Are you considering a trip to Fiji? You’re in for a beautiful experience.
Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 volcanic islands spanning the distance of 1600km in the pacific ocean. The main island is Viti Levu, which is home to the capital, Suva, and the main international airport, Nadi.
Below I have outlined many tips I came across and things I learned while spending my time in Fiji. Looking for a budget-friendly Pacific Island surrounded by turquoise water, white sandy beaches, palm trees, and some of the friendliest people on earth, then the answer is Fiji.
1.) Do I need a Visa?
First and foremost for every country, be sure to check out any visa requirements. You can view the exempted countries list here; the last update was January 2017.
2.) Fiji Currency
Fiji does have its currency, the Fijian Dollar (FJD). Many places do accept credit cards, and most will have a surcharge to pay by credit ranging from 2 – 5% of the total transaction price. There are plenty of places to exchange currency as well as ATM’s. ATM fees are high ranging from 10 – 20 FJD per transaction. The Internet can be limited in some places, so sometimes the credit card terminal may be down and unable to process transactions. It is always good to carry some cash, mainly since the taxis will only accept cash.
Be sure to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fees.
***NOTE: Make sure your card is charged in FJD*** Employees will charge your card in your local currency, when you do this you pay an additional fee. Always pay in the local currency and stress this to the employees charging your card.
3.) The Language
Almost everyone in Fiji speaks English. However, the main greeting is in their native language, Bula, which translates to “life.” Everywhere you go, you will be greeted with Bula, even from strangers.
Some words to be familiar with:
• Bula (Boo-La): Hello
• Vinaka (Vee-Naka): Thank You
• Move (Monthly): Bye
• Sega Na Lega (Senga-Na-Lenga): You’re Welcome
When reading about Fiji before I left, I came across an interesting note. He and She are the same. There is no gender-specific word in Fijian, so often they say “he” when referring to a woman and vice versa.
Once you’ve arrived at the airport, you will be welcomed by locals playing lovely music as you wait in line for customs. You can sign into the free airport wifi, which lasts only one hour.
After you go through customs, you have a few duty free shops. Those of you looking to drink during your stay and to save money should stock up here, also those looking for Cuban Cigars, this is your best place to find them. During this part of the airport, you can also pick up pocket wifi data ora sim card for your phone.
After the duty-free shops, you need to collect your bags and go through one more security check-point.
After the check-point, walk out and find your taxi driver. Don’t forget to exchange money or pull cash from the ATM; you will need this for the Taxi Driver.
Everyone in Fiji is very friendly, from the first greeting at the airport to walking downtown Nadi. You’ll be greeted at the airport with a band of smiling locals as you stand in line for immigration, nothing beats soothing music at 05:00 for those coming from America.
When visiting downtown Nadi, you won’t be harassed or pressured to buy anything; people generally want to talk to you. They want to hear that you’re having a great time in Fiji.
Before I went, I did see some rumors that shop owners may ask for your name and then carved it into wood and demand payment, but I did not see or encounter this in Nadi.
Also, as you explore the cities and go into shops, you will find cannibal tools; since the Fijian people used to eat people.
6.) Fiji Time is Real
Ahhh, Fiji Time, the greatest time to experience as someone who is vacationing, until you need something. I encountered Fiji Time, at the resort, at the front desk, with taxi drivers, at restaurants, shops, allover Fiji.
Things in Fiji happen with almost zero urgencies, Fiji Time. Whenever something is delayed, late, or didn’t get done by expectation, the reasoning will be explained with Fiji Time.
Enjoy and embrace it, Fiji Time is vacation time.
And for those that don’t want to embrace Fiji Time, the mainland is GMT +12.
Fun note, the island of Taveuni is on the international dateline, you can place one foot in one time zone, and one foot in the other.
A lot of shops are closed on Sunday. Sunday’s are a day of rest and locals tend to spend their time going to church and then with their family. Those of you staying on a resort will have no problem, but for those that plan to explore the main island, keep this in mind. Tourist attractions will be open but always double-check before heading into town.
8.) Time To Visit and Weather
When is the best time to visit? The rainy season runs from November thru April, which is also the hot and humid season. This is also the cyclone season. I visited in July, winter, which it got down to about 18 degrees Celsius at night. This is the more tourist season as people from Australia and New Zealand visit to get out of their winter.
Getting directions, To back up Fiji Time, Fijians tend to have a unique sense for direction. Asking for directions or how far away something is will be different from each person you speak with. Pre-download your maps on Google, and you’ll be safe.
If you’re planning to see a lot of the main island then hiring a car for your stay is best. They do drive on the left side of the road and from experience, I can tell you that the streets are narrow and are one lane. Outside of the main road, the rests are dirt or gravel roads. Something with all-wheel drive and AC would be best. Be sure to book your vehicle online. You can book the same day with online agencies for cheaper than paying for the rental directly at the airport.
If you usually drive on the right side, this may be the one time you want to purchase collision protection. Otherwise, be sure to review through your current insurance policy or your credit card collision policy to see what is covered. Fuel cost is around 2 FJD per liter.
Fiji does have a sound busing system, and it is very reasonable. A one-way bus trip from Nadi to Suva will take four hours for 50 FJD.
You can always take a taxi, be sure to always ask for the price beforehand. During our stay, we were in contact with one taxi driver that we hired as our driver for the first few days before getting a car.
If you do plan to fly domestically in Fiji keep in mind that domestic flights within Fiji only have a 15kg baggage allowance – so pack lightly.
Lastly, if you’re planning to get to the small island off the western coast, this will be done by boats that are usually set up by the resorts, hotels, and hostels.
I use Rome2Rio to find my transportation options.
First thing to note, depending where you’re arriving from, you may land early in the morning, so it is best to book the night before so you’re not sitting around at 05:00 waiting to check-in at 14:00.
Consider booking an extra night on the back end of your stay too, a lot of flights leave late at night. My brother and dad arrived at 05:00 from the US and left at 22:00 at night, so we booked the night before and the night after we had plan to leave. This allowed us an “early check-in” and “late check-out”.
During my stay, I stayed at the Anchorage beach resort. It was nice and reasonable. I booked the resort through Airbnb. I do this since my Delta account is linked with Airbnb, so I get an extra air-mile per dollar spent.
Throughout the mainland, you will find plenty of options to stay, especially with Airbnb and resorts. Airbnb starts around 40 FJD and torent an entire home starting prices are about 100 FJD.
Nadi also has a few hostels, which begin at 15 FJD per night for dorms. For a private room, expect to pay around 100 FJD per night. You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. A lot of the hostels run the campgrounds and cost about the same as a dorm.
Keep in mind the further you get away from the mainland, and even the further you are from Nadi or Suva the prices will increase.
Electricity and Wifi is a premium in Fiji, and most of the wifi is run through data from Vodaphone. You may loss electricity during your stay, and I can guarantee you will at least lose wifi once.
Prices for food vary all over Fiji. A cheap meal can cost as little as 4 FJD. For a meal at a mid-range restaurant, expect to pay around 30 FJD. From what I read, accommodation on most of the smaller islands includes three meals a day. My resort on the main island included breakfast as part of the stay.
Domestic beer for a pint is around 5 FJD – 7 FJD. For those looking to cook their meals, groceries for a week will cost around 50 FJD.
If you’re curious about more cost in Fiji, check out Numbeo, here is a link for Nadi.
Tip, while you’re staying in Fiji be sure to try Kava, even though you most likely won’t like it. And be sure to try some real sugar cane. Driving around the island or with a taxi driver, pull over and bite into some sugarcane.
Tipping is not customary, nor required, but is much appreciated. I did come across a note that Fiji is a communal society, and as such, everything is shared. So tipping at your resort will be spread throughout the staff.
Do not feel obligated to tip during your stay, even if you see the tip jar or the tip note line on your receipt.
There is so much to do in Fiji, regardless of where you stay, and honestly, you won’t be able to do it all in two weeks. So I will review some everyday things I saw and the cost of things that I did. Be sure to check out their tourism website and of course Trip Advisor is also an excellent tool for finding things to do.
National Park entrance fees are between 10 FJD – 20 FJD per person.
Surf lessons are 200 FJD per person. I did mine with Fiji Surf Co.
Day trips out smaller resort islands can cost between 50 FJD – 80 FJD for the return boat trip. The cost of the day resort passes vary. I went to Mala Mala that 120 FJD which included a 50 FJD drink voucher.
Zip-Lining was 100 FJD per person. I did mine at the Sleeping Giant.
A one-tank dive will be around 200 FJD. A PADI certification course is about 700 FJD with an Advanced Open Watercourse will be around 900 FJD.
White water rafting is around 500 FJD (only available on the main, larger islands). We had planned to do this, but the only place open was in Suva and required a 05:00 bus ride back to Suvafor 3 hours and then getting back at 22:00.
14.) Be Aware
Be Aware of your surroundings; the chance of a snake bite is low. Check the following website for things to avoid, here.
Be sure if you’re going during a high time of Dengue Fever that you know the symptoms and seek medical attention immediately.
15.) Things to Bring
On top of your typical travel list, don’t forget to bring:
- Bring your driver’s license if you plan to drive.
- Bring an international adapter. The one I have works great, and I bought it off of Amazon for 12 USD, here.
- Portable Charging Pack
- Rain Gear
If you’re curious about my trip, you can read it here. If you have any questions send me a message or drop them in comment section below.