Fiji is possibly the most postcard-perfect location in the world. Nearly a million tourists visit this South Pacific country every year. Fiji’s pristine white sand beaches, deep blue waters, and colorful coral reefs don’t disappoint. However, many visitors to Fiji quickly discover that there’s more to these islands than sun, sea and sand. Fiji’s people also have strong cultural traditions that invite exploration, such as its iconic fire walking ceremony and the Meke dance. Experience this tropical paradise inside and out by reading this guide to make the most of your visit to Fiji.
Table of Contents
- The Key Info
- The Country in Numbers
- The Five Largest Cities
- Top Tourist Attractions
- When To Travel
- Safety for Travelers
- Important Holidays
- Packing List
- Dos and Don’ts
- Secret Blogger Tips
- Top Instagrammable Places
- Fun Facts
Dive into our (free) travel guides below!
The Key Info
In the South Pacific Ocean located 3,000 km (1864 mi) east of Australia and 2,000 km (1242 mi) north of New Zealand, Fiji is a group of over 330 islands, of which Fijians only inhabit about 100. These islands cover a total land area of 18,300 sq km (7,100 sq mi), ranking it #157 in terms of land mass.
Fiji has a wet vegetation zone comprising rainforests and dry zones in its highland regions. The country’s capital Suva is on the southeast coast of Viti Levu, its largest island. While Viti Levu is 10,388 sq km (4,011 sq mi), Suva occupies a 2,048 sq km (790.5 sq mi) area of the island.
It has a population of 93,970 people who speak three official languages, including Fijian, English, and a non-Indian variety of Hindustani.
Country in Numbers
- Population number: 896,546
- Total size of the country: 18,300 sq km (7,100 sq mi)
- Capital city: Suva
- Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)
- Language: English, Fijian, and Hindustani
- Religion: Christian (64.4%), Hindu (27.9%), and Muslim (6.3%).
The 5 Largest Cities in Fiji
Although Fiji comprises over 300 islands, you can find all five largest cities on its two largest islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Here you get to discover one-of-a-kind life in the country’s key cities through lodgings, shopping, entertainment, dining, and more. Don’t pass up these thriving centers of Fiji life:
1. Suva – Population: 77,366
Suva is on Viti Levu. As well as being the country’s largest city, it is also the capital. Nearly half of all Fijians live here. You can visit the President’s residence here and soak up some local culture at the Fiji Museum.
2. Lautoka – Population: 52,500
Also on Viti Levu, on the island’s west coast, is Lautoka. Locals call it “Sugar City” because it is near the country’s sugar cane growing region. You should absolutely visit the Lautoka Sugar Mill to see the largest mill in the southern hemisphere.
3. Nadi – Population: 42,284
Also where 95% of international travelers arrive – at the Nadi International Airport is, you guessed it, Nadi. Travelers will find a tourist hub on the western side of Viti Levu, including shopping, markets, restaurants, and nightlife.
4. Labasa – Population: 27,949
Located on the north-eastern part of Vanua Levu, you’ll discover Labasa. Fiji’s Indo heritage is on full display in its fourth largest city, with curry houses and Indian vendors selling clothing and souvenirs.
5. Ba – Population: 14,596
Ba sits on the north-western part of Viti Levu, 37 km (22.9 mi) from Lautoka, and 62 km (38.5 mi) from Nadi. While here, visit the Fiji Culture Village to experience Fijian life in the olden days, including arts, crafts, and customs.
TOP Tourist Attractions
With over 300 islands to visit, you’re guaranteed plenty to see and do in Fiji. From ancient archeological sites to lagoons teeming with sea life, here are some of Fiji’s top tourist attractions:
1. Fire walking Ceremony
“Vilavilairevo” means “jumping into the oven.” It is the perfect name for Fiji’s tradition of fire walking. You can watch these centuries-old practices at many of the country’s resorts.
Fiji’s historic town on the island of Ovalau, founded when the Europeans first colonized the islands. It’s the country’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, where travelers can explore its colonial past.
3. Fiji Museum
In the capital of Suva, this little museum ranks among the South Pacific’s best. Presentations cover the diverse history and culture of Fiji.
4. Sawa-i-Lau Caves
You can find the enigmatic Sawa-i-Lau Caves on the northern Yasawa Islands. You can swim in its cool, clear waters as actress, Brooke Shields, did in the movie, “The Blue Lagoon.”
Don’t depart Fiji without visiting its third-largest island, where gorgeous coral reefs and diverse sea life await. Snorkel or scuba dive in its well-known Rainbow Reef or Great White Wall. If you want to stay above water, hike the Lavena Coastal Walk.
Best Time to Travel
If the key factors influencing when to make your trip to Fiji are weather and budget, your best bet is late October to early November. The weather will still be dry and calm, so you can enjoy the beaches and the resorts. Besides, they’re less crowded since it isn’t peak season and therefore, more budget friendly.
- Women – Fiji is generally safe for travel for women. However, always take a taxi at night to and from your destination. Avoid walking alone at night as well.
- LGBTQ – While Fiji is a progressive country with laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, it remains a socially conservative one. Members of the LGBTQ community are advised to avoid public displays of affection to avoid unwanted attention. Gay singles might likewise want to exercise caution when interacting with locals.
- BiPOC – Fiji is generally a safe place for all tourists. However, all travelers are advised to take taxis after dark and avoid walking outside even in a group.
Holidays in Egypt
Thanks to its blend of Indo, British, and Fijian culture, the Fijians celebrate various holidays and festivals. These are its most important:
- January 1: New Year’s Day
- April 19: Good Friday
- April 20: Easter Saturday
- April 22: Easter Monday
- June 11: Queen’s Birthday (Official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II)
- September 7: Constitution Day
- September 9: Constitution Day Holiday
- October 10: Fiji Day (Anniversary of Fiji’s independence)
- October 27: Diwali (Hindu “Festival of Lights”)
- October 28: Diwali Holiday
- November 11: Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday Holiday
- December 25: Christmas Day
- December 26: Boxing Day
For a full list of Fiji’s most important holidays, go to fiji.gov.fj
Do I Need a Visa?
If you plan to visit Fiji, you must hold a passport that’s valid for six months or more. If you come from one of the 109 countries from this list, you are exempt from needing a visa. Your visa permit, issued on arrival, will be good for up to four months.
Citizens from non-exempt countries can get a visa by following these steps.
The national currency of Fiji is the Fiji dollar (FJD). It comes in banknotes of $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. Coinage (called “cent”) comes in these amounts: 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1, $2. Major credit cards are welcome at most hotels, shopping areas, and restaurants, especially in tourist areas.
DOs and DON’Ts in Fiji
Visiting any unfamiliar country, even one as tourist friendly as Fiji, requires you to familiarize yourself with the local culture. Below are some dos and don’ts when traveling to Fiji:
|Learn Fijian culture, beginning with learning how to say “Hello” or “Bula.”||Forget to bring lots of insect repellent. You’ll need it to ward off unwelcome insects.|
|Try visiting other islands in Fiji. You’ll miss much of what Fiji offers by restricting yourself to the mainland.||Hand out candy to the local kids. Give out school supplies instead.|
|Wear conservative clothes when visiting local villages. While you want to get as much sun as possible, still cover up.||Wear your flower on the wrong ear. Right is for married people and left is for singles.|
|Sample the kava, Fiji’s traditional national drink. It’s non-alcoholic but has a soothing effect.||Visit a village without prior notice, especially to sightsee and take pictures.|
|Attend a Meke before you go. Fiji’s traditional style of dance tells the people’s stories in dance and song.||Just fish anywhere – ask where you’re allowed to fish first.|
Must-Haves for Your Fiji Packing List!
Don’t know what to pack for your trip to Fiji? While you will probably spend plenty of time at the beach, the well-prepared traveler needs a few more things. These must-haves will make your holiday happier and healthier:
- Clothing – Bring at least two pairs of swimsuits (bikini or trunks). The warm sun guarantees you will go to the beach a lot. You can always purchase a sarong (for women) or sulu (for men) to cover up for other activities. You’ll most likely get the best deal at an open-air market in the capital, Suva.
- Footwear – Sandals are versatile footwear for dressy and casual occasions. Bring along flip-flops or reef shoes for outdoor adventures.
- Sunscreen – While sunscreen is widely available in Fiji, it will cost more. Since you’ll use a lot, it might be more cost effective to bring some along. Make it a High SPF!
- Camera – You’ll want to take plenty of pictures on your trip.
- Small Gifts – You might want to give kids and other locals small tokens of gratitude for their hospitality when visiting villages and schools. The locals appreciate school supplies and guitar strings (which are expensive in Fiji).
Secret Tips from Bloggers
Want the most valuable secret tips to make your trip to Fiji the very best? These are the bloggers “who’ve been there” and “done that.”
If you still don’t think Fiji is within your budget, blogger, Anna covers how that’s just a misunderstanding. Read how she took a spontaneous trip to Fiji on a budget and had the time of her life.
Meanwhile, blogger, Annie, shows you why you must visit the other islands of Fiji apart from the mainland of Viti Levu. Many first-time visitors limit themselves on their holiday. Read about how to island-hop.
For an authentic insider’s perspective, read Lena’s blog. Lena was a teaching assistant in Fiji for four months, enough time to visit Fiji’s hidden treasures like Sigatoka Sand Dunes, Rainbow Reef, and Mamanuca Islands.
TOP 7 Instagrammable Places
- #fijiislands with 213k posts
- #albertpark with 207k posts
- #turtleisland with 167k posts
- #coralcoast with 61.8k posts
- #floatingisland with 42.1k posts
- #yasawaislands with 32.3k posts
- #manaisland with 23.2k posts
Fun Facts About Fiji
Whether its history, geography, politics, or culture, there’s a wide variety of fun facts about the South Pacific island nation of Fiji. Here are a few:
- Fiji only gained its independence from the British Empire in 1970.
- Scientists have identified over 1,500 species of sea life in Fiji’s waters.
- Indian cuisine and its use of spices strongly influences contemporary Fijian food.
- Fijian mythology claims that they came from Taganika, which was north of Egypt, in 1500 B.C. carrying treasures from the Temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem.
- In 1789, Captain William Bligh and 18 crew members found themselves left adrift from Tahiti by mutineers on the HMS Bounty. Fijian war canoes chased them in what is today called Bligh Water. The 1935 film “Mutiny on the Bounty” is the best known retelling of the story.