You are not the only person seeking out the perfect island paradise. Everyone dreams of idyllic beaches, warm waters, and tropical garden-like landscapes. However, island destinations seldom live up to what we imagination. Too many people have already "discovered" these places. But if you look further... past French Polynesia and the Hawaiian Islands, you'll find Fiji, an island nation that still boasts some true paradises. No, these untouched islands are not easy to get to, but the journey can prove well worth it.
But what if you want to be certain that the place that you are visiting will live up to its "paradise" billing? Well, here is one secret Fijian island where the perfect experience is guaranteed.
Sitting only a short distance from the large Fijian island of Taveuni, the isle of Laucala does not see many visitors. This stunningly beautiful landmass in the clear and clean waters of the South Pacific would be overrun by paradise-seekers if were not a private island. That's right, Laucala is completely owned by the Laucala Resort, and it is only open to guests. There are no tourist crowds to ruin the sense of tropical idyll that can be felt everywhere on the island.
Laucala has a colorful past. It was originally sold by the king of Fiji to European farmers who established a plantation. It was subsequently purchased by famed published Malcolm Forbes (founder of Forbes Magazine), who not only built his own luxury home, but also upgraded the homes of the local population (who worked on his estate). After Forbes's death, another celebrated businessman, Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz, bought the island, constructing the 25 themed villas that now make up the resort. (He also recently purchased a submarine that guests of the resort can ride in).
With pristine beaches, palm trees, and lush inland landscapes, nature dominates at Laucala. There are many ways to explore the untouched landscapes and waterscapes. Kayaks and sailboat rides around the coastline provide amazing views, while the resorts well-groomed horses can take guests on a gallop around plantation fields, through lush island interiors, and along endless sandy beaches. Walking or cycling are also possibilities. Windsurfers and kite surfers can sometimes be seen skimming along the surface the the Pacific, while hawksbill turtles, angelfish and hundreds of other colorful marine species are on display to SCUBA divers who venture below the waves.
Paradise has fairways... at least THIS paradise does. Laucala boasts a par-72 golf course, which has a design that incorporates many of the island's natural features. Non-golfers can visit native craftspeople and artists, who still thrive on the island or tour one of the working farms that continue to produce quality local products. Eco-tourism options, like touring the island's dense rainforest, are also on the menu at Laucala.
Laucala maintains its authentic feel thanks to the resort owner's strategy of developing only a small portion of the island. Over 85% of the land still remains in its natural state. The 25 villas that make up the resort are nestled into these landscapes. These villas are undeniably luxurious, but they also have a unique personality. Traditional Fijian design leads to an open, airy feel. Thatched roofs, wide verandahs, and cool indoor spaces lend themselves to the island-paradise atmosphere. Some villas are set amidst coconut trees next to the sugar0white sands of the beach, while others are located on in the highlands overlooking the island's diverse landscapes. There are even some classic overwater villas where guests can sleep wile completely surrounded by the clear, fish-filled waters of the Pacific.
Have you experienced paradise in Fiji (or somewhere else)? Use the comments section to let us know about it.