Arts + Culture

Mind–Altering Vacations

by Barbara Cleveland


The buzz: Traditional kava, a root that's ground into a powder and then strained through a sock, makes a waxy, pinkish-gray tea. Sound disgusting? That's because it is—but its potent effects (lucid, high-def dreams) have made it a centuries-old favorite among Fijian Islanders. The earthy-tasting liquid numbs and coats the inside of your mouth and throat, but after two or three cups are passed around the fire, you're dancing and singing with reckless abandon.

Where to score: Nearly every hotel offers some touristy version of the tea ceremony, complete with watered-down kava. It's a great starting point for the weak of stomach or those nervous about taking the plunge. But to experience the real thing, take a tribal tour into the undergrowth, meet the locals, and get down with the strong stuff.

Where to chill: Once you've entered the kava circle, there's no turning back—you have to sit and drink until the kava is finished (usually about three cups total shared between participants). The oddly elegant Fijian shuffle dance is usually part of the kava ritual, so give it a shot if you can still stand up. Otherwise, sing and clap along with your kava kin.

Where to come down: At your hotel, of course. The Likuliku Lagoon Resort has the only overwater bungalows in Fiji, where you can stick to the in-house ceremony or trek out with a tour guide. Relax on your private deck post-ceremony while the waves wash over your feet.

Next: Blinged-out bong hits

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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