Fiji Country Guide

Bula! Welcome to the Beautiful Fiji Islands " The One Truly Relaxing Tropical Getaway!"

The Fiji Islands are known as the hub of the South Pacific, where the two main ethnic groups meet, making Fiji a truly unique country. To the east are Tonga and the other islands of Polynesia. To the west is Vanuatu, and the island countries that make up Melanesia. Fiji comprises of several different races and people, with native Fijians and the descendants of indentured Indian labourers brought to the islands to work in the plantations and sugar cane fields dominating the population.

Our Fiji travel guide below will tell you all you need to know about the best of beautiful Fiji. If you are more interested in the local highlights, the best way to see them and experience the local culture is to take a fiji tour. Fiji Hotels brings you a step closer to Fiji by providing this useful information for all visitors.

Fiji Country Guide

Embassy Locations Top

To view a list of Fijian embassies around the world, as well as a list of foreign embassies within Fiji, check this link to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade.

Language Top

English is the official language of Fiji and most people in Fiji speak English fluently, but the Fijians are essentially bilingual and speak their own language in many different dialects. English as spoken in Fiji contains many Fijian words and phrases. A few tweaks in phonetics and you can pick them up easily, thanks to the similarity in pronunciation between the two languages. Not only will it be useful, but it will also delight the Fijians that you have made the effort!

English                                             Fijian

good morning                                  ni sa yadra (ni sah yan dra)
hello!                                                  bula (mbula)
goodbye                                            ni sa moce (ni sa mothey)
please                                               kerekere
excuse me                                        tulou (too low)
yes                                                     io (ee-o)
thank you                                          vinaka (vee naka)
no                                                      sega (senga)
eat                                                     kana (kahna)
village                                               koro
lady                                                   marama
mister                                               turaga (tu rang ah)
little                                                   vaka lailai (vaka lie lie)
plenty                                                vaka levu (vaka ley vu)
quickly                                              vaka totolo (vaka toe toe lo)
house                                               vale or bure (valey/mburey)
come                                                lako mai (la ko my)
toilet                                                  vale lailai (vale lie lie)
go                                                      lako tani (la ko tanee)
bring                                                 kauta mai (ka ou tah my)
one more                                        dua tale (ndua ta lay)
one                                                   dua (ndua)   
two                                                    rua
what is this                                      na cava oqo (na thava on go)
drink                                                  gunu (goo noo)
coconut                                             niu (new)
I want                                                au vinakata (aoo vina kahta)
church                                              vale ni lotu (vahle nee lohtoo)
shop                                                 sitoa (seetoah)

General Information Top

Population - 900,000 people
Total Area - 18,270 square kilometres
Captial - Suva (200,000 people)
Time Zone - Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +12 hours, When 9am in Fiji, it is:

* 9pm in London previous day 
* 10pm Frankfurt previous day
* 4pm New York previous day
* 1pm Los Angles previous day
* 6am Tokyo same day
* 9am Auckland same day
* 7am Sydney same day

The current time in Fiji can be viewed on the top left of this page just above our phone contact.

Electricity Top

Fiji functions on an electrical current of 240 volts 50 hertz. As in Australia and New Zealand, the power outlets are three pin. Most hotels and resorts offer power outlets that support both 240 volts and 110 volts for electric shavers and dryers. If you do not find one, use a voltage converter for appliances that are of 110 volts.

Communication Top

Most hotels have direct dialling facilities. The international country code to dial into Fiji is 679. There are no area codes. To dial internationally out of Fiji, dial 05, followed by the relevant country code and phone number.

To dial fire or ambulance in Fiji, the emergency number is 911. To dial police stations directly, dial 917.

Vodafone Fiji provides a GSM digital mobile communication service and has global roaming arrangements. If you have arranged roaming with your service provider before leaving home, Vodafone will give you an excellent coverage in most locations in Fiji. There is a Vodafone Rental office located at the Nadi International Airport where you can obtain a connection with local number either using your own GSM phone or by renting a phone. Card phones are also available in urban centres and phone cards of various amounts can be bought from post offices, service stations and many shops.

Connect Internet Services is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Fiji offering a wide range of products and services for the consumer and business markets including dial-up access, broadband service, dedicated high-speed solutions, hosting, and Internet application development. Connect Fiji offers a Global Roaming access to visitors through an agreement with GRIC. Internet cafes can be found in Suva, Nadi and Lautoka. In other areas, it may be harder to find. They are usually open from early to late. Costs are approximately US$3 an hour.

Sending mail abroad from Fiji can take anywhere up 10-12 days to reach destinations such as Europe. The post offices usually operate from 8.00am-4.30pm and until 12pm on Saturdays.

Currency/Money Top

The currency rules and regulations in Fiji are tourist friendly. There is no restriction on the amount of money that can be brought in, and you can take out an amount equivalent to what you have brought in.

The unit of currency in Fiji is the Fijian Dollar. Notes are available in denominations of  $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are available in denominations of 5c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. 

Most of the travel agents, hotels, restaurants, shops, tours and cruise operators, and car rental agencies accept all major credit cards. In Suva, Diners Club, MasterCard, Visa, and JCB International have established offices to help tourists. Major international banks like ANZ Bank, Habib Bank, Bank of Baroda, Colonial Bank and Westpac operate in Fiji. Banks operate every morning from 9.30 to 3.00 in the evening from Monday to Thursday and up to 4 pm on Friday. If you need a bank on Saturday, then step into the Colonial Bank, which is open for half a day. ANZ Bank has a day and night counter at the Nadi International Airport Arrival Lounge for the convenience of the tourists. ATMs are placed strategically at various points in the towns and cities and in bigger resorts.

Climate/Weather Top

Fiji enjoys an ideal South Seas tropical climate. It is thus a perfect holiday destination, especially for those trying to escape the severe Northern Hemisphere winters. Maximum summer temperatures average 31 degrees Celsius (88 degrees Fahrenheit) and the minimum is 22 Degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit).

The winter average maximum is 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) and the mean minimum is 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit).  It can be much cooler in the highlands of the interior of the larger islands. Cooling trade winds blow from the east south east for most of the year. It usually drops to a whisper in the evening and picks up again by mid morning. Fiji has a climate ideally suited for the outdoors, the beach and surf, water sports and relaxing!

Click on this weather link to view the current weather conditions and the forecast for the next 5 days.

Clothing Top

A casual wardrobe of shorts, t shirts and bathing suits is most suitable for this tropical island. But try and remember that the Fijian society is still traditional, and you may offend local sentiments by visiting markets, villages etc in swimming costumes, and other forms of brief attire. Be prudent and drape yourself in a ‘sulu’ before you step out of your hotel or resort. The staff at your resort would be most happy to help you wear it. A sulu or a sarong is a wrap-around, worn both by the women and the men of Fiji. A most versatile garment, there are no less than 10 different ways of draping the sulu. But whatever the style, the sulu ensures that you are modestly clad, thereby respecting the sensibilities of the Fijian.

Health Top

In all major towns of Fiji, like Suva and Lautoka, fresh water has been treated so that you can drink it straight from the tap of your hotel room or resort. In some resorts, however, the drinking water is different from that released for bathing, in which case the guests will be duly informed. 

There are well equipped hospitals in the towns and cities and health care centres in the rural regions to provide timely medical assistance. However, Fijians still use ancient herbal medicine and if you are feeling adventurous you could try them out too!

Yellow Fever, malaria and some other tropical diseases are no longer prevalent in Fiji. If you are coming into Fiji from an area demarcated by the WHO as being infected with yellow fever or cholera, then you will need to be vaccinated against these. Remember to carry along the vaccination certificates.

Public Holidays Top

Fiji celebrates the following days as national holidays:

New Year's Day - 1st January 
Prophet Mohammed's Birthday - 2nd April 
Good Friday - 6th April 
Easter Saturday - 7th April 
Easter Monday - 9th April 
National Youth Day - 4th May 
Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna Day - 28th May 
Queens Birthday - 18th June 
Fiji Day - 8th October 
Deepawali - 9th November 
Christmas Day - 25th December 
Boxing Day - 26th December

Religion Top

Fiji is home to people of different races and cultures. About 52% of the population consists of Christians. 37% of them follow the Methodist faith while 9% are Roman Catholics. Most of them belong to the Wesleyan order, but other Christian affiliations are also present. The next largest group consists of Hindus (38%), followed by the Muslims (8%). 2% of the population belong to other religions.

Visa/Passports Top

Visas are not required for nationals of the United Kingdom, Other EU Countries (except Lithuania), USA, Japan, Commonwealth countries (except for nationals of Cameroon, Mozambique, Namibia and Sri Lanka), Bulgaria, Iceland, Indonesia, Korea (Rep), Monaco, Norway, Peru, The Philippines, Romania, Russian Federation, Switzerland, Taiwan (China) & Thailand. Transit passengers continuing their journey to a third country within three hours also don't require a visa, provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

You need a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the period you intend to stay in Fiji. If you are a Fiji national without a valid passport who need to visit Fiji, then you will be issued a Certificate of Identity which will enable you to enter after you acquire the necessary sanction from the Immigration Department of Fiji.

 - Entry will be denied to persons who have been deported or removed from another country. All visitors must hold onward or return tickets and sufficient funds to cover stay.

Types of Visas: Single-entry Visa (US$85); Multiple-entry Visa (US$150). Visas are valid for stays of up to three months, but can be extended once in Fiji. Visitors to Fiji are required to pay $30.00 departure tax in Fijian currency. Children under 12 are exempt.

It is advisable to check this information with your relevant embassy prior to travel.

US citizens that need to renew, add pages, change name, or just get a new US passport, canApply for a New US Passport here.

Geography Top

The Republic of the Fiji Islands, which comprises 333 islands with a total land area of over 18,333 square kilometres, is situated in the heart of the South Pacific. The largest island, Viti Levu, with 10,425 square kilometres, contains the capital of Suva and other cities, and two international airports of Nadi on the western side and Nausori on the Eastern side, close to Suva.

Location Top

Fiji lies in South Pacific Ocean, straddling the international dateline and lies between 15 and 22 degrees south of the equator. Fiji is a major crossroad for air and shipping between North America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Fiji lies 3,100km northeast of Sydney, 2,100km north of Auckland, 5,100km southwest of Honolulu and 7,100km southeast of Tokyo. To view a map of Fiji, click on this link .

Flora & Fauna Top

Carrying any kind of plant and animal produce into Fiji is strictly banned, unless accompanied by a permit from Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests. Fiji is totally free from any kind of plant and animal diseases and pests and, naturally, wishes to continue this happy state of affairs. For further information on this, you may contact the office of Animal Health and Production at Nadi and Suva.

People Top

The population is composed of indigenous Fijians, Indians, Europeans, Part Europeans and Chinese. Of these, 51 percent are Fijian, 44 percent are Indian with the rest belonging to other races.

Village life is central to Fijian culture. When visiting a village, it is customary to present a gift of 'yaqona', which is also known as 'kava'. The gift, called "sevusevu", is not expensive - a half kilo costs approximately $15 - $20. It is presented to the 'Turaga ni Koro', the traditional head of a village. It is usually performed in the head persons house and will be attended by whoever is on hand. Pounded into powder it will be mixed with water and served. Be prepared to shake hands and answer personal questions as to where you are from, whether married and if so how many children, boys, girls, etc.

Fijians are one of the friendliest people in the world. But they have certain customs and traditions which are important to them. Respect and follow these customs and you will be welcomed and honoured wherever you go in Fiji. Be modest in your attire when you step out of your hotel, and if you are in bathing suits, shorts, halter tops and dresses, take care to cover yourself with a Sulu or sarong. Do not wear hats when you visit a village as it is considered an affront to the village chief. Remove your footwear before you enter a Fijian’s house. For a pleasant sojourn, in Fiji do as the Fijians do!

Customs/Duty Top

Fiscal duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) are levied on all goods in excess of concessions. Fiscal duty rates vary depending on the goods, whereas VAT is uniformly charged at 12.5 percent. VAT is applied on a basis which includes the value of the goods plus any fiscal duty payable.

A bona fide passenger disembarking in Fiji is entitled to the following DUTY and VAT free concessions:

1) Cigarettes, not exceeding 250 sticks or
2) Cigars, not exceeding 250grams net weight or
3) Tobacco not exceeding 250grams net weight or
4) Any combination of (1) to (3) above, provided the total net weight does not exceed 250grams
5) Spirituous Liquors not exceeding 2.25 litres or
6) Wines, not exceeding 4.5 litres or
7) Beer, not exceeding 4.5 litres or
8) Any combination of the goods in paragraph (5) to (7) above, provided that the combination does not exceed the equivalent quantity under any one paragraph:
9) Personal effects and other dutiable goods, which are owned by visitors, not exceeding F$400.00 in value.

In case of goods specified in paragraph (1) or (8) above the age of passenger shall not be less than seventeen years.

Air & Sea Ports Top

Nadi Airport is the main international gateway and Nausori near Suva, is also used as an international airport. There are several domestic airports throughout the country. Travel between the two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, is by air and sea. The major ports are Suva, Lautoka, Levuka and Malau (off Vanua Levu). Suva is the largest port followed by Lautoka, which is the main port for Western Viti Levu and has container handling and facilities for bulk loading of sugar and pine chips.

Sport & Recreation Top

Any vacation to Fiji is bound to revolve around the beach and lagoon, where you can let yourself go with snorkelling, scuba diving, waterskiing, wind surfing, kayaking, sailing and the entire gamut of water sports. If you are looking for some serious sport, then you have rugby, soccer, cricket, tennis, hockey, netball, basketball, squash and much more. Cheer away at various matches being played or get into the action yourself – after all, Fiji is the World Champion of seven-a-side rugby and participates in the Olympic Games!

Photography Top

The Fiji Islands are a photographer's paradise. As a general rule, people do not object to having their photographs taken (although as a courtesy, you should always ask). There is an endless list of subjects: traditional ceremonies including cultural dances, villages, landscapes, seascapes, the ever-changing panorama as you follow the highways and byways, and even views of gem-like islands and breathtaking turquoise coral lagoons as you travel by air. For the diver, a profusion of soft corals and reef fish form a colourful record of a memorable experience.