Fiji, a country in the South Pacific, is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. Fiji is famous for it’s rugged landscapes, rainforests, palm tree lined beaches with excellent surf, coral reefs with over 1500 distinct fish species and clear lagoons.
Its major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, contain most of Fiji’s population. Viti Levu is home to the capital city, Suva, which has British colonial architecture and is home to the Fiji Museum.
Fiji Travel Info
Language: Fiji has three official languages including Fijian, English, and Hindi. Although most native people speak Fijian yet they easily understand English.
Currency: Fijian Dollar.
Visa: Tourists from most European countries, African countries, South America, North America, and Asia, do not require a tourist visa to stay in Fiji for up to 4 months. Before entering Fiji you need to ensure that you have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Fiji.
Electricity: Fiji operates on 240 volts with a frequency of 50 Hz. I recommend bringing a Universal Travel Adapter so you don’t need to keep buying new adapters for each country you visit.
Fiji Festivals & Celebrations
Fire Walking Festival: Fire Walking Festival has its roots going deep in South India; it involves people walking barefoot over hot embers on Beqa Island. The festival has become very famous and celebrated across Fiji. To honor the spirit of the celebration, the participants avoid sex and undergo meditation ten days before the festival. Participants believe that this ritual cleanses them physically and spiritually.
Holi: Among the different cultures that blend-in to become Fiji’s own, it is the Indian influence that is most prevalent on the Island. It is therefore not surprising that Holi is one festival which gets celebrated with much ado and vigor. This festival involves people throwing color on each other and signifies squaring off relationships.
Diwali: It is a fantastic festival highlighting Fiji’s loaded Indian heritage, Diwali is also called “Festival of Colorful lights.” It is one of the many festivals embraced by the friendly and amiable Fijians. Homes are decorated with candles and multi-colored lanterns to revere Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Families jovially share sweets and gifts among them.
Safety In Fiji
Just like most countries in Oceania, Fiji is a very safe place to travel to. Thefts and occasional scams are prevalent in all tourist destinations so be mindful of this. Based on my own travel experiences, I wouldn’t leave home without travel insurance no matter how safe the destination is considered. You can still miss flights, lose your luggage or break a leg, especially if you’re as accident prone as I am. For this reason I recommend checking out the travel insurance plan that World Nomads can offer you a few weeks or months before you plan to visit Fiji.
Top Things To Do In Fiji
Explore Vitu Levu
Vitu Levu is the largest island of Fiji and is home to its tourism capital Nadi as well as its official capital Suva. Take a taxi and reach Sabeto Range’s forested foothills where there a beautiful garden called the Garden of Sleeping Giant founded by late actor Raymond Burr. It is a botanic sanctuary with a dense growth of vanilla-scented orchids and lily ponds. Also, visit the Fiji Orchid resort that is a family run entity. It’s a blissfully remote place just 15 minutes away from downtown Nadi.
Visit the Kula Eco Park
This Eco Park is situated on the Coral Coast, just along the Queens Road and aims at educating visitors about the mesmerizing flora and fauna of Fiji. You will find many native species including endangered Fijian iguanas, parrots, Kula birds, and flying foxes. You can head for a self-guided walk across the park and kids can join the junior ranger program that includes hand feeding turtles and helping the officials during feeding time.
Be awed by the Lavena Coastal Walk
On the Taveuni island is a beautiful walking trail that takes visitors through tropical rainforest towards a striking waterfall entirely hidden from the view. The entire trek (to and fro) is about 10 kilometers long and also has an option of one-sided motor boat journey if the distance is too much for you. The trail finishes at a beautiful gorge, and one can swim to the waterfall’s base. Here is another hidden waterfall that can be discovered only by swimmers.
Head to Mamanucas
Take a ferry from Port Denarau and head towards the Mamanucas. It is a collection of about twenty islands and has a lot in store for its visitors ranging from isolated resorts on Navini Islands to lively bars on Beachcomber islands or Mana islands. Mamanucas are famous for their beauty and have been in a few scenes in Tom Hank’s movie Cast Away. Water sports like snorkeling, diving, and surfing are also available here.
Explore the Fiji Museum
The Fiji Museum is a great medium to explore the cultural and historical evolution of Fiji. To view the exhibits in chronological order, begin with the display just behind the ticket counter and then proceed clockwise. In the center of the museum is a large Ratu Fianu, which is the last double-hulled canoe of Fiji, about 13 meters long having a deck enclosed, to be used during rough weather. The other highlights of the museum include war clubs, a horrid display related to cannibalism.
Soak in the Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud pool
These hot springs are at the base of the Sabeto Mountains around Nadi. These thermal springs are located in the center of tropical forests and have therapeutic properties that relax both body and spirit. You need to rub mud all over your body and then soak into the soothing water of the pool. The activity is fun and appropriate for people of all ages.
Visit the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, National Park
A trip to Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is a perfect is a perfect hiking option. The national park is at the mouth of River Sigatoka on Viti Levu Islands and conserved dunes spread across 650 hectares. These dunes vary from 20 meters to 60 meters in height. The hike begins from the Visitor’s Information Center and can be either a one hour or a two hour guided hike. Local rangers act as guides and will help you hike along the beach, crossing meadows and inland forests into the dunes.
Soak in the Tavoro Falls
In the northern Fiji Archipelago lies the Tavoro Falls and the Bouma National Park which are a must visit. You can reach it by hiking the waterfall trail which ranges from a leisurely stroll to an exhaustive and challenging hike as you approach the tip of the fall. The falls are made of three different cascades, the lowest of which falls into a beautiful pool that is a perfect spot for swimmers. You can reach the other two after a strenuous hike of about an hour, but the entire experience is just excellent.
Stroll across La Galerie Fiji
Travelers interested in buying some authentic Fijian crafts and gifts for their friends and family back home can find an excellent collection of such items at La Galerie Fiji. This market is near the airport on the Malolo Laolao Island opposite the Musket Cove. You can select from a vast assortment of island style jewelry made of glass beads, precious gems, and pearls made of fresh water. Lots of dresses in vibrant colors and some exclusive ceramic hand-painted pots with beautiful designs are also available.
Visit the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
This brilliant Hindu Temple is among the few places other than India where you can witness Dravidian architecture; the deities are wooden carved and have been brought from India, same with the artists who adorned the temple and its vibrant fresco. You need to be modestly dressed while you visit the temple. Remove your shoes at the entrance, and there is an on-site custodian who can provide you with the history of the place.
Other than these top things to do in Fiji, there is so much more to see and experience in this amazing country. Be prepared to be flexible because sometimes other travelers that you meet on your travels will have the best suggestions for things to do in Fiji that are off the beaten path.
What To Eat In Fiji
The traditional food of Fiji is the ultimate comfort food and passed from one generation to the next. The best local ingredients are used to prepare a healthy and hearty meal. Some traditional dishes that you must try while in Fiji are listed below.
Kokoda: Kokoda is fish marinated in citrus juice. It has Mahi Mahi or any other locally caught fish. The marinated fish gets cooked in coconut cream, tomatoes, onions, and chilies. Locals love their fish spicy and call Kokoda their national dish.
Rourou: Rourou is similar to spinach and can get served in numerous ways. The most popular way to cook these leaves is to cook it to consistency as that of cream of spinach. The most traditional Fijian way of cooking is to cook rourou in an underground oven also called ‘lovo.’
Palusami: Palusami gets assembled with the help of rourou, and the locals stuff the leaves with a mixture of meat and coconut. They stuff the vegetarian version with corn and onions, and some of the Palusami also have seafood stuffed in them.
Coconut Bread: Coconut tree in Fiji is called ‘tree of life.’ Coconut is an essential ingredient in most of the Fijian dishes. Coconut bread has been an integral part of the means since long and is a delectable stable food of Fiji.
Cassava Cake: Cassava to Fiji is same as sago or tapioca to the rest of the world. The cake is just like sticky rice and topped with jam, butter, fresh fruits or any topping of your choice before being served.
Where To Stay In Fiji
Fiji can be an expensive place to visit. Finding excellent accommodation in Fiji is easy but finding affordable accommodation, if you’re on a tight budget, is the hard part. Luckily Fiji hostels and dormitories make travel here more affordable for backpackers and any travelers on a shoe-string budget.
Don’t wait until you arrive to see what’s available or you may be disappointed to find that all the best accommodation options have already been snapped up. Fiji is a very popular year-round destination.
Jetset Bunny recommends using Booking.com for the best accommodation deals in Fiji.
If you’re backpacking in Fiji or traveling on a tight budget then Hostel World is another great option. Staying in hostels makes travel in Oceania very affordable and is also a great way to meet new travel buddies.
Fiji Trip Planner
Best Time to Visit Fiji
Fiji weather falls into two categories: hot and humid between November and April and dry and mild between May and October. Generally, mid-October to mid-November is the best time to visit Fiji as prices are reasonable, there are fewer crowds and weather conditions are dry and warm.
Fiji Travel Budget
Fiji is a reasonably affordable destination for travelers, even those on a tight budget. The cost of your trip to Fiji really depends on the level of comfort you will want while here. If you’re backpacking and planning on staying in dormitories, hostels and eating fast food then budget between $35 to $60 a day. If you prefer to stay in 3-4 star hotel rooms and eat in mid-range restaurants you could spend anywhere between $60 to $120 per day. If you want to enjoy luxury 4-5 star accommodation and gourmet restaurants then budget about $250 plus a day.
- Budget: $25 – $50
- Mid-range: $50 – $150
- Splurge: $150 +
Meal For One
- Budget: $12 – $25
- Mid-range: $25 – $60
- Splurge: $60 +
Fiji Packing Guide
Packing for a trip to Fiji, like most places in Oceania is easy, just remember to pack lightweight and breathable clothing for dry season and warm, waterproof clothing for trips during the rainy season.
Be prepared for the weather to get extremely hot during the summer so pack a high factor sunscreen and a sun hat. If you forget to pack something you can buy anything you need while you’re in Fiji. Prices are generally higher in smaller boutiques (aimed at tourists) than they would be online so expect to pay a premium if you don’t have the option of shopping around due to time restraints on your trip to Fiji.
Other essential items to pack for a trip to Fiji include a good quality travel backpack. Choose the brand carefully and make sure you find the right size backpack for your torso. Believe me, doing this will make all the difference and prevent major backache. Smaller items to pack include a padlock, sleep sheet and a money belt to keep important documents close to you.
For the full list of everything you need to pack for a trip to Fiji check out the Jetset Bunny Ultimate Oceania Packing List For Female Travelers.