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.