Getting to Fiji, the flights from the Eastern U.S. can be tough

The trip to Fiji can be a killer, particularly if you are flying from the East Coast of the U.S. My trip, which began several days ago, began in Ft. Myers, Fla. It included a flight from there to Atlanta, a second flight from there to Los Angeles, a five-hour layover, then an 11-hour flight to Nadi, Fiji, followed by a final flight to Taveuni where our small group boarded the MV Reef Endeavor small cruise ship.

I lost track of the hours, but let me tell you, that is a long, long time. In all of that duration, I only got five hours sleep, on the trip from LAX to Fiji. That said, two days later…after my first full night of sleep, I am feeling great and glad to be here.

Lesson learned. If I make this trip again, I will stopover somewhere on the way to or from. Either on the U.S. West Coast or Hawaii. On my way home, I am stopping off in San Diego for a few days to visit grandchildren and I am so glad I planned it that way.

But enough about that. Fiji is a wonderful place to visit (some actually stop over in Fiji on their way to Australia or New Zealand) and well worth considering when you want a tropical adventure. Most of the people who visit here are from Australia or New Zealand, as the flights only take 3-4 hours. Serious scuba divers usually find their way here, too, as it has some of the most famous reefs in the world.

Our 7 a.m. Twin-Otter flight from Nadi, site of the international airport, to the northeastern island of Taveuni, only took about an hour and a half but was a wonderful introduction to Fiji. First, we flew over the interior of the main island of Viti Levu which has both rolling mountains and valleys filled with farms. Everything looked incredibly lush. Every shade of green imaginable.

It rains here a lot, obviously, and so the cloud formations were our next surprise. They were huge and poofy, like mounds of whipped cream splashed in incredible patterns. First, the high walls of clouds reminded me of the glaciers of Alaska but then the formations became so weird I could have sworn we were in Antarctica again.

There was a storm ahead, so the pilot deftly flew us west around it, and then we were over clear ocean where we could see the green patterns of reefs in the azure water. The reef patterns were almost as lovely as the clouds. Some of the reefs surrounded islands, while others were underwater chains that we first identified by ripples in the water and then, as we flew close over them, realized themselves into undersea formations. It was one flight that I hated to end.

Next: We join the MV Reef Endeavor cruise ship operated by Captain Cook Cruises.



About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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