Fiji travel guide
A friendly Fijian welcome and broad smiles await you in this tropical paradise of beautiful beaches, blue lagoons and swaying palm trees. Renowned for stunning sunsets, breathtaking waterfalls, awesome surf, and pristine rainforests, Fiji unsurprisingly draws thousands of visitors to its shores each year.
Chief among the attractions has to be the cyan-blue sea. It may look tranquil and majestic, but beneath the surface it’s teeming with life. Amid multicoloured reefs, the intrepid can explore over 1,500 fish species. You’ll also find five species of sea turtle, sharks, dolphins and even whales around Fiji. You can’t come here without snorkelling or diving at least some of the time.
Beyond the sealife, you’ll find ample opportunities to go hiking, while birdwatchers love the islands for the abundance of winged species. There are many forests to explore, especially on the island of Kadavu, which is practically roadless, and even more so on the Garden Island of Taveuni.
Perhaps above all, though, it’s the people that make Fiji. Comprising more than 300 islands, the country is a vibrant melting pot of cultures, where East Indian, Polynesian, Melanesia, Chinese and European converge to form a unique cultural medley. English is widely spoken, which means communication is a breeze. You can also expect locals to give you the warmest welcomes, and don’t be surprised if they invite you into their homes.
If, somehow, you tire of the beaches and wildlife of the islands, you’ll find Suva to be an intriguing cultural hub, with a jumble of colonial and modern architecture. Laid out over lush hills by the sea, the capital is home to half of the country’s population and is the biggest city in the South Pacific. If you like to party, Fiji isn’t all laid-back, either, with Suva offering up a large dose of irreverent nightlife.
Brimming with colourful attractions, awe-inspiring scenery, friendly people and cultural and sporting activities aplenty, Fiji offers something for everyone. From the wanderlust-suffused traveller to the hedonistic sports junkie, this archipelago at the crossroads of the South Pacific is tourist heaven. And, best of all, there’s an array of accommodation and activities to suit all tastes and budgets.
18,274 sq km (7,055 sq miles).
897,537 (UN estimate 2016).
49.8 per sq km.
President Jioji Konrote since 2015.
Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama since 2014 (previously interim prime minister since 2007).
240 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs used are Australian-style with two flat angled blades and one vertical grounding blade.
Last updated: 13 March 2017
The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. ‘We’ refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
The level of serious crime is generally low, but petty theft is fairly common. Be particularly careful with personal possessions and travel documents in cities and other popular tourist destinations. Use a hotel safe where possible and avoid carrying everything in one bag. Don’t leave your belongings unattended. Be alert when you are withdrawing money from cash machines. There have been reports of thefts from motor vehicles in Suva. Windows should be kept up and doors locked when driving.
Before you travel, make copies of your passport, travel documents and travellers cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
Take particular care when walking at night in cities and towns and when visiting isolated areas. Women travelling alone should take extra care. There have been cases of serious sexual assaults against foreign nationals in Fiji, including against British women.
There are dangerous rip tides along reefs and river estuaries. Always comply with warning signs, especially red flags, and only swim from approved beaches. If you plan to go out to the reefs or engage in any water activities, you should satisfy yourself that the company you are using has the most up-to-date equipment, including all of the necessary safety features and that they – and you – are fully licensed and insured.
There’s only one hyperbaric (decompression) chamber in Fiji, located at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva, and it’s only available intermittently. If you’re diving in Fiji, do so conservatively and make sure you have travel and health insurance that includes coverage for diving and evacuation costs.
Follow local advice if jellyfish are present.
Take extra care when driving at night particularly in rural areas as roads are mainly in a poor condition and can be dangerous due to a lack of street lighting, the presence of pedestrians and stray animals on roads. When driving, you must keep your driving licence with you at all times. Vehicle safety regulations are rarely enforced and traffic violations can occur. Severe weather can lead to roads becoming damaged, blocked or washed away. Seek local advice before you set out.
Taxis are of variable quality. Only use licensed taxis; they have a yellow registration plate.
Not all minibuses are licensed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). As with taxis, those with yellow number plates have been approved by the LTA. Unlicensed minibuses will probably not be insured.
The first general election since 2006 took place on 17 September 2014. A peaceful election process gave rise to Fiji’s first democratically elected government in 8 years. You should monitor local developments and avoid political rallies and public gatherings.
The mobile phone network generally works well in cities and large towns but coverage in some rural areas and outlying islands can be limited or non-existent. You can use your UK mobile phone in Fiji if global roaming has been activated, but making and receiving calls can be expensive. Many UK mobile phones will not work in Fiji as your mobile phone provider may not have an international roaming agreement with Fiji’s mobile phone providers, Vodafone and Digicel. Many visitors prefer to buy a Fiji SIM card on arrival. These are relatively cheap to buy and calls, both local and international are cheaper than using a UK SIM card. Fijian SIM cards are available at Nadi International Airport and at convenience stores and supermarkets. Registration of a SIM card purchased locally is mandatory.