Hello everyone! First a bit about myself and my husband. We are an early 30's couple who both love to snorkel and my husband is now a certified diver. We've been going to the Caribbean the past few years and wanted to give the Pacific a try and are strongly leaning towards Fiji. I am a high school teacher in California so I'm looking at the last two weeks of June 2013 because it's our wedding anniversary and I will be out for summer break. Thus, my dates are constricted in that I have to go when school is out here in the States. Our highest priority is great snorkeling, swimming with mantas, prefer smaller quiet properties, decent food, and lastly, have to stay in middle range or so resorts as it looks like airfare alone is gonna be 1000-1300 a person. My choice right now is to go to Botaira for 7 nights and Navini Resort (love how excursions are included!) for 7 nights after reading numerous reviews and comments from you lovely people :) Might throw in a day coming and going in Denaru depending on flight times. I had a couple questions I'm hoping you can help me with.
1. Given my description, do my hotel choices sound right for us?
2. I know from reading the forum people have said some of these popular resorts fill up a year ahead! So for June 2013, when would I have to probably book by? Now if I do book say in Oct./Nov. and the prices they have posted are valid for only until March 2013, how do I know how much it will cost for next summer?
3. I usually book packages for our vacations through Expedia or Travelocity. These resorts are not available there so looks like I will have to book air and hotels separately. Do you recommend booking hotels or air first? When booking these two resorts do you need to book directly with hotel? Do they ever negotiate prices or is it strictly by what is offered on the hotel website?
4. Anyone know what a good/reasonable price is for a roundtrip flight from LAX to Nadi?
5. I know the Aussies and Kiwis have their winter break sometime during my summer break. Will the last two weeks of June avoid their breaks or will I be going right in the middle of it? Being that I work with teens the other 10 months of the year, would prefer not to go when tons of kids are there, but it's not a deal breaker. So anyone know the dates next year for their break?
6. One of the most important questions I have is regarding transfers. Would it be best to do Botaira first on the Flyer and get the long boat ride over with at beginning? Would Navini pick me up from Botaira or do I have to return to Denaru? If I do Navini second will they return us to the airport instead of picking us up from there? If anyone has done both these resorts on one trip would love any insight on this (Hooked on Fiji?)
Ok I tried to do my research first and be specific so I can get the best responses. Thank you so much in advance as any help, tips, or insight are greatly appreciated! Look forward to hearing from you :)