Pacific Harbour was begun in the early 1970s as a recreation-oriented, luxury residential community and resort (translated: a real-estate development). A number of expatriates have built homes here, and they have their own tourist information website at Given the heat, humidity, and amount of rain it gets, Pacific Harbour is not the place to come for a typical beach vacation, although you can swim at all tides off 3km (2 miles) of deep, grayish sand. On the other hand, it does have an excellent golf course, fine deep-sea fishing, fabulous scuba diving both out in the Beqa Lagoon and along the coast (this is one place in Fiji where you can go on shark-feeding dives), and outstanding white-water rafting trips on the nearby Navua River. Local promoters aren't far wrong when they describe Pacific Harbour as "The Adventure Capital of Fiji."

It's also my favorite place to experience Fijian culture without visiting a village. Formerly known as the Pacific Harbour Cultural Centre & Market Place but now called the Arts Village, this shopping center on the Queen's Road serves both tourists and residents of the housing development. Although still troubled financially, it consists of colonial-style clapboard buildings joined by covered walkways leading to restaurants, a grocery store, boutiques, handicraft shops, a fancy swimming pool complex, and a fine cultural center.

Offshore, rugged Beqa Island is nearly cut in two by Malumu Bay, making it one of Fiji's more scenic spots. Most of Fiji's famous fire walkers come from Dakuibeqa, Naceva, and Ruka villages on Beqa. The island is surrounded by the beautiful Beqa Lagoon, where more than a dozen dive sites feature both soft and hard corals. Among them is Frigate Passage, which has a 48m (158-ft.) wall for divers but is even better known for its powerful left-handed surf break over a relatively smooth coral reef.