the day. Jiuta had requested that I didn’t film the dinner. He just wanted me to enjoy the food. But he promised me I could film the afterparty. In case you didn’t know, the Fijians celebrate New Years for weeks. It’s a party every night. If you’re partying with the locals in Fiji, rest assured they’re going to make you drink cava. Cava is more or less a mild sedative made from the cava root. But if you drink enough of it, it’s not really mild anymore. The locals told me I was either going to want to dance all night, or sleep. I’d say it was a combination of both. I ended up spending most of my night mesmerized by kids playing with sparklers. Everything is just a little bit more interesting when you’re drinking cava. I definitely felt more like dancing than sleeping. I had a great time. So after another wild night at the Beach House, we decided to wake up and let the rains pass by taking a bus into Suva. Our goal today was to walk through the city gardens and check out the Fiji museum. The gardens are totally free to the public and a lot of people were bbq-ing and sun bathing. It kind of felt like a tropical Central Park. So it’s pretty hot out. It feels about 110 degrees to me. We escaped the heat of the city to come into this free botanical gardens. It’s pretty beautiful. It’s awesome. There goes a muskrat type of thing? It feels pretty good to be here. We’re walking up to the Fiji museum next, which is air conditioned. It’s about $7 Fijian, which is about $4 US. And I’m excited to learn a little about the Fijian people and maybe see some skulls and bones, if we can. I’m totally gonna go take advantage of that. Learn a little bit about the culture. They had the skull and bones I was looking for. But they also had ancient spears and ships and nets. Really any Fijian artifact you can think of. It blew my mind to find out that the Fijians could live on these ships for months. No thank you. I’m quite content with my feet right here on the ground. It was really cool to see the history of Fiji and see how they used to survive on the island. It was also interesting to see the “not so smooth” transition out of cannibalism. But every country has its growing pains. I also found out that they used to use rare shells for money. Makes sense to me. This dude must have been rich. But I’m not dead yet, and I got a lot of stuff to do, so lets get back outside. I do love downtown Suva, but about mid day it becomes a concrete oven. And I feel like going swimming. Remember how I said you could visit other hotels as long as you bought something from them? Well, let me introduce the Warwick. A fancy pants mega-hotel the next stop down from the Beach House. They have a pool with a jacuzzi… Well, two pools to be exact. Did I mention the bar you can swim to? They even have a kids pool. There are just a lot of pools in this place. They also have mini-golf. This is my type of place. Granted, I don’t have the money it takes to stay here, but I don’t mind buying a beer to chill by the pool. They had every tropical drink you could think of. And I know my parents are gonna watch this and say, “Did you do anything besides drink in Fiji?” What can I say? I’ve got a sweet tooth for pina colada. Plus, it’s just kind of fun to watch the mixologists do their thing. These dudes are seasoned pros. Then you’ve got these guys doing a free conch shell…bang the wood…something or other. I don’t know what it was, but it was cool. And we had front row seats from the bar. The real reason to come see the Warwick is for its beach. It’s awesome. But as you can tell, it’s a little crappy today. So we’re gonna go check out one of its fancy restaurants instead. This place really isn’t cheap, but they had a buffet and it was good food. So if you and your friends are looking to stuff your face, you might wanna come here. You can look out at the ocean from your table. They have live entertainment. Like I said before, you don’t really have to spend a lot of money. You can just buy a glass of wine, or a novelty hat and you’re good. They more or less see it as a form of advertising. They think, “If you come here and you like what we do, you’re gonna stay with us next time.” It worked on me. Once I make my millions I’m coming back here for a vacation. But be aware that this is most definitely a wedding and family destination. At this point in my life, I’m more of a hike up a mountain and sleep in a hammock type of guy. But, since we were already here I figured we might as well stick around for one of their free shows. Stabbed that poor kid right in the eye. Just kidding. Everyone was fine. After the show, I checked out some fish… a gecko eating ants… and another awesome sunset. No complaints here. So far we’ve been spending a lot of time at the Beach House and Suva. Today we’re going to head up to Nadi, the second largest city in Fiji. It’s mostly known for Port Denerau where you can go shopping. And a strip of fancy hotels like the Hilton. If you want to go shopping, Port Denerau isn’t a bad place to go. I decided to buy an iced coffee from a seafood restaurant and scoped out their view from the deck. Just a heads up. If you order an iced coffee in Fiji They’re gonna give you a coffee milk shake. Even when I tell them I just want coffee and ice they look at me like I’m an insane person. But I enjoyed my coffee milk shake and as I was scoping out the view I got to see these dudes net fishing. Looks like they got quite the pay day. But I didn’t want to watch people in the ocean. I wanted to be in the ocean. so I decided to go on the Whales Tale. It’s a day cruise through the Mamanuca Islands that includes all you can eat breakfast… all you can eat lunch… and free drinks for the duration of the cruise. It’s picturesque from beginning to end. I don’t know who owned these oceanside condos, but they definitely weren’t poor. I say fake it till you make it. I was able to convince them to let me steer. I have no idea where I’m going. If you’re into boats, it’s an awesome way to see all the smaller islands around Fiji. Some of these islands are tiny. You could literally walk around them in about 30 seconds. That’s why people pay to come out here. You more or less get a private island. Speaking of private islands… Here’s the one we’re headed to. The Whales Tale actually bought it for their day cruise. How’s that for exclusivity? And if you don’t feel like waiting for the smaller boat to ferry you over you can always jump right in like this crazy chick. Yeah, maybe next time. I was totally fine taking the boat in. Did I mention that aside from the free booze, the all you can eat breakfast and lunch buffet, they also have live entertainment? Oh, and complimentary snorkel gear… Free use of all their kayaks… Complimentary fishing gear and use of their glass bottom boat… And priceless views. And I know I’ve already said the price, but let me say it again. It’s about $100 US dollars. Just to give you an idea of how awesome that really is, it normally costs about $150 for for any other company in the port to bring you out to these islands. And that doesn’t include food or any of the other perks. I snorkeled around for about an hour or so and then hit up the buffet. All you can eat. Of course, no lunch in Fiji would be complete without an all you can drink cava ceremony. It kind of numbs your mouth like novocaine, but people seem to love it. They’ve also got free champagne, if that’s more your style. Great scenery. Great food. Great drink. Great company. What more could you ask for? Couldn’t agree more. And on the way home, everyone started jumping off the boat. So I figured I might as well do it too. I mean, come on. I couldn’t be outdone on my own show. Ok, a change of pace here. I know some of you like the pool. And I know some of you like to lounge around on the beach. But there’s a whole other breed of people that come to Fiji for one reason… To surf. This is Justin Clark. From Korolevu. Bula. Fiji surf school. Come and surf with us. Fiji style. And this ain’t your mama’s surf school. These boys will even do it in the rain. But I couldn’t risk getting my camera wet, but Justin and the guys had some GoPro’s they threw on their heads and this is how it came out. Besides, if you wanna go and see another sunny surf video go watch another documentary about Hawaii. Here in Fiji these boys do it rain or shine. Here comes our big air shot. And a face plant. But nobody was hurt and everybody had a good time. And obviously, if you have your own equipment you can come out here and surf for free. But if you’re a novice like me, you can always go out with these guys. It’s $10 to $30 depending on the lesson. They’ll take you out in a boat and it’s a good time, rain or shine. But enough with the ocean. I want to explore. Lets go check out downtown Nadi. I didn’t like it quite as much as downtown Suva, but they did have a cool local market where you could buy souvenirs. And I’ve got to be honest with you. They’re definitely gonna haggle you. But the cool part about haggeling, is you can haggle them back. So you might get something that normally costs $10 for $5. All this shopping is making me hungry. Lets go see if we can’t find a deal. Just finished some fried fish, fries and an iced tea for $5. After lunch I was ready for the beach. We decided to grab a cab and head over to Smugglers cove. We were told it was more or less Nadi’s version of the Beach House. You know…backpackers, drinkers and vagabonds. My type of place. You can stay here in the co-ed dorms for as little as $18 US dollars a night. Did I mention that they have free shuttle service and that the Nadi Airport is only 15 minutes away? And just like the Beach House, they offer tours of local attractions. Today we’re going to go check out the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and some mud baths. The garden was awesome. Apparently it was designed by the late actor Raymond Burr. I have no idea who that was, but I guess he loved orchids and he really liked Fiji. Whoever he was, he did a great job. This place truly was beautiful. So if flowers are your thing, you’re gonna wanna pencil this in your travel itinerary. I have no idea what these plants are called, but they’re nice to look at. That’s all that counts. Speaking of mother nature, I think I’ve located the tree from Ferngully. Had a pretty awesome fish and frog pond at the base of it too. Kiss me! Even though you’re probably not gonna find a frog prince the orchid garden is worth a trip. Our next stop was the magical hot springs. These waters are rumored to cure everything from arthritis to impotence. Lets go see what it’s all about. This hot springs here has been here since the 1800’s. And it’s volcanic. That is where the temperature of the water is 80 to 70 celsius. So as she just told us, this is an extremely hot spring that kind of feeds to all the other springs. Ok yeah. That is almost boiling hot. That is about as hot… I’d definitely say you could boil some eggs in that water. It’s kind of cool that that’s just bubbling up from the earth. We’re gonna sit in it. We’re gonna cover all the whites… on the skin. I’m getting slathered in mud. It feels good? Hahaha. And after that we have to walk around and let it dry. Feel it tighten on your skin. Feel crackling. And you have to come back here… you have to wash it off. Then you have to go in another pool where you sit. Warm spring. Oh, this feels awesome. This feels really great. Speaking of luxury… you can also get a massage or go shopping here. So you don’t have to sit in the mud if you don’t want to. Anyway, enough of the hot springs. We’ve got one more historic site on our list of things to do today. We’re headed to the first settlement founded in Fiji. The name of this village is Viseisei. Viseisei Village is the first landed village. Our great great grandfathers… they arrived here in the 1900’s. So they came from South Africa. And they came by replica canoes called “takia.” So the people… The population of this village is 1,500+. In the village we’re all family. We’re all related to each other. And we live community life… in the village. Live together. Community life. We’ve got the chiefs house there. The Fijian bure. You can see the white cowrie shells. White shells on top of both ends of the roof… signifies the chiefs house. Only in the Fijian village. Did I mention this historical tour was free with a suggested donation.? We threw her $10 and then bought her some soda at the local store. They’ve got everything inside this shop. But feel free to donate whatever you can afford. I just realized I should probably talk about the taxi considering you’re gonna need one to get around the island. And I don’t know why, but rental cars are super expensive. But luckily, you can barter with the taxi guys. We got a private car for the whole day for $30. When we got back to Smugglers Cove I walked around the beach and took in the views. And let me tell you, Smugglers Cove had some great views. And I’m not just talking about sunsets and palm trees. Enter the hula girls. Lets just say they get my stamp of approval. Don’t worry ladies, I made sure to film the half naked fire jugglers too. And the best part about watching the show at Smuggler Cove? It’s free. The ambiance at Smuggler Cove is great. It’s about as laid back as you can get. And if you put in a little effort, you can make friends with just about anyone. A lot of people go backpacking just for that reason. It really is one of the better ways to travel. Speaking of traveling, it’s time to hit the hay. We’ve got a big day ahead of us tomorrow. I spent most of the morning checking out the wild life. But I couldn’t lounge around all day. We had to head back to the Beach House. Jiuta made me promise that I’d attend at least one of the New Years cava ceremonies. I had told him that we signed up to take the cruise out to the Yasawa Islands and he told me it would be bad luck if I didn’t say goodbye. Although the threat of black magic did make me a little nervous I really just wanted to party. And party we did. They ground up about 2 pounds of cava, mixed it with cold water and then filtered it through a cloth. I still hadn’t warmed up to the taste, but everyone else was loving it. It’s kind of like their “holy water.” The first cup always goes to the village chief. And once he’s given it his seal of approval everyone can dig in. And they all laughed at me when I mentioned the taste cause they pretty much feel the same way about alcohol. They can’t understand why we’d ever want to drink it. And most of the older Fijians don’t drink alcohol at all. They just want some cava and a hammock on the beach. And the other great part about the New Years celebration is once you’ve got your fill of cava it’s time to eat. They had cassava. They had vegetables. Fresh fish. It was a feast. Although I was really excited to get to go on a cruise to the Yasawa Islands in the morning, I was a little sad to say goodbye to my new friends. Almost the entire staff at the Beach House is from the Navola Village and we got to know these guys pretty well. It’s better than any resort we’ve eaten at. Of course after we were done eating we had to drink more cava… put on some homemade leis… and then get baby powder poured all over our heads. They never really did explain the purpose behind this tradition. But whatever the logic, they always had to make sure to get some on your face. It must give you good luck in the new year. Regardless, we partied until about 2 in the morning. I finally cleaned up, had my last glass of cava and said goodbye. I wasn’t sure if I’d see any of these guys again, but I was glad to have met them. Before I left, I made sure to tell Jiuta’s sister to give him a good amount of baby powder. Bula! I couldn’t be the only one to get good luck in the new year. I got a little nervous when she started hitting up all the tribal elders, but they seemed to have a good time. And that was it. This was our last night on the main island. Tomorrow we head out to the Yasawas. And I’m sure they’re gonna be amazing, but if you do get a chance to come to Fiji, you wanna make sure to visit the Navola tribe and stay at least one night at the Beach House. I promise you won’t regret it. The next morning we boarded a small boat and headed out to our cruise ship. The way it works is you pay one flat fee and they’ll take you island hopping. It usually includes one or two meals a day and your lodging is covered. For a 7 day cruise with food and lodging included I paid about $600. But if you want to save some money, you can always cut it down to a 2 or 3 day tour. The easiest way to get to the Yasawa Islands is out of Port Denarau. But a lot of companies will actually pick you up right at your hotel. We left from Smugglers Cove. Our first stop was Coral View. And as you might have guessed, you’re immediately greeted by the local musicians. I ran straight past the guitars and got myself some free food. As you can tell, I got a little bit of a sun burn on the boat. I suggest wearing sunscreen if you’re going to lounge all day on the upper deck. So, what can you do at Coral View? You can go scuba diving. Rent a seadoo. Rent a kayak. Or a fishing boat. Or you can just sit on the beach and suntan. It’s up to you. I personally opted to pay $10 to go to a beach were they filmed part of the Blue Lagoon. We’re up here in the Yasawa Islands and we’re on the Island of the Blue Lagoon right now where they actually shot the film island of The Blue Lagoon with Brooke Shields. I was definitely a big fan of that when I was a kid. So it’s kind of cool to be here and be right on the beach. It’s obviously ideal to be shipwrecked with a beautiful woman, but if you happen to be alone, you can always go swimming… Or sunbathing… Or feed a bag of Twisties to some fearless fish. I’m sure they have teeth or some sort. They love Twisties. There’s a few that are like this big. And I’m just hoping that…oh…It just bit my ass. I didn’t have time to do it myself, but if you’re into scuba diving I definitely suggest giving it a try here. I’ve never seen ocean water this clear in my life. When we got back to the resort we check into our private beach house watched a free show and called it a night. It was a great day. So after 2 nights at Coral View, they take you to the next resort, Korovou. And unlike the dorm situations I mentioned that the other resorts On a cruise, you always get your own private room. Korovou has a sweet deck overlooking the beach. And they also have a pool. But the real treat at Korovou is a secret beach behind the resort. It’s about a 10 minute hike and you’re going to have to ask the locals how to get there but there’s lots of cool stuff to see along the way. I got to see some more geckos and some crazy green and bluish looking beetles. After about 10 minutes of hiking you come to this. worth every minute of the hike. Honestly, some of these Fijian beaches don’t even seem real. I mean, we literally had the beach to ourselves. Well, almost. There were a few hermit crabs taking in the view too. After the beach, we had dinner overlooking the ocean. And watched another beautiful sunset. Remember, you can do this too. The next stop and my personal favorite, was the Kuata resort. The rocks that surround the beach are awesome. And there’s this weird mountain with holes in the side of it. And no one seems to know whether they’re man made, wind made, or alien made. I’m gonna go ahead and vote alien made. If you’ve ever seen the show Ancient Aliens, I know you’re with me. But even if you don’t believe in aliens, there’s an awful lot of cool stuff to check out on this island. You can go shopping for some handmade jewelry, or you could always make your own for free. There’s also volley ball, or a little deep sea fishing. And I now have salmonell, or E. coli. Maybe both. But I can’t really complain, considering it was only $7. Or at least that’s what they charged us for an hour of handfishing. You might have to throw them some cash to go out to the deep ocean. Fishing for the great white shark. The only problem was that none of us could catch anything. I don’t know if that was because there weren’t any fish, or we just sucked at fishing. Oh guys! Guys, I got something! Really? Ooooooh. Hahahaha. I’ve got the whole damn fish head and they don’t want it. If I had to guess, I’d say it was our lack of skill. Especially considering the guy that brought his own pole caught a fish in about 5 minutes. And then he caught a crab when we got off the boat. Show off. And we had good fun didn’t we? Yeah. I got a bite. Yeah. And then panicked. Haha. Screamed and let go of it. Which was a bit odd. I don’t think the fisherman guy was too impressed. No, but we tried. Yeah it was good fun. And it was cheap as chips. It was something like $15 Fijian which works out to be… $6 English pounds. So it’s nothing really. Yeah, nothing. A good couple of hours fishing. It was worth it, even if we didn’t catch any fish. Good experience. Yeah. Hahaha. It’s so mad. So something else that I wanted to mention is that you can go shark diving. It can get pretty hairy in there, so I don’t recommend it for the squeamish or faint of heart. The staff at Kuata swear that the sharks are harmless. I’m just not willing to risk it. One of the other things you can do in the Yasawas is go swimming in the cave the Brooke Shields did in the Blue Lagoon. And you do have to swim through some deep dark stuff to get there. But you know, at least you’ll get to say you swam with Brooke Shields. Or at least where she swam 30 years ago. Plus, there’s this cool cliff you can jump off of. If you’re into caves, it’s worth checking out. Now if the ocean is not your thing, Kuata also had some of the most breathtaking views in all of the Yasawas. It’s about a 30 minute hike from the hotel room, but once you’re there you have a 360 view of the whole ocean. We had one of the locals show us the way. So that rock is the one of the Castaway movie. It was where Tom Hanks climbed the black rock. That’s the one. When we got home, it was time to eat. I don’t care what anyone says, you can never go wrong with a buffet. Especially a homemade buffet. I’ve decided pineapple tastes good with anything. As I was eating I couldn’t help but wonder what this guy was making all this noise for. I figured it was some sort of church bell, but apparently, they’re making cava. I guess they grind it up themselves, package it and then sell it back to the main island. I’ve been told some of the best cava in the world comes from the Yasawa Islands, so I’m excited to give it a try. They told us they were cooking up a more potent batch because they wanted to treat us to a Fijian dance party. They boasted that they had the hottest dancers in all the Yasawas. I gladly accepted their invitation. They just forgot to mention that it was an all male dance troupe. They were definitely in shape, just not exactly what I was expecting. Fun, nonetheless. The more potent cava must have done the trick because they got everybody dancing. And luckily, I had my camera. I mean, somebody had to film this stuff. Honestly, what more could you ask for? I don’t think a single person left unhappy that night. The next morning we hopped back on our yellow cruise ship and headed to our final destination. And don’t be quick to judge me. I wasn’t drinking alone. There was a live band playing. I was just the only one there to watch them. But that’s why I like to travel during the off season. It’s cheaper and you get the resort to yourself. This place is Dirt Cheap approved. And did I happen to mention yet that they have a baby sea turtle farm? Yes, you heard correctly. They have a baby sea turtle farm. I have no idea why they have this at the resort, but who doesn’t love baby sea turtles? It’s a win win for everyone. And although you’ve got to pay for your drinks, the all you can eat buffet is included in the package. I stuffed my face with chicken nuggets and called it a day. I’ve certainly had my fair share of pina coladas on this vacation I’m ready for a good nights sleep. Well, we safely made it back to the main island of Fiji. Today is our last day at Smugglers Cove and then we’re heading back to the states. So it;s our last day here in Fiji. I was looking forward to sleeping in and having another beer by the ocean before grabbing our plane home. But my producer thought it was a great idea to sign me up for skydiving. And you’ve chosen to go to 10,000 feet, so that’s gonna give you around about 30 seconds of free fall. Perfect. We’ll be free falling about 200 k’s per hour. Sounding good? Sounds great. So there you have it. That’s the show. Now you’ve seen how to travel Fiji Dirt Cheap. And I always suggest splurging at least once a vacation. Skydiving in Fiji cost about $150. Totally worth it in my book. Well, it looks like it’s about time for me to jump out of a plane. I’ll have to catch you next time… On Dirt Cheap.

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