Know Before You Go - Fiji
Do I need a visa? Is it safe? How do I get around? We cover the essentials so you can travel like a pro, and relax while you do!
PASSPORT & VISA
United States citizens do not need a tourist visa prior to visiting Fiji.
HEALTH & SAFETY
Fiji is generally very safe. That said, always be aware of general crime targeted towards unassuming tourists. Additionally, if you plan to dive or snorkel, don’t touch any corals, shells, or wildlife. Many are poisonous, some even deadly, but if you don’t touch them, they won’t come after you.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
Credit cards will often work at most established vendors, though cash is often preferable, particularly at locally owned shops. Be prepared for high prices on all goods throughout Fiji. Nearly everything is imported, and therefore is very expensive. Plus, if you’re staying in a secluded resort, you don’t have any other options, and unfortunately the resort knows it.
Typically, haggling is accepted in local markets and shops, but always be respectful, and remember that local people are trying to make a living too. If you're unsure, it is more polite to simply show interest in an item but tell the vendor that the price is simply too high. If they offer to come down slightly, that means the price isn't fixed, and you can begin to haggle. It can also be worthwhile to negotiate in a less dramatic way, such as asking for two items for a discounted price.
Tipping is generally expected and recommended in all of the typical circumstances, but may not be as high as is customary in the United States. For example, a tip of 10% is generally acceptable at a restaurant, and more may be appropriate if the service was superb.
In order to explore Fiji, you'll need to use a combination of land, sea, and air travel. Most visitors spend all of their time based on a single island, but getting there might involve multiple forms of transportation.
A few of the islands have small airports, which at a minimum will get you close to your destination, from which you can arrange a boat to ferry you the rest of the way. Typically, your resort will be able to provide this service and give detailed instructions to make your journey an easy one.
If you do need to travel on land, again your resort can reserve a car and driver for you. If you do choose to rent a car, remember that in Fiji you drive on the left side of the road. For our tips on driving in the left lane, read more here.
WHEN TO GO
Fiji is generally wonderful year round. From November to March there is a heightened risk of tropical storms or cyclones (we actually encountered the first ever recorded cyclone in the month of September…lucky us), but you have to try pretty hard to have a bad time in Fiji.
Dress in Fiji is casual, you’re probably staying at a beach resort of course. Just don't forget your bathing suit.
Don't stress about wondering how you will communicate, learning a new alphabet, or anything else communication related. In Fiji, English is the official language. However, there are still just a few Fijian words that are worth knowing for greetings and that will earn a smile from your hosts.
Bula (boo-lah) – General greeting, literally meaning “life”. To say bula to someone literally means wishing them joy and good health, and is similar to the Hawaiian Aloha.
Vinaka (bin-aka) – Thank you
In Fiji, the letter “v” sounds like a “b”. Also, Fijian’s will place an invisible “n” before d’s and an “m” before b’s. That is why the main island is pronounced “Nandi”, though it is spelled Nadi. Similarly, Rabi island is pronounced “Rambi”. Further, the letter c is lisped into a “th” sound.