Here are some answers to the most asked questions about the Fiji Islands.
GETTING TO FIJI - Coming west from Canada and Europe, you will stop in Los Angeles. Weekly, Fiji Air, the international airline of Fiji, has four non-stops and Air New Zealand has one out of Los Angeles. The flight from Los Angeles is 10 hours. Since you cross the International Dateline, you lose a day flying to Fiji but make it up on the way back.
GEOGRAPHY - Fiji is a very hospitable land of blue-green lagoons, lush rainforest, pine forests, mountains and 1,000 miles of white sand beaches on over 300 islands scattered across 200,000 miles of Pacific Ocean. The country is very varied. You can stay on the main island of Viti Levu and have lots of activities or you can go to some of the outer islands where there might be only one resort!
PEOPLES & LANGUAGES - Fiji has some of the friendliest people in the world! Fiji’s population is approximately 785,000 indigenous Fijians (50%), Indians (47%), with Europeans, Chinese and South Pacific Islanders making up the remaining 3%. English is the official language with Fijian and Hindustani also spoken.
DOCUMENTATION - To travel to Fiji you will need a valid passport for a least three months beyond the intended period of stay, plus a ticket for return or onward travel. Anyone traveling from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, USA, Europe and many other countries is granted an entry visa on arrival for a stay of four months. .
GEOGRAPHY - Fiji lies southwest between Hawaii and is northeast of Sydney, Australia, in the Pacific Ocean.
TIME ZONE - The 180th Meridian - the International Dateline - passes through the islands of Fiji but has been adjusted so that the entire archipelago falls into the same time zone. However, in Taveuni there is a location where you can stand with one foot in the day before and the other foot in the current day. When it is 1 p.m. in Los Angeles, it is 9 a.m. in Fiji the next day.
CLIMATE & WEATHER - Fiji enjoys an ideal South Seas tropical climate. There are two seasons in Fiji - the rainy season which extends from November to April and the dry season which is from May to October. Rainfall occurs throughout the year but most occurs December through February. The best months to visit are June to October. Temperatures range from maximum of 72 degrees to 96 degrees. Humidity can be high but the trade winds bring year long cooling breezes late afternoon and early evening. Tropical cyclones, or hurricanes, are most prevalent from November to April.
CUSTOMS - The Fijians love their Kava and love to introduce tourists to their Kava or Yaqona Ceremony. They also love to dance and Fijians love to sing and dance and the term Meke refers to a combination of dance, song and theater performed telling the stories of their past. They also do firewalking and they use the mulberry tree to make tapa cloth.
HEALTH - Fiji is a healthy country free from most tropical diseases and pests. Inoculations are not required unless a traveler is entering from an infected area. The country has modern health and dental facilities.
TRANSPORTATION - Buses and taxis run everywhere and are inexpensive. There are ferries, launches, aircraft, helicopters and seaplanes which take you to the outer islands and there is an extensive network of docks and airfields throughout the islands. Air Pacific is the Fijian international carrier and there are two domestic air carries - Air Fiji and Sunflower Airlines.
WILDLIFE - Fiji’s wildlife population features many species found only in Fiji, like the Crested Iguana and many brilliantly colored birds.
RELIGION - Fiji is a multi-cultural nation with many religious beliefs. The people are primarly Methodists with Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam also being represented.
ELECTRICITY - The current is 240 volts. Fiji has three pin power outlets identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 110v. If your hotel doesn’t have these, then you will need a voltage converter.
DEPARTURE TAX - Visitors departing Fiji are required to pay a departure tax in Fijian currency.
MONEY - The Fijian dollar is the basic currency.
EDUCATION - The country’s literacy rate is high - 87%. Education is not compulsory but almost 100% of the children attend primary school and most complete lower secondary education. The University of South Pacific is a regional university established in 1968 and is based in Suva.
TIPPING - Tipping is not encouraged in Fiji. In lieu of daily tipping, some resorts operate a staff Christmas fund which you can contribute to if you wish.
CLOTHING - Dress is casual and informal throughout the islands. Visitors should bring a light tropical wardrobe.
EXPENSES - You will find Fiji to be very inexpensive. Food, products, tours and meal plans are very reasonable.
FIJI AND KIDS - Fijians love children! On the major resorts there are wonderful programs for children.