Country: Fiji
Currency: Dollar (FJD)
Peak Season: July-September
Shoulder Season: November-March
Median Temperature: 25.50 C / 77.9 F
Main Languages: Fijian, Hindustani, English
Primary Modes of Transportation: Bus, taxi, ferry
Recommended Duration of Stay: 4 days
Recommended Pocket Money: $100.00/day
Tourist Passes: Fiji Island Hopping Pass
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All 332 islands of Fiji certainly do the job of overwhelming tourists. In fact, exploring just the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu will definitely absorb your time and energy due to countless activities that aren’t limited to just snorkeling and deep sea explorations, apart from the typical palm trees and white sandy shores of the eastern coast. The series of coups staged in the past decade have never hampered Fiji’s reputation as a popular holiday and honeymoon destination to souls in the Western Hemisphere, particularly those residing in the US and UK, notwithstanding the amount of tourism figures it gets from nearby New Zealand and Australia. The proliferation of sugarcane plantations left by the British in the 1970’s still mark Fiji’s still-emancipating democratic system. The military dictate the policies of the 75,000-square-mile archipelago. And, interestingly enough, even the severe coup attempts of 2000 and 2006 haven’t buffered the influx of tourists.

An important place of interest is Fiji’s capital—Suva—located on the eastern side of Vivi Levu. Suva’s metropolitan district far outdoes neighboring islands’ (if they have any). Here also lay many parliamentary buildings, residential houses, and trimmed boulevards and walkways, reminiscent of the colonial days. Given the number of resorts and island colors, it’s impossible to get bored. Honeymooners can consummate their marriage in the islands of Taveuni, Castaway, Matangi, and Turtle. Adventure-seekers, on the other hand, head to the islands of Naninya, Namotu, Nadi, and Tavarua. The Fiji Islands to quintessential any vacation in Oceania.

Packing List

  • Local currency—ATM machines are hard to come by, most hotels and shops don’t accept credit cards, and the US dollar and Euro aren’t widely accepted; additionally, keep your money in a secure spot
  • Tropical clothing, bikinis and a good set of clothes that can be deemed “decent” when entering villages; because of walking tours, it’s advisable to bring a backpack/rucksack instead of a handbag or duffel bag
  • Hiking gear, which include not only the basic rucksack, compass, GPS device, and walking shoes, but also a headlamp, zip locked food and bottled refreshments, should you find yourself lost in the jungles
  • Essential medication and toiletries, including insect repellants, first aid kits and sunscreen; only Suva, Nadi and Lautoka have a circuit of stores and shops, while towns only have hotels to sell necessities
  • A decent (waterproof) camera, plenty of film and batteries—serious nature photographers are advised to bring extra zoom lenses and tripods; get a hold of tour guide to show you the best sceneries

Things to Do

  • Getting a warm welcome and sipping the traditional yaqona drink at Navala Village, famous for its iconic bamboo-reinforced and thatch-roofed houses; the idyllic grounds are situated at the heart of Viti Levu
  • Marveling at the three (swimmable) waterfalls of Bouma National Heritage Park; if a few dips under the crashes can’t satisfy you, then you can hike your way along the grass trails to view the lush, thick forests
  • Traversing the Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park—with so much sand, the choice of activities are limitless; it is one of the very few of its kind in the world, baffling both geologists and archeologists
  • Searching for a good resort around the Coral Coast on the southwestern side of the archipelago; the west is known to have a drier setting than the east, which in turn makes it a great beach setting
  • Basking in the radiance and biodiversity in the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, north of Nadi; the 50-acre garden is basically a jungle, whose tropical orchids (2000 and counting) give it a more exotic ambiance

DON'T

  • Don’t refer to everyone in the island as Fijians—the natives deem themselves the only ones to be called “Fijians”; mild as it looks, if you’ve been to several parts of Asia, you’ll know how oppressive labeling is
  • Enter a village hastily without first being accommodated first by the townsfolk to be introduced to their “turaga ni koro” or village chief; a herbal gift, called a “sevusevu,” is a customary gift to the leader
  • Be reluctant to stay inside a household when invited for breakfast, lunch or supper—Fijians are a hospitable bunch; before departing, remember to leave a gift in gratitude, be it in currency or sevusevu
  • Be loud and don’t too use too much gesticulation—both might be taken as signs of hostility (or worse, threats); it’s a big no-no to point at anyone, much less a village chief—be as tactful as possible
  • Ask controversial questions to avoid seeing raised eyebrows; questions about the prevalent gender inequality, ethnic disputes, military regime, and past cannibalism won’t be taken lightly by all locals