Another year abroad meant another trip home to California for Christmas. If the Christmas season is the happiest time of the year, imagine how much lovelier it is when it means reuniting with family and friends for the first time in months. And this year, I added a cherry to the top: through careful strategizing, I managed to turn a multi-hour layover in Nadi, Fiji into a four-day vacation in paradise.
We arrived jetlagged and groggy, Nadi’s grey, drizzly skies matching our moods as a boat took us and a few other island-hoppers from Fiji’s main island to our first accommodation. But as we approached our destination, the skies cleared, and before us lay the tiny, picturesque Beachcomber Island, our home for the next two nights. We pulled up to the palm tree peppered island, the waters around it impossibly cerulean, and we were greeted by a group of guitar-strumming singers welcoming us in Fijian. This was the Fiji I had been waiting for.
As someone who not long ago groaned about ever having to pay more than €10 a night for a hostel bed in Europe, if you had told me I would soon be living it up on a private island resort, I never would have believed you. But Beachcomber proved me wrong.
Beachcomber has a reputation for being a backpacker’s haven, due to its inexpensive lodging, young clientele, and a hostel-style dormitory. But for those looking for something a bit nicer, there are also private rooms and huts, all of which are either right on the beach or about a minute’s walk to the water. We stayed in a spacious, air-conditioned private room looking straight out onto the ocean.
The island is small enough that walking the beachy perimeter takes only about five minutes total, and the shores are exactly what you imagine when dreaming of a tropical island: white sand and the clearest water you’ve ever seen. With its intimate size, guests around my age, and scheduled activities, it kind of felt like the coolest summer camp ever.
After a refreshing nap, we headed over to the island’s outdoor dining area for lunch, which is served all-you-can-eat buffet-style, with a mix of Fijian specialties and standard foods. I may or may not have eaten about six hundred pounds of fresh pineapple each meal.
We then took a swim in the perfectly warm – and, hey, have I mentioned a gazillion times yet amazingly blue? – ocean, just wading around, taking in the sun, and, like a typical millennial, snapping far too many photos with my new waterproof camera case.
After a delicious dinner, we settled into the lounge chairs on our room’s balcony, overlooking the beach, sipping on homemade cocktails, and watching the sunset. Ahhh.
The island offers day trips to a nearby floating bar or surrounding villages, as well as snorkeling, kayaks and WaveRunners rentals. There are also opportunities to go parasailing over the ocean, feed turtles, participate in arts and crafts lessons, and enjoy the bar’s happy hours. With limited time there, we chose to spend the second next day lazing around the beach and snorkeling.
I somehow had it in my head that I hated snorkeling (I think it had to do with breathing in too much water when I was younger!), but snorkeling in Fiji, even just by the beach, was exceedingly cool and gave us the chance to get up close and personal with nifty sea life. We spent the rest of day two enjoying long, relaxing meals, and again taking in the sunset from our balcony.
Day three, sadly enough, was our last day at Beachcomber, but fortunately not our last day in Fiji. We enjoyed the beach in the morning and played a round of mini golf on the island’s course before a boat picked us up to take us to our next destination: Malolo Island.
Our first few days in Fiji were exactly what I was hoping for when I booked the trip, and the private island was the ideal place to kick it off. Stay tuned for my recaps of our remaining days in Fiji.