Viti Levu is the principal and largest island in the Fijian archipelago and where your Fiji vacation will start. Overseas flights arrive at the international airport at Nadi, located on the western side of the island.Itís about 5am and youíre greeted by a medley of loud songs from cheerful men in colorful shirts with guitars. The welcoming ode that tourists soon call ďThe Bula SongĒ, because it contains multiple cries of the greeting 'Bula!' - is so upbeat it makes a double expresso sound extraordinarily limp.
On first impression, most people are amazed at the size of island. To put it in perspective, it is the sixth largest Island in the South Pacific, roughly equal in size to the Big Island of Hawaii. And if you were to drive the island, it would take about 10 hours.
Which brings up another point, you might want to rent a car (most major international rental companies) for a few days and explore the terrain. There is a two-lane, sealed road circumnavigating Vitu Levu. But note, as a former crown colony, the Brits left driving on the left as one of their legacies.
It is an island of contrasts, with rolling hills and open plains in the western half and across the dividing mountain ranges lie fertile farmlands and verdant hills in the eastern half. Most of the central portion of the island is either inaccessible or uninhabited. Those portions that are inhabited, are mainly by isolated villages which still cling to a very traditional way of life.
Fiji has over 850,000 inhabitants and roughly three-fourths of them live on Viti Levu. Thus the island is the hub for everything, including tourism and the majority of these activities are centered in the western sector.
Viti Levu is unique among islands in the South Pacific and generally is divided into sub-regions, which will be discussed in greater detail in sections to follow. These are the greater Nadi area including Denarau Island and Lautoka, the Momi Bay area into the Coral Coast extending along the islandís southern periphery, Pacific Harbour and over to Suva, the capital on the southeast corner. The eastern and northern coasts donít have as much tourism infrastructure but there are sites that will be addressed.