Bouma National Park
We decided to see the waterfalls made famous by the movie “Return to the Blue Lagoon” at Bouma National Park. We arranged for a taxi to pick us up from Bibi’s at 8:30 so we could arrive early and beat the crowds. Although, we were the first people there I don’t think there were any crowds to beat. When we left at noon there were only a handful of people there.
Bouma National Park is about an hour North of Bibi’s Hideaway. It probably isn’t that far away, but the bumpy dirt road requires slow driving. The drive is pretty, parts of it offer great views of the coast and you also pass a small village where I was surprised to see women doing their wash in the stream.
The entry fee to the park is $15 FJD and the taxi to and from was $60. The lady at the desk drew us a map of the waterfalls. The map isn’t essential but it is nice to have. Also, the bathrooms at the information desk are the only ones in the park.
The carefully manicured path to the first waterfall is a testament to how much the locals value the tourists. Don’t be fooled by the flat, easy walk, as the hikes to the second and third waterfalls become progressively more rugged.
The first waterfall is something out of a fairy tale. There is a gentle sloping sandy beach entrance, so you can comfortable wade into the water. The falls juts far from the cliff like a manmade fountain. If you are a strong swimmer you can swim all the way to the falls and even behind it. There is a very strong current pushing you away from the center of the falls and the constant spray of water in your face makes it difficult to get a good gulp of air as you approach the rushing water. I almost made it to the center, and it was as wonderful as I imagined. The water feels like a warm rain.
1. Dress for swimming in the first falls, but bring tennis shoes or hiking shoes for the rest of the trip. There is a changing room by the first falls so you can remove your wet swimsuit.
2. To get past the second waterfall you have to walk through the water, reef walkers would be ideal, but I just went bare-foot then put my shoes back on the other side.
3. Bring Mosquito Repellent!
4. The second waterfall has a picnic table, perfect for lunch.
After a couple attempts to make it to the center of the falls I was exhausted and had trouble with the steep climb to the next falls. Fortunately there were some benches about half-way up the hike, so after a moments rest I was ready for the rest of the climb.
The coolest lizards, skinks maybe, ran all over the stairs to the second falls. At first glance they just look like the shiny skinks we have back home, but then I noticed they had bright, blue tails. They were so fast it made getting a clear photograph impossible, but Paul managed to get some decent shots.
The hike is probably the most beautiful I’ve even been on. The lush, tropical foliage, with bright flowers was stunning. There is the most amazing view of the ocean, with a field of palm trees in front of the water, and then the wildlife – we saw huge parrots. They had blue and green wings with red chest. Listen for their loud squawk, and then look for movement in the tree tops!
The Guardians of the Path
As we approached the river crossing a bright-purple crab stood in the middle of the path, waving is claws menacingly if we tried to hop over him. I was a little nervous to jump over the large snappers, so we tried scaring him off by waving sticks and throwing leaves in his direction. The crab would not budge! He would grab and shake the leaves that flew too close to his outstretched claws. He looked like a goalie refusing to let anything by.
Eventually I lost the battle of wills and took a running leap. After landing, without pinched toes, I turned to watch Paul do the same. Surprisingly, the crab stretched his claws as high as they would go and snapped at Paul’s feet. They weren’t anywhere close, but it was clear that this crab meant business.
There were a few more of the purple guardians on the path, but none were as menacing as the first. They all guarded their territory fiercely, forcing us to jump over them. We were only able to scare one off to the side, but as we hurried past he leapt toward us with his pinchers ready!
Finding Your Way
Any time the path split we went left. There is a river crossing where your only bridge is a rope to hold onto and boulders to jump. The path from the second waterfall can be difficult to see – walk on the rocks to the front of the waterfall, there is a path to the right of the falls, look for the sign. You must take off your shoes and cross the river to get to the path. On the way back from the third falls, take the small bridge on the left and you’ll bypass the 2nd waterfall and take a jungle stroll instead.
We only swam in the first waterfall, but I guess you could take a dip in the other two. Neither one of the others has a nice sandy beach entrance, so you would have to maneuver around the boulders, probably manageable if you have reef walkers.
The entire hike took us four hours, but you could certainly do it faster if you were pressed for time. We took time to swim, eat and enjoy the scenery – taking many stops for pictures and crab encounters!
While the first waterfall seemed like something from a fairy tale, the last waterfall looks like something from an adventure magazine. This falls is close the rocky cliff creating lots of small splashes instead of the smooth flow the first waterfall. If splits off at the top forming two separate falls and there is a large pool in the center of the cliff, which makes one of the falls actually two shorter cascades. There are so many fantastic angles to get a great shot, plan on spending a lot of time at this waterfall.