Destination travel guide for Fiji
Fiji is one of the first places in the world to see the new day. It sits in “tomorrow” just west across the international dateline.
“Two meals and two movies”. Fiji is approximately a 10 1/2-hour non-stop flight from Los Angeles. Your flight schedule will indicate a +2 arrival. No, it doesn’t take two days of flying; merely two calendar days will elapse. You will leave LAX in the evening and a short while after takeoff, pass the midnight hour and into another day. Then shortly before landing, you will pass the “international dateline” and move into day two. Flying back to the US and re-transiting of the international dateline, you will gain back the two days you “lost”.
Once in Fiji, it is a 4-hour flight to Sydney and 3 hours up to Brisbane or due south to Auckland, New Zealand. Most people assume that Fiji is close to French Polynesia. However Tahiti is eastbound, back across the dateline, about 6 hours flying time with no direct air connections. Fiji Airways is the national airline of Fiji and offer a number of services between North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and other islands in the South Pacific. Check-out our Fiji Airways special airfare to Australia and New Zealand with 2 free nights in Fiji.
Virtually anytime, Fiji has a year-round tropical climate. But there are “seasons” and regions to consider. November to April is generally considered “summer”. (Remember Fiji is the Southern Hemisphere but not so far below the equator that there are drastic temperature variances). Temperatures and humidity tend to be higher (85-92F), especially in the lush tropical rainforests of the northern islands, though virtually all resorts have optional AC. From May to October the climate is generally milder (75-82F) and drier.
Viti Levu is the main island in Fiji and is home to the International airport. Coral Coast is a popular tourist area on Viti Levu known for expansive ocean views, breathtaking sunsets and great snorkeling. For the best beaches and water activities head over to Mamanuca and Yasawa islands by ferry from the main island or by seaplane or helicopter from the airport. Resorts on the Fiji’s Northern Islands (a short flight from the main island) are set among lush rainforest and beautiful waterfalls and provide an easy access to some of the best diving in the world. Some of most famous luxury Fiji resorts (Namale, Matangi, Qamea, Jean Michelle Cousteau ) are here and offer a truly unique experience of a private island resort. All of these resorts (and many others throughout Fiji) offer hassle-free All Inclusive Fiji Vacation packages.
Yes. Travel Insurance is always a good idea, however, you don’t need special shots for Fiji, as there are no major epidemics or infectious diseases. The drinking water is purified at hotels and restaurants and there is bottled Fiji water available to take on the road or when visiting remote areas. And there are no predatory animals in the islands. The worst things you might suffer are toasty sunburn, a kava induced hangover or some “mossie” (mosquito) bites. But accidents do happen and it is best to be covered rather than maxing your credit card on overseas medical treatment.
Fiji has good medical facilities with hospitals and lab facilities in all principal cities and towns. There are many private clinics and dental facilities with well-trained staff throughout the islands. Services are relatively inexpensive by US standards. The farther you go from principal cities, the more basic the services available.
As a US citizen, you will need a passport that is valid for six months beyond your departure from Fiji and a ticket for return or onward travel to another country, for which you are authorized to enter. Tourist entry visas are granted on arrival for a stay of up to 4 months.
Relaxed. This is the home of the “friendliest people on earth.” It’s not an advertising line. It’s a feeling that has to be experienced to be appreciated.
Yes. Fiji was a British colony and even though Fijian and Hindustani are the principal languages everyone studies the King’s English in school. Thus you will be able to converse with most anyone. As a visitor, you will be referred to as a “kaivilagi” (kai-va-langi) literally meaning one from a foreign land.
- Bula (boo-la): friendly form of greeting
- Vinaka (vee-naka): thank you
- Moce (mothay): goodbye
- Koro: village (i.e. koroniYanuca: Yanuca village)
- Sega nalega (senga-na-lenga): you’re welcome; no worries
- Turanga (too-ranga): male
- Marama: female
- Loo (British): toilet
You are allowed 2 pieces of luggage not exceeding 23kgs (58lbs) and one small carry-on bag not exceeding 4 kgs (10 lbs). For those flying business class, you are allowed an extra 10kgs on luggage.
The reason to mention the luggage requirements is NOT to over pack for Fiji especially if you flying within the country. Luggage allowances on domestic airlines are limited generally to 15kgs (33 lbs). You will have to store excess luggage (which can done at the Nadi airport or your hotel) or pay overage charges.
- Suntan lotion (SPF30+)
- Head covering(We’ll leave it to you as to style but your protection and comfort should come first.)
- Insect repellant(If you prefer a special brand. If not, you can get some Aerogard in Fiji formulated for tropical environments.)
- Flip-flopsor the previously mentioned water shoes (i.e. Tevas)
- Most of you will be forgiven for being “snap happy” with the gorgeous Fijian scenery. So make sure you have plenty of batteries and memory cardsfor digital photography or video cameras, as they will be either overpriced or not readily available.
- If snorkeling, you’ll want to bring your own mask.
- For diving, bring your own regulator and dive certification card.
Electricity is 240 volts AC/50 cycles. Most modern appliances such as mobile phones, computers, etc. have internal dual voltage. So you will only need a twin prong adapter with round poles. Buy a set, with converter, before you leave the US if you are intending to use any other devices. Most hotels have hair dryers that are already configured for Fiji electricity.
Generally communication from the islands is modern and up to date. Although broadband and high speed internet is not available all over.
- Most hotel rooms have IDD (International Direct Dial) but that can be costly. And GSM (satellite) phones are pricey. Vodaphone provides the only mobile phone service in the islands and if need be, you can rent one from them. Most US cellular phones do not work in Fiji even with a change in SIM cards. And if they do, you’ll be charged international roaming rates.
- If you need to call, buy a Tele Card available in hotels and shops. They are available in denominations ranging from FJD3 – 50. You are then dialing on one of the Fijian networks and it is probably the cheapest way to ring back to the US (00-1-area code+number).
- If dialing to Fiji, the international access code is 011+679+number.
All hotels and most larger towns have internet facilities. For a small hourly charge you can read and answer emails or browse the net. Generally these are dial up, as broadband and wi-fi are limited. Expect to pay 7–10c per minute or a pro-rated hourly fee.
Fiji is 12 hours ahead of GMT. If it is 12 noon in Fiji it will be 5 pm the previous day in LA and 8 pm the previous day in NY. Check for seasonal changes to daylight savings time.
The local currency is the Fiji dollar (FJD). The US dollar trades at a favorable rate (approx. 1.5) to the Fiji Dollar. Use our handy currency converter under the Resource tab in the toolbar. The Fiji dollar comes in denominations of FJD50, 20, 10, 5 and 2 bills. Coins range from .01 to 1 FJD and is based on 100 cent to the dollar.
ATMs can be found at the ANZ airport bank and at ANZ or Westpac banks in Nadi town and Suva. Check with your banking institution if the cash card is usable in Fiji or go on-line to www.anzbank.com.
Monday to Thursday, 9:00am to 3pm and Friday, 9am to 4pm.
Most all resorts, independent activities, restaurants and car rentals that cater to the tourist trade, accept credit cards for payment. (Visa, Amex, MasterCard and Diners Club). For other cards, it would be advised to check with the issuer before traveling.
It is advisable to take travellerscheques in smaller, easy-cashed denominations (20s or 50s). You can cash travellerscheques at banks for the best rates. Hotels do not offer competitive rates but are convenient. This work’s best when you want to shop at local markets or villages.
You will arrive at the international airport at Nadi (Nan-dee). The airport was modernized a few years ago and is quite up to date.
- For transiting passengers, you will be directed to a secure area until your next flight.
- For those entering the country, you will proceed directly to the arrivals hall to clear passport control. Then down to luggage claim where there are duty free shops to browse while waiting in the baggage area.
You are allowed to bring in 2 liters of alcohol and as much money as you want. However, you have to declare anything over FJD10,000 and you cannot take out more than you brought in. Amateur still and video cameras are fine but if you are bringing in professional grade equipment, have a copy of receipts and registration numbers.
All major international car rental companies (Avis, Hertz and Budget) are represented in Fiji. It is less expensive to book before you leave the US, but you can rent from hotel tour desks. It is advisable not to go with local companies as the condition of the vehicles cannot be verified. Most companies offer automatic transmission cars with AC and road-side assistance. But without a mobile phone that may not be practical. If you get a flat locals will usually come to your rescue. Stick to the posted speed limit despite what the locals are doing. Taking a page from our own highways, the police have radar traps. You have to be 25 years of age to rent and your valid state license is sufficient. Petrol is expensive (above $5 an equivalent gallon) and driving is on the left side of the road. It’s not daunting and is the best way to get out and explore the country.