The Explorer’s Guide to Fiji

Fiji is a country made up of over 300 islands in the South Pacific. The tropical archipelago is a dream for lovers of white sand beaches, fascinating culture, and colourful reefs.

Fiji is quickly growing in popularity among adventure-seekers and beach bums alike, with almost 900,000 tourists in 2019. A trip to Fiji is a trip to paradise for anyone who wants to swim in crystal-clear waters or explore rugged landscapes.

With over 300 islands to explore, deciding what to do in Fiji can be overwhelming. It’s hard to go wrong no matter where you end up, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure you can do the activities you love in the locations you head to. We have created this introduction to give you an overview of what’s possible and help you plan your trip to Fiji.

Things to know about your trip to Fiji

The first thing you need to know is that your budget won’t stretch far without planning. With 300+ islands spread out over 18,000+ square kilometres, transportation doesn’t come cheap. Neither does accommodation, especially if you pile on the extras.

Fiji is considered a safe travel destination, but don’t leave your common sense at home. Consider taking a taxi at night, especially if you’re travelling alone. Don’t be alarmed when you see locals walking around casually with machetes; they are an important part of daily life. People use them for opening coconuts, chopping through vegetation, and cutting grass.

Many Fijians are Christians who take their Sunday church services seriously, so plan ahead. There won’t be many shops open on their church day. It comes as a surprise to many that outside of resorts and beaches, conservative clothing is expected. That means covered shoulders, longer skirts or dresses, and don’t wear hats in villages.

The best time to visit Fiji

One of the many great things about Fiji as a travel destination is the lack of winter. It is a paradise all year round, just a lot wetter during some months. Off-peak travellers can save some cash while still enjoying all that Fiji has to offer.

December and January often fill-up with tourists from New Zealand and Australia on their school holidays. February-April is the quiet rainy season. If you don’t mind high humidity and rain, this is a great time to go to save some money. The shoulder seasons, May-June and August-October, have a good mix of affordability, good weather, and not too many crowds. July is usually expensive and popular.

Activities during your trip to Fiji

Fiji is so much more than idyllic beaches. Fiji is a magical place where you can go on adventures and make memories that will last a lifetime. You can learn new skills, experience a new culture, and explore a virtually untouched wilderness. Here are some exciting activities to consider for your trip to Fiji.

Learn about the culture

Fijian fire dancer in Fiji village.

Fiji has a rich, unique culture with traditions going back thousands of years. The welcoming, warm people of Fiji have a multi-cultural heritage. The best way to experience it is by leaving the resort behind and heading to a small village on a guided tour.

Song and dance are well-loved in Fijian communities. If you catch a ceremony or performance, you’ll see traditional indigenous warrior dress and experience dances with fire.

Indulge in delicious cuisine

Woman buying food at market in Fiji

Traditional Fijian food is made from fresh local produce for bright, nutritious, and flavour-packed dishes. Take time to learn about the unique foods grown in Fiji. Taro is popular, but not one you’ll want to buy from the market and prepare yourself without local knowledge. In its raw form, the root vegetable can be toxic and contains needle-like crystals that need to be broken down with long cooking times.

Don’t forget to experience a lovo feast while you’re there. The traditional form of cooking uses an underground oven to cook a full feast during special occasions.

See Fiji from the sky

Aerial view of an island in Fiji

Fiji is a collection of more than 300 islands covering an area of over 18,000 square kilometres. Most people will only include a handful of islands in their trip to Fiji because of the time and cost of island hopping. Thankfully, if you want to see the country in a day, there is an option for you.

A helicopter tour of Fiji is the perfect way to see all the islands and the mystical features they have to offer: waterfalls, volcanoes, rainforests, and more. Some tours, like the one linked below, include a tour of a village and local tourist favourites.

Go ziplining through the jungle

A tourist ziplining through the jungle on their trip to Fiji.

Ziplining was originally used by wildlife biologists who needed a way to move around densely-forested areas without disturbing the ecosystem. It grew in popularity among tourists around the world as a fun way for adventurous travellers to get a great view of canyons, waterfalls, jungles, and more.

Ziplining in Fiji is an unforgettable way to experience the jungle. This ziplining tour in Fiji also includes a walk to a swimming hole and waterfall, and a visit to therapeutic mud pools in an eco-friendly adventure park.

Swim with the fish on a snorkelling trip

Boat on the beach of an island in Fiji.

If Fiji is your idea of a dream destination then there is a good chance you won’t need this pointed out to you. No matter where you are in Fiji, you will be a short trip away from post-card perfect turquoise beaches. The crystal-clear water surrounding the islands is alive with a diverse ecosystem of fish, marine mammals, and corals.

There are so many ways for you to explore the ocean, and no one is stopping you from doing all of them! You can experience it from above, go scuba diving, splash around at the shore, and even go snorkelling with sharks.

Tour the Cannibal Caves

Tourists on a trip to Fiji visiting the Cannibal Caves.

As far as unique travel experiences go, this is way up there. The Cannibal Caves were once the home of Fiji’s last cannibal tribe. To get to the caves, you’ll head to the nearest village and then take a canoe across the river. After a short 15 minute walk through native bush, you’ll arrive at the caves. The tour guide will tell you all about the cave’s history and the people who lived and dined there.

Spend a day on a floating bar

Tourists on a floating bar.

An exciting way to enjoy a day on the water is by heading out on a floating bar. A jet boat ride will take you to the Cloud 9 floating beach and bar for a fun day of drinking on the ocean. The DJ will play uninterrupted throughout the day while you relax, dance, snorkel, and fill up on pizza from the wood-fired oven.

After your fun on Cloud 9, you’ll have the option to take a therapeutic dip in a local hot springs mud pool.

Try an abseiling cave tour

A man abseiling down a cave.

Calling all adrenaline lovers! If you’re looking for a unique, and occasionally scary experience that gets you away from the city crowds, this activity is for you. You’ll be taken 35 minutes from Nadi for the 3-hour action-packed adventure. With the help of professional guides, you’ll explore the caves and cliffs by abseiling down various heights.

Experience a traditional kava ceremony

People drink kava during a sevu-sevu ceremony on a trip to Fiji

One of the can’t-miss traditions to experience on your trip to Fiji is a sevu-sevu ceremony. The ceremony, also called a welcome ceremony or kava ceremony, is the traditional way Fijians welcome new guests.

The main component of the ceremony is the kava root. Traditionally it would be given to the chief by the visitors. The root is ground into a pulp and prepared as a drink for everyone to share. Kava has a psychoactive compound called kavalactones which can create feelings of relaxation for the drinker. Many countries have restrictions or bans on kava.

Relax on a private island

A woman relaxing on Savala Island.

The beautiful Savala Island is a small private island that’s accessible from the Coral Coast. What better way to enjoy a tropical paradise than by spending a day relaxing on a private island doing any activity you choose.

A day tour to Savala Island will give you a chance to enjoy the tranquil waters however you’d like. Snorkelling equipment, kayaks, and paddleboards are available throughout the day. You can relax in small shade huts or on bean bags by the water. Therapeutic massage is available for an extra fee. During your time on the island, you’ll have free access to complimentary drinks and a buffet lunch is included.

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