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Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Seattle, Washington
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Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

We will be honeymooning in September or October and are looking at the South Pacific. After doing some research, it sounds like Taveuni Island may be the best destination for us in Fiji. We're also looking at Rarotonga. The two options both seem to have what we're looking for in terms of a town or two (not just a resort), decent beaches, snorkeling, restaurants, and varied/lush interior landscapes. We're not looking for total isolation and a small island with one resort doesn't appeal to us - we'd like a chance to see local culture, visit a village, eat varied food, etc. We're aiming for moderate costs, so are looking at mid-range hotels or perhaps self-catering.

One plus for Rarotonga is that once the flight lands, we'd be at our destination, whereas with Taveuni we'd need to take another flight. One minus for Rarotonga is that there's only one nonstop flight per week from LA, which limits our scheduling options.

Does anyone here has opinions about the pros and cons of Rarotonga vs. Taveuni specifically? I came on this forum a few weeks ago with questions about Fiji more generally, but now that we've narrowed down to a specific area of Fiji I thought I'd check in again. In particular, I don't know much about beaches on Taveuni and how they would compare with Rarotonga. I'm posting this both here and on the Cook Islands forum and would be grateful for any advice or opinions. Thank you!

Wellington, New...
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1. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Not sure how much information you have on Taveuni, but perhaps you should re-check.

"A town or two" - there is a village settlement but probably not what you would know as a town.

Beaches - Taveuni is not renowned for its beaches. There is a lovely one at Lavena, but away from most accommodation. Otherwise beaches are hard to find in general. Keep looking!

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Sounds like we may have been thinking Matei is a little bigger than it actually is. Are there at least a couple of restaurants there or would we mainly be relying on resorts for eating?

As for beaches, we know that Taveuni doesn't have the kind of beaches that the Yasawas do, but given that where we live the beaches are rocky and the water too cold to swim in, our bar for "decent" is probably lower than others. As long as there's some sand and it's safe to swim, we're pretty happy. It does sound like perhaps they are even more scarce on Taveuni than we thought, however.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Starting to wonder whether Vanua Levu near Savusavu might be a better choice for us, although I understand there's not much in the way of beaches in that area either. The scenery sounds gorgeous, however.

Wellington, New...
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for Yasawa Islands
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4. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Savusavu is a country town, but I'm not sure that it fits your image of "town". It does cater for an ex-pat population as well as locals, so would offer you some choice of food outlets. My best suggestion - have you looked at the places you are considering on Google Earth? That will give you a far better idea than a map.

Bellingen, Australia
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for Fiji, Mamanuca Islands, Navini Island
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5. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Raratonga has the better beaches. Still really only a town compared to other cities of the world. You would have the choice of great places to eat as well as a wide range of accommodation. Taveuni is a beautiful island with so much to see and do. Some lovely places to stay and is still well worth your consideration. Vanua Levu in the SavuSavu area too is interesting, very laid back and SavuSavu town is lovely, some wonderful places to stay in the area including Koro Sun just a short drive or bus ride away from SavuSavu. When we stayed at Koro they offered some interesting activities including a 'jungle' hike to a beautiful waterfall followed by lunch with a local lady in her home, kayaking up a saltwater river to a saltwater lake was amazing. Really all the places are worthy of a visit and I don't think any would disappoint.

Waitakere City, New...
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6. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

There are many lovely self catering rentals available on Vanua Levu, one that I've always really like the looks of is Tropic Splendor...

http://www.tropic-splendor-fiji.com/

maybe it would suit your needs. Worth checking out anyway.

Seattle, Washington
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7. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

Thanks for the advice. We'll do a little more research into Vanua Levu - it sounds like that area might suit us. (But really, what's not to like about any of these places? That's what makes it hard to decide!)

8. Re: Deciding between Taveuni Island and Rarotonga

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