10 things to know to prepare a stay in Fiji

Fiji is about as close to paradise as it gets. Even the word itself, with its beautifully decorated letters, is aesthetically (and phonetically) pleasing and will likely evoke exotic tropical fantasies of flying to the South Pacific, and perhaps never looking back. This archipelago of more than 300 islands (only about a third are inhabited) offers numerous palm-fringed white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and beautiful mountain scenery, not to mention the occasional seaplane in the distance for the ultimate pinch. interesting moments.

Yes, Fiji is the destination of choice for thousands of honeymooners, backpackers and families each year. While many head to Viti Levu, the larger and more populated island with more options, amenities and culture, the outer islands have fewer crowds. But there’s much more to know beyond that. Here are 10 things every traveler should keep in mind before packing up and visiting Fiji.

Fiji is ideal for budget travelers and family trips.

Travelers may assume that any destination in the South Pacific is an expensive once-in-a-lifetime folly (much like Bora Bora). But here’s the secret: Fiji is actually much more affordable than you think. It’s a major destination for divers, honeymooners and families-many from Australia and New Zealand (it’s like the Caribbean!)-and there are plenty of three-star resorts, like the Plantation Island Resort as well as simple bures (traditional thatched huts). There’s even a wide range of fun backpacker hostels – especially at Wailoaloa Beach and the Yasawa Islands – making it a popular stop on the world tour. Of course, not everything is budgeted and the range of options is enormous. Fiji has many four- and five-star resorts, and is also known for its luxury private island retreats, spas and opulent villas with private pools.

To sum up, traveling to Fiji is really easy :

  • Fiji is ideal for family trips.
  • You can travel more than once a year to Fiji.
  • You do not need to save for years to go to Fiji

You would be hard pressed to find a more welcoming country.

If you’ve ever traveled to Hawaii and felt unwelcome by some of the locals (don’t even think about catching their waves!), then prepare yourself for the opposite effect in Fiji. It is common for guests to be greeted with an exuberant greeting called “Bula!” These peaceful, spiritual, slow-paced islands (there’s a reason you’ll learn about “Fiji time”) are home to tight-knit communities. Drive through them and you’ll see dazzling smiles and friendly waves, despite the fact that many areas are poor and lack basic services. Fijians are known for their hospitality and warmth, making it easy to make new friends and immerse yourself in the local culture. Not only that, but they are non-judgmental about others and will rarely express a negative opinion. Most Fijians try not to worry about worldly problems and think very little about the importance of money; in turn, there is very little crime.

They drive on the left and do not have a manual gearbox

If you plan to explore the largest island, Viti Levu, keep in mind that people here on the left. After all, nothing is more adventurous – especially for a city dweller who doesn’t own a car – than realizing that you’ll not only have to drive on the other side of the road, but you might also get a manual. transmission – which means, the stick is also on the left side of the driver’s seat. Be prepared for some tough stops and starts, as you’ll need to keep up with the traffic before diving into Nadi’s congested roads, especially during rush hour. That said, if you’re heading out of town, the road from the airport gives travelers a glimpse of the “real” Fiji, as it passes several villages filled with locals and livestock, and offers panoramic views of mountain ranges and blue water. The roads can be quite rough, and accurate driving directions are necessary before arriving, as the remote location of any hotel will certainly throw newcomers for a loop.

There are microclimates depending on the islands where you go

Although mild tropical temperatures prevail year-round in Fiji, the weather varies across the islands, as different regions have their own microclimates. The north of Fiji has more areas oriented towards a rainforest climate and can be lush and humid. Southern Fiji has a slightly drier climate. As for the main island of Viti Levu, it could be rainy and cloudy on the east coast near the capital of Suva. However, drive three hours north, and you will land in the driest part of the island, nicknamed the Sunshine Coast. Generally, the eastern side of the island experiences heavy rainfall, while the western side is significantly drier. The Yasawa Islands, the sunniest and driest destination in Fiji, and the Mamanuca Islands, where the weather is ideal for outdoor water sports and relaxing in the sun, are a good bet.

You can participate in kava ceremonies during your vacation in Fiji

Kava ceremonies (also known as yaqona) are as much a part of the tourist scene as a local ritual. This social gathering brings people together to drink a mildly narcotic drink made by mixing pepper root powder with water. The result is a numbing sensation around the mouth, lips and tongue and ultimately a sense of relaxation. Bowls of half coconut are passed around the room individually. The receiver claps his hands once and says “Bula!” before drinking the bowl in one gulp. It tastes like muddy water, but you soon get a sense of calm and well-being. Since these ceremonies are often held weekly at hotels and resorts (and in villages), it’s a great way to meet other travelers as well as locals who are proud to show off their culture.

When you visit a village, you must present a gift to the chief to thank him for his welcome

Today, nearly half of Fiji’s population is made up of immigrants from India, Southeast Asia and China (as well as other South Pacific countries). But Fijian villages are best known for their culture, and visitors are encouraged to participate as long as you follow simple etiquette. This will certainly enrich your travel experience. Most resorts also offer village tours, including a trip to a local school (bring school supplies from home!), craft markets, or simple yaqona ceremonies. The best tours visit the most remote traditional villages and are often combined with adventure activities such as rafting or kayaking. Religious or not, you can (and should!) attend a church service when possible, as many aspects of Fijian life revolve around the church. For a more immersive experience, consider staying overnight in a host village, which involves staying with a family, usually in a traditional bungalow. Regardless of the length of your stay, you must present the village elder with a gift, such as kava root. Do not wear a hat in a village, as it is considered an insult to a chief, and do not wear shoes in people’s houses. It is also considered an insult to touch someone’s head.