Fiji Travel Guide – Paradise on earth!
This is a comprehensive Fiji Travel Guide for your ultimate paradise adventure. It includes general information, tips, what to do & see as well as lessons you can learn from a trip to this magnificent country. Fiji just has something special to it, which makes it one of my favourite places to visit worldwide. Maybe it’s because of the Fiji vibes, the magical scenery or the great people. I don’t really know, but it will definitely leave an extremly positive mark behind, that you won’t ever get rid off.
When visiting Fiji, you should usually concentrate on one main area of it. This ultimate Fiji Travel Guide is a bit different. I designed this to give you an overall overview of Fiji, which means everthing you can see/ do on the main island and the small ones around it.
I also wrote this comprehensive Fiji Travel Guide, so that you can get the best out of your stay in one of the world’s most beautiful places. Fiji is a country that will easily leave you speachless. There is no doubt about that. I wanted to visit Fiji since I was a little kid. It has always been a dream of mine, because I had this perfect picture in mind of untouched beaches, crystal clear oceans, extremly good weather and the most awesome and chilled out vibes you can possibly have.
And I can tell you a 100% that I didn’t get disappointed at all. Fiji delivers what it promises. But before I get to the highlights and what this country really is all about, I want to spread some general knowledge/ information first.
Note: This is neither a backpackers budget guide nor a luxury travel guide. It’s right in between. I will give some luxury as well as budget saving tips on activities, accommodation and other things, but it’s not the main focus. This Fiji Travel Guide is made for people who want to enjoy this country on an average budget. I promise you, it’s neither a good idea to leave out certain highlights, because you want to save money, nor spend to much on things you don’t need, because the overall scenery already speaks for itselve.
Fiji Travel Guide – General information
Before we get to core of the Fiji Travel Guide I want to give you a little bit of information about this special country in general.
Fiji has many beautiful parts. It’s a country full of unique islands, which lies about 3h east of Australia. Fiji is known for is pictureque beaches and the typical Fiji style, which is quite hard to explain. You can only understand it, if you have experienced it. If people speak about Fiji, they usually speak about all the islands that belong to the country. But sometimes that’s different. In certain situations people mean the whole area and in other situations they only mean the main island (Viti Levu) or a couple other islands. It can be a little confusing from time to time.
In total Fiji has a population of about 900.000 people, spread out over an area with a size of about 18.200 km². All places from the Fiji Travel Guide can easily be visited, even though some of them are harder to reach, because either they are more expensive or they are runned by local famlies, who don’t fancy visitors all the time.
The Fiji Travel Guide has to include a little bit of historical knowledge, because through all my travels I figured, that it’s not a good idea to be unprepared when you enter any foreign country. It’s just a bad idea to get somewhere without knowing what certain special sights or local habits are all about. You need to understand those things in order to avoid problems 😉
Aparently Fiji was already inhated 5.000 years BC by the Lapita people. The country has permanently been a nation of many languages. Back in the days canibalism and tribe wars have been quite rampant, but also a regular thing. Fijians regard the old times as “na gauna ni tevoro” (time of the devil), which makes sense, if you look at how lovely and friendly the locals are today.
The first proper exploration was done in 1643 by a Dutch sailor named Abel Tasman. After him the British people arrived in 1874. All the different influences of various nations led to a big cultural diversity. Back in the days it caused the opposite. Wars have been a daily fare. Over the years it all calmed down. Eventually Fiji became an independet nation in 1970.
During the 2nd world war a lot of the country’s parts have been used as stationary communication or military bases. In the 1950s Fiji started to loosen the restrictions of land based tourism. Since then this economical sector gained more and more relevance. These days Fiji is a pretty high developed economy, based on various sectors like agribusinesses, offshor oil, gold and tourism.
How to get there
Getting to Fiji also has to a part of the Fiji Travel Guide, otherwise you don’t know where to even start 😉
You could come by ferry, but in my opinion you have to travel to Fiji by plane, because it’s way easier. Doesn’t matter if you come from Australia, New Zealand or even further away, it will always take you at least 3h to get to Nadi International Airport. You will be welcomed with open arms. Once you get through passport control as well as the security check, some Fijian musicians start to sing, hand you a necklace made out of mussels and help you, if you have any questions. Really friendly! 🙂
How to get around
The next point on the Fiji Travel Guide is how to get around. From the airport you have two main options to proceed:
- Public bus transport
Both ways are good. Taking a taxi is a bit more convenient, where as the public transport is more fun. They play radio music on public buses and the locals are in a very good mood all the time. It’s easy to start a conversation. Pretty enjoyable 🙂
The bus ride will obviously take a little longer to get to whereever you want to go. Your luggage will be put in the luggage storage under the bus. Buses generally don’t have windows, but you don’t need to worry about the wind or a cold. It’s very warm in Fiji.
Short tip: During the bus ride your luggage should be save. Nevertheless take your valuable gear with you. You never know. Read here to see what I usually have with me.
The weather is a big factor for many travelers and it has to be a part of the Fiji Travel Guide. But to be honest, you don’t really need to worry about the weather anyway. It easily fits into Fiji’s picture perfect.
Fiji has a pleasent tropical climate all year long. It’s sunny and warm (26°C – 31°C). There is a wet and a dry season. Wet season starts at the end of November and ends in the beginning of April, where as the dry season goes from April until December. So the best time to visit is from late March to December. This time period is brilliant for sun loving travelers.
You should also know that smaller island groups like the Yasawa, Mamanuca or Moala Islands have less rain than Viti Levu, which is good reason to visit them as well.
Fijians themselfs are also an important point from the Fiji Travel Guide. Why?
Because they are the major influence for the great vibes and the unique feeling you get in this country. I have rarely met people as kind and relaxed as this. They are incredibly courteous. Fijians always smile and, as far as I have experienced it, they don’t take life to serious.
It seems like they don’t have any issues and they just take there time with everything they do. You’ll recognize that pretty quickly during your travels through Fiji, because there will be at least a couple of delays here and there.
But don’t worry about that to much. That’s just how it is and you are on vacation… 😉
Food is also a big factor in this Fiji Travel Guide, because you should know what to expect from the Fijian cuisine. Generally Fijian food is fantastic. You’ll recognize quickly that everything you get in resorts or at restaurants is made with a lot of love and passion. Locals really want to impress their guests, so they put their heart and soul into every dish they create and you can definitely taste that.
The cuisine you’ll experience on during your journey is a mix out of salads, soups, meat, seafood and some local creations like Kokoda, Lovo, Duruka, Taro or Nama. Many of these dishes are influenced by different cultures like India, which migrated in the 1870s.
You can look forward to a very diverse and unique cuisine!
The Fiji Travel Guide also includes a list of activities. In this section I only want to name the additional activities, so that you get a good overview on what else to do in Fiji. Later in this Fiji Travel Guide I go further into detail on the main acitivites and which are the most important ones as well as why you should visit them.
Besides obvious things like hanging out by the beach, swimming in crystal clear ocean waters or relaxing in hammocks you can try out:
- Fiji Cooking School & Cava Ceremony
- Local Village Visit
- Guided Summit Walks
- Sunset Tube Cruise
- Fishing Trip
- Church on Sunday with Locals
- Traditional Crafts, Fire Dancing & Meke Performances (Local’s Dance with Singing)
- Water Sports (Jet Ski, Banana Boat, etc.)
- Crab Racing
- Volunteering (Marine Conservation, Local Communities, Schools, etc.)
Accommodation is one of the most important factors from the Fiji Travel Guide, because it defines which places you gonna stay at and how much money you’ll spend. When you arrive in Nadi, you will probably have to stay at a hotel for at least 1 night, because the planes usually arrive at midday. Boats to any island usually already start in the morning. So you have no choice, but getting accommodation in Viti Levu on the day of arrival. It’s completely up to you where to go, unless you did a pre-booking.
Most of the time accommodation is ranked with stars, but on some islands there is a coconut system. Sounds weird right? 🙂
But it’s easy. You have 1, 2 or 3 coconuts, which stand for the resort’s quality. 1 coconut resorts are basic but good, 2 coconut resorts are high standard and 3 coconut resorts have excellent quality. This coconut ranking doesn’t only stand for the resorts but aso for the islands themselfs as well as the activities you can do.
The last big point you should know about, before we get to the highlights & activities of the Fiji Travel Guide, is the costs. Generally prices will be higher the further you go away from Viti Levu. Here are some examples for general costs:
- Hostel: 15 – 35 FJD dorm room/ 50 – 70 FJD twin room (per night)
- Hotel: 60+ FJD per night (way higher for known hotels)
- Airbnb: 45+ FJD per night on the islands (a bit cheaper at Viti Levu)
- Flights: 350+ FJD from Australia
- Activities: Costs vary a lot (Cave Trips 50 FJD/ Snorkeling Trips 15 FJD)
- Public Tranportation: Very cheap (1,15 FJD from the Nadi airport to Nadi Town)
- Food: Generally about 35% cheaper on the mainland (8+ FJD for a decent meal in a restaurant)
This is an example of the costs for a ferry (Yasawa Islands):
To get to the Yasawas Islands from Viti Levu you need to take a boat. It starts from the harbour in Denerau Marina. There are a couple private boat companies out there, but most people book a Bula Pass. It’s a hop on, hop off pass, which takes you to every island of Yasawa. Once hopped off, you can check in to a local hotel/ resort on site and get back on the boat whenever you want.
The way from the south all the way up to the north can take about 6-8 hours. Consider that for your travel itinerary.
There is also the option to book an all inclusive ticket, which includes an equivalent of the Bula Pass and a couple pre-booked resorts on various islands of the Yasawas. You can choose which ones you want to go to. Booking an all inclusive ticket will save you a fair bit of money. It’s a variable amount, because it depends on what kind of accommodation you choose. The pre-booking also includes food. This deal is a good example.
But if you want to be more uncommitted and money isn’t an issue, then just go for the Bula Pass. It’s a great option.
You can see, that the costs vary a lot. Ultimately it really depends on where you want to go and what you want to do. Obviously visiting paradisaic islands will cost you more than just exploring the main island. Anyway, for about one week you should roughly calculate with 850$+ (excl. activities), if you explore the islands. If you stay on the mainland it will be about 500$+ (excl. activities). But I don’t think you only want to stay on the mainland, even though there is a lot to see.
Anyway, the highlights of the Fiji Travel Guide will show you that visiting the islands is the main thing you should aim for anyhow.
Fiji Travel Guide – Highlights
As promised, now let’s get to the details of the main highlights and activities from the Fiji Travel Guide:
The first part of the highlights from the Fiji Travel Guide starts with the top 3 things to do & see in the Yasawa Islands. The Yasawa Islands are the ultimate paradise. There wouldn’t be any suitable word to describe the beauty of this island group, which lies northwest of Vitu Levu. It evolved from massive vulcanic eruptions millions of years ago. It includes the finest white and golden sand beaches you probably have ever seen with thousands perfectly aligned of palm trees as well as crystal clear light blue ocean waters and the most chilled out vibes ever!
Mantaray snorkeling in the Yasawa Islands is one of the main highlights from the Fiji Travel Guide. You won’t believe your eyes, when you see these phenominal creatures. It’s just absolutely mind blowing when you see them “flying” through the ocean. Locals will bring you to a special channel in between two islands, where multiple mantarays come by almost everyday, because the amount of plankton is higher in this specific area. On some days you only see 1 or 2 mantarays, but on others you see more than 10. Nothing but incredible!
Make sure not to forget a good underwater camera! I always use the my GoPro for that.
Snorkeling the world famous Blue Lagoon is the second thing from the Fiji Travel Guide you have to do. This magnificant lagoon is one of the most beautiful places in the whole country. The ocean water you swimcouldn’t be any clearer. The visability is up to 25m, maybe even further on good days. While snorkeling around the boat driver throws some pieces of bread into the ocean, which attracts hundreds of fish of all kind of colours. So pretty!
You can also just chill out by the beach and watch the insanely divine landscape that surrounds you.
Definitely make sure to go on this remarkable short trip, because it might be even more fantastic than all the paradisaic tours I have been to in Australia or Southeast Asia like the Great Barrier Reef or Maya Bay.
This is also a MUST DO from the Fiji Travel Guide. Fiji is one of the best places in the world for a shark dive. If you are a scuba diving beginner, I would not suggest to do it, because you might be a little scared, but if you love scuba diving and you’re quite experienced, then just go for it. It’s a thrilling experience. You’ll see small reef sharks, lemon sharks and even bull sharks. Depending on the day, you can see up to 15 or more. It seems surreal, when you dive with them, knowing that you couldn’t do anything to help yourself. But don’t be scared, they are more afraid of you, than you are of them 😉
Besides the three top highlights from the Yasawa Islands, you can do what’s mentioned in the additional activities section on almost every island.
Surfing belongs to Fiji like Hollywood belongs to LA. This is why it has to be a part of the Fiji Travel Guide and you need to try it. Fiji is very famous for its brilliant surfing conditions. Certainly the best spots to go to are Cloudbreak, Fiji Pipe and Wilkes Pass. You need to be a good surfer to perform well here. On some days the waves are not that high (2 feet), but on others they are enormous (20 feet). All of the 3 spots have world class waves. Cloudbreak is regularly voted one of the 10 most challenging waves worldwide, which says a lot.
Even if you are not that much into surfing, just looking at these gigantic waves is pure fascination and you shouldn’t miss out on that.
Colo-i-Suva Forest Park
This little oasis of lush rainforest is full of tropical plants and bird life. It has a 6.5 km walking trail, which is full of natural fresh water holes to have a refreshing dip in. The park lies at an altitude of about 120-180m and includes a lot of slipping and sliding over some wet rocks near the Waisila Creek.
Many parts of the park are planted with mahogany and pines to embellish indigenous vegetation. In total there are about 14 different wild bird species, including Fiji warblers, golden doves and barking pigeons. You can take the Nature Trail to the Lower Pools. Here visitors can go for a swim or do some rope swinging. Overall the park is a very pretty and idyllic piece of land and definitely a nice spot to check out, which is why is has to be in the Fiji Travel Guide.
Lavena Coastal Walk
Located right in the heart of the Bouma National Park, Taveuni Island, this coastal walk also has to be a part of the Fiji Travel Guide, because of its refreshing vibes. The spirit fullfills one’s soul with peace and harmony. It includes some impressive sights like the Wainibau Falls, the Wainibau Stream and a local hot spot (Lavena village).
When walking along the road you’ll also see some remote beaches, immaculate lagoons as well as some stately rock formations. According to legend the unique shaping came from goblins and elfs strolling throught the gullies and alcoves of the stone. Quite weird, but also pretty interesting 🙂
Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
Of course there has to be some kind of temple in the Fiji Travel Guide. Because of all the different influences, that have shaped Fiji over the past, it has various kind of impressive monuments and temples from several religions. The Sri Siva Subramaniya Swawi Temple is a riotously bright Hindu temple, based on Indian architecture. It’s painted and dressed in many different colours. Inner parts of this historic piece of art are used from devotees, who bring all sorts of offerings to revere their god. Definitely a place to check out, if you want get a deeper insight of the Fijian beliefs.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes are one of Fiji’s natural highlights, which is why it’s a part of this Fiji Travel Guide. With a size of about 5 km² and a hight of about 60m at specific points, this windblown piece of nature is located right next to the shoreline close to the Sigatoka River. The sand dunes were accepted to be a national park in 1989.
They are not as pretty as other deserts, like the Sahara or central Australia. Sigatoka is full of vines, shrubs and bigger holes. The whole area developed over millions of years and brought out some interesting archaeological discoveries like human bones as well as 2.600 year old pottery. It’s one of the Pacific’s largest burial sites and it attracts thousands of visitors every year.
If you want to visit it, make sure to stick to the designated paths or go with a tour group. Just don’t remove any of the remains, if you find some. Otherwise you will be cursed forever 😉
The Navilawa village is another cool highlight from the Fiji Travel Guide. This is a perfect opportunity to dive deep into local village living.
Navilawa can be reached by following a 4WD road along the Sabeto River, passing some natural swimming holes and terrific waterfalls. If you want to swim or go for a quick dip, then you should ask the locals for permission first 😉
The Navilawa village is located in a highly vegetated mountain area in a vulcanic crater. Nearby you can visit a small cave, which is used as a shelter during cyclones. It’s always a good idea to bring a present for the locals in order to connect with them. You can sleep in the village or use a homestay. Visitors are also allowed to bring their own food, but I recommend eating local dishes, because it adds greatly to the authentic Fijian village experience.
Snake God Cave
This is a special one on from the Fiji Travel Guide. Located on the Yasawa Islands, 23km west of Korovou, the Snake God Cave is one of Fiji’s largest caves. It’s named after the shape of six stalactities, which look like a snake. Back in the days the cave was used as a refuge by local tribes, because it resembles an extremly dark labyrinth.
The Snake God Cave inhabits big swarms of rare blossom bats and can only be accessed with a Sulu. It’s also a good idea to take a torch with you, otherwise it will be quite a problem to orientate.
Definitely make sure to visit this exciting sight near the Wailotua village, if you have the chance. Just ask some locals for guidance. They always have some very detailed knowledge about the cave’s history.
Also make sure to visit this spot from the Fiji Travel Guide. The Tavoro Waterfalls, which are also called Bouma Falls, are embeded in an evergreen jungle area in the “Garden Island”. The waterfalls are a 3 in 1 combination, in which the first one is about 24m high, including a picnic/ barbicue area. This one is very close to the visitors centre.
To get to the 2nd waterfall, you’ll need about 30 minutes. You have to climb up a rocky path (river rock hop). The 3rd one can be reached by following a narrow path through the forest for about 20-25 minutes. You should watch out a little since the rocks/ paths can be quite slippery. Sometimes they even get closed during the wet season to avoid risks.
Each and every natural swimming pool of the waterfalls inhabits countless of tiny prawns, which is why you should equip yourself with some good snorkeling gear. To get to this pretty spot from the Fiji Travel Guide you have to pay at the visitors’ centre. Make sure to always have a buddy with you at this quite isolated area.
Kula Eco Park
This highlight from the Fiji Travel Guide packs a punch. The Kula Eco Park is famous wildlife sanctuary supported by a National Fijian Trust as well as some conservation bodies. It has some of the country’s best wildlife to witness, including the only Fijian native land mammal – Fijian flying fox.
Additionally it’s home for miscellaneous rare parrot and bird species as well as the Pacific black duck, which is the only remaining duck species in Fiji. The sanctuary runs some invaluable breeding programs to save endangered local species.
A great thing about this completely 100% funded park, besides the fact that it has some brilliant walkabouts through vivid forests, is that it’s also accessable for wheelchair users.
Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Another great place to visit from the Fiji Travel Guide is the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park. This is the perfect place for nature & hiking lovers. Within the park you can have a look at 6 small villages, which are all part of a local ecotourism project. The goal of the project is to sustain a healthy enviroment by taking care of nature and the landscape in general. Incidentally locals can earn a couple dollars on the side by offering accommodation and hospitality to tourists.
If you make it all the way up to the summit of Castle Rock, you will have an incredible view over the Yasawa Islands and Mamanuncas. There are different tracks to get to the top.
A marked one through the jungle takes about 4 hours (one way). The 2nd one is about 2 hours, including a small waterfall as well as a terraced garden. The last one is a full day hike, which takes you to some old remains of a lost warrior village. Visiting the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is definitely a good one from the Fiji Travel Guide.
Waisili Rainforest Reserve
The last highlight from the Fiji Travel Guide is the Waisili Rainforest Reserve.
This place is embedded in the northern mountains of Savusavu, which is a natural reserve with a size of about 120-ha, including multiple animal and plant species. You can go for a peaceful 30-minute walk to a nearby waterfall or just casually stroll around the park and soak up its divine beauty.
Here and there you need to be careful with slippery rocks. But other then that the Waisili Rainforest Reserve is a great place to enjoy some quiet moments and get to know the chilled out Fiji life.
Fiji Travel Guide – What I have learned
As you guys know, I always want to tell little bit about what I have learned from my travels. I wrote this large Fiji Travel Guide, because it taught me a lot again, but this time I only want to focus on one aspect. My journey to Fiji taught me something short and really simple:
Our planet still has some hidden gems
If you follow the Fiji Travel Guide, I promise you, that you will get to some almost completely untouched/ inhabited areas, where only a few people have been. And honestly, these kind of areas are generally the best ones you can go to in life.
Our world is full of so many unnecessary things. It feels like it’s completely overloaded in many areas. The only places where you can still see the real beauty of our planet are the ones, where almost no one is willing to go to or which are far far away. So always try to go for that 😉
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