The Republic of Fiji Islands comprises more than 300 islands and islets each fringed with coral reefs and lapped by warm azure waters. Fijiís diving and snorkelling are superb, not to mention the isolated surf spots like Frigate Pass and Kadavu where waves cascade onto reefs. Amid its wealth of natural beauty, the true magic of Fiji lies in its people and the fascinating blend of diverse cultures. On busy streets, in village markets, at home in their villages, many will be dressed in traditional garb. It is no show; it is the daily wear. Of course there are rousing events that tap into the culture, such as the kava ceremony in which you down a cloudy liquid to cement your welcome, but this is just as genuine. Villages of traditional thatched cottages dot the Fiji countryside. The noblest structure in each village, high peaked and set back from the others, is occupied by the village chief. If you are admitted to his house for a kava ceremony or a short tete-a-tete, by all means accept.