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Although outdoor activities take first place in the islands, you can also spend your time learning a new craft, exploring the reefs as part of a conservation project, and whale- and dolphin-watching.

Bird-Watching

Avid bird-watchers are likely to see terns, boobies, herons, petrols, noddies, and many other seabirds throughout the islands. Land birds, on the other hand, live in the bush away from settlements and the accompanying cats, dogs, and rats, so you will need to head into the bush for the best watching.

With 26 endemic species of land birds, Fiji has more diversity than any other South Pacific island country. Many are on display in Kula Eco Park (tel. 650 0505; www.fijiwild.com), on Fiji's Coral Coast. Taveuni island is best for bird-watching in Fiji, with more than 100 species including the rare orange dove, which lives high on Des Veoux Peak. Savusavu on Vanua Levu is also good, especially the nearby Waisali Rainforest Reserve. Daku Resort in Savusavu (tel. 885 0046; www.dakuresort.com) hosts bird-watching tours run by veteran Fiji watcher Robin Mercer.

A few companies have bird-watching tours to Fiji, including the U.K.-based Bird Quest (tel. 44/1254 826317; www.birdquest.co.uk) and Birdwatching Breaks (tel. 44/1381 610495; www.birdwatchingbreaks.com).

Educational Courses

In addition to bird-watching, Daku Resort, in northern Fiji (tel. 885 0046; www.dakuresort.com), hosts weeklong courses in such subjects as novel writing, sketching, painting, quilting, and gospel singing. The courses are organized by creative writing teacher Delia Rothnie-Jones (she and her husband John own the resort). They have special package rates for the courses and will help you arrange air transportation to Fiji as well.

Ecotravel Tours

The Oceanic Society (tel. 800/326-7491; www.oceanic-society.org), an award-winning organization based in California, has natural history and ecotourism expeditions to Fiji. A marine naturalist accompanies its annual 11-day snorkeling to the colorful, pristine reefs off Namena and Taveuni islands in northern Fiji. The trip includes village visits and bird-watching excursions.

Seacology (tel. 510/559-3505; www.seacology.org), a California-based organization dedicated to preserving island cultures and environments, has an annual trip to Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort and occasionally to Samoa.

Fiji Adventures (tel. 888/418-4461; www.fijiadventures.com) offers several packages, one of which combines several cultural activities offered in Fiji such as river rafting, cave and waterfall visits, and a trip into Viti Levu's interior. The packages do not include airfare, but they save you from having to arrange each activity after you arrive in Fiji.

Formerly known as Tui Tai Adventure Cruises, the environmentally and culturally friendly Active Fiji (www.activefiji.com) uses a 42m (140-ft.) sailing schooner to explore out-of-the-way islands in northern Fiji. The boat goes to Fijian villages and carries mountain bikes as well snorkeling and diving gear.

Based in London but with an office in the U.S., the nonprofit Greenforce (tel. 0207 470 8888 in London, 740/416 4016 in the U.S.; www.greenforce.org) sends expeditions to help survey Fiji's coral reefs for the World Conservation Society. They'll even teach you to dive while you're there. The trips last from 6 to 10 weeks. Check the website for prices.

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.