— Fiji —

About Fiji, Pacific

The Fiji archipelago comprises 333 islands, located at the crossroads of the South Pacific. Fiji’s main and largest island is Viti Levu, the next largest is Vanua Levu, and together they make up 85 percent of the country’s total land area, of which a little over a third of Fiji’s islands are inhabited.

All the islands have picturesque coastlines, tall coconut palms nodding over still waters of brilliant turquoise, lagoons fringed by coral reefs and soft white sandy beaches.

Capital and major centres
Fiji’s capital city, Suva, is located on the south-east corner of Viti Levu, although most visitors have their first taste of Fiji via the international airport at Nadi, one of the other major towns on the western coast of Viti Levu. From there it is only a quick hop to one of the offshore island resorts, or less than an hour of flying time to Vanua Levu or Taveuni, the second and third largest islands. Nearby are the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands that offer picture-postcard beautiful lagoons and beaches. The old capital of Levuka on Ovalau Island has been carefully preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The people
Fiji is the ‘hub’ of the South Pacific, a melting pot of both the Polynesian and Melanesian races. The nation comprises of many different races and people. From 1879 to 1916, under British Colonial rule, Indians came as indentured labourers to work on the sugarcane plantations. After the indentured system was abolished, many Indians stayed on as independent farmers and businessmen. The principal language is English, however, Fijian, Hindustani, Chinese and other Pacific Island languages are spoken. Most of the population is bilingual.

Nature
Fiji’s larger islands are volcanic while smaller islands are limestone or sand cays. Coral reefs and lagoons abound. High mountain ridges in the centre of the two main islands manipulate rainfall leaving regions with marked vegetation. The rain-drenched eastern regions are carpeted in thick, vine-covered forest while the drier, western regions showcase rolling grasslands and pine-covered hinterland. Typical coastal trees like coconuts and pandanus hug the coastal regions of every island.

Fiji’s unique land fauna includes native bats, birds, lizards and frogs. There are no large predators, and the islands are free of all serious plant and animal pests and diseases that plague other countries and endeavours to remain that way. Preserving the beautiful environment is an exercise that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests takes very seriously, strictly regulating the importation of any matter that may affect the country’s plant and animal life.

The sights
A striking feature in Nadi is the Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu temple at the southern end of town. This is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere and the traditional Dravidian architecture is rarely seen outside of India. Natadola Beach is one of the most outstanding swimming beaches on the main island of Viti Levu and only a 45-minute drive south of Nadi. A trip to the Sawa-i-Lau Caves in the Yasawas is one of the ‘must-do’ activities for travellers.

A trip to Fiji’s most picturesque village, Navala Village in the Nausori Highlands is a trip back in time. On the banks of the Ba River against the stunning backdrop of the Ba Highlands, the villagers of Navala still live in traditional thatched roof bures. Enquire with the various sightseeing tour companies that operate out of Nadi to find out more.

On the road from Nadi to Suva are the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, Kula Wild Adventure Park and rafting Navua Gorge near Pacific Harbour. In the capital city of Suva, the Fiji Museum in the historical Thurston Gardens stands right next to Government House with its colourful guards dressed in red tunics and white sulus. Founded much earlier than other Pacific Island museums, this national museum is unrivalled in the islands for the extent of its collection of anthropological and historical material.

Savusavu – on the island of Vanua Levu – is home to the unusual attractions of the Nakama thermal springs and Namale blowholes. Wasali Nature Reserve is an untouched rainforest with hiking trails leading to spectacular views.

Where to stay
Accommodation is prolific and there’s something for every budget from luxury hotels, boutique resorts and villas to Fijian bures with modern facilities, cottages, lodges, townhouses and apartments. Bures, based on traditional village thatched roof houses, are very popular with tourists as they provide an authentic Fijian atmosphere. The Fijian design incorporated into most hotels helps maintain the exotic ambience of this South Pacific paradise.

Food and entertainment
Most nightclubs, restaurants and cinemas are located in the urban centres such as Nadi, Lautoka, Suva and Savusavu, with most of the larger hotels and resorts providing their own entertainment in the form of Fijian nights that include a lovo (food cooked in an underground oven), sometimes the yaqona ceremony (kava drinking) and always a meke (song and dance).

There’s a good selection of restaurants in the major centres featuring Chinese, Japanese, Indian, French, and European foods. A number of places offer traditional Fijian cuisine that is most often seafood, cooked in lemon or coconut milk and steamed or boiled rather than fried.

Getting around
In Fiji motorists drive on the left side of the road, and overseas or international driving permits are valid for six months. There are a number of rental car agencies, an extensive local bus service on each of the main islands and deluxe coach tours. Taxis are inexpensive and predominantly metered. If you are travelling by public transport (buses & taxis), ensure that you carry local currency and that the taxi meters are turned on before you start your trip. Ferries, helicopters and seaplanes provide transportation between an extensive network of docks and airfields throughout the islands and resorts. Rideshare companies like Uber, Ola or Lyft do not currently operate in Fiji.

Activities
Fiji is renowned for the variety of activities available. Water-based activities include snorkelling and diving spectacular reefs, surfing and SUP on world-class waves like Cloudbreak or Frigates, kayaking to secluded bays, jet ski jaunts, challenging game-fishing and inter-island sailing. Land activities rival their watery counterparts for thrills with skydiving, cross-country cultural treks, canyon whitewater river rafting, river tubing, tree-top ziplining and off-road buggy adventures.

People and Culture

Fiji Islands Aborigine Tribal Dance

People in Fiji

Today, Fiji is a melting pot of ethnicities. Melanesians, Polynesians races and indigenous Fijians make up half the nation’s population with the remainder Europeans, Chinese and Indians. Christianity is Fiji’s dominant religion. Other faiths include Hinduism and Islam, as well as native Fijian beliefs systems.

Languages in Fiji

English is the official language, while Bauan – one of the many Fijian regional dialects – is the national indigenous language. Fiji, Hindi, Cantonese, Chinese and other Pacific languages are spoken while Fiji’s traditional links to neighbouring Rotuma, Tonga and Samoa influence the dialects of cultural practices.

This exposure to many languages has resulted in most Fijians being bilingual. Fiji English, a slang with characteristics of Fijian, English and Hindi, is used in casual settings.

Design & Architecture

Fiji-Islands-Tribal-HutCrafts practiced by men and women are kept separate. Women’s crafts include pottery, cloth making and weaving mats from pandanus leaves and coconut tree parts, while men are carve and build canoes. Fijian folk music contains heavy church influences and is often accompanied by ethnic percussion beats.

Simplicity and practicality were the main principles of Old Fijian village architecture, as you can see in the Navala Village. Each village had a meeting house and a spirit house (Bure Kalou) on an elevated base, used to differentiate social hierarchy.

Now, contemporary aspects of architecture have influenced the business, industrial and domestic sectors, and village structures have received updates such as modern materials.

Cultural & Legal Restrictions

Vibrant indigenous Fijian culture form a big part of day-to-day living for most, but society has evolved to make way for other traditions. Diverse races and intersection of traditions in Fiji create a unique, communal culture. Fijian society attributes great significance to the family unit, the village and the land (vanua). Villages, clans and tribes are preceded over by chiefs, who are descendants of former chiefs.

Indigenous Fijian ceremonies adhere to strict, elaborate etiquette. This is both a mark of respect between communal groups and a display of strengthening social, tribal and familial ties. Special objects used include the sacred tabua or whales tooth, tapa cloth, woven mats and Kava (or, locally, yagona) – Fiji’s national drink. Different regions also have their own practices that are passed on between generations. For instance, the Sawau tribe of Bega are well-known for being able to walk on hot stone coals, unscathed. Strict preparation rituals are required.

Pacific_Fiji-Islands_001Along with many of its Pacific Island counterparts, Fiji is a society with strong Christian morals and practices. You are advised to dress modestly and appropriate, leaving beachwear only for the beach. Shoulders and knees of both genders must also be covered – by sulus or sarongs, if necessary – especially when you visit churches. Hats should be removed when you visit villages and homes.

Fiji is a leader in eco-tourism, determined to preserved its pristine natural landscape. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests strictly regulates imports that may jeopardise the country’s plants and animals.

The best diving spots in Fiji

Must visit places in Fiji

Activities in Taveuni Island

Fiji’s Cuisine

Exploring Taveuni

General Overview of Fiji Islands

Going To Fiji

Flights to Fiji land at 15 public airports in the Fiji islands, including Nadi International Airport, Fiji’s main air hub and gateway to international flights, and Nausori International Airport, which serves domestic flights. 85 over flights land at Nadi on a weekly basis. From there, most offshore islands are within minutes’ to an hour’s flight away.

Accommodation in Fiji

Fiji provides a spectrum of luxury hotels, resorts and villas, to bures (traditional thatched roof houses that channel an authentic Fijian ambience) with modern amenities, cottages, lodges, townhouses and serviced apartments. Budget resorts offer scenic views comparable to mid-range counterparts, with great locations all over the islands.

Adults- and couples-only resorts are perfect for honeymooners or those on a romantic getaway. Denarau, in particular, is a major tourism complex with luxury options. Resorts with child-friendly facilities and childcare services allow parents to get the respite the seek while on vacation. Those who favour the great outdoors can head to the campsites on Seashell Cove Resort, Rukuruke, Colo I Suva and Nukulau.

Getting around Fiji

Buses are the main way to travel between towns on the larger islands of Fiji, with extensive bus routes on Fiji’s larger islands providing cheap and reliable transport. In rural areas, buses are simply hailed as they pass. Metered cabs operate all over the country, even in rural or semi-rural areas.

Hop on one of Fiji’s inter-island ferries to travel around the principal islands. A robust infrastructure of docks and airfields connect people, goods and services throughout the islands resorts through ferries, helicopters and seaplanes. Car rentals in Fiji are another common option but do take note that cars drive on the left side of the road and foreign or international driving permits have a six-month validity period.

Fijian Currency

Fiji’s currency is the Fijian dollar. Do note that tipping is not encouraged. Resorts and hotels accept all major credit cards. Bargaining is acceptable at bazaars and markets.

Entry Requirements

Fiji-Islands-Beach-SunsetAll visitors to Fiji require a valid passport/travel document with minimum validity of six months beyond the period of intended stay. Visa requirements vary for different countries of origin so be sure to check here.

Fiji Weather & Climate

With a tropical marine climate, Fiji’s weather is warm throughout the year with minimal seasonal changes. The might be heavy showers and even cyclonic storms, particularly during the December to April period. Light summer attire is advisable, especially during the dry season from March to November.

Food and Restaurants in Fiji

fiji mamanuca islands yasawa island resort and spa dining

Food in Fiji

There is a complete selection of local Fiji food and international cuisines to choose from. For a more authentic experience, pick Fijian restaurants and cafes frequented by locals in the know. In fact, many resorts have a relationship with nearby villages that will welcome you to try traditional Fijian fare during village tours or hikes.

Fijian cuisine is wholesome, affordable and full of variety. Mainstays of the local diet include yams, sweet potatoes, nuts, seafood or meat steamed or boiled in fragrant coconut milk and an assortment of foods cooked in a pit oven or lovo. Fresh tropical fruits may also be purchased at farmer’s markets.

Kava, the national drink, is also worth a try. Made from the root of the pepper plant, Kava temporarily numbs your tongue and lips and relaxes your muscles. It has intoxicating effects and consumption with alcohol should be avoided.

Fijian Nightlife

When the sun goes down, Fiji’s partygoers come out to play. Most trendy nightclubs and surf bars are in Nadi and Suvaon Viti Levu, along with a range of restaurants and cinemas. On smaller islands, entertainment comes in the form of Fijian Nights, organised by hotels and resorts. A meke (song and dance) always livens up these boisterous parties, where lovo and Kava are served.

For anyone visiting Fiji on a gap year, Beachcomber Island is perfect. This “party island” of Fiji is home to the Bula dance – somewhat of an island sensation, not unlike the Macarena, that serves as an icebreaker.

Things To Do in Fiji

fiji tokoriki island sheraton resort and spa aeriel view

Shopping in Fiji

From affordable souvenirs to luxury international labels and duty-free shopping, shopaholics will be spoilt for choice on their Fiji holiday.

Popular Fiji holiday souvenirs include carved tanoa bowls meant for serving kava, Fijian combs and replicas of cannibal dorks. You could also buy handicrafts like woven baskets, fabrics and ceramics, or invest in the incredibly versatile sulu or sarong, which can be worn by both genders, all sizes and in multiple ways.

Shops and bazaars, especially in Cumming Street, Suva, are a haven for bargain hunters who get a rush from haggling over prices. Shops close at 5pm on most days except Fridays and most are closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Places to Visit In Fiji

Fiji’s beaches, especially those on Coral Coast and islands of Mamanucas and Yasawa, draw in flocks of tourists all year round, who pack up the Fiji beach resorts and hotels. These Edenic, otherworldly escapes of the South Seas have been featured in Hollywood movies like Cast Away and The Blue Lagoon. Natadola Beach on Viti Levu itself is also one Fiji’s prime beach offerings.

However, beaches are all but a fraction of the nation’s tourist offerings. Explore the Nakama thermal springs and Namale blowholes on Vanua Levu and discover how Taveuni’s lush floral and fauna and breathtaking mountains have earned it the nickname “Garden Island”.

Immerse yourself in the Fijian way of life in Suva, the capital and Lautoka, a port town that thrives on the cultivation of sugarcane. History buffs should not miss the unrivalled collection of anthropological and historical artifacts at the National Museum in the historical Thurston Gardens.

Fiji-Sri-Siva-Subramaniya-Swami-Hindu-Temple-in-NadiThe historical journey continues at Orchid Island, a cultivated, realistic microcosm of Fiji. Trace the journey of the missionaries in 1840 along a central highland bush track, tour a plantation and visit the Kula Bird Park and the Sigatoka Sand Dunes as you journey from Suva to Nadi in the western side of Viti Levu.

The Sri Siva Subramaniya temple, the largest Hindi temple in the southern hemisphere, boasts striking Dradivian architecture – a rare sight outside India.

Water Sports, Diving & Snorkeling in Fiji

Fiji-Islands-Diving-PackagesKnown as the soft coral capital of the world, Fiji dive spots are the Pacific’s finest and most. Divers and snorkelers will marvel at the jawdropping beauty of never-ending reefs, drop-offs, walls and channels. Surfers up for a challenge can also try navigating Fiji’s legendary waves of Cloudbreak, Swimming Pools and Frigates.

Alternatively, take your pick from other water-based activities available, like windsurfing, cruising, sailing, yachting and game fishing. You could swim, jet or raft through the crystal clear rivers, and even go on sailing excursions to remote villages.

Fijian Cuisine

Why Fiji Really Is Paradise

Where to Stay

Smugglers Cove Beach Resort & Hotel
Right on the famous Wailoaloa Beach, Smugglers Cove is centrally located on Nadi Bay and is just a 15-minute drive from the Nadi International Airport, Nadi Town and Port Denarau Marina. Renown as a fun and excit... View More »
Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay
Discover your own tropical paradise at Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay. Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay, known for being an overwater retreat for fulfillment seekers, is nestled in the secluded Momi Bay on the wester... View More »
Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa
Seamless luxury meets soul-enriching Fijian hospitality at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa. Facing one of the world’s best sandy beaches and looking out over the azure waters of a beautiful bay to t... View More »
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa
Luxurious French sensibilities and Sofitel style is what truly sets this resort apart in a destination where you are spoiled for choice. Down to earth Fijian friendliness keeps guests returning time and time again. ... View More »
Wyndham Garden Wailoaloa Beach Fiji
Bliss out on Wailoaloa Beach in a modern oceanside hotel right on the beachfront, and not far from Nadi attractions and the International Airport. This centrally located, modern beachfront property offers accommo... View More »
Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa
Discover a delightful mix of warm Fijian hospitality and relaxed luxury at Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape or a fun-packed family break, at Hilton Fiji, you’ll exp... View More »
Yasawa Island Resort & Spa
There are 15 words in the Fijian language for heaven and `yasawa’ is the first. Indulge in heavenly seclusion at Yasawa Island Resort & Spa, an exclusive retreat secluded on one of the most remote and unspoiled is... View More »
Grand Pacific Hotel
Experience the ultimate in luxury at the Grand Pacific Hotel, a 5-star heritage property located on the Suva waterfront showcasing panoramic views over the harbour. An iconic Fiji Islands luxury escape, with 113 ... View More »
Crowne Plaza Fiji Nadi Bay Resort & Spa
Discover Fiji’s newest premium resort destination, located only 15 minutes from Nadi International Airport with local landmarks and attractions only a short stroll or drive away. Stretching along Nadi Bay’s s... View More »
Holiday Inn Suva
Experience comfort and stunning views of the harbour or parliament when you stay at Holiday Inn Suva. The lush tropical gardens and generous pool deck setting in the hotel’s grounds combine with the scenic oce... View More »
Ramada Suites by Wyndham Wailoaloa Beach Fiji
Fiji’s newest four-star, beachfront suites feature spectacular sunsets with 360-degree rooftop scenic viewing overlooking Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi Bay and nearby Mamanuca Islands. A hidden gem that’s also conve... View More »
Tropic Towers Apartments
For families, business travellers, tour groups or holidaymakers wishing to experience the cosmopolitan culture, shopping and tropical nightlife that Suva has to offer, Tropic Towers Apartments has a range of reasona... View More »

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