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Fiji Travel Guide - Travel S Helper

Fiji

travel guide

Fiji, formally the Republic of Fiji, is a Melanesia island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean, about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 kilometers; 1,300 miles) northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. It is bounded on the west by Vanuatu, on the southwest by New Caledonia, on the southeast by New Zealand’s Kermadec Islands, on the east by Tonga, on the northeast by the Samoas and France’s Wallis and Futuna, and on the north by Tuvalu.

Fiji is an archipelago comprised of over 330 islands, 110 of which are regularly inhabited, and over 500 islets, covering an area of about 18,300 square kilometers (7,100 sq mi). Ono-i-Lau is the most remote island. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two largest islands, account for 87 percent of the population of over 860,000. Suva on Viti Levu, the capital, serves as Fiji’s primary cruise port. Around three-quarters of Fijians reside on Viti Levu’s beaches, in Suva or in smaller metropolitan areas like as Nadi (tourism) or Lautoka (sugar cane industry). Viti Levu’s interior is sparsely populated as a result of its rugged topography.

Due to a wealth of forest, mineral, and seafood resources, Fiji boasts one of the most developed economies in the Pacific. Today, the country’s primary sources of foreign currency are tourism and sugar exports. The Fijian dollar is the country’s currency. The Ministry of Local Government and Urban Development supervises Fiji’s local government, which takes the form of city and town councils.

The bulk of Fiji’s islands were created about 150 million years ago by volcanic activity. Today, some geothermal activity continues on the Vanua Levu and Taveuni islands. Since the second millennium BC, Fiji has been populated by Austronesians and Melanesians, with occasional Polynesian influences. Europeans began visiting Fiji in the 17th century, and the British created the Colony of Fiji in 1874, after a short time as an independent monarchy. Fiji was a British Crown colony until 1970, when it became a Commonwealth country. In 1987, after a succession of coups, a republic was proclaimed.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama took control in a coup in 2006. When the Supreme Court decided in 2009 that the military’s authority was unconstitutional, President RatuJosefa Iloilo, whom the military had maintained as titular Head of State, officially repealed the Constitution and reappointed Bainimarama. Later that year, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau succeeded Iloilo as President. On 17 September 2014, after years of delay, a democratic election was conducted. Bainimarama’s FijiFirst party won with 59.2 percent of the vote, and foreign observers considered the election legitimate.

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Fiji - Info Card

Population

926,276

Currency

Fijian dollar (FJD)

Time zone

UTC+12 (FJT)

Area

18,274 km2 (7,056 sq mi)

Calling code

+679

Official language

Fijian, English

Fiji | Introduction

Tourism in Fiji

Fiji has a significant tourism component. The popular regions are Nadi, the Coral Coast, Denarau Island and the Mamanuca Islands. As for international visitors, their major sources of visitors are from Australia, New Zealand and the US. Fiji has a considerable number of soft coral reefs so diving has become a very popular tourist activity.

Fiji’s main attractions for tourists are mainly white sand beaches and aesthetically pleasing islands with year-round tropical weather. In general, Fiji is a medium sized holiday destination with most accommodation in this area. Fiji is also home to many world-class luxury five-star resorts and hotels. More budget resorts are opening in remote areas, offering more tourism opportunities.

Official statistics show that in 2012, 75% of visitors said they had come for a holiday.  Honeymoons have been very popular, as well as romantic getaways in general. There are also family-friendly resorts with facilities for young children, including kids’ clubs and nannies.

Fiji has several popular tourist destinations. For example, the Thursten Botanical Gardens that are located in Suva, the Sigatoka Sand Dunes as well as the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park represent 3 popular options on the mainland. Diving is a main tourist attraction on the outer islands.

Weather & Climate in Fiji

The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm all year round with minimal extremes. Warm season in Fiji is between November and April while the cooler season is from May to October. Temperatures in the cold season are still an average of 22 ° C.

Rainfall varies, with heavier rainfall in the warm season, especially indoors. Winds are moderate, although cyclones occur about once a year (10-12 times per decade).

On 20 February 2016, Fiji was hit with full force by Cyclone Winston, the only Category 5 tropical cyclone to make landfall in the nation. Winston destroyed tens of thousands of homes across the island, killing 44 people and causing an estimated FJ 2 billion (US$ 1 billion) in damage.

Geography Of Fiji

Fiji has a total area of about 194,000 square kilometres, of which about 10% is land area.

Fiji is the centre of the Southwest Pacific, halfway between Vanuatu and Tonga. The archipelago lies between 176° 53 ′ east and 178° 12 ′ west. The 180° meridian crosses Taveuni, but the international dateline is curved to give the entire Fiji group a uniform time (UTC + 12). With the exception of Rotuma, the Fiji group lies between 15 ° 42 ′ and 20 ° 02 ′ to the south. Rotuma is 220 nautical miles (410 km; 250 miles) north of the group, 360 nautical miles (670 km; 410 miles) from Suva, 12 ° 30 ′ south of the equator.

There are 332 islands ( from which 106 are populated) as well as 522 small islets in Fiji. Fiji’s 2 main islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which represent approximately 3/4 of the country’s entire land area. The islands are mountainous, with peaks as high as 1,324 metres, and covered with dense tropical forests.

Highest point is Mount Tomanivi located on Viti Levu. Viti Levu is home to the capital Suva, where almost three quarters of the population live. Other major towns are Nadi and Lautoka.

The most important towns located on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. Among the other islands as well as island groups are Taveuni and Kadavu , the Mamanuca and the Yasawa, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti group off the coast of Nadi . Suva and the distant Lau group.

Demographics Of Fiji

The 2007 census showed that the permanent population of Fiji was 837,000. The population density at that time was 45.8 inhabitants per square kilometre. Life expectancy in Fiji was 72.1 years. Since the 1930s, the population of Fiji has increased by 1.1% per year. The population is dominated by the age between 15 and 64 years. The average age of the population was 27.9 years and the sex ratio was 1.03 males per 1 female.

Ethnic groups

Fiji’s population is mainly made up of indigenous Fijians (54.3%), as well as Indo-Fijians (38.1%). The proportion of the population of Indo-Fijian descent has declined significantly in the last two decades due to migration for various reasons. Indo-Fijians suffered reprisals for a time after the Fiji coup of 2000. There is also a small but significant group of descendants of Indo-Fijian workers from the Solomon Islands.

About 1.2% are Rotumans – natives of the island of Rotuma, whose culture has more in common with countries like Tongaor Samoa than with the rest of Fiji. In addition, there are also smaller but economically important groups of Europeans, Chinese as well as other Pacific Island minority groups. The total number of members of other Pacific Islander ethnic groups is about 7,300.

Political relations among ethnic Fijians and Indo-Fijians have frequently been tense, and tensions among these two communities seem to have dominated the politics of the islands. The level of political tension varies between the different regions of the country.

Religion In Fiji

Based on the 2007 census, 64.4% of the population in the country was Christian, while 27.9% were Hindu, 6.3% are Muslim, while 0.8% are non-religious, 0.4% are Sikh and 0.3% are from other religions.

The dominant Christian denomination is the Fiji and Rotuma Methodist Church With 34.6% of the population (including almost two-thirds of ethnic Fijians) following Methodism, Fiji has a higher percentage of the population than any other nation.

The Catholics are led by the Archdiocese of Suva, whose province also includes the dioceses of Raratonga (in the Cook Islands for these and Niue, both countries associated with New Zealand) and Tarawa and Nauru and the Sui Iuris Mission of Tokelau. This reflects that many important Roman Catholic missionary activities were carried out in the former Apostolic Prefecture (established in 1863 by the Apostolic Vicariate of Central Oceania), then in the Apostolic Vicariate of Fiji, which has since been promoted to the entire Archdiocese of Suva Fiji.

In addition, the Assemblies of God, Seventh-day Adventists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (HLT Church) are significant. Fiji is also home to the Anglican Diocese of Polynesia.These and other denominations have a small number of Indo-Fijian members; Christians of all kinds make up 6.1% of the Indo-Fijian population.

Hindus belong mainly to the Sanatan sect (74.3% of all Hindus) or are unspecified (22%). The small Arya Samaj sect claims to be about 3.7% of Hindus in Fiji. Muslims are predominantly Sunni (96.4%), following the Hanafi school of law, with a small Ahmadiyya minority (3.6%). Sikhs make up 0.9% of the Indo-Fijian population as well as 0.4% of the Fijian nation. Their ancestors came from the Punjab region of India; They are a relatively recent wave of immigrants who did not live through the Indenture system. The Bahá’í Faith has over 21 local spiritual assemblies throughout Fiji, and Bahá’ís live in more than 80 places. The first Bahá’ís to the islands were New Zealanders who arrived in 1924. Additionally, there is also a small Jewish population of approximately 60 people. Every year the Israeli Embassy organises a Passover celebration with about 50-60 participants.

Things To Know Before Traveling To Fiji

Visa and passport

Citizens of most countries do not need a visa. Most visitors receive a residence permit for 4 months on arrival. All others need a visa. The residence permit can be extended for another two months for a fee.

Language

Fiji has three official languages: EnglishFijian and Hindi.

Fijian is the first language of the indigenous Melanesian population, while a local variant of Hindi is spoken mainly by people of Indian origin. English is the lingua franca and medium of instruction in Fijian schools and is widely spoken in the larger cities and tourist areas. People living on some remote islands are not fluent in English, so it is useful to learn a few phrases in Fijian when travelling to these areas.

Culture

Fijian culture is a rich mosaic of indigenous Fijian, Indo-Fijian, Asian and European traditions, including social politics, language, food (mainly from the sea, but also casava, dalo (taro) and other vegetables), costumes, belief systems, architecture, arts, crafts, music, dance and sports.

While Fiji’s indigenous culture and traditions are very much alive and form an integral part of the daily lives of the majority of the Fijian population, Fijian society has evolved over the last century with the introduction of traditions such as those of India and China, as well as important influences from Europe and neighbouring Pacific countries, particularly Tonga and Samoa. Thus, Fiji’s diverse cultures have come together to form a unique multicultural national identity.

Fijian culture was showcased at the 1986 World Expo in Vancouver, Canada, and more recently at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, along with other Pacific countries in the Pacific Pavilion.

Respect

Fiji, like many Pacific island countries, has a strongly Christian moral society, having been colonised by missionaries in the nineteenth century and converted to Protestantism. Don’t be surprised if shops and other businesses are closed on Sundays. The Sabbath begins at 6pm the day before, and some businesses celebrate it on Saturday instead of Sunday. Many Indians are Hindus or Muslims.

Also, dress modestly and appropriately. Although Fiji is a tropical country, dress should be limited to beach wear. Ask locals what they consider appropriate attire for the occasion. When visiting towns and villages, you should cover your shoulders and wear shorts or a sarong that covers your knees (for both sexes). This is especially true for church visits, although locals will often lend you a sultan for a church visit.

There are no nudists/naturists or topless swimming in Fiji.

Internet & Communications in Fiji

Public phones are plentiful and generally easy to find (look around the shops). All phones are prepaid – you must first buy a scratch code card (F$5, F$10 or more nominal). To make a call, call the card-issuing office, enter the code (which is on the card) and the destination number. Calls from abroad to Europe cost about F$1 per minute.

Some mobile phone companies operate on the island (Vodafone, Digicel). A sim card is cheap, but you need to register your sim card to keep it active and to have access to data. Buying a sim card gives you access to cheap data sets for easy access to the internet using your phone as an access point. It is much cheaper than resort Wi-Fi and the speed is reasonable with connections in tourist areas. At the time of writing (July 2013) these were the prices for Vodafone data packages :

  • 200 MB (valid for 24 hours): 1.49 FJD
  • 500 MB (valid for one week): 4.99 FJD
  • 2000 MB (1 month validity): 25 FJD
  • 4000 Mb (1 month validity): 45 FJD

How To Travel To Fiji

Get In - By plane

Nadi International Airport is Fiji’s main international airport. Suva Airport also offers some international flights. Fiji Airways flies directly to Fiji from Los Angeles (LAX) and Honolulu (HNL) in the USA, as well as from Hong Kong (HKG) and many other places. Korean Air offers three weekly flights between Nadi and Seoul. Air New Zealand flies to Nadi from Auckland, Christchurch and seasonally from Wellington. As Nadi is a hub for flights to other Pacific Island nations, travellers to these countries will likely need to travel via Nadi.

Travel times from Australian cities vary. From Brisbane, the flight to Fiji takes about 3 hours and 40 minutes, from Sydney 4 hours and 30 minutes and from Melbourne 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Get In - By boat

You can enter Fiji by boat from Australia via the Australia Coastal Link. Boats are not allowed to stop on any island until they have received permission from Customs, Immigration and Health. There are five official points of entry to Fiji: Savusavu on Vanua Levu, Levuka on Ovalau, Suva and Lautoka on Viti Levu, and Oinafa on Rotuma.

How To Travel Around Fiji

There are a variety of public transport options in Fiji, including buses, “shared taxis” and private taxis. Fares are very reasonable: F$1 to F$2 from Colo-i-Suva to Suva Bus Station by bus, F$17 from Nadi Bus Station to Suva by shared taxi (shared taxis are usually white minivans that gather and depart when they reach their capacity of 6 to 8 people), or about F$80 from Suva Airport to Sigatoka by private taxi. On the main road around Viti Levu, buses run every half hour and taxis make up a significant portion of the traffic, while on the western road to Taveuni, buses make only a few trips a day and there is very little traffic. If the taxi has a meter, ask the driver to turn it on – the ride will be much cheaper than the negotiated price.

The current fare from Nadi Beach Resorts to Nadi city centre is $8 per passenger and $12 at the airport – you should be able to negotiate this price fairly easily.

Although there is rarely much traffic, most vehicles run on diesel and pollution on the main roads can be serious. A national speed limit of 80 km/h is usually observed; village speed limits are virtually ignored, but motorists slow down at several speed bumps scattered throughout each village. The wearing of seat belts is recommended in taxis, but is rarely seen and apparently never used.

Road travel tends to be more dangerous than many people are used to, and many embassies advise their citizens to avoid virtually all forms of road travel. Potholes, washouts and dilapidated bridges are commonplace. Buses are best unless you are really comfortable and able to hire a car and drive yourself – most people are not, even if they think they are. Avoid driving at night, especially outside urban areas. Another option is to get on and off buses, which allow you to visit Fiji at your own pace for a fixed price. This is a more expensive mode of transport, but it has included services such as tours and activities. However, some, such as Feejee, limit tours to Viti Levu and Beachcomber Island and do not include the more remote islands.

Inter-island

South Sea Cruises offers daily inter-island ferry transfers to resorts on Mamanuca Island in Fiji. AwesomeAdventuresFijioffers daily ferry transfers to the remote islands of Yasawa. Ferries between the islands are reasonably priced and the larger ones (especially those big enough to take cars and trucks) have a good safety record, although they can be crowded at the beginning and end of school holidays. Ferries offer two or three classes (depending on the ship). Economy class (F$65 p.p. on the Suva-Taveuni route) is the cheapest, but you have to sleep on chairs or on the floor. Dormitory (F$104 p.p., Suva-Taveuni) is dormitory-style accommodation. The cabin (F$135 p.p. on MV Suiliven, F$95 p.p. on SOFE line, Suva-Taveuni) is not necessarily the best option as space is very limited, the cabin can be shared (4 beds) and there may be hordes of insects.

Denarau Marina on Denarau Island is the gateway to the Mamanuca and Yasawa island groups. Cruise ships and ferries serving these islands depart from here. Denarau Island is connected to the mainland by a small bridge and is only 20 minutes from Nadi International Airport.

Do not attempt to take a car to another island unless you own it or have made clear special arrangements – most rental companies forbid this and they prosecute tourists who violate this clause of the contract.

Bicycle

In recent years, bicycles in Fiji have become increasingly popular with both locals and tourists. In many ways, Fiji is an ideal place for a bike tour. However, car traffic on busy roads can be intimidating and there is a lack of accommodation along the back roads. Cycling is a great way to explore Fiji, but make sure you bring your own spares and supplies as there are few bike shops. It is a good idea to bring plenty of water, a Camelbak is perfect as it is very hot and humid most of the year.

The main road around the largest island, Viti Levu, is closed except for a 40 km section on the east side. A solid road bike, touring bike or hybrid bike is suitable.

Renting bikes can be quite expensive compared to other options: a full day of cycling in Taveuni costs 25 French dollars. For two people, the cost is similar to renting a car.

Destinations in Fiji

Regions in Fiji

Fiji can be divided into nine island groups:

  • Viti Levu
    It is the largest and most important island in the country. It has the largest population, is economically the most developed and is home to the capital Suva.
  • Vanua Levu
    The second largest island, surrounded by a few small islands in the north.
  • Taveuni
    The third largest island, near Vanua Levu, with the 180th meridian cutting the island in half. It is the exclusive habitat of the Tagimoucia flower.
  • Kadavu
    This island is located south of Viti Levu.
  • Yasawa Islands
    Popular north-western archipelago for island shopping holidays.
  • Mamanuca Islands
    A group of small islands west of Viti Levu.
  • Lomaiviti Islands
    The central group of islands between Viti Levu and the Lau Group.
  • Lau Islands
    A group of many small islands in eastern Fiji.
  • Rotuma
    Remote dependency of Fiji, home to another Polynesian ethnic group.

Cities in Fiji

  • Suva – the capital
  • Lautoka
  • Levuka
  • Nadi (pronounced: “Nandi”)
  • Nausori
  • Taveuni

Accommodation & Hotels in Fiji

Most Fijian travel agencies require a “deposit” at the time of booking, which is usually a 15-20% commission. As this is a deposit, it is often advantageous to book only one night initially and then negotiate a lower price for the following nights (if space is available).

Many smaller and simpler accommodations have “local rates” and can give simply huge discounts if you book a room in person (or have a local do it for you) and provide a legitimate local address and phone number. Around Suva, Raffles Tradewinds is nice and quiet and costs about a dollar, with buses often running from the city centre. Sometimes on arrival at Nadi airport you can stop at Raffles Gateway, opposite the airport entrance, and book a room at Tradewinds for a good local rate if business is slow.

Suva has become a popular destination for conventions, meetings and events. With so many exciting activities outside the hotel, the possibilities for a unique and rewarding event are endless.

Nadi is the tourist hub of Fiji. Here you will find all the resources you need to explore your accommodation options, hotels and resorts, activities and excursions. Nadi is a thriving community that offers many opportunities to explore and experience. There are also a number of local activities and places to see while in Nadi.

Lautoka is the second largest city in Fiji. The real attraction of this dry western side of the island are the mountain ranges inland from Nadi and Lautoka. The Koroyanitu National Park offers hikers the opportunity to spend the night in the semi-arid forest, at waterfalls and in small villages. Visits to the Sleeping Giant Garden are also very popular because of the various ornamental orchids, as well as forest walks through the botanical marvels.

Things to see in Fiji

Fiji’s main attraction is its natural paradise of palm-fringed beaches, blue waters and lush inland hills. Photographing your tropical holiday like a postcard is a breeze when you’re on the beautiful sandy beaches of the Mamanuca Islands. The same goes for the Yasawas, where you can also dive for the dark limestone cave of Sawa-i-Lau. Explore the sand dunes of Sigatoka Valley, once used as a cemetery, or dive into the depths of Viti Levu to see Fiji’s wildlife in the beautiful jungle-covered Kulu Ecological Park. Join the crowds on virtually any island to dive and marvel at Fiji’s underwater beauty, or opt for a challenging hike along the ridges and through the dense rainforest of Bouma National Park on Taveuni. Tall jungle trees, a variety of colourful birds, waterfalls and volcanic peaks are just some of the island’s many attractions.

In short, the natural treasures alone are worth the trip, but this island nation also has many cultural attractions to offer. On Nadi is the magnificent Sleeping Giant’s Garden, once owned by the famous actor Raymond Burr, who lived there. It contains over 20 hectares of orchids native to Fiji, many cultivated and exotic plants and a beautiful water lily pond. Take a trip to one of the many villages to participate in a kava ceremony or see one of the many other cultural traditions that still exist. The village of Navala (on Viti Levu) still retains its traditional ridges, making it an excellent choice. For a deeper insight into the country’s history and culture, the Fiji Museum in Suva is a good addition to your trip.

Things to do in Fiji

  • Whitewater Rafting, Rivers Fiji, P.O. Box 307 Pacific Harbour, Fiji, +1-209-736-0597. Box 307 Pacific Harbour, Fiji, +1-209-736-0597. Rivers Fiji offers rafting and sea kayaking tours six days a week.
  • The Pearl, Queens Road, Pacific Harbour, Pacific Coast, Fiji, +679-773-0022. The Pearl Fiji Championship Golf Course and Country Club is located in Pacific Harbour and surrounded by beautiful rainforests. With over 60 bunkers, several water traps and a winding course, it is a challenge for the most experienced golfers.

Food & Drinks in Fiji

Food in Fiji

Residents eat in the cafés and small restaurants that can be found in every town. The food is healthy, cheap and of varying quality. What you order from the menu is often better than what comes out of the glass window, except in places that sell a lot of food quickly and keep it fresh. Fish and chips are usually a safe bet and are widely available. Many cafés serve Chinese dishes of one kind or another, but also Indian and sometimes Fijian-style fish, lamb or pork dishes. Near the airport, there is a wider choice of dishes, including Japanese and Korean.

Local delicacies include fresh tropical fruits (found in season at the farmers’ market in every town), paulsami (taro leaves baked and marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk, often with a meat or fish filling and a little onion or garlic), kokoda (fish or other seafood marinated in lemon and coconut milk) and anything cooked in a lovo or deck oven. Vutu is a local type of nut, grown mainly on Beqa Island, but also available in Suva and other towns around January and February. Much of the food is cooked in coconut milk. Note that everyone reacts differently to the increased fat content in their diet.

Be careful when ordering chicken dishes. Very often the chicken is cut in one bite, but with all the bones left over, it is quite easy to choke on a sharp bone. If in doubt, always ask for boneless chicken meal.

A typical Fijian meal consists of a starchy food, side dishes and a drink. The most common starchy foods in Fijian meals are taro, sweet potato or cassava, but breadfruit, bananas and nuts can also be found. Relishes include meat, fish, seafood and vegetables. Drinks include coconut milk, but water is most commonly drunk.

Drinks in Fiji

A very popular drink in Fiji is yaqona (“yang-go-na”), also known as “kava” and sometimes called “grog” by the locals. Kava is a peppery and earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant (Piper Methysticum). Effects include a numb tongue and lips (usually only for about 5-10 minutes) and relaxed muscles. Kava is mildly intoxicating, especially when taken in large or regular quantities, and taxi drivers and others who have used it recently should be avoided.

Kava consumption in Fiji became popular during the decline of cannibalism and was originally intended as a means of resolving conflicts and facilitating peaceful negotiations between villages. It should not be consumed at the same time as alcohol.

Money & Shopping in Fiji

Inflation in Fiji is relatively high – it is estimated to have increased by 12% per year recently. Expect to pay similar prices to Australia in tourist areas.

Be careful when visiting local markets as it is common for some vendors’ families to look outside for travellers and escort them inside under the pretext of getting the “best deals”. Once inside, these people and the family members of the stall owners can become very aggressive if the traveller does not buy their goods. Be firm, tell them you will report them to the authorities if they do not leave you alone. They will quickly change their tone and back off.

Also look out for the small travel counters that act as travel agents, even in some hotels or on the docks where the boats stop. They may not be accredited or it may be a pure scam. Although the Tourist Police were created to help tourists in such situations, time constraints may limit tourists’ ability to get their money back.

Currency

In Fiji, the currency is the Fiji dollar. Notes include: $2, $5, $10, $20, $50. Coins include: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1 and recently a $2 coin.

Tipping

There is virtually no tipping in Fiji. Therefore, there are no tips for taxis, hotels, bellboys, restaurants, etc. However, most all-inclusive resorts and dive centres have a “Christmas box” where you can donate money to be divided equally among all staff at Christmas time.

Festivals & Holidays in Fiji

Date Festival Notes
1 January New Year’s Day The celebrations can last for a week or even a month in some areas. In Fiji, it is customary to beat drums and throw water on each other. Fireworks and an annual street festival welcome the New Year in the heart of Suva, the country’s capital. It is one of the biggest New Year celebrations in the South Pacific.
February/March Holi Hindu “festival of colours” (not a holiday).
March/April Ram Naumi Hindu celebration of the birth of Lord Rama (not a holiday).
March/April Easter Major Christian holiday; Friday (Good Friday) and Sunday (Easter Sunday) are both official holidays. There is also a public holiday on Easter Monday, the Monday after Easter Sunday.
March/April Palm Sunday Also celebrated by Fijian Methodists as Children’s Sunday (it is not a public holiday).
May Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day The celebrations in honour of Fiji’s first modern state actually began a week earlier. They are almost always celebrated on a Friday. It used to be a public holiday, but the military-backed interim government abolished it after the military coup in 2006.
4 May National Youth Day A holiday celebrating the youth of Fiji.
15 June Birthday of the Queen Official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the former Queen of Fiji, who is still recognised by the chiefs as Tui Viti or Supreme Head of Fiji.
In the first half of the year and based on the Islamic and lunar calendar Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday celebrated after Ramadhan. The holiday is not the actual day of the festival due to the unpredictability of the appearance of the moons that mark the day.
August Bula Festival Celebrated in Nadi
August Carnival/Hisbiscus Festival Celebrated in Suva
September Eid Celebrated in Lautoka
September Friendly North Festival Celebrated in Labasa
September Coral Coast Festival Celebrated in Sigatoka
10 October Fiji Day The anniversary of Fiji’s cession to the United Kingdom in 1874 and the attainment of independence in 1970. The week leading up to Fiji Day is called Fiji Week, a week of religious and cultural ceremonies celebrating the country’s diversity.
October/November Diwali Hindu “festival of lights” in honour of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. The folk festival is a day of colour and celebration among all races and creeds in Fiji, not in the religious sense, but for its festive and cultural aspects. Hindus in Fiji usually open their homes to other families to share the sweets and traditional foods of Diwali in Fiji.
6 November Music BlueSky Fiji “Music Festival” charters a tropical island for an international music festival.
Boxing Day Boxing Day Boxing Day.

Stay Safe & Healthy in Fiji

Stay safe in Fiji

Most crime takes place in Suva and Nadi, far away from the resort areas. The best advice is to stay on hotel grounds after dark and exercise extreme caution in Suva, Nadi and other urban areas after dark. Travellers have been victims of violent crime, especially in Suva. Travellers have reported regular petty thefts, muggings, home invasions/rape etc. in Suva. You will find that bars are prevalent in most households. You will find that bars are prevalent in most households. Economic and ethnic conflicts have resulted in low levels of violent crime. Some resorts and hotels have more extensive security measures than others, which should be taken into account.

Assaults are often committed by large groups of men, so being in a group is not necessarily a deterrent. Police forces sometimes have difficulty responding to crimes, possibly for reasons as trivial as the inability to pay for petrol.

Fijian culture encourages sharing and sometimes small things like shoes are “borrowed”. It is often possible to arrange for things to be returned by talking to the village chief.

Fiji is still ruled by a military government after a coup in December 2006. Although its impact has not been felt in the resort areas of Nadi, it has led to economic decline and a weakening of the rule of law. Journalists can be blacklisted for political reasons. People whose work involves reporting on controversial political activities must ensure that their visas are in order before travelling to Fiji.

Stay healthy in Fiji

Fiji is relatively disease-free compared to most other tropical countries. Avoid mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and even elephantiasis by covering up carefully or using repellents when outdoors at dusk. Local water is generally safe, but it is advisable to filter or boil it if in doubt. Tap water in urban areas is treated and almost always safe. When exceptions occasionally occur, warnings are given to the public or to radio and print media. Contaminated food is rare, although occasionally adult reef fish may contain mild neurotoxins that they accumulate in their bodies from freshwater algae that run off into the sea. The effects of such “fish poisoning” are usually intense for only a day or two, but the tingling of the lips and unusual sensitivity to heat and cold can last a long time.

Drowning accidents are common, and car and other motor vehicle accidents (often involving animals or pedestrians) are very common. Local emergency medical care is very good at bases in urban areas. Expect long waiting times at public clinics and hospitals. Treatment of serious illness often requires evacuation to New Zealand or Australia. Even the most basic medical care is usually not available outside urban areas.

Fiji, like most countries in the South Pacific, can experience intense sun exposure that can cause severe skin burns in a short period of time. Be sure to use hats, sunglasses and a generous amount of high SPF sunscreen on ALL exposed skin (including ears, nose and tops of feet) when in the sun. Also, tropical boils are a common nuisance in Fiji and can be avoided by rubbing sweaty body parts with soap more than once a day.

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