Fiji Holiday Planning Guide
Located at the heart of the Central Pacific, Fiji is an archipelago of 333 islands and hundreds more tiny islets, many of which are uninhabited. The land masses range from vast Viti Levu, mountainous and covered in green jungle, to private desert islands available for rent. With bountiful sunshine, white sand beaches, tranquil oceans, and lush rainforest, it is no surprise that ecotourism in Fiji thrives. Local culture combines indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Asian, and European influences in a vibrant mix, with many of the smaller islands still retaining a strong element of traditional island life. Explore the countless pockets of paradise to find your favorite.
Places to Visit in Fiji
Regions of FijiViti Levu
: With forest-covered mountains rising in the middle, the largest island in the archipelago of Fiji combines secluded beaches with cities and jungle-like lush vegetation to make the perfect exotic adventure.Vanua Levu
: The second-largest island thrills visitors with its rugged dirt roads to small villages as well as high-end shopping areas and yacht clubs near characteristic white sand beaches.Mamanuca Islands
: With over 20 islands, this small archipelago features luxury resorts on exotic beaches, with white sand and tall palms next to emerald forests and crystal clear water. Viti Levu
: Scattered with palm trees, the Kadavu coastline is the perfect spot for snorkeling thanks to its wild, secluded beaches, and for bird-watching among its several endemic species.Lomaiviti Islands
: This center of the colonial past packs in plenty of Fiji attractions for fishing, diving, and whale-watching; on land, tranquil island life pervades the archipelago.
Cities in FijiSuva
: Surrounded by hilltops, Fiji's capital offers cultural insight and modern life in a historic city full of colonial buildings, markets, and museums.Denarau Island
: A bridge connects this small, privately owned island to the mainland; head here for luxury resorts and white sand beaches, as well as a scenic marina. Nadi
: The hot spot for urban life houses top-notch modern bars, restaurants, and malls in Fiji's multicultural melting pot. Sigatoka
: Riverside Sigatoka's environment blooms with lush vegetation throughout the year, mixing nature with city life. Pacific Harbour
: No Fiji vacation would be complete without a visit to Pacific Harbour, the country's youthful center of adventure, where you can combine Jet-skiing and fine dining all in a day's work.
Popular Fiji Tourist AttractionsPort Denarau Marina
: This perfect mix of the best shopping and dining spots stands next to all major international hotels, as well as a yacht port with a picture-perfect marine view. Kula Wild Adventure Park
: Include this nature park in your Fiji travel itinerary for up-close encounters with the animal kingdom in a jungle-like environment.Garden of the Sleeping Giant
: These perfectly maintained grounds are home to over 2,000 species of plants and small birds in a place full of tranquility. Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool
: Famous across the world, the mud at this spring is reputed to have age-defying properties, while the surrounding complex features all you need to relax your body and mind. Natadola Beach
: White sand, bright blue sky, and crystal clear water make Natadola Beach the perfect place to swim and soak up the Fijian sun.Bebe Spa
: The unique structure of Bebe Spa rises high above ground, providing a landscape view during all of the available treatments, which include traditional Fijian and Hawaiian massages. Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park
: Opened in 1989, this national park encompasses a diverse ecosystem next to the tall sand dunes and archeological sites of ancient Lapita people. Denarau Golf and Racquet Club
: Relax on the green field and practice your golf skills under the palms on an 18-hole golf course. Fiji Museum
: This museum features both ancient artifacts and treasures of modern history, as well as contemporary artwork. Zip Fiji
: Feel the adrenaline rush across some 16 ziplines, skimming the tops of forests with a scenic view of the ocean.
Planning a Fiji Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Fiji with Kids
The perfect place for an exotic family getaway, all the islands teem with well-known attractions that will appeal to kids and adults alike.
If your family is looking for an active Fiji vacation, you have several top options. Explore dunes, villages, and jungles at Viti Levu
, where the kids can both learn and have a cultural blast. Near Nadi
, zipline and jungle tours thrill visitors of all ages, while Pacific Harbour
offers many centers for sport enthusiasts. If the children can handle a bigger adventure, head to Vanua Levu
and the nearby wild islands for jungle treks, secluded villages, rafting, and waterfall rides.
To slow things down during your Fiji itinerary, Mamanuca Islands
have the best spots for swimming, snorkeling, and calm family boat rides. Places like Kadavu Archipelago
offer popular snorkeling spots where you can swim with giant manta rays and come face to face with the local marine life.
Things to Do in Fiji with Kids
Probably the top thing to do in Fiji is hit the beach: the soft sand and turquoise water provide excellent conditions for a relaxing family getaway. Build a sandcastle or dive right into the serene waters teeming with fish at Paradise Beach
or Denarau Beach
, and experience the island life next to bustling restaurants where everyone can hide from the heat of the sun for a cool drink. Don't hesitate to bring a ball for some beach sports during your visit. Sunset Beach
may be farther away than the others, but it provides a spectacular view of the sunset over the seascape.
Beaches aren't the only thing the islands have to offer for an interesting Fiji trip. Kula Wild Adventure Park
will bring kids up close and personal with reptiles and birds in jungle-like surroundings. Next, get to know the plant kingdom with a tour of Garden of the Sleeping Giant
, where over 2,000 orchid species and Cattleya hybrids blend with fountains, benches, and ponds.
Tips for a Family Vacation in Fiji
Friendly colorful fish, clear waters of sandy beaches, and hidden caves make a holiday in Fiji the perfect occasion for kids' adventures. Mangroves, mud pools, and jungles thrill the little ones, while exquisite resorts provide a resting spot for parents. Fijians openly express their love for children, smiling and hugging little tourists. Most resorts mirror this cultural phenomenon with organized kids' clubs for children under the age of 12--they'll get to play together by child-friendly pools under supervision. Babysitting service is also available in most resorts, but do note that not all resorts accept children as guests.
Don't forget to pack (and wear) sunscreen and hats to protect your skin from the hot sun.
Dining and Shopping on Holiday in Fiji
Cuisine of Fiji
A trip to Fiji will delight with meals made from organic produce, such as rice, potatoes, coconut, and fish. Fresh, ripe ingredients grown on the islands make the tastiest fare, which range in taste and texture. Kokoda encompasses everything Fiji food is: raw mahi mahi soaked in coconut cream with lime, tomatoes, and onions. Coconut cream can be found in most local dishes, including rourou (which also has taro leaves), and tavioka (a banana-tapioca baked dish). In addition to coconut, fruit generally plays a huge part in Fujian cuisine; fresh bananas, pineapples, mangos, and papayas are eaten daily. For special occasions, Fijians make lovo, a delicacy of fish, meat, and veggies wrapped in banana leaves, cooked in a hole in the ground for several hours.
Your Fiji holiday will more than likely include a cup of kava, the national drink. Made from pepper plant root mixed with water, this nonalcoholic beverage causes a bit of numbing on the tongue and has a relaxing effect; Fijians mostly drink it on the weekends.
Shopping in Fiji
Rejuvenate after your Fiji sightseeing with a bit of shopping, available virtually everywhere on the islands. Craftspeople ply their wares at local markets for a reasonable price, with the range of goods including everything from fine masi (tapa cloth) and intricate wood carvings at Nadi Market
, to bowls, clay pots, and woven goods (mats, fans, and baskets, etc.). Suva Municipal Market
also offers these kinds of items, but also look for the regional specialties, large mats (ibe) and kuta-made products. Important for the Fijian cuisine, coconut oil features widely in all markets and shops, as does coconut soap with different smells, but head out to Handicraft Market to find top-notch coconut products. Bringing back original memorabilia from a Fiji vacation is easy after a visit to one of the many markets of the archipelago.
Know Before You Go on a Trip to Fiji
Interesting Facts About Fiji
● One of the popular things to do in Fiji is making a trip to the International Date line, where you can stand with one foot in the previous date and one in the present.
● Fijians believe that the top of the head is sacred, so no one except the village chief can wear sunglasses or hats.
● The Lapita people, original settlers of the islands, came to Fiji 3,000 years ago.
● The shores of the Tagimaucia River are the only place where the tagimaucia grows--a unique white and red flower that resembles hibiscus.
Things You Should NOT Do in Fiji
Given the Fijians' belief that the head is sacred, avoid wearing a hat when you walk into a smaller village, as this can offend some locals. Likewise, never touch anyone's head without their permission. Touching isn't the only danger for a head in Fiji: avoiding lounging under coconut palms, since the fruits often fall and hit unwitting skulls below.
Fijians are a warm and welcoming people, and if you make any acquaintances on your Fiji holiday they'll likely invite you in for a cup of kava. Refusing may offend, so accept the delicious drink--and remember to remove your shoes before entering someone's house.
Above all, bear in mind that Fiji has very strict custom laws, so verify that your baggage has no shells or plants tucked away that could cause problems.
Holidays & Festivals in Fiji
Known for its stunning landscape and heritage, Fiji blends cultural traditions with historical events in fun, colorful celebrations throughout the year. If the timing's right, try to incorporate one of these local celebrations into your Fiji itinerary.
In mid-July, the islanders come together for a few days to celebrate their heritage during the Bula Fiji Festival, featuring a parade of dancing and singing. Dancing to traditional music happens again in August at the Hibiscus Festival, when local artists celebrate the traditions of their people. The large Indian community gets an opportunity to celebrate their heritage during October's Diwali or Festival of Lights, with stunning light shows completed by firecrackers and wild parties. On the last Monday in May, Fijians gather to honor the founder of modern Fiji, Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna. The week-long event ends with the president holding a speech about the unity of Fiji while local residents polish a statue of the scholar, chief, and statesman.
Useful Fiji Travel Tips
Common Greetings in Fiji
Fiji sightseeing is made easy as almost everyone speaks English on the island. However, learning a few common phrases will reap plenty of positive feedback from the residents of the archipelago. Fijian may seem like a complicated language, but you can greet locals by saying "bula" (boo-la) or "ni sa bula" (nee sa boo-la), and say goodbye with "moce" (mothay). Additionally, words for thank you and you're welcome--"vinaka" (vee-narka) and "sega na lega" (senga-na-lenga), respectively--will get you a long way. Answer basic questions with either yes, "io" (ee), or no, "sega" (senga); and if you're indulging in a delicious dish, to ask for more just say "dua tale" (du-a ta-le).
Climate of Fiji
A warm, tropical climate is one of the pleasures of a Fiji vacation. Temperatures remain steady throughout the year, ranging from 26-31 C (79-88 F), but the most popular time of year to visit the archipelago is between March and December, during the dry season. From May to October, strong trade winds from the southeast bring warm, dry weather. The wet season stretches from November to April, when short but heavy rainfall occurs daily. Cyclones can happen during the wet season, particularly in January and February, when the average temperature can drop to 18 C (64 F).
Transportation in Fiji
One of the things that make Fiji unique is the mode of transport across the islands. Most locals own small trucks, or carriers, where passengers sit in the back under a frame covered by tarpaulin for small trips between cities. These public trucks leave only when they are full from the main street of any city. You can also avail yourself of public buses during your Fiji itinerary if your destinations are too far away; however, buses are significantly slower than the trucks.
Driver's licenses from any English-speaking country are valid, but everyone else needs an international driver's license in order to operate a car or motorcycle in Fiji. Hitchhiking is not safe anywhere, including Fiji, where travelers can get mugged. Still, locals do it all the time with the local trucks, usually paying the equivalent of bus fare to the driver.
If public transport isn't for you, taxis are available in all larger cities and towns, typically near bus stations. Keep in mind that in rural areas, taxi drivers usually have a fixed rate, not a meter.
Tipping in Fiji
A simple thank you and a warm smile will be the only tip expected by locals on your Fiji holiday. Still, even if it is not a custom to give money for good service, no one will frown upon a show of appreciation to the staff. The communal atmosphere on the islands means that everything is shared, so any tips received will be distributed among staff members. Most resorts have a Christmas Fund box, which is a way for the guests uncomfortable with direct tipping to contribute and show the staff their appreciation for the hard work. Many restaurants and cafes feature something similar. Tour guides, housekeeping staff, and taxi drivers do not expect tips, but any gratuity is welcomed.