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Updates at Royal Davui Island – Fiji



Click here for more photos of Royal Davui – Fiji

Royal Davui is one of our favorite private island resorts in Fiji. The island resort is all about romance, luxury, gorgeous architecturally designed private vales (villas) with plunge pools and quiet island life in the Fijian islands. Royal Davui is the perfect locations for a special anniversary, honeymoon or much needed escape if your budget allows.

As one of the top agencies selling Fiji in the United States, we are often visited by the remote island owners and managers whom we have strong professional relationship with. It’s great to see them every year so we can give them our client feedback on their resort and see what is new on their island. Chris Southwick from Royal Davui recently stopped by and had some exciting news!

The Deluxe Vales now have heated plunge pools, so both Deluxe and Premium Vales have the heated pools. This leaves the only difference, size of vale (the Premium Vales are a little bigger) and the Premium Vales have the sunset view.

Royal Davui has created a new “Love Shack” on the island which can be reserved for any couple wanting a private area with open air daybed nestled into the hillside with a wonderful view of the sea.

Finally, the last bit of big news from Royal Davui is that the ever popular “Sand Spit Picnic” can now be pre-booked as part of a romance package with spa treatments and sulus. There are only two times of year that the Sand Spit cannot be accessed, but now you can be assured of getting to experience this wonderful, private and romantic escape during your stay.

We have two Fiji Matai Specialists in the office so just give either Linda or Patty a call at 1-800-321-7907. Or you can email Linda at linda@totemtravel.com for more information about Royal Davui and other Fijian Island Resorts. You can also view our blogs, reviews and sample packages on our website at www.totemtravel.com We are happy to help you discover the magic of this fabulous destination.

Where To Zipline On Your Vacation


For most people on vacation, a white sand beach and crystal blue water isn’t the only thing on their wish list. Add to that list, fancy pools with swim up bars, good food, cultural experiences and fun activities to nearby. One of the more popular activities that clients always ask me about is ziplining.

Where in the Caribbean, Mexico or the world can you Zipline? Well, there are many fantastic destinations that have ziplines available nearby. Let’s start with Mexico. You can zipline in Puerto Vallarta which is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. The Ziplines in Puerto Vallarta are located up in the hillside jungle and lots of fun. On the Caribbean side of Mexico, a fun spot to Zip Line is on Isla Mujeres where you can zipline over the ocean at Garrafon Park. There are also many spots to zipline south of Cancun if you are staying in the Playa Del Carmen or Tulum area. Combine a nice all inclusive family vacation at a resort like the Iberostar Quetzal with a zipline/Mayan ruin excursion and you will have great memories to last a lifetime.

Heading south of the Yucatan into the countries of Belize and Costa Rica you can zipline in Belize from resorts located in the interior area of the Cayo District. Or in Costa Rica activities like ziplining can be found in the Arenal area where there are some amazing resorts with gorgeous views of the Arenal Volcano. Be sure to travel sometime between November and April when the weather is at its best!

The Caribbean is full of islands with zip lines and some of the more popular islands for honeymoons that have zip lines are Jamaica, St. Lucia and Antigua just to name a few. Combine a nice honeymoon stay at one of the many romantic Sandals Resorts with a fun zipline tour and you will have the perfect honeymoon. In Jamaica, you can zipline at Mystic Mountain in the Ocho Rios area. In St. Lucia you have Treetop Adventures or in Antigua, the very popular 12 ziplines and rope bridge. You can find the cost of ziplining in the Caribbean on the website for Island Routes.

The Fijian Islands are quickly becoming a favorite destination for honeymooners and families who want to avoid hurricane season in the northern hemisphere. May through October is the best time to travel to the South Pacific and yes, you can zip line in Fiji! 🙂

The adventurous can also zipline in countries like Australia and New Zealand. Or you can do the famous “bridge climb” in Sydney. These are just some of the most popular destinations where you can zipline, but there are still more. Let us know if you need help with your trip planning and don’t forget to ask us about ziplines! We have three destination specialists in our office, so just indicate what part of the world you are interested in by filling out a request a quote form on our website and we’ll get back to you!

 

Tips On How To Pick The Best Spot For A Destination Wedding


Destination Weddings are on the rise and becoming more and more popular. Many couples just want to skip all the detailed planning at home and have a wedding consultant at a beautiful resort in a romantic location do all the work for them. I can’t say I blame them and destination weddings can take the stress out of wedding planning!

As a travel agent who has helped plan a lot of destination weddings throughout the Caribbean, Mexico and places like Fiji, there are several important factors to consider when selecting the perfect spot for your destination wedding.

The first thing you have to ask yourself is whether or not you want/expect your family and friends to be a part of this special occasion. If the answer is yes, then you absolutely have to not just pick a destination and resort based on YOUR budget, but you should consider your guests and what you would expect YOUR GUESTS to be able to afford. Do any of your prospective guests have children? If so, then you will want to consider a family resort rather than an “adult only” or “couples only” resort like Sandals or Couples Resorts where often a destination wedding can be free even if no guests stay at the resort.  Along the lines of budget, you need to consider which cities most of your guests will be flying out of and look at how expensive airfare is to your destination of choice. The easier and more affordable you make it for friends and family to attend, the more will!! If you want to have a smaller and more private ceremony, then somewhere like the Fijian Islands is a fabulous choice providing you pick the correct time of year for weather.

Other factors to consider are the requirements in each destination for getting married there. Some destinations require 4 or 5 days residency before you can be legally married and they usually do not count the day you arrive, weekends or holidays. So if you have a limited timeframe, then you might consider somewhere like Jamaica where 48 hours is required and the day you arrive counts. Other factors to consider are requirements like blood tests (Mexico) and translation of wedding documentation in countries like Dominican Republic.

When I work with couples planning a destination wedding, I usually go through these factors right off the bat so we can eliminate spots that won’t work and get right to the best options that fit what the couple is looking for. Budget and time of year you want to get married are some of the other things that play a large role in finding the best spot for a destination wedding. We have three Royal Chairman’s Club Sandals Specialist in the office and we each have planned many destination weddings all over the world from Tahiti and Fiji to Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean. Give us a call if you need help picking the best spot for your destination wedding. We are happy to help take the stress out of the planning any way we can. You can reach us at www.totemtravel.com or call 1-800-321-7907 and ask for Patty, Sandi or Linda.

Qamea Resort in Fiji is all inclusive with upgraded bures & surfing!



Click for slide show of Qamea Resort in Fiji

Qamea, one of my all time favorite resorts in Fiji, has enhanced an already outstanding experience with its new all inclusive format, resort renovations, upgraded bures and expanded activities.

Qamea has always included meals in the room rate but for those wishing an all inclusive vacation in Fiji Qamea now includes a lovely selection of wines, domestic beer and soft drinks by the glass between noon and 10 p.m. Non motorized watersports and many activities are also included in the room rate and for a limited time, airfare is on sale.  So if your travel dates fit and everything is available a complete package starts around $7.5K  total for two for a 7 night stay with airfare from Los Angeles.

Other recent enhancements at Qamea include

  • Upgraded bathrooms in all Beachfront Bures with rock wall and stone basins in addition to the lovely and popular outdoor showers.
  • A new jacuzzi at the main pool.
  • Full size jacuzzis in both Honeymoon Bures in place of jetted tubs.
  • A surf pro on site November through March with 3 breaks within 15 minutes of the resort which can  accommodate beginners as well as those more experienced with surfing.

Popular activities available year round include daily snorkel trips, an excellent scuba diving operation with 5 star PADI dive center, kayaking, sailing, beach volleyball and Fijian arts and crafts. And Qamea Island Resort and Spa offers the area’s easiest access to Taveuni Island’s most popular attractions – Buomo waterfall and national park and the pearl farm.

For information on Qamea vacation packages or assistance planning a honeymoon in Fiji, please contact Linda or Patty or Request a Quote from the Fiji vacation specialists at Totem Travel.

Beware of Fiji groupon deal and Tahiti online pricing


Since returning from Fiji a few days ago I’ve been asked if I can beat a number of deals including Groupon, Expedia and Kayak and in each case Totem Travel’s normal package pricing was lower than the perceived deal. This was good news for my clients that were up front enough to ask, but I suspect many bargain hunters simply assume that Groupon deals and online travel agencies are offering deep discounts when in reality they are charging more.

The one that troubled me most was the Online Travel Agency that offered the St Regis Bora Bora for $850 night or $853 night “including tax”.  As a Tahiti honeymoon specialist I know the real tax rate is 14% and that’s before all the other “extras” collected at check out, long after the reservation is made and way too late to make a different purchase decision.  The bottom line for my particular customer was an undisclosed $1011 for a 7 night stay.  Yikes!  Another was the groupon deal that encouraged clients to buy a package at Toberua, a lovely little island resort in Fiji, for $2079.  That deal excluded the 20% VAT tax while my everday price for the same Toberua Resort package is $1810 including tax so almost $700 less.

So BUYER BEWARE and do yourself and your travel agent a favor and work together in good faith. A good travel agent guarantees the lowest price on their packages (we do) but  can only deliver on that promise if there is open, honest communication.  A professional travel agent is on your side with the goal of finding best possible vacation experience at the lowest possible price. So go team and thanks to all my wonderful clients that understand the value of collaboration!

Review of Uprising Beach Resort,Fiji from a Totem Travel Client



Click here for a slideshow of Uprising Resort

Uprising Beach Resort recently added some fantastic Commodore Villa Bures located both on the beach and in the gardens.  These villas are spacious with big bathrooms and outdoor showers while retaining a authentic “Fijian” atmosphere.  The resort offers budget to moderate accommodations and is on one of the nicer beaches in the area.  Uprising Beach just might be the best value dollar for dollar in Fiji and because the resort is located in the Pacific Harbour area on the main island of Viti Levu, there are many off resort activities at your disposal in addition to activities on the water.  Here is what my family of four (2 adults and 2 teenage sons) wrote about their 7 night stay at the end of August 2011.

Patty,

It was a wonderful trip and Uprising was much much better than the reviews.  The bures were great and the one we stayed in very new and right on the beach.  The beach was very very nice sandy and could walk right in and still sand.  Some of the other beaches we went to very nice but rocky.  We walked to Pearl and there really is no comparison in fact a couple of folks from Pearl walked down the beach and saw Uprising and moved to it so that they could have Bures right on a beach.  We were in the newer bures and some folks preferred the older ones since more traditional but either way they are both nice.

The service was great and people were very nice.  The food was good and well priced.  It is low key since not a lot of bures but the boys still had fun especially since the “Experience Fiji” for 18-23 age folks goes through there every couple of days so interesting crowd from different places (Chicago, London, Ireland etc).  Also walking distance to different places.   We did the Kayak all day trip and the boat excursion to one of the islands and it was very nice.  We especially enjoyed the kayaking since included a village visit, waterfalls hike, water boat.  The village we went to at the time was hosting the monthly province meeting of chiefs so very interesting and lots of Chiefs/Kava all around.

The staff during the day tries to have entertainment like a big barbeque, another time coconut and historical uses of it presentation, live bands, bon fires, free catamaran trips so overall they make it interesting. 

We definitely would go back.  You were right the Fijians are very very nice people. 

Thank you for all your help in setting everything up.  Will be posting pictures soon.

-Nancy

At Totem Travel, we specialize in various destinations and we have two Fiji Matai Specialists in the office to help you find the best spot in Fiji for either the perfect family vacation or special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary vacation.  We travel to the islands every year and know them well.  Give us a call at 1-800-321-7907 and ask for either Patty or Linda.

Looking for an affordable and fun Fiji vacation on a great beach?


Click for a Mana Island slide show

Almost every day I plan a honeymoon in Bora Bora or extravagant Fiji vacation but some couples are looking for adventure more than luxury, and not everyone wants to pay five star resort prices for a fun in the sun vacation.  Happily I can report there are affordable vacation options in the South Pacific islands that feature gorgeous beaches, turquoise water, great snorkeling and exciting activities. Some of the best vacation values are in Fiji where our dollar is worth almost two and some favorite budget friendly resorts include Uprising Beach, Mana Island Resort and Nanuya. All are on lovely white sand beaches and offer comfortable clean accommodations and attractive entry level rooms.

Here’s what a recent client had to say

We had a wonderful vacation and Mana Island Resort is the best. Its a little world within a small resort. You have so many activities to keep one busy all day long and into the night. We really enjoyed the bure which was steps away from the beach. Since we do not know swimming we were hesitant to try snorkelling but Jim (he is our best friend now…)  helped us a lot. He took us deep into the ocean and made us comfortable snorkelling. The next day I was snorkeling for close to 5 hours and still wanted to do more!  –  Preetham and Fnu

Another recent client raved about Uprising Beach so check out their comments too!  These two resorts also make a great two island combination with ziplining, river rafting, shark dives and horseboarding (not a typo… this is a new sport invented in Fiji) on the main island of Viti Levu and wonderful water sports and trips to nearby islands from Mana.  So if a fun filled Fiji vacation is an adventure on your list, please contact Linda or Patty, Totem Travel’s Fiji Specialists. We guarantee the lowest prices available and provide our expert planning services at no additional cost.

Which is the best luxury resort on Bora Bora for a honeymoon, anniversary or romantic vacation?



Click for Slide Show

Update: For current packages and specials across Tahiti, check out our new Tahiti packages and specials page.

I’ve had the good fortune to visit the beautiful islands of Tahiti numerous times and as a travel agent specializing in the South Pacific I am frequently asked to choose the best hotels and resorts on Bora Bora.  So which is the best resort, the five star St Regis Bora Bora or equally luxurious Four Seasons Bora Bora?  How does the Hilton Bora Bora Nui or Intercontinental Thalasso compare for a romantic Tahiti honeymoon?  And why might I select the newly remodeled Le Meridien Bora Bora resort or suggest a beach bungalow rather than overwater bungalow at the Bora Bora Pearl for a luxury Tahiti vacation?

When we talk about Bora Bora we are talking about one of the most beautiful places in the world and Tahiti is a once in a lifetime “bucket list” vacation for most visitors.  This often translates to the ultimate splurge and the hotels and resorts in Bora Bora have knocked themselves out trying to provide the best of everything.   So how do you choose the best resort in Bora Bora for your honeymoon vacation?  We start with location.

Location, location, location.

It’s no coincidence that the most expensive and extravagant resorts in Bora Bora are on low lying outer islands called motus.  Nor that the most affordable vacation packages are for hotels and resorts on the main volcanic island of Bora Bora.  That’s because everyone’s dream of Bora Bora begins with an image of a shimmering turquoise lagoon surrounding an emerald green island with a mystical jagged mountaintop in its midst.

You’ll see the beginning of this vision as you arrive by plane, but if you choose the wrong hotel or resort, that may be your last peak until you’re back at the airport heading home.  So by most standards, the best honeymoon resort in Bora Bora will be on a motu with an unobstructed view of Mt Otemanu, that mysterious volcanic peak.  A number of four and five star luxury resorts enjoy this fabulous, dreamlike view and they include

  • Four Seasons Bora Bora
  • St Regis Bora Bora
  • Intercontinental Thalasso
  • Le Meridien Bora Bora
  • Bora Bora Pearl

So these resorts make my first cut for “best resort in Bora Bora”.  Now on to the elimination rounds!

What is the next most important feature for a fabulous and memorable Bora Bora honeymoon?  Is it an overwater bungalow, gourmet dining, luxurious spa, enough privacy to skinny dip, snorkeling, overall WOW factor or (heaven forbid) is cost or budget a factor?  Here’s where it gets interesting and very personal.

All five resorts listed above would have my vote for “best resort in Bora Bora” based on certain criteria.  Having seen the resorts, stayed in numerous overwater bungalows, enjoyed gourmet dining with no thought to cost, drunk champagne in a private pool overlooking Mt Otemanu, snorkeled with the sharks and rays, indulged myself in the luxurious spas, dined with table and chairs in the turquoise lagoon and rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, I am admittedly spoiled.  I am also in the unique position to help you choose the best resort in Bora Bora for your dream vacation or honeymoon.

So take advantage!  I guarantee the lowest price on all Tahiti and Fiji Island vacation packages and add no fees for my service.  So call or email and get personalized service from a Tahiti expert and check in again for blog posts on individual hotels and resorts.  I’ll be writing about Four Seasons Bora Bora, St Regis, Intercontinental Thalasso, Le Meridien, the Bora Bora Pearl and more!

I’ll also be updating my ratings and reviews of the best Sandals Resorts including the latest on overwater bungalows at Sandals Grande St Lucian, the new golf course at Sandals Whitehouse, developments at Sandals Emerald Bay and the latest on Sandals Royal Plantation.  Check back soon if an all inclusive vacation is right for you!

Visiting A Fijian Village



Click for Slideshow of a Visit to a Fijian Village

Update: In addition to our current packages and specials page for Fiji, you may be interested in our new page for vacation packages in Tahiti on our website.

If you are traveling to Fiji, I highly recommend you take in a village visit.  While on the lush and mountainous island of Taveuni, I was lucky enough to visit a Fijian village.  The people of the village happily greeted me and were genuinely excited to give me a glimpse of their daily life.

They started out by showing us how they make baskets which they use to carry their crops back from the hills and mountains where they grow the food they need.  I was amazed at how they use every inch of everything that comes from the earth. Fijian people find a use for everything! I then learned how to husk a coconut and what they use each part of the coconut for.  Every village visit is different, but most villages will show you how they cook their food by building a lovo which they use to steam tasty root vegetables like tarot, kasava etc.  The food was delicious.  We even got to watch them snatch fresh water prawns from the nearby stream which they fed us with fresh coconut only minutes later.

We also got to experience a Kava ceremony led by the chief of the village followed by the children of the village performing a couple songs for us.  It was a fantastic experience and one you shouldn’t pass up. While on the beautiful island of Viwa in the Yasawa Island chain, I was also fortunate enough to get to attend church service in the local village.  They welcomed us warmly and we got to sit amongst the village people, children and all and experience a full service spoken in the Fijian language.  It was AMAZING!

If you visit a village, there are certain protocols you need to observe.  For instance it is customary to be clothed appropriately as bathing suits and shorts are not appropriate to wear when visiting a village. Many guests wear sulus which you can find everywhere in Fiji.  Some resorts will give you a sulu to wear to a village visit and most resorts offer sulus for sale in their gift shop.  It is also customary to bring a gift for the village. It is common for guests to bring Kava, but I happened to bring art supplies for the children of the village which lit up their faces with joy when they received them.  Cash donations to the village are also a great way to show your appreciation for the villagers and their willingness to share their way of life with you.  The village I visited on Taveuni proudly informed me that they were able to purchase a lawnmower for their village thanks to the donations of visitors over the last year.

If you would like more information on village visits or would like information on some of our favorite resorts in Fiji, please give us a call at 1-800-321-7907 or visit our website where you can view our various Fiji vacation packages and reviews.

 

Paradise In Fiji Can Be Found At Paradise Taveuni Resort



Click here for a slideshow of Paradise Taveuni

We are often asked which are our favorite resorts in the northern islands of Fiji and some familiar upscale resorts such as Qamea, Matangi and Namale quickly come to mind, but if your budget isn’t big enough for those resorts, an excellent alternative would be Paradise Taveuni.

On a recent trip to Fiji I found this intimate boutique resort on the island of Taveuni.  You can get to the resort by car transfer once on the island of Taveuni, but I arrived via a 30 minute boat ride from a dock close to the airport which you can arrange with the resort. Paradise Taveuni is located on the southern end of the island where you have access to many great diving and snorkeling spots such as Vuna Reef, Rainbow Reef and the White Wall.  I had been touring many resorts on the various Fijian islands and from the moment I arrived I knew this family owned resort was a unique resort aptly named.

The owners Allan and Terri have taken this property which used to be a backpacker’s resort and turned it into a perfect destination for a remote island honeymoon, anniversary trip or even family getaway.  All ten bures are nicely accommodated with a comfortable living space along with bed area.  Outside the bathroom is a private outdoor shower area with a Jacuzzi tub.

The food is very good and the dive operation out of this resort (Pro Dive Taveuni) is top notch!  You can even snorkel and dive right offshore from the resort or enjoy a unique black sand beach just 5 minutes away or perhaps you might want to relax and have a massage in the little massage bure on the edge of the water.

As you can see by my slideshow, this resort is beautiful and is now on my list of favorite resorts in Fiji.  Paradise Taveuni is perfect for a honeymoon, anniversary or family getaway to paradise.  Give us a call at 1-800-321-7907, email at linda@totemtravel.com or check out our website if you want to look at this resort or any other Fiji packages.  We guarantee the lowest prices and know all the resorts well!

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