The Fijians are justly proud of their ancient culture, and they eagerly inform anyone who asks about both their ancient and modern ways. Here are some of the best ways to learn about their lifestyle and explore the environment of their islands.
Fijian Village Visits (nationwide): Many tours from Nadi, the Coral Coast, and most offshore resorts include visits to traditional Fijian villages, whose residents stage welcoming ceremonies (featuring the slightly narcotic drink kava, or yaqona as it's known in Fiji). The hosts then show visitors around and explain how the old and the new combine in today's villages.
Kalevu South Pacific Cultural Centre (the Coral Coast; tel. 652 0200; www.fijiculturalcentre.com): Opposite Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa, this cultural center exhibits handicraft making, cooking, and skills of Fiji, Samoa, and other Pacific islands.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park (near Sigatoka, the Coral Coast; tel. 652 0243): Ancient Fijian burial grounds and pieces of pottery dating from 5 B.C. to A.D. 240 have been found among these dunes, which stretch for several miles along Viti Levu's southern coast.
Tavuni Hill Fort (near Sigatoka, the Coral Coast; tel. 650 0818): This best example of a traditional Fijian fort stands atop a hill east of Sigatoka. It renders both a glimpse of what war was like in the old days and a splendid view over the Sigatoka River Valley.
Kula Eco Park (Korotogo, the Coral Coast; tel. 650 0505; www.fijiwild.com): Opposite the Outrigger on the Lagoon Fiji, this nature park exhibits most of Fiji's endemic species of birds, reptiles, and mammals. Children are given a chance to handle some of the creatures in a petting zoo.
Waterfall and Cave Tours (the Coral Coast): On walking tours offered by Adventures in Paradise Fiji (tel. 652 0833; www.adventuresinparadisefiji.com), you will be welcomed into a Fijian village plus see a cave and one of the country's many waterfalls.
Arts Village Cultural Centre (Pacific Harbour; tel. 345 0065; www.artsvillage.com): A reconstructed traditional Fijian village built of thatch and other local materials is the centerpiece of this cultural center, which has fire-walking shows in addition to demonstrations of old-time Fijian skills.
Rafting on the Navua River (Pacific Harbour): The Navua River begins in the highlands and ends on the southern coast of Viti Levu, on the way cutting two gorges, one of them dubbed the "Grand Canyon of Fiji." Rafting on the river -- either by inflatable raft through the white-water gorge with Rivers Fiji (tel. 800/446-2411 in the U.S., or 345 0147; www.riversfiji.com) or while riding lashed-together bamboo poles (a bilibili raft) through the lazy lowlands with Discover Fiji Tours (tel. 345 0180; www.discoverfijitours.com) -- is one of Fiji's top outdoor experiences.
Fiji Museum (Thurston Park, Suva; tel. 331 5944; www.fijimuseum.org.fj): The small but very good Fiji Museum has a terrific collection of war clubs, cannibal forks, and other ancient artifacts, plus the rudder of HMS Bounty.
Suva Municipal Market (Usher St. at Rodwell Rd., Suva; no phone): You'll see an enormous amount of tropical produce for sale at Suva's main supplier of food. The market is especially active on Saturday morning.
Rainforest Walks (Savusavu): No wires are in place to allow exploration of the canopy, but earthly gravel pathways lead to a waterfall in Waisali Rainforest Reserve (no phone), a 116-hectare (290-acre) national forest up in the central mountains of Vanua Levu.
Adventure Cruises on the Tui Tai (Savusavu; tel. 885 3032; www.tuitai.com): Passengers on the small but luxurious sailing ship Tui Tai spend much of their time snorkeling, diving, and mountain biking, but they also get to visit Fijian villages on remote islands such as Kioa.
Bouma Falls and Lavena Coastal Walk (Taveuni): Although Taveuni is best known for world-class scuba diving, it's also one of the best places in Fiji to explore the mountainous interior. Bouma Falls National Heritage Park (tel. 888 0390) has three waterfalls, and the Lavena Coastal Walk (tel. 923 9080) leads along the island's nearly deserted east coast to yet another falls -- though you'll need to swim to reach it.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.