’s 333 islands are home to some of the happiest people on earth (visitors know this firsthand; Gallup International’s polls corroborate it), and those locals are eager to share their infectious Bula spirit with travelers from around the globe. Winter visitors have to be among the world’s cheeriest too, given that daytime temperatures average a balmy 86 degrees and the islands experience sunny, tropical weather year-round. Located between Hawaii
and New Zealand
, the South Pacific archipelago – an 11-hour Fiji Airways overnight flight from cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco – is a favorite honeymoon spot and scuba-diving destination with picturesque beaches and vibrant coral reefs. In addition to world-class snorkeling and surfing, Fiji’s adventures range from hiking to waterfalls and kayaking through inland mangrove forests to experiencing the islands’ living culture.
,” pronounced boo-lah, is a Fijian greeting that carries a spiritual quality to welcome others with warmth and wishes for good health. In order to showcase the island nation’s wealth of happiness, Fiji has nominated 17 “Bulanaires
” to extend a welcoming hand to visitors. The playful name – a spin on the word “billionaire” – inverses the meaning of ‘being rich’ and spotlights Fiji advocates who are rich in happiness. From surf legend Kelly Slater to Bollywood star Ileana D’Cruz, these ambassadors come from diverse backgrounds, but all embody the mindset and qualities of a true Bulanaire. Here, three Bulanaires weigh in on how to enjoy the best of Fiji, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning devotee.
As the eldest son of the late French explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel spent much of his youth aboard the famous research vessel Calypso
. He has since devoted his life to saving the planet’s oceans, most notably as the president and chairman of the non-profit Ocean Futures Society
. While Cousteau’s work and passion have taken him to new depths around the globe, he remains captivated by Fiji’s aquatic ecosystem – so much so that the islands’ first luxury eco-resort was named after him in 1995. The 25-bungalow Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort Fiji
, of which Jean-Michel is a founding member, is located in the town of Savusavu, on the northern Vanua Levu Island.