With over 330 islands to choose from, the tourists find Fiji is the place for finding adventure, repose, and a breathtaking & serene spot. It is famous for rugged landscapes, palm-lined beaches and coral reefs with clear lagoons. Islands like Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are densely populated islands and Viti Levu is home to the capital, Suva, a port city with British colonial architecture. The Fiji Museum holds a remarkable collection, which includes material dating back 3700 years. It is a museum in Suva, Fiji located in the capital city's botanical gardens, Thurston Gardens. This is the destination that is perfect for family vacation and a couple vacation as well.
Fiji is a Melanesian country in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies about one-third of the way from New Zealand to Hawaii and consists of an archipelago of 332 islands, a handful of which make up most of the land area, and approximately 110 of which are inhabited.
Fiji straddles the 180-degree longitude line (which crosses land on a remote tip of Vanua Levu and again near the center of Taveuni). The international date line is configured to pass east of all of Fiji, placing it all in one time zone and 'ahead' of most of the rest of the world.
Fiji is an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometers (7,100 sq mi). The farthest island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760. The capital, Suva on Viti Levu, serves as Fiji's principal cruise port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centers like Nadi (with tourism being the major industry)or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu's interior is sparsely inhabited due to its terrain.
Fiji has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific due to an abundance of forest, mineral, and fish resources. Today, the main sources of foreign exchange are its tourist industry and sugar exports. The country's currency is the Fijian dollar. Fiji's local government, in the form of city and town councils, is supervised by the Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development.
The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity starting around 150 million years ago. Today, some geothermal activity still occurs on the islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Fiji has been inhabited since the second millennium BC and was settled first by Austronesians and later by Melanesians, with some Polynesian influences. Europeans visited Fiji from the 17th century, and, after a brief period as an independent kingdom, the British established the Colony of Fiji in 1874. Fiji was a Crown colony until 1970 when it gained independence as the Dominion of Fiji. A republic was declared in 1987, following a series of coups d'état.
In a coup in 2006, Commodore Frank Bainimarama seized power. When the High Court ruled in 2009 that the military leadership was unlawful, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, whom the military had retained as the nominal Head of State, formally abrogated the Constitution and reappointed Bainimarama. Later in 2009, Iloilo was replaced as President by Ratu Epeli Nailatikau. After years of delays, a democratic election was held on 17 September 2014. Bainimarama's FijiFirst party won with 59.2% of the vote, and the election was deemed credible by international observers.
Fiji is truly an isolated island paradise. It takes 10 hours to fly from either Hong Kong or Los Angeles and three hours from New Zealand, its closest large neighbor.
The islands are best known for white sands and crystal clear water, so we were surprised to discover a great mix of fun, offbeat things to do on Fiji.
- Holi Festival
Each February or March, Fijians break out their colored paints and powders to celebrate the Holi Festival. Also known as the festival of colors or the festival of love, Holi is an ancient Hindu religious festival that Fiji has embraced with great enthusiasm. Holi isn’t a public holiday in Fiji, but Fijians of all religions get in on the fun.
- Poseidon Undersea Resorts
Though it’s not yet open and has been plagued by ongoing delays, the Poseidon Undersea Resort promises to be one of Fiji’s most unusual attractions. When it opens, not only will it be located on a private island in Fiji, it will be the world’s first seafloor resort. You might want to save up before you book a spot though; it’s rumored that rooms will cost $30,000 per couple per week.
- Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool
Definitely not overly commercialized, the Sabeto mud pools are not much more than a heated mud bath in the ground with a distinct smell of sulfur. That said, they’re a nice taste of island life outside the commercialized resorts.
- Visit one of Fiji’s 333 islands
When most people think of Fiji, they think of the largest and most visited island in the chain (named Fiji as well). In fact, Fiji is made up of 333 tropical islands, many deserted and private like Castaway Island Fiji (also known as Qalito island). With 333 islands to choose from, you’re bound to find one that’s perfect for you. Check out this map of Fiji to check out the islands for yourself.
- Firewalking at the Mariamma Temple
Every July or August, you can watch men walk across red hot coals at the South Indian fire-walking festival at the Mariamma Temple. Indigenous Fijian fire walking (known as vilavilairevo) was originally practiced only on the tiny island of Beqa, but today you can also see fire walking year-round at the Pacific Harbour Arts Village, in many major resorts, or at Suva’s Hibiscus Festival in August.
- Fiji's underwater caves
The limestone caves of Sawa-i-Lau are famous for being one of the locations for the movie The Blue Lagoon. The inner limestone cave of Sawa-i-Lau is only accessible by swimming under a rocky veil so getting there isn’t for the faint of heart.
- Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
These vast sand dunes set against a deep blue sea are well worth the two-hour hike that takes you along the dunes and through a mahogany forest. If you ask, the Rangers will tell you a little bit about the ancient burial site in the park that has evidence of human habitation from almost 3,000 years ago.
- Vinaka Fiji Volunteering in the Yasawa Islands
Fiji’s Yasawa Islands are home to 27 villages living below world standards of health and poverty. The Vinaka Fiji Trust was set up to give something back to the villagers and to say “thank you (vinaka) for welcoming us into your islands.” The Trust runs three main programs: marine conservation, education, and sustainable communities.
- Naihehe Caves
The Naihehe Cave was once a fortress for a cannibal tribe and still houses a cannibal oven. Even today, the cave is secluded, and only accessed by a 4×4 drive through the limestone mountains.
- Colo-i-Suva Forest Park
The Colo-i-Suva (pronounced tholo-ee-soo -va) Forest Park is a true lush rainforest. If you’re lucky, you may spot a sulphur-breasted musk parrot, Fiji warblers or goshawks. There are natural swimming holes along the walking trails, with a rope swing in the Lower Pools to bring out your inner Tarzan.
As you’re probably already aware, the climate in Fiji is tropical. This can (and most likely will) mean it can rain at any time, however as it's so hot and you’re likely to already be in the pool or ocean anyway, it really isn’t likely to hinder your experience! Some days are clear skies, other days are grey… but this can all change in an instant. It’s all part of the island experience.
Being a tropical destination, Fiji's weather is generally pleasant and fairly mild throughout the year, however, you may notice the wet and dry seasonal variations. Like most tropical climates, the wet season occurs during summer where high temperatures and increased humidity lead to higher levels of precipitation and in Fiji, an increased risk of cyclones. The summer wet season runs from November to March with temperatures in the low 30s and only dropping to a balmy 27 degrees Celsius overnight. Situated in the Southern Hemisphere, Fiji’s dry season occurs during the cooler months from May to September when temperatures remain warm enough to enjoy swimming, sunbathing and a range of Fiji’s most popularâ€¯tours and activities.
Overall, the best time to visit Fiji is from late October to early November when the cost of getting and staying here has not yet reached its peak. During this period, the weather is dry, settled and warm and the beaches and resorts are far less crowded as school is still in.
With over 330 islands scattered across 32,000 square kilometers (20,000 square miles ) of land, the Fiji Islands lie on the 180 Meridian where the dawning of each new day occurs.
Fiji offers a vast choice of holiday accommodation ranging from luxury five-star hotels to small, intimate, remote island hideaways which are equal to the best in the world. Whatever your preference – we know them all and can offer you a range of options that will match your specific requirements and budget. Convenient, regular air routes from Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, and the United States connect Fiji to the world every day.
Fiji is a relatively easy destination to travel to and locals are eager to please. But there are a few things you should know regarding basic manners, safety and your own peace of mind.
- Know the meaning of ‘bula’ and ‘vinaka’
While English is an official language, and most Fijians speak English to a certain level, you will hear bula and vinaka frequently throughout your stay. Bula is the Fijian greeting and vinaka means thank you. If you only ever learn two words of Fijian, make them bula and vinaka. Fijians are some of the friendliest people you can imagine, so come armed with a healthy dose of smiles and greetings.
- People walk around with machetes, but it’s perfectly fine
No, they’re not about to carry out a massacre, they’re probably just working. Machetes are a common sight in Fiji and they’re the preferred tool for most workers who need to cut away grass, chop away any vegetation or open a coconut. Don’t be alarmed. You’ll even see older women armed with machetes in the villages or in rural areas.
- Avoid walking about at night
While Fiji is generally considered a safe place to visit, common sense should always prevail. Outside of the resorts, it can be dangerous for women walking alone at night by themselves or even in a small group. It’s best to take a taxi at night rather than walking – including for male travelers.
- Be careful about eating reef fish
Avoid reef fish if possible as they have been associated with sickness, not just in Fiji but in many of the South Pacific Islands. Reef fish live in shallower areas and feed off the coral, which at certain times of year can have a toxic bloom on them, infecting the fish. Choose deep water fish such as wahoo, tuna, marlin, and mahi-mahi. Food poisoning can occur in the Pacific so always drink filtered or boiled water, make sure hot food is piping hot and steer clear of rock melons, which aren’t always grown in pristine conditions.
- The national speed limit is 80KMH
This limit is enforced by police and you will be fined if you are caught speeding. However, while driving around Fiji, the rest of the road rules can appear fairly…relaxed. Sometimes non-existent. Drivers will pull out suddenly in front of other cars or appear to come from nowhere, so always be prepared for the unexpected.
Also, if you do happen to have a car accident, don’t move your car off the road, even if there are other vehicles queuing to get past. Moving your car means you admit liability. Car crashes do happen in Fiji and it means all the other drivers have to stop and drive around the vehicles stuck in the middle of the road on seemingly minor crashes.
- Sunday is church day
Most Fijians are Christian and they take Sundays very seriously. Everyone goes to church dressed in their Sunday best with many of the men wearing crisp white shirts and black sulus (a traditional black skirt men wear in the islands). Many shops are closed on Sundays or have limited opening hours, so it’s best to get all your shopping and main activities completed on another day of the week. The second most common religion is Hinduism because of the Fijian-Indian population. If you’re traveling to Fiji during Diwali or Holi festivals, expect plenty of celebrations and nightly fireworks.
- Watch out for the mozzies
Mosquitos are common throughout the Fiji Islands so be sure to bring insect repellent and repeat applications through the day – especially in the evening or if you are hanging around waterways. Fiji is listed as one the countries known to have the Zika virus, which means men and women should take safety precautions as outlined by the World Health Organisation.
- Buy local
Imported food in Fiji is very expensive, but local fruit and vegetables from the produce markets are very cheap. Most produce is sold in a ‘heap’ for a between $2-$5FJD. The same products are typically more expensive and not as fresh when sold in supermarkets. There are also many locally crafted souvenirs available for purchase so you can easily take a piece of your Fiji holiday home with you.
- Bring conservative clothing
In the resorts, pretty much anything works as far as clothing or swimwear goes. However, the dress code is more conservative in towns and especially small villages. Women should cover their shoulders and avoid short skirts or shorts, while men should wear shirts rather than singlets and longer length shorts. Always remove your hat and take your sunglasses off your head when entering a village or going inside. The head is very sacred for Fijians and you must never touch anyone’s head without permission.
- Animals rule the road
Stray dogs are everywhere throughout Fiji and they’ll run across the road at any time, bark in the middle of the night and forage for food. Most of them are strays and therefore can have fleas and other diseases. Horses and cattle are frequently seen both in paddocks and wandering around on the road. You’ll come off worse if you run into a cow.
- Fijian culture is vibrant and friendly, and you can expect a warm welcome at any of the villages you may choose to visit. By respecting local customs and traditions, your experience will be even warmer.
- Start by making sure you dress conservatively. This means women should make sure their shoulders and knees (and everything in between!) are covered and aren’t wearing any midriff tops or short shorts. The same applies to men, who should avoid tank tops and shorts when in the village. Avoid wearing hats or sunglasses, as these are considered disrespectful – and if you’re entering someone’s house, remove your shoes first.
- Got a loud voice? Try to keep it down – speaking loudly or raising your voice is interpreted as a sign of anger, so try to always speak softly. Don’t point directly at anyone, as this is considered rude, and be careful to watch your language too, as Fijians rarely swear. If you’re offered a sip of kava at a ceremony, do try it. It’s rude to decline.
- Home life in Fiji bears a lot of similarities to traditional, conservative Western lifestyles from the 1950’s. Women are traditionally expected to take care of domestic duties, such as cooking, cleaning and raising children, and are often actively involved in helping out with their church as well. Men are the primary providers, working during the day to support the family and coming home to relax in the evening. In some Indo-Fijian households, women will also go off to work during the daytime but are still responsible for home duties when they return.
- Time in Fiji is viewed differently in village and city settings, and also differs between the two major cultural groups (Indo-Fijians and Indigenous Fijians). Indo-Fijians and those living in cities are traditionally very punctual and are careful to always be on time, whereas things are much more relaxed in rural settings, where “Fiji time” is the norm.
- Ultimately, Fijians will forgive foreigners for any cultural faux pas they may commit during their stay, but by showing at least a basic knowledge of the Fijian way of life, you’ll be demonstrating your respect for the incredible country and people you visit.