If you Google Natadola Beach, you'll find that its "situated on arguably the best beach in Fiji". Its ranked #2 of 23 things to do in Sigatoka on TripAdvisor (it should be #1). According to TravelChannel.com, its the most beautiful white sand beach in Fiji where you can snorkel in the cerulean sea (I love all the different varieties of blue used to describe the water).
When you first arrive to a international destination, a person's natural tendency is to shower (possibly) and climb into bed to catch up on sleep. Not me. If you want your body's clock to adjust, you sleep when they sleep. That's the rule.
Knowing that I had no intention on sleeping, our group decided that we should venture over to the Coral Coast since we scheduled a day trip to the Mamanuca Islands the next day. We settled on Sigatoka then had to figure out transportation and an actual destination. At reception, we were given a recommendation that was closer than Sigatoka, to Natadola beach. The kind woman said that, to her, it was the most beautiful beach in Fiji. You've got to listen to the locals when they say stuff like that...it's usually true.
We let the man of the group haggle with Ali, the airport transfer driver, for a reasonable price for a return trip. We agreed and hopped in the van.
The drive to Natadola was about an hour and a half long. Ali stopped along the way for snacks and drinks. We really liked him, he drove us around during our whole trip providing information on the sights and answering all our random questions along the way.
We passed a sign that read, NATADOLA --> and turned onto a steep, narrow dirt and gravel road. I hadn't seen a bit of water on the drive there so I was a little nervous about what we'd find at the end of our journey. But Ali was confident so I patiently waited. After being tossed around the van for about 5 mins, we finally arrived.
Upon first glance, this was an unsightly beach that was littered with garbage, debris, etc. I was so incredibly disappointed. We had driven all this way and spent money to come to a beach that was no better than Galveston beach, no offense to Galveston, and this actually looked way worse. But as we walked down past the sand and grass mixture that totally could have passed for the community dumping grounds (I saw abandoned grills, trash, clothes, cigarette butts...smh), we took a steep decline down to the actual beach and I suddenly realized why the receptionist's eyes lit up and placed her hand over her heart when she spoke about this place, I understood why she recommended it to us and I sighed a deep, heavy sigh of relief. I had basically convinced everyone to come here and I didn't want them to be disappointed.....
No chance of disappointment here, folks.
You know what's funny? The picture above and the picture below are two sides of the same beach. It looks like two completely different places, right? It wasn't....same place.
We splashed around in the water...it was super cold. Except for a few locals that were down at the other end of the beach, we had the entire place to ourselves. Also...I know all these pics look just alike...I don't care. This place was gorgeous. And what's more, I was told the most beautiful beaches weren't even on Fiji...lies I tell you. This one could definitely hold its own against the others I saw.
Watch Chidi play in the waves lol....she was having the time of her life and the only one brave enough to get out there. The few times I tried, the huge and really strong waves slapped me around, pushed me over and got my hair wet before I was ready for it to be wet! Ugh.
Ali sat and waited for us like an hour, until we were all played out and completely soaking wet.
On the way back he asked if we were hungry and suggested an Indian food restaurant. Of course we were hungry! Despite my normal hesitation to eat Indian food, I decided, when in Rome...or Fiji....except I didn't realize they had such a huge Indian population...but I soon found out.
We went into the center of Nadi, which was like a ghost town b/c Fijians believe in closing their businesses on Sundays, to a restaurant called Curry House - a suggestion from Ali, one of his favorite curry restaurants in the whole town. I never eat curry....in fact, I don't really like it but I read that Fijian curry was different and when I'm in different places, I'm a little more adventurous...so I ordered curry chicken. I was pleasantly surprised. It was delicious and Chidi, who actually likes curry, said it was some of the best she'd ever had!
The waitress, who seemed a little aggressive at first, noticed I was writing in my travel journal and offered to help me name some of the places we had been that day.
Dusk settled in and we headed back to the resort. Our intention was to shower up and go out to watch the live music playing in the bar/restaurant area. We didn't quite make it out. Instead, we showered, got fully dressed and then realized we were pooped. Putting forth the effort was justification enough...oh well, at least we tried! It was about 8pm but it was so dark outside my body thought it was 10pm and a more acceptable time to sleep. Whatever the hell time it was, I cuddled up with the ants in my bed and joined Chidi in a 12 hour trip to dreamland.