Deep within the tropical South Pacific, the Fijian islands, most of which remain uninhabited, provide white sand beaches, teased by clear waters and provide a cultural experience that will remain with you for a lifetime. With a multitude of activities, cultural events and traditional cuisine, as well as a wonderful climate, Fiji is a destination that you will never want to leave behind. So, if you are looking for a tropical paradise where you can take part in a different outdoor adventure every day, come to Fiji! Between its sandy white beaches and its tropical climate, is there any wonder why Fiji is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world?
Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands - 106 of which are inhabited. The two biggest are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which is where you'll also find the most activity.
Fiji is home to lots of Indian and Chinese food and has a bustling nightlife. The bigger resorts will offer their own entertainment, but you will find plenty of bars and nightclubs that offer everything from Jazz music to beach parties!
Top Things to Do in Fiji
The Fiji Museum, based in Thurston Gardens, hosts a wonderful collection of historical and artistic artefacts that have been accumulated over the centuries, to include primitive war clubs and weapons, traditional shell jewellery, and even cannibal eating utensils.
Visiting Suva Municipal Market introduces you to the natural tropical produce of the islands and includes fruits, local foods and a range of Fijian handicrafts. It is important to note that it is generally accepted that haggling with Indian store holders is expected, but it is considered an insult to attempt to reduce the price of goods sold by Fijians.
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park is an environment of stunning beauty, with the beaches leading immediately to dense forestry. Within the national park there are burial grounds that date back to 5 BC, and along the sand dunes it is common to see partially buried pottery that has been there for hundreds of years. The history and culture of Fiji is to leave these items untouched as they are considered to be in their natural and rightful place. This venue is extremely popular with tourists, and guides will ensure that pathways and routes to and from the forest are adhered to.
Fiji is far too beautiful to spend all of your time indoors, that is why there are so many outdoor activities! As you might expect, the most popular adventures take place out on the water.
Fiji is home to whitewater rafting, snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing, and jetboating that cannot be beaten. You can also get a birds' eye view of everything from a seaplane! If you are looking for something more low-key, spend a quiet day fishing, lying on the beach, sailing, or taking an island cruise. Away from the water, you will find other adventures. Take a hike through the rainforests, go bushwalking in Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, or hike to the waterfalls in Bouma National Heritage Park.
Another attraction in Fiji is the Mariamma Temple. Located in the capital city of Suva, the temple is home to the annual South Indian fire-walking festival. Even if you are not there for the festival, there is plenty to see and do!
Best Cities to Visit in Fiji
Suva is the capital of Fiji and host to many museums and gardens that outline the culture and growth of the country. Churches and temples are common, and are all available to visit, as long as you adhere to the local customs each one insists upon. The city has a multicultural population and reaps all the benefits of that with fine, diverse restaurants, a wide range of religious facilities and a culture of peace and respect. For a major city, crime levels are extremely low. Suva is also the site of the presidential home which is worth a visit for its architectural splendour. Many rainforest tours are available from the city, giving an experience of a true rainforest with all its flora, fauna and wildlife.
Nadi is the tourism capital, stacked with restaurants and bars, markets and shops that not only sell traditional local produce, but also a range of goods from larger department stores. The city is remarkable for its intricate craftsmanship, with wonderfully designed and sculptured buildings providing an architectural delight. The Swami Temple, a place of Hindu worship, is a stunning example and extremely popular with tourists. The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a stunning park at the base of the Nausori Highlands and holds a landscaped jungle area and a collection of wild orchids that is the envy of the world. The Koroyanitu National Park provides a glimpse of life within the rainforest through its incredible guided tours and overnight camping facilities.
Fiji holds numerous unique and enthralling events that celebrate Fijian life and customs.
Fiji Day is held on 10th October each year and is a national day of dance, music, parades and street parties that provide colour, glamour and traditional entertainment.
As its main industry, the production of sugar, and cultivation of sugar cane, is celebrated in September of each year with the Sugar Festival, a gift of dance and music as thanks for the deliverance of the year’s sugar crop.
Suva hosts the World Music Festival in October where local bands play tribal music, primarily drum based, and celebrate the gift of music.
The beachcomber island’s annual Fiji swim is a one kilometre race in August which attracts the best freshwater swimmers in the world to compete at this prestigious event.
Local Cuisine, Beer and Wine
As to be expected within a South Pacific island, the use of fish in cooking is commonplace. Kakoda is a most popular dish, where the fish is cooked in coconut and lime to produce a distinctive and flavoursome dish that is as popular with tourists as it is with locals. Lovo is a special blend of fish and veg, meats and fruits all cooked within the ground in large covered pits. This ritual is worth attending for the cooking ceremony alone, but the result is a most exquisite and rich dish that has been established as a tourist favourite.
Fiji bitter is a distinctive and popular beer that holds a basic, earthy quality with a taste and texture similar to leading lagers from Germany. Booth’s Gin is the Fijian drink of choice, distilled from one of the many local distilleries. Fiji grows its own grapes and ferments a subtle and smooth wine called Meridan Moselle.
Learning about the Fijian culture is best done when visiting as daily life is based on the country’s culture and growth. There are some specific cultural aspects that are intrinsic to the nature of the country such as the Meke, Fijian songs and tribal dances that tell tales of love, legends, folklore, history and spirits. These spear-wielding dances are an important part of establishing Fiji’s rich history with the younger generations.
It is important, if you are invited to a remote village or property within it, that you take a gift of Kava, an important and traditional Fijian drink, and present it to the village Chief. You should never wear a hat when entering a village, as this is seen as a direct insult to the Chief. Taking your shoes off before entering a property is essential, as is the rule that you never touch the head of a Fijian, as this too is insulting.
Hotels in Fiji
Fiji offers a complete range of holiday and tourist accommodation for its visitors. Luxury hotels are available, as are more affordable mainstream hotels, all of which pride themselves on high standards of cleanliness and comfort. Camping is popular on the islands, although it is restricted to certain areas, and there are numerous hostels and dormitory type options for the many students and backpackers who tour the country.
Accommodation in Fiji for family visits is high on the priority list of options. These islanders are well known for their family friendly approach and most Fiji resorts and hotels have all of the childrens facilities that you would expect for an ideal Fiji holiday vacation. Most of the larger resorts and hotels have kids clubs leaving adults to some welcome kids free time. Be careful though , book early for school holiday Fiji family deals or you may miss out.
Alternatives worth considering, are the many Fiji serviced apartments now available, appearing as a growing trend towards an independent self catering vacation lifestyle. Visitors requiring long or short stay accommodation may also find this more convenient.
Romantic getaway trips to hotels and resorts are best kept to times outside of the school holidays such as Christmas , New Year , and Easter , typically December , January and late March / April , as are the organisation of weddings in Fiji which will benefit from the less busy periods.