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Castaway Island Resort **** star 4 four stars
Fiji: Mamanuca Islands Group:
Castaway Island :     
Castaway Island, a private tropical island resort in Fiji's world-renowned Mamanuca Islands, has an international reputation for hospitality others dream about. But it isn't just the fact that it's an island or that its waters are gin-clear or that its cuisine is memorable. What makes Castaway different is its people, the warmest, friendliest bunch of Fijians you're likely to meet anywhere. Castaway visitors generally come home with two distinct impressions -- firstly, it is an ideal holiday destination and, secondly, the best thing about it is the people. Tourist brochures show Fiji's skies as always blue and the sun always shining. This, of course, is not entirely so because if it was Fiji would be a desert. It is anything but. It is a collection of more than 300 lush, green tropical islands (some say more at low tide) and Castaway, called Qalito in the Fijian language, and is one of them. Castaway's facilities are ideally suited to the tropical climate and barefoot nature of the island together with star-lit, open-air dining, casual bars including one with wood-fired gourmet pizza. The resort's cuisine, whether eating al fresco under coconut palms and the blue South Pacific sky during the day or the stars by night, makes much of plentiful local seafood and fruit and innovative chefs produce a variety of daily gourmet surprises. Cosmopolitan dishes feature on daily menus as well as Fijian staple vegetables like taro (known in Fiji as dalo) cassava (tapioca) potatoes and pumpkins and greens which look like spinach but aren't and spicy Indian curries. Castaway is a barefoot island. Formality is at a minimum. There are no private telephones, no radios or television in the bures and most of all, no stress. The day's major decisions may be what to have for breakfast, lunch or dinner, to read a book or swim, to collect shells or snorkel, to sleep under a coconut tree. But most people prefer a horizontal position and for some peculiar reason this attitude reaches near epidemic proportions on Castaway Island. If, however, an active holiday is what you seek, there's no shortage of things to do. Being an island, a variety of watersports are available including windsurfing, waterskiing, paddling your own canoe, sailing your own catamaran, snorkelling, scuba diving and scuba lessons or watching the fish from a glass-bottomed boat. You can dangle a handline over the reef; try your luck in waters where gamefish gather. If you're lucky enough to catch your own Spanish mackerel, a Castaway chef will cook it for you. If you're a qualified PADI scuba diver Castaway is one of the few places in the world with over 30 dive sites within 15 minute's of the resort. Nearby waters offer a wide variety of dive sites, some with rolling hills of hard corals and swim-throughs on the outside of the barrier reef where visibility is excellent for sightings of pelagics, rays and turtles. Within the reef lagoon there is excellent wall diving and an array of coral and reef fish as well as the cruising shark and blue water species. Castaway has a five-star PADI dive centre offering a full range of courses for qualified divers and beginners. Accommodation is in 66 tastefully appointed bures, individual bungalows based on traditional Fijian design with high ceilings and thatched roofs. Each air-conditioned, fan cooled bure has a separate ensuite and separate sleeping and living quarters with an emphasis on privacy and comfort. No bure is more than five minutes from two magnificent white sand beaches. This is Fiji's original barefoot island and Resort has something for everyone. All it takes is one visit and you're hooked. Castaway Island where barefoot dreams are born and cares forgotten.
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