Fiji: 25 Things to be Aware of When Visiting
If you’ve booked a trip to Fiji, you’re in for an unforgettable experience.
You might think you’ve entered paradise, as the turquoise waters, towering palm trees, and the friendliest people on Earth surround you with peace and tranquility.
Fiji is one of the most popular and budget-friendly Pacific islands to visit (check out the affordable accommodation in Fiji), and you’ll be joined by many other travelers, from the adventure seekers to the ones determined to spend uninterrupted hours on the beach, soaking in the sun and scenery.
Still, it’s always important to be aware of the hidden treasures and dangers of your destination.
Here are 25 things you definitely need to know before heading to Fiji:
1. Almost everyone on Fiji speaks English, so you’ll be understood. However, to immerse yourself in the culture, here are some common words in Fijian:
- Bula (boo-la): friendly greeting
- Vinaka (vee-naka): thank you
- Moce (mothay): good-bye
- Koro: village
- Sega na lega (senga-na-lenga): you’re welcome, no worries
- Turanga (too-ranga): male
- Marama: female
2. Fiji can be both very expensive and budget-friendly, depending on your taste and ability to haggle. By far the cheapest prepared food you’ll find in Fiji is at snack stands—but don’t worry, it’s still delicious.
3. If you’re making a trip to the outer islands (like Tivua island), take as much with you as possible. Drinks, food, and other essentials are roughly twice as much once you leave the main island.
4. When it comes to activities, Fiji leaves you never disappointed. Definitely make time for snorkeling—crystal clear visibility lets you explore an underwater wonderland you won’t find anywhere else on Earth.
5. If you want to really “get away”, visit Yasawa Islands. They’re popular due to the cheap accommodations and travel options, while remaining very secluded and tranquil.
6. Kava is a drink made with the pepper plant. It creates a numbing sensation in the mouth and has a relaxing effect on the drinker. It’s also a national fixture in the Fijian culture.
7. Savvy travelers make a point to visit all of Fiji, including the interior of the main island Vita Levu. Head into a gorgeous and vibrant rainforest on a river rafting tour, visit breathtaking waterfalls, and meet some of the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter.
8. Don’t expect to do much of anything on a Sunday except relax. Most businesses and travel are closed on Sunday in Fiji.
9. Don’t sit under palm trees, especially if you see coconuts lying nearby. You don’t want one of those to land on your head.
10. Time is more abstract in Fiji. You won’t see tons of clocks or watches. Take a cue from the culture, relax and enjoy the moment. Otherwise you’re going to need a lot of Kava.
11. There is electricity in Fiji, but you’ll want to bring a twin prong adapter with round poles so that you can plug in your modern devices: phones, laptops, and tablets.
12. When you arrive in Fiji, you’ll meet airport agents. These people are friendly and helpful, but make sure if you book some travel or holiday accommodation in Fiji with them that you get everything, including prices, in writing.
13. If you plan to book a rental car in Fiji, it’s best to book ahead of time online through global rental agencies. You’ll save money.
14. Paying for things in Fiji is easy. You do have to declare how much cash you’re bringing into the country when you arrive, and you can’t leave with more than you brought in. However, it’s simple to change your currency to the Fijian dollar, or simply use a major credit card.
15. Be proactive when taking a taxi. Ask for the price beforehand, and be aware that sometimes taxis won’t move until they’re full.
16. When you visit Nadi, you might find yourself invited into a welcome ceremony where you’ll drink kava and chat with the villagers, which is a very pleasant experience. Be aware that you’ll be asked to buy souvenirs after the ceremony is over, and they won’t be cheap.
17. It might be best to avoid shell markets. You’ll find tons of beautiful and interesting shells, but some of those shells come from endangered species and you might not be able to return home with it once you’ve purchased it.
18. You might encounter a friendly shop owner in Suva or Nadi who will ask for your name. A few minutes later you’ll discover that he has engraved your name on a wooden sword and is demanding payment.
19. However, the Municipal Market in Suva is an excellent place to shop for souvenirs. Be ready to haggle.
20. Most of the water in Fiji is safe to drink, but there are some locations where it might not agree with you, although locals will have formed a tolerance to it. To be safe, you can request that kava is made with bottled Fiji water.
21. It’s true no matter where you’re traveling, but remember to safeguard your valuables. Don’t think that a hotel room is always safe. Travel light.
22. Because electricity is at a premium in Fiji, you might want to stick with food that is made from local resources to avoid potential food poisoning, or stick to a vegetarian diet on your trip.
23. If you take tours, ride taxis, go horseback riding, or any other activity, it’s often best to go as a group and make sure you stay in sight of others. Most people on Fiji are friendly, wonderful, and kind, but there will always be someone trying to take advantage of naïve or timid travelers.
24. Black-banded sea snakes are deadly and they are in Fiji. Luckily they are also very passive and don’t typically bite. Still, keep your eyes open for these dangerous serpents and avoid them.
25. Finally, when you’re leaving Fiji, check your clothing and shoes for any burrs, shells, or plants that might have hitched a ride with you on a hiking trip or adventure. You don’t want to be stopped by customs because you didn’t clean out your pockets.
26. Enjoy your trip to Fiji. It’s a gorgeous country and you’ll be soaked in sunshine, warm waters, and beauty.