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Ani Machado goes to Fiji

Ani Machado goes to Fiji

For most of my life, I only referred to Fiji when talking about ideal honeymoon destinations I hoped to someday visit. Well, I replaced the husband idea with about eleven of my friends and it turned out to be SO MUCH MORE – a bit blurry, I must admit. But so much more. 

Before I delve into the itinerary of our trip, a disclaimer: I went with a group of college students. In other words, this was no luxury Fijian vacation…in fact, we were looking to spend as little as possible. 

That being said, we spent the first three nights at Fiji Gateway Hotel in rooms of three (we were in Fiji a total of four nights, as a long weekend trip from Australia). The Fiji Gateway Hotel in Nadi was by no means luxurious, but it was extremely cheap, in a great location for us, and quite frankly, we didn’t care. After resting our first night in, we woke up at 5:00am for our first full day in Fiji. We decided today would be our hiking/adventure day, planned by one of the guys on our trip. If only we knew what was to come…

I came to find this out later on, but the information for this excursion was all put together after viewing just one comment on an online chat room found on like the fifth page of google search results when looking up “hikes in Fiji.” Trustworthy.

Well, we did as the chat room said, and hired a random Fijian taxi driver to take the twelve of us four hours away from Nadi to a village where the highest peak in Fiji resided – the peak we would later climb that day. The chat said to “look for a man with a machete” and that he would be the one to guide us up the mountain.

Confused, we actively drove around the village, and sure enough, we found a man carrying a machete who agreed to guide us up the mountain. Off the twelve of us went, with a sketchy man carrying a machete and his 12 year old nephew. Fast forward two and a half hours and this hike was turning out to be the most strenuous, slippery, muddy, steep, DANGEROUS hike I had ever seen or experienced. It was not even a trail or tourist attraction. In fact, it seemed as if the villagers had never seen non-Fijians before. We were about 15 minutes from the summit and I began to thoroughly panic. People were starting to slip and hope that tiny branches would break the fall; but one false move and you can find yourself quite literally falling off a cliff to your death. A panic attack ensued in combination with an asthma attack and I began to cry. I was an absolute mess. After failed attempts by my friends to console me, the man with the machete (who ditched us by this point) was called back to take me back down while the rest of the group finished the climb with the 12 year old boy…


The man with the machete spoke barely any English, so he carved me a walking stick out of a thorny branch to help me navigate. However, he did manage to speak enough English to point out that I should put more clothes on. I tried to explain that a sports bra and biker shorts was a normal and ~trendy~ outfit choice for a hike back in the States, but I came to find out that in rural Fijian villages, it is custom that men not be allowed to see women with such little clothing. Lovely. After making me feel quite exposed by telling me this he then proceeded to ask whether I had a boyfriend. As if it couldn’t get any worse, he had to PIGGY BACK me down part of the way because the mud had made part of the mountain too steep. We finally got back to the village where he, two other strange men, and a group of children all stood there to stare at me. After what felt like an eternity, my friends came down the mountain and we made the four hour drive back to Nadi, except now covered head to toe in mud. Definitely a unique experience…not sure I’d recommend it…but looking back, it was fun??

Moral of that story: Dress conservatively in the rural villages and do your research. 

The next day was a lot easier for me because it required a bathing suit. Safe to say I put on my aqua Jillian one piece and had myself a DAY. A boat took us out to Cloud 9 – a floating bar in the middle of the ocean in Fiji. We got our tickets via Trip Advisor, and they included $60 vouchers, which went a long way at this bar. I spent HOURS drinking endless champagne and splitting wood-oven pizzas. 10/10 recommend.

Our last day in Nadi was my favorite. We rented a private catamaran for our whole group to take us island hopping. The catamaran included an open bar, and stopped us for lunch on an island where there was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and yes, another open bar. Safe to say, Fiji involved a lot of drinking, and a lot of bathing suit opportunities. Twelve drunk college kids on a private catamaran, island hopping in Fiji…that certainly has a nice ring to it. 11/10 recommend. The crew members by the end of the day were partying alongside us, and were kind enough to drop us off with our bags on Treasure Island, where would we spend our last night in Fiji.

Treasure Island in itself is made up of one resort: Treasure Island Resort Fiji. We stayed there in rooms of four. Not sure if I am saying this because the last three nights were spent at the Fiji Gateway Hotel, but Treasure Island Resort felt LAVISH. It was so lovely, full of water sports and activities, and had great food. We all got up to watch the sunrise on our last day, and spent the day out on the beach until it was time to fly back to Sydney (today I chose to wear the Maria x Yasmin set in Deep Sea!).

Long story, short: Fiji is AMAZING and a MUST-go if you do find yourself with friends in that side of the world! Pro tip: Don’t forget to pack your #alameaswimwear.


Ani Machado

Owner/Designer of Alamea Swimwear


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