The Fiji Islands are one of the most beautiful places in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This country attracts tourists with its picturesque beaches, exotic underwater inhabitants and delightful landscapes. People of different nationalities live here, but all of them are very open, friendly and independent. Welcome to Fiji, the country is waiting for you!
Fiji on the map
Geographical location of the country
The archipelago of Fiji is located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean in the Southern Hemisphere. The distance to New Zealand is 1700 kilometres, about the same distance to Australia, and more than 4400 kilometres to Hawaii.
The closest neighbours of the republic are the island states of Tongo, Western Samoa and Vanuatu.
The archipelago includes more than 300 islands, and one third of them are inhabited. The largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
Most of the archipelago consists of volcanic islands. It also includes atolls and coral reefs. There are many mountains on the volcanic islands, although there are no very high mountains among them. The highest point of the country – Tomanivi – is located on Viti Levu and rises 1322 metres above the ocean surface. In addition to her in Fiji, there are 30 more peaks over 1000 metres.
Safety for tourists
Fiji has not yet been included in the global index of peacefulness, which takes into account the calmness of the situation, attitude to tourists and many other factors, but holidays here are considered very safe.
The level of street crime is low, although pickpockets can be found even in a tropical paradise. Walking alone at night in some places is not recommended, as there is a risk of robbery.
The traffic situation is calm and the risk of being a victim of an accident is quite low.
The natural dangers of the archipelago include, firstly, the hot tropical sun. Even a short stay on the beach threatens an unfamiliar tourist with burns and heat stroke. In the ocean there are sharks dangerous for people and poisonous fish. It is better to enter the water in shoes, as sharp coral fragments can injure feet. You should also be wary of tidal currents.
The animal world of the islands is not dangerous, there are no large predators. But you should be protected from mosquitoes, which can be carriers of dangerous diseases – tropical fever and Dengue fever.
You should also observe elementary rules of hygiene – be sure to wash fruits, do not drink unboiled water, sea delicacies should be eaten only after heat treatment.
Polynesians in general, and Fiji islanders in particular, are very cheerful and good-natured people. They are extremely fond of various holidays, noisy parties, music and dancing.
Holidays in the country are divided into secular and church holidays. For many of them in the calendar there is a red date, that is, they are state holidays. Among such holidays are New Year’s Day, Youth and Gift Days, and Fiji National Day.
Among the most honoured church holidays are Christian Christmas, Easter and Palm Sunday, Hindu holidays Diwali and Holi, Muslim Eid al-Fitr.
In addition, various festivals are very popular in the country. For example, in August there is an annual carnival in Suva, and in September there is a sugar festival in Lautoka. The Blue Sky International Music Festival is held on the 6th of November.
What fun things to do in Fiji
The islands cannot please the sophisticated tourist with an abundance of various entertainments. There are no historical monuments, no large shopping centres or nightlife. But here is very beautiful tropical nature, there are mountain rivers and lakes, beaches and coral reefs.
- Beach holidays. Most beaches on the islands are free and wild, and on the more cultural ones, the amount of entertainment is limited. But the main thing for Fiji’s beaches is their clear sea and white sand surrounded by coconut palms.
- Snorkelling. Snorkelling is very popular on the islands. The underwater world here is diverse, and you don’t even need to dive very deep to enjoy its wonders.
- Diving. Another underwater activity in the archipelago. Here you can scuba dive along the coral reefs or even go shark watching.
- Kayaking. Floating on a miniature boat can be quite an exciting adventure. Fiji allows you to float both on rivers, through mangroves, and in the open ocean, along sandy shores.
- Fishing. The Pacific Ocean is considered the richest place on the planet in terms of fish and other marine life. So to visit Fiji without fishing from a boat is to miss out.
- Rafting. Rafting is a very popular type of tourism, and it is well-developed in the republic. There are many mountain rivers, abounding with rapids and waterfalls, steep canyons and dense tropical thickets.
- Ethno-tourism. Another direction of tourism, which is gaining popularity in recent years. To get acquainted with the life and customs of local aborigines, to take part in a costume festival and even to visit a village of real cannibals – this is what attracts the archipelago of lovers of ethnography.
- Canopy tours, zip-lining. The dense tropical jungle of the islands is not well suited for hiking, but you can cross them on rope trails or suspended zip-lines. From the top, there are marvellous views of the forest and its many inhabitants.
- Natural Attractions. The nature of the islands is varied and marvellous. There are dense impenetrable thickets, there are waterfalls and crystal clear lakes. There are many mountains, some of which are craters of extinct volcanoes. There are also caves, including those filled with seawater.
- Architectural sights. There are not many of them in the country, but they are there. Tourists will definitely be offered to see the Romanesque style Catholic cathedral in Suva, the Hindu temple in Nandi, the Fiji Museum with a rich ethnographic collection.
What’s important to know about Fiji
If you are planning to visit Fiji, here are some of the most important things to know:
The official languages of the country are English and Fijian. They are spoken by almost 90 per cent of the country’s population. In addition, Fijian Hindi, spoken by Indian migrants, is widely spoken.
The country is currently home to just under 1 million people, with 70% of the population concentrated on the largest island of Viti Levu.
Ethnically, 57 per cent are directly Fijian, with a further 37 per cent Fijian-Indian, descendants of slaves brought to the islands to work on the plantations. The Fijian-Indians are virtually unmixed with the indigenous population and retain their language and culture.
There are also representatives of other indigenous peoples of the Polynesian islands, descendants of mixed marriages with Europeans and a small Chinese diaspora.
More facts about Fijians, their character and local colour can be found in this article.
The national currency of the country is the Fijian dollar, which is divided into 100 cents.
It was put into circulation in 1969 after the country gained independence. At present, banknotes of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 dollars are in circulation. Coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and 1 dollar are also used as a means of payment.
It is better to take American dollars with you to the islands, which can be easily exchanged for local dollars in any bank. In addition, American dollars are accepted in many places.
The approximate exchange rate is 2.3 Fijian dollars to 1 American dollar.
The main part of the country’s population is Christians, about 65% of them. Most of them are Methodists, Catholics only 9%. About 28% of the population profess Hinduism, and about 6% – Islam. Atheists in the republic do not exceed 1%.
The Fiji Islands are located in a maritime tropical climate zone. This type of climate is characterised by little difference between temperatures throughout the year. The average local winter (June-August) temperature is +26 degrees Celsius, dropping to +21 degrees Celsius at night. In summer (December-February) the temperature is +31 degrees during the day and +24 degrees at night. In any case, the European tourist will feel comfortable both Fijian summer and winter.
The year on the islands is divided into dry and wet seasons. The southeastern trade winds carry a lot of moisture, which falls over the islands from November to April. At this time of year, the eastern shores of the larger islands are literally drowned in rain. The average annual rainfall in Suva reaches 5000 millimetres.
The west coast of the islands, on the contrary, often experiences droughts. This is especially noticeable when the warm El Niño current is active in the Pacific Ocean. Then rainfall is almost non-existent not only between May and September, but also between December and January.
The average seawater temperature in Fiji remains comfortable and suitable for swimming all year round.
- Water temperature in winter, December-January: +27 to +29 degrees Celsius.
- Water temperature in spring, March-May: from +27 to +28 degrees Celsius. The ocean warms up the most in April.
- Water temperature in summer, June-July: from +23 to +26 degrees Celsius. The coldest water is in July.
- Water temperature in autumn, September-November: from +25 degrees in early autumn to +28 degrees in November.
The archipelago of Fiji is located in the area of the Pacific Ocean, which experiences the strongest negative impact from tropical cyclones. The hurricane season here runs from November to April, with the most destructive cyclones hitting Fiji in December-January. These cyclones bring with them strong winds and huge amounts of water, causing floods and landslides.
However, an average of 3–4 cyclones per decade do damage the islands’ economy and infrastructure.
The volcanic nature of the archipelago creates the threat of eruptions and earthquakes. Once upon a time, Fiji was even part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. But then the tectonic plate, on which they are located, gradually moved and now there are no active volcanoes here. Last actively erupted volcano Taveuni and it happened a thousand years before Christ.
Tectonic activity on the archipelago is quite high. On average, a strong earthquake occurs once a decade. The most powerful in recent years was the earthquake of 2018, its magnitude exceeded 8 points.
About the most devastating disasters in the history of Fiji can be read in this article.
Fiji is a presidential republic. The head of state here is the president. He is elected for 5 years by the Great Council of Chiefs. The president is also the commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints the prime minister.
Legislative power is represented by a bicameral parliament. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Administratively, the country is divided into 4 districts and 14 provinces.
The capital of the country is the city of Suva.
The major cities
Suva is the capital of the country and its largest city. It is located on the island of Viti Levu. Suva was founded by the British as a cotton plantation. Now about 170 thousand people live in it and its neighbourhood. Here is the highest building of the archipelago – the Reserve Bank. Tourists are attracted to the city by the library, built at the beginning of the last century, and the Fiji Museum. Suva has a huge number of parks – 78.
Savusavu is a city on the island of Vanua Levu with a population of only 4 thousand people. It is famous for its beaches, diving centre and yacht club. Tourists are also attracted here by the geothermal springs.
Nandi is the third most populous city of the republic. More than 70 thousand people live here. It is known for its beautiful beaches and accessibility, because the international airport of Nadi is located here. Tourists are attracted to the city by the Hindu temple and botanical garden.
Taveuni is the third-largest island in the archipelago. Tourists are attracted here by the coral reef, which gives an opportunity to dive, as well as ecological excursions and spas.
The coconut palm is the national tree and the pride of the archipelago. It is featured on the country’s coat of arms, and coconut mining is still an important part of the economy.
Sugar cane is another plant symbol of the islands. It has become the basis of economic prosperity and therefore also featured on the coat of arms.
Sulu is a skirt worn by both women and men. It is richly decorated with brightly coloured patterns.
Lali – a wooden slotted drum, an invariable participant in any celebration.
How to get to the Fiji Islands
Getting to Fiji is almost exclusively by aeroplane. This island nation is connected to the rest of the world by two international airports – the main Nadi and the secondary Nausori. Both airports are located on the island of Viti Levu.
Nadi Airport is the gateway for 86 per cent of the country’s tourist arrivals and serves 2.5 million people a year. This airport is 192 kilometres from Suva, the capital of the republic. Airliners from Australia, New Zealand, USA, Japan and Hong Kong arrive here.
Nausori Airport is located 23 kilometres from Suva, but serves mainly domestic flights. The number of international passengers does not exceed 40 thousand per year. They arrive mainly from Australia.
Between the islands of the archipelago can be travelled both by aircraft and sea motor transport. But there are no international ferries in Fiji. Cruise liners come here, but it is sea lovers who travel by them.
How much money to take with you
Holiday prices in Fiji can fluctuate quite widely depending on the claims of tourists and their goals. An ordinary beach holiday for two people will cost from $2000 per week. Prices for a cruise around the islands with fishing and various entertainment starts at $3000 for the same 7 days. And this is without taking into account the flight. Due to the fact that for a European archipelago is on the other side of the globe, the cost of flight to Fiji will start from 1000 dollars per person.
In the country itself, the following costs await tourists:
- Food: prices for food can vary significantly. For street food, it is enough to plan 10–15 dollars per day per person. For lunch in a restaurant – already 30–50 dollars a day. For example: the cost of a cup of cappuccino coffee is $2, and a hamburger will cost $3.
- Sightseeing: there are no special architectural sights on the archipelago. Tourists visit national parks, lakes and waterfalls, caves and dormant volcanoes. The price of an excursion with a local guide usually starts from $50 per person.
- Beach holidays. Many beaches on the islands are free, but for visiting others, which are the property of the hotel, you will have to pay about $ 50 per day. This amount will include many types of entertainment, except for diving (another $100).
- Souvenirs: on this item of expenditure you can save a lot. There is no special shopping on the islands. Mainly tourists buy local handicrafts: coconut soap, sarongs, sulu cloth, black pearls, decorative weapons of local aborigines. So you can spend 50 dollars on gifts, or you can buy all 500.
- Transport: it is profitable to move around the cities by buses. The price of a trip from 1 to 2 dollars. In a taxi, you will be charged 1.5 dollars for landing and 0.5 dollars per kilometre. Most hotels offer tourists their own transport for excursions. Between the islands, it is more profitable to move on ferries. The cost of a cabin varies from 32 to 66 dollars.
Thus, taking into account the reserve amount for unforeseen expenses, holiday in Fiji for two will cost from 2000 to 4000 thousand dollars for 7 days. And of course, the maximum holiday amount can be much higher.
If you have already visited this country, please share your impressions in the comments. Please write a few words, what you liked most of all in the country, what moments remained in your memory forever, and what you would recommend to other tourists. We will be very grateful for your recommendations!