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Fiji

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Castaway Island Resort
Castaway Island Resort - dream vacation

Castaway Island, Mamanuca Islands, Tokoriki Island

Tanoa International Hotel
Tanoa International Hotel - dream vacation

Votualevu Road Nadi International Airport Viti Levu Fiji Island, Nadi

Octopus Resort
Octopus Resort - dream vacation

LikuLiku Bay, Waya Island

Fiji Hideaway Resort & Spa
Fiji Hideaway Resort & Spa - dream vacation

Queens Road Coral Coast, Coral Coast

Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa
Shangri-La's Fijian Resort & Spa - dream vacation

Yanuca Island Coral Coast Fiji, Cuvu

Fiji (Fijian: Viti, Hindi: ?????) (sometimes called the Fiji Islands) is a Melanesian country in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand and consists of an archipelago of 332 islands, a handful of which make up most of the land area, and approximately 110 of which are inhabited.

Fiji straddles the 180 degree longitude line (which crosses land on a remote tip of Vanua Levu and again near the centre of Taveuni). The international date line passes east of all of Fiji, placing it in one time zone and "ahead" of most of the rest of the world.

Understand

Fiji is the product of volcanic mountains and warm tropical waters. Its majestic and varied coral reefs today draw tourists from around the world, but were the nightmare of European mariners until well into the 19th century. As a result, Fijians have retained their land and often much of the non-commercial, sharing attitude of people who live in vast extended families with direct access to natural resources. When it came, European involvement and cession to Britain was marked by the conversion to Anglicanism, the cessation of animist beliefs, brutal tribal warfare and cannibalism, and the immigration of a large number of indentured Indian labourers, whose descendants now represent nearly half of the population, and there are smaller numbers of Europeans and Asians. Today, Fiji is a land of tropical rain forests, coconut plantations, fine beaches, and fire-cleared hills. For the casual tourist it is blessedly free of evils such as malaria, landmines, or terrorism that attend many similarly lovely places in the world.

Internal political events in the recent past resulted in a reduction in tourism. The Fiji tourism industry has responded by lowering prices and increasing promotion of the main resort areas that are far removed from the politics in and around the capital, Suva.

Climate

Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation. Tropical cyclonic storms (the South Pacific version of hurricanes) can occur from November-April. Temperature sensitive visitors may wish to visit during the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Terrain

Mostly mountains of volcanic origin. In most of the interior of the main islands there are some roads, many trails, and an amazing number of remote villages. Buses and open or canvas topped "carriers" traverse the mountains of Vanua Levu several times a day and the interior mountains of Viti Levu many times weekly. (The Tacirua Transport "hydromaster" bus which leaves from Nausori in the morning, runs past the hydroelectric reservoir and mount Tomanivi, and arrives the same day in Vatoukola and Tavua is the best and the scenery is truly spectacular in good weather!)

History

Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony. Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community (descendants of contract labourers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century). The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji led to heavy Indian emigration. The population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority. A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable. Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil. Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase. There was another military coup in 2006, led by Commodore Josaia Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama. An election was held in 2014 and Bainimarama's FijiFirst party won a majority of seats.

Culture

Indigenous Fijian culture and tradition is very vibrant and is an integral component of everyday life for the majority of Fiji's population. However, Fijian society has also evolved over the past century with the introduction of more recent traditions, such as Indian and Chinese, and of heavy influences from Europe and Fiji's Pacific neighbours, particularly Tonga and Samoa. Thus, the various cultures of Fiji have come together to create a unique multicultural national identity.

Holidays

  • 1 January: New Year's Day
  • Feb/Mar: Holi
  • Rau Naumi (not an official holiday)
  • Easter (variable)
  • 15 June: Queen's birthday
  • Eid al-Fitr (Islamic religious observance)
  • 10 October: Fiji Day (Independence Day)
  • Oct/Nov: Diwali (Festival of Lights)
  • 25 December: Christmas Day
  • 26 December: Boxing Day

Regions

Fiji can be divided into nine groups of islands:

Cities

  • Suva — the capital
  • Lautoka
  • Levuka
  • Nadi (pronounced 'Nandi')
  • Nausori
  • Taveuni

Other destinations

  • Nananu-i-Ra Island — off the northern coast of Viti Levu
  • Ovalau — sixth largest island, part of the Lomaiviti group

Get in

Citizens of most countries will not need a visa. Most visitors are granted permits on arrival that last 4 months. All others will need a visa. The visitor permit may be extended for up to 2 additional months for a fee.

By plane

Nadi International Airport is Fiji's main international airport. Suva airport also has some international flights. Fiji Airways flies to Nadi directly from Los Angeles (LAX) and Honolulu (HNL) in the USA, as well as Hong Kong (HKG), Singapore (SIN) and many locations throughout the Pacific. Korean Air has three flights weekly between Nadi and Seoul. Air New Zealand operates flights to Nadi from Auckland, Christchurch, and seasonally from Wellington. As Nadi is a hub for flights to the other Pacific island nations, travellers heading to those countries will likely have to transit through Nadi.

Travel times from Australian cities vary. From Brisbane the flight to Fiji is approximately 3 hours and 40 minutes, from Sydney 4 hours and 30 mins and from Melbourne it is 5 hours and 30 minutes.

By boat

You can enter Fiji by boat from Australia through the Australia shore connection. Yachts must not stop at any island until they have clearance from Customs, Immigration, Health, and Biohazard officials. There are five official ports of entry in Fiji: Savusavu on Vanua Levu, Levuka on Ovalau, Suva and Lautoka on Viti Levu, and Oinafa on Rotuma.

Get around

Fiji has a variety of public transport options, including buses, "share taxis", and private taxis. Rates are very cheap: F$1-2 from Colo-i-Suva to Suva bus station by bus, F$17 from Nadi bus station to Suva by share-taxi (share-taxi's are usually white mini-vans that congregate and set-off when they reach their capacity of 6-8), or approximately F$80 from Suva airport to Sigatoka by private taxi. On the main road circling Viti Levu buses run every half hour and taxis are a substantial proportion of traffic, while on western Taveuni buses make only a few runs per day and very little traffic is present. If the taxi has a meter, ask the driver to switch it on - the ride will be lot cheaper than with the negotiated price.

The rate from resorts on Nadi beach to Nadi downtown is $8 per passenger, and $12 to the airport -- you should be able to negotiate this price reasonably easily.

While there is rarely much traffic present, most vehicles run on diesel and pollution on major roadways can be severe. A national speed limit of 80 km/h is usually observed; village speed limits are all but entirely ignored, but drivers slow down for several speed humps distributed within each village. Seat belts are advised on taxis but are rarely evident and apparently never used.

Road travel tends to be more dangerous than many people are used to, and many embassies advise their citizens to avoid pretty much any form of road travel. Pot holes, washouts and dilapidated bridges are commonplace. Buses are the best, unless you are truly comfortable and capable of renting and driving a car on your own - most people are not even if they think they are. Avoid travel at night, especially outside of urban areas. Another option is hop-on, hop-off bus passes which allow you to tour Fiji at your own pace for a fixed price. These are a more expensive way to travel but feature inclusions like tours and activities. However, some like Feejee Experience are limited to Viti Levu and trips to Beachcomber island and don't include the more remote islands.

Inter-island

South Sea Cruises operates daily inter-island ferry transfers throughout Fiji's Mamanuca Island resorts. Awesome Adventures Fiji provides daily ferry transfers out to the remote Yasawa Islands. Inter-island ferries are reasonably priced and the larger ones (especially those large enough to accommodate cars and trucks) have a good safety record, though they may be overcrowded at the beginning and end of school holiday periods. Ferries offer two or three classes (depending on the ship). Economy (F$65 pp on Suva-Taveuni route) is the cheapest option, but requires you to sleep on chairs or on the floor. Sleeper (F$104 pp, Suva-Taveuni) is dormitory-like accommodation. Cabin (F$135 pp on MV Suiliven, F$95 pp on SOFE, Suva-Taveuni) is not necessarily the best option, as the space is very limited, cabin can be shared (4 beds) and can have hordes of bugs.

Denarau Marina on Denarau Island is the gateway to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Island groups. This is where cruises and ferries servicing these islands operate from. Denarau island is connected to the mainland via a short bridge, and is 20 minutes from Nadi International Airport.

Do not attempt to take a car to another island unless you own it or have made clear special arrangements - most rental companies forbid it and they do prosecute tourists who violate this clause in the contract.

Bicycle

Bicycles are becoming more popular in Fiji for locals and tourists alike. In many ways, Fiji is an ideal place for a rugged bike tour. However, the motor vehicle traffic can be intimidating on well-travelled roads, and there is a lack of accommodation along secondary roads. Cycling is a great way to see Fiji but make sure you carry all your own spares and supplies as bike shops are scarce. It is a good idea to carry plenty of water, a camelbak is great, as it is very hot and humid almost year round.

The main road around the largest island, Viti Levu, is sealed except for a 40km section on the east side. A sturdy road, touring or hybrid bike is suitable.

Bike rental can be quite expensive comparing to other options: on Taveuni bike for full day costs F$25. With two persons the cost is similar to renting a car.

Talk

Fiji has three official languages, namely English, Fijian and Hindi

Fijian is the first language of the native Melanesian population, while a local variant of Hindi is mainly spoken by those of Indian descent. English is the lingua franca and medium of instruction in Fijian schools, and is widely spoken in the major cities and main tourist areas. Residents of some remote islands may not be fluent in English, so learning some Fijian phrases will come in handy when travelling to those areas.

See

Fiji's main attraction is its paradise-like nature, with perfect palm-lined beaches, blue waters and green inland hills. Making postcard-perfect pictures of your tropical holiday is a piece of cake when you're at the gorgeous sandy beaches of the Mamanuca Islands. The same is true for the Yasawas, where you can also dive for the dark limestone Sawa-i-Lau cave. Discover the sand dunes of the Sigatoka Valley, once used as a burial ground, or head deep into Viti Levu to see Fiji's inland wildlife at the beautiful and jungle-covered Kulu Eco Park. Join the masses at virtually any of the islands to dive under and be amazed by Fiji's under water beauty, or opt for a challenging hike along the ridges and through the dense rain forest of Bouma National Park, on Taveuni. Tall jungle trees, a colorful array of birds, waterfalls and volcanic peaks are just some of the

In short, the natural treasures alone are worth the trip, but this island nation does have a number of cultural sights to offer. There's the beautiful Garden of the Sleeping Giant on Nadi, once owned by famous actor Raymond Burr who lived here. It holds over 20 hectares full of orchids native to Fiji, many cultivated and exotic plants plus a lovely lily pond. Make a trip to one of the many villages to take part in a kava-ceremony or to see one of the many other remaining cultural traditions. Navala village (on Viti Levu) still maintains its traditional bures, making it an excellent pick. For a deeper insight in the country's history and culture, the Fiji Museum on Suva is an excellent addition to your trip.

Sport

  • Rugby union is the national sport, and even in the poorest villages, you can see children playing rugby in any open field available making use of plastic bottles or something similar as substitutes if they can't afford to buy an actual rugby ball. The ANZ stadium in Suva is Fiji's national stadium, and the Fijian national team typically performs a traditional war dance known as the cibi before every test match. Fiji contests the Pacific Nations Cup with the neighbouring countries of Tonga and Samoa, and regularly sends teams to the Rugby World Cup, having made the quarter finals twice. In addition to the traditional 15-a-side game, Fiji also regularly competes in rugby sevens, where it is the world's dominant team, having been the most successful team in the Hong Kong Sevens, as well as the winner of the gold medal at the inaugural rugby sevens tournament at the Olympics.

Do

  • Whitewater rafting, Rivers Fiji, P.O. Box 307 Pacific Harbour, Fiji Islands, ? +1-209-736-0597. Rivers Fiji operates whitewater rafting and sea kayaking trips six days a week.
  • The Pearl, Queens Road, Pacific Harbour, Pacific Coast, Fiji Islands, ? +679-773-0022. The Pearl Fiji Championship Golf Course and Country Club is situated in Pacific Harbour and surrounded by beautiful tropical forests. With more than 60 bunkers, multiple water traps, and winding course, it provides a challenge for even the most experienced golfers.

Learn

  • University of the South Pacific, Suva
  • Fiji National University
  • The Fiji School of Medicine

Buy

Money

In Fiji the currency is the Fijian dollar, denoted by the symbol "F$" or "$" (ISO currency code: FJD). Bills include: $2, $5, $10, $20, $50. Coins include: 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, $1, and a $2 coin.

Tipping

In Fiji, tipping is virtually non-existent. This includes no tipping to taxis, hotels, bellpersons, restaurants, etc. However, at most all-inclusive resorts and amongst the scuba diving operations, they have a "Christmas Box" where you can donate money that is shared equally amongst all the staff at Christmas time.

Concerns

Inflation in Fiji is relatively high - it has increased an estimated 12% per year recently. Expect to pay prices similar to those of Australia in tourist regions.

Be aware when going to local markets, often some of the stall holders family will be outside on the lookout for travellers, and will escort the travellers inside using the guise of "getting the best bargains". Once inside they, and their relatives who own the stall, can become quite aggressive if the traveller does not buy their products. Be firm, tell them that you will report them to the authorities if they do not leave you alone. They will quickly change their tone and back down.

Also be aware of small travel counters acting as travel agents, even in some hotels, or on wharves where boats pull in. They may not be accredited, or may be an outright scam. While tourist police have been created to assist tourists in such predicaments, time restraints may restrict tourists ability to retrieve monies. Ask resort managers, or check out http://www.fijime.com for more advice.

Eat

Locals eat in the cafes and small restaurants that are found in every town. The food is wholesome, cheap, and highly variable in quality. What you order from the menu is often better than what comes out of the glass display case, except for places that sell a lot of food quickly and keep putting it out fresh. Fish and Chips are usually a safe bet, and are widely available. Many cafes serve Chinese food of some sort along with Indian and sometimes Fiji-style fish, lamb, or pork dishes. Near the airport, a greater variety of food is found, including Japanese and Korean.

Local delicacies include fresh tropical fruits (they can be found at the farmer's market in any town when in season), paulsami (baked taro leaves marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk often with some meat or fish filling and a bit of onion or garlic), kokoda (fish or other seafood marinated in lemon and coconut milk), and anything cooked in a lovo or pit oven. Vutu is a local variety of nut mainly grown on the island of Beqa, but also available in Suva and other towns around January and February. A great deal of food is cooked in coconut milk, take note that everyone reacts different to increased fat levels in their diet.

Take care when ordering chicken meals. Very often the chicken will come cut into one-bite pieces, but with all the bones left, so it's quite easy to choke on sharp bone. When uncertain, always ask for boneless chicken meal.

A customary dish in Fiji includes a starch, relishes and drink. Starches common in Fijian meals include taro, yams, sweet potatoes, or manioc but can include breadfruit, bananas, and nuts. The relishes include meat, fish, seafood, and vegetables. Drinks include coconut milk but water is most prevalent.

Drink

A very popular drink in Fiji is yaqona ("yang-go-na"), also known as "kava " and sometimes referred to as "grog" by locals. Kava is a peppery, earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum). Its effects include a numbed tongue and lips (usually lasting only about 5-10 minutes) and relaxed muscles. Kava is mildly intoxicating, especially when consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis and one should avoid taxi and other drivers who have recently partaken.

Kava drinking in Fiji became popular during the fall of cannibalism, and originated as a way to resolve conflict and facilitate peaceful negotiations between villages. It should not be consumed alongside alcohol.

Sleep

Most Fiji travel agents will take a 'deposit' along with your booking, which is a commission usually between 15 and 20%. Since this is an up-front payment, it is often beneficial to only book one night initially, and then you may be able to negotiate a lesser rate for subsequent nights (if space is available).

Many smaller and simpler accommodations have "local rates" and can give discounts that are simply huge if you can book a room in person (or have a local do it for you) and give a legitimate local address and phone number. In the Suva area, the Raffles Tradewinds is nice and quiet and about a dollar by frequently running buses from central down town. Sometimes upon arrival at the airport in Nadi, you can stop at the Raffles Gateway across from the airport entrance and book a room at the Tradewinds at a good local rate if business is slow.

Suva has become a desirable destination for conventions, meetings and events. With so many exciting off-site activities so close to the hotel, options for a unique and rewarding event are endless.

Nadi is the hub of tourism for the Fiji Islands. You can get all the resources you need to explore your lodging options, hotels and resorts, activities and trips and tours. Nadi is a thriving community with many things to explore and experience. There is also a number of local activities and places to see when you are in Nadi as well.

Lautoka is Fiji's second largest city. The real charm of this dry western side of the island is the mountain ranges inland from Nadi and Lautoka. Koroyanitu National Park offers hiker overnight adventure through the semi-rainforest,waterfalls and small villages. Tours to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant are also very popular for the different ornamental orchids together with forest walks through botanical wonders.

  • Outrigger on the Lagoon, P.O. Box 173, Sigatoka, ? +679-650-0044. The Outrigger on the Lagoon is a five-star hotel located on Coral Coast of Viti Levu Island. The Outrigger on the Lagoon is family friendly, supports weddings and honeymoons. Kids eat for free, can enjoy the swimming pool and the conference facilities are appropriate for business meetings. $250.
  • The Naviti Resort, Queen's Road, PO Box 29, Korolevu, Viti Levu, Fiji, ? +679 653 0444. The Naviti Resort has 220 rooms to accommodate guests to the island of Viet Levu. The Naviti Resort has a club called the “Rugg Rats Club” which is for kids only so parents can relax. The resort is also available for honeymoons and weddings. It is a 90-minute drive from Nadi International Airport.
  • The Remote Resort, Rainbow Reef (via Taveuni). Island-chic villas with spectacular ocean views. A divers and food-lovers paradise.
  • Village Stays, Throughout Fiji. Finding details is very difficult. Villages vary, as do amenities (including electricity), ensure you have an idea of what is included, any additional costs, what activities are available, before arriving. Unlike resorts, villages require shoulders to be covered at all times, and sometimes sulu (sarong) to be worn, for all genders. Your hosts will be more than happy to explain cultural requirements. Price varies - ensure you bring kava for sevusevu.
  • Vuna Lagoon Lodge, Southern end of Taveuni island next to Vuna village, ? +679 949-6646. Your host is a traditional owner, daughter of the late Tui (Two-ee, means King or Paramount Chief) Vuna, Adi (pronounced An-dee, means Noble Lady) Salote Samanunu. The accommodation is right on a large lagoon, and it takes some time to get to the reef from the water's edge. Electricity is only for 3hrs in the evening. The surrounds are amazingly beautiful, and a small boutique 4star resort, Paradise Taveuni, is a short drive which offers snorkeling/diving equipment and other facilities at a reasonable cost. Otherwise activities include swimming, a blow-hole tour, snorkelling (bring own gear), and reef fishing (bring own gear), village tours, farm tours, horse riding. May need to ring a few times to get hold of owner, who is an excellent at fishing. From F$25 per person per night (dorm), F$50 (single), F$75 (double). Food: either bring your own and cook in communal kitchen or from F$24 per person per night.

Stay safe

Most crime takes place in Suva and Nadi away from the resort areas. The best advice is to stick to hotel grounds after dark, and to use extreme caution in SuvaNadi and other urbanised areas after nightfall. Travelers have been victims of violent crime, particularly in Suva. Travelers have reported the regularity of petty robberies, muggings, and also home-invasions/rape, etc. You will notice the predominance of bars on most peoples' homes. Economic and ethnic strife has led to a low-level hum of violent crime. Some resorts and hotels have more extensive security measures than others which should be taken into account.

Muggings are often carried out by large groups of men so being in a group won't necessarily be a deterrent. Police forces sometimes have difficulties responding to crime, potentially for reasons as mundane as being unable to pay for petrol.

Fijian culture encourages sharing and sometimes small things like shoes will be "borrowed". Often by speaking with the village chief it can be arranged to get things returned.

Fiji is still run by a military government, following a coup in December 2006. Although its effect has not been prominent in the resort areas of Nadi, it has led to economic decline, and a decrease in the rule of law. Journalists may be blacklisted for political reasons. Those whose employment involves reporting controversial political activities should take extra care to ensure that their visas are in order before visiting Fiji.

Stay healthy

Fiji is relatively free of disease compared to most of the tropics. Avoid mosquito-borne illnesses, such as dengue fever and even elephantiasis by covering up thoroughly or using repellents while outdoors at dawn or dusk. Local water is generally safe, though filtering or boiling is advisable when unsure. Urban tap water is treated and nearly always safe. When exceptions occasionally arise, there are public warnings or radio and print media warnings. Contaminated food is uncommon, though on occasion, mature reef fish can contain mild neurotoxins they accumulate in their bodies from freshwater algaes that wash into the ocean. The effects of such "fish-poisoning" are usually intense for only a day or two, but tingling lips and unusual sensitivities to hot and cold can linger for a long time.

Drownings are common, and automobile and other motor vehicle accidents (often involving animals or pedestrians) are very common. Local emergency medical care is very good on the basics in urban areas. Expect long waits in government-run clinics and hospitals. Treatment for serious conditions often requires an evacuation to New Zealand or Australia. Even the most basic medical care is usually not available outside of urban areas.

Fiji, like most of the South Pacific, can have intense solar radiation that can cause severe skin-burns in a short amount of time. Be sure to use hats, sunglasses and liberal amounts of high-SPF value sunblock on ALL exposed skin (including ears, noses and tops-of-feet) when out in the sun. On top of that tropical boils are a common inconvenience in Fiji, this can be avoided by giving those sweaty sections of the body a soapy scrub more than once a day.

Respect

Fiji, like many Pacific Island states, has a strong Christian moral society; having been colonised and converted to Protestantism by missionaries during the 19th century. Do not be surprised if shops and other businesses are closed on Sunday. The Sabbath starts at 6PM the day before, and some businesses celebrate the Sabbath on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. Many Indians are Hindu or Muslim.

Also, dress modestly and appropriately. While Fiji is a tropical country, beach-wear should be confined to the beach. Take your cues from the locals as to what they consider appropriate dress for the occasion. When visiting towns and villages, you should be sure to cover your shoulders and wear shorts or sulus (sarongs) that cover your knees (both genders). This is especially true for visiting a church, although locals will often lend you a sulu for a church visit.

There is no nudist/naturalist or topless bathing in Fiji.

Connect

Public phones are numerous and usually easy to find (look around shops). All phones are prepaid - you must first purchase scrape-off code card (F$5, F$10 or more nominals). Calling is done by calling card issuer center, entering the code (found on the card) and entering the destination number. Foreign call to Europe is approx. F$1 per minute.

There are a few mobile phone companies operating on the island (Vodafone, Digicel). A sim-card is inexpensive, but you need to register your sim to keep it active and to get access to data. Buying a sim-card gives access to cheap data-packages for easy internet access using your phone as a hot-spot. It is much cheaper than resort Wi-Fi, and speed is reasonable with the connections in the tourist areas. In July 2013, these were the Vodafone data-package prices:

  • 200 Mb (24 hour validity): F$1.49
  • 500 Mb (1 week validity): F$4.99
  • 2000 Mb (1 month validity): F$25
  • 4000 Mb (1 month validity): F$45

Hear about travel to Fiji as the Amateur Traveler talks to David Brodie from Travel in 10 about his trip to this Island Paradise. David says "of all the places I have been around the world, Fiji is one of the ones that really drew me back. "

For two weeks before Sawau tribesmen from the island of Beqa in Fiji perform a firewalking ceremony, they have no contact with women and don't eat coconut. If they mess with "the rules" their feet are liable to get badly burned during the ceremony. While in Fiji, I watched fire walking, not on Beqa, but the tourist version at the Outrigger on the Lagoon, Fiji on the island of Viti Levu. Now you can watch...

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Recently I spent five days with my fiancé in Fiji at the all-inclusive Turtle Island Resort, a privately owned island in The Yasawa Island chain. My experience at Turtle Island, from its spacious Grand Bures, complete with personal attendant, known there as a “Bure Mama” to its ingratiating, multi-talented staff and fourteen private beaches can best be described as falling madly in love.

Here is an open letter to Turtle Island for each day of my visit, recounting our courtship from the first impression stages to meeting the family to finally a genuine soul mate connection that I hope will last a lifetime …

Day 1: The Peacocking Stage

Dear Turtle Island,

You make an incredible first impression. The seaplane ride from Nadi to Turtle Island’s gentle shores was not just considerate in that it only took a half hour compared to the island ferry’s travel time of five, but it was also spectacular. As we splash down, your staff greets us with traditional, complexly harmonized Fijian song, dance, hearty smiles and handshakes that turn to hugs.

Seaplane Ride to Turtle Island

Seaplane Ride to Turtle Island

You were wise to let me sneak a peek at so many of the other islands during our flight from the mainland. You are without a doubt, the most beautiful of all with your crescent beach, spaced out bures, and powdery sand. As the bright-eyed Mama Sala introduces herself, not with a “welcome to Turtle Island,” but rather, the phrase “welcome home.” It is said so earnestly, it felt awkward but deeply familiar.

Once at spacious, airy two-room Grande Bure, Mama Sala runs down a list of activities that you have planned for us over the next five days, including scuba, snorkel, deep-sea fishing, village visits, sunrise horseback rides, and champagne lunches on private beaches, I can’t help but think we have something special together and I want this relationship to go further.

Seafood Lunch at Turtle Island

Seafood Lunch at Turtle Island

You impress me more when, shortly after our arrival, we have a seafood lunch on the sand made up of fresh fish, shellfish, octopus, and sea grapes that were taken from the surrounding waters just hours earlier. Not only are you resourceful when it comes to cuisine, you can cook. You invite your entire staff to join the guests for lunch and in our first hours together we aren’t “the served” and “the servers.” We are all one. As I spend the rest of the happy afternoon snorkeling among the stingrays and starfish of the reef right off of the shore of my beautiful bure, I find myself wondering if you could even be real.

Warmly, Matt

Day 2: Getting to Know You

Dear Turtle Island,

So you can cook and sing and you are stunning, but today, I get to learn what makes you tick. I learn that you were once, in the early 70’s, an empty island whose vegetation had been stripped bare by wild goats. No one wanted you. But one man, your “father” as it were, Richard Evanson, saw more in you. He bought you, covered you in mahogany trees, imported iguanas and parrots and soon Hollywood came knocking to use your shores for the movie The Blue Lagoon. From there, he had a vision to turn you into a private resort island, to be called Turtle Island, where a lucky few at any given time could enjoy your exclusivity.

Fiji's Turtle Island Resort (taken from the water)

Fiji’s Turtle Island Resort

Next, I learn how you’ve grown into a mature, beautiful, responsible resort. All produce eaten by guests and staff alike, is grown on the island and all energy is solar. On the island is a woodshop where local craftsmen use wood from the island trees to make everything from the bed frames to salt shakers and souvenir photo albums. The flower arrangements that Mama Sala places on our beds, countertops, and even toilet tanks are always made with wild picked hibiscus and palm leaves.

Not only that, one can only be hired to work on the island if they are recommended by a current employee. The seventy-plus staff is made up of friends and of family and live in villages in the surrounding islands. Turtle Island keeps the villages running and keeps the kids of employees educated by paying for their schooling.

Given your namesake, it is only logical that you would be in the business of saving the sea turtles that populate your waters. You have a program where guests can bid for the right to write their name on the back of a sea turtle’s shell that has been inadvertently captured by local fishermen. The process, which is 100% humane, also raises money for sea turtle conservation and means that the shell is no longer valuable to poachers.

There is far more to you, Turtle Island, than reefs and ukulele songs. As I sit alone, on the wind swept beach where years ago, The Blue Lagoon was shot, I begin to have a new idea of what real beauty truly means and while I feel like I’ve known you forever, still we’ve just only met. And it’s a plus that you’re a movie star.

Affectionately, Matt

Day 3: Meeting the Family

Dear Turtle Island,

Yesterday, you sold me on your soul and today you wine and dine me then steal my heart. I’m vulnerable to you now. I trust you and I believe in you. You might say, I’m circling the “L” word.

Horseback Riding on the Beach at Turtle Island Resort

Horseback Riding on the Beach at Turtle Island Resort

The day begins before sunrise. Horses roam free on Turtle Island and can be seen trotting through the woods, eating fallen coconuts or galloping along stretches of sandy beaches. Two of your horses, Deek and Nemo are tame and we ride them along your longest stretch of white sand facing east as the sun slowly rises and the beach comes to life with scurrying crab and cooing doves. We have pastries and sip coffee and champagne. By the time we are finished, it is only 7am and the day is long.

We’ve met your staff. We ate seafood with them and have laughed over drinks in your open-air bar. They’ve sung to us at sunset and no matter what, always greet us by name and a cheerful BULA, the Fijian greeting that has now become my mantra. This afternoon, we are leaving our island and going across the channel to the small village where much of the staff lives.

Dancing Staff at Turtle Island Resort, Fiji

Dancing Staff at Turtle Island Resort

Life, we see in the village, is simpler than most of us have seen. Accessible only by sea, there are no roads into the village. There are no shops, no police, no hospitals, and not even doctors. The food comes from the sea. And while the houses, with their limited water and rudimentary outdoor kitchens are small, the soul of this town is enormous.

We watch as your kids play rugby. No one seems to wear shoes. You show us your church and talk to us about how much God means in village life. We share in the time old tradition of the Fijian Kava Ceremony. We gather around a bowl filled with water mixed with powdered, anesthetic Kava Root. The village elder hands each of us a hollowed out coconut shell full of the ashy water. As it goes down, we relax as the musically inclined of the village perform traditional Fijian dances. Life is how it has been for hundreds of years in that moment, and probably how it should continue to be forever.

Floating Platform at Turtle Island

Floating Platform at Turtle Island

That night, back at the resort, we have dinner on a floating platform out in the middle of the ocean. As the thousands of stars begin to reveal themselves in a way that only happens on remote islands, our eyes are drawn across the channel to the scattered lights of the village. Many have solar panels. Some don’t. As I bite into lobster, I can’t help but take an inventory of my life and be both humbled and grateful. With all of your beauty, ingenuity, talent, and culture, you are making me a better person.

With Love, Matt

Day 4: Crisis

Dear Turtle Island,

I walk to the little gift shop outside the dining area and the only spot where there is Wi-Fi to check my email. I get some difficult news. No one had died, but the news is life changing in every way, none-the-less. I considered what one might do to feel better in such a circumstance and all that came to mind was to focus on breathing — go deep within and focus on what was good and beautiful.

Five minutes later, I was on a boat headed once again across the channel to one of Fiji’s most famous reefs to go diving. I could imagine no circumstance, where I would be without a choice but to focus on depth, breathing, beauty and the complexity of life. Giant stingrays, sea snakes, octopus, resplendent coral and an overall life-in-abundance, seems to be your way of telling me, that despite it all, everything is going to be okay.

Underwater Life at Turtle Island, Fiji

Underwater Life at Turtle Island, Fiji

That night, instead of joining the other guests for dinner and movie night, we sat on the balcony of our bure. This sudden change meant I’d be moving back to my home state where I hadn’t lived in fifteen years. As I sat there thinking about what exactly my home was, my mind wandered back to Mama Sala’s first words when I arrived to Turtle Island. “Welcome home.” Thinking about all that beauty you had revealed and the kindness you have extended, I couldn’t help but feel that home, as I was beginning to see, was far more than just a city.

Lovingly, Matt

Day 5: Surrender and Farewell

Dear Turtle Island,

It is Sunday, our last day here. We could either go snorkeling again or go back to the village for a less “arranged” church service. The first time we’d been in the village, despite its power, we’d felt a bit like outsiders; separated from their simple world by our own privilege and a camera lens. There seemed to be something so raw and connected about going back and going to church, to visit not just as an onlooker but to participate in prayer and song as a fellow son of God. The church was sweltering hot and many of the villagers couldn’t make it because the night before, they’d had too much kava. Geckos crawled all over the ceiling and women in the choir fanned themselves as the preacher delivered an impassioned sermon in Fijian. The energy was palpable and just as the priest was building to something that felt certain to change lives; certain to make even the non-believers believe, something amazing happened.

There, in that tiny village with no roads, no stores and no doctors, as a preacher fired the gospel with divinely inspired island fervor … a cell phone rang.

A child sheepishly bolted for the door, his angry father behind him. You, Fiji … You Turtle Island, reminded me in that moment, that no matter where you are in the world, when you’re in the house of God, you make sure that your cell phone is off. And with all of your virtue, you no doubt have a wonderful sense of humor because the look of horror on that kid’s face was hilarious.

Beach Horses of Turtle Island Resort, Fiji

Beach Horses of Turtle Island Resort, Fiji

As we return to the island, I begin to feel emotional. I remember all the times I scoffed at people who say a beautiful experience changed them. I go to the gift store and want to buy a Turtle Island shirt, hat, stuffed animal and a pot with our names carved in it by one of the guys from the village. We’ve named a reef after ourselves and I have a relationship with the local stingray … When we learn Mama Sala had to take a ferry back to the mainland and didn’t say goodbye, we are crushed. It is time to go. The staff and even the island’s horses are on the beach as the seaplane arrives to pick us up and take us back home, wherever that winds up being. Once again, they sing and it sounds as good as ever.

Island Silhouette

Island Silhouette

As we take off, I look out the window at the island disappearing and I don’t see reefs, water, and palm trees. I see much more than that. I see true beauty. I catch my reflection in the window looking out with my new tan and think to myself … I look happy. I look in love.

Yours forever, Matt

(All photos © Matt Payne)

The post How I Fell in Love with Turtle Island in Fiji in Just 5 Days appeared first on Vagabondish.

The New Zealand landscapes are as diverse as can be, and Kiwis themselves are as genuine and friendly as they’re known to be. If you’re planning to travel across Aotearoa — “the land of the long white cloud” — be sure to set aside a good amount of time. Whilst you will naturally be taking the scenic route instead of a speedy highway, weather, too, has a mind of its own over here. Prepare to only loosely stick to your schedule, especially on the South Island — where there’s not only weather proposing distraction, but also some of the best hikes and scenic sights in the country. 1

Otago Peninsula

Dunedin’s great outdoors begin at the spectacular Otago Peninsula. Start at the top and go from there. To reach Harbour Cone, follow Portobello Road, take a right turn onto Seaton Road and park your car at Highcliff Road for a 30-min (or so) walk to the top.

2

The Catlins, Purakaunui Falls

A 1.5-hour drive south from Dunedin, The Catlins bear rugged treasures. Options are endless but a trip to Nugget Point (see below) and Purakaunui Falls - One of the South Island’s most accessible tiered waterfalls - make for a pleasant and very photogenic introduction.

3

The Caitlins, Nugget Point Lighthouse

The lighthouse can be reached with an easy 10-minute walk from the carpark. Views are best at sunrise and gusts are almost always strong.

Intermission

33 places to swim in the world’s clearest water

The 13 spookiest named (but most beautiful) places in the world

17 images that will make you want to explore Iceland right now

4

Hooker Valley in Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park

A very accessible introduction to Aoraki National Park, the 3 to 4 hour return Hooker Valley Track offers views galore. Do you dare to go for a dip next to the icebergs?

5

Banks Peninsula

From Little River to Lavericks Bay, there is much more to the Banks Peninsula than Akaroa. Aside from the simply-put epic views along summit road, I suggest a day trip to Le Bons Bay. One bay over to the left is Lavericks Bay, with an exquisite glamping option (look for Canopy Glamping ). Back in Little River (1 hour from Christchurch), the Silo Stays add a new, luxurious dimension to sustainable tourism, housing visitors in converted silos.

6

Akaroa

A spectacularly-set French village within two hours from Christchurch. For a dose of culture, be sure to stop by at the Giant’s House – a local institution by international renown Kiwi artist. Dolphin cruises are a popular option, too.

7

Wharariki Beach

Beaches come in a plethora of colors and settings In New Zealand; from rugged black sands to sparkling golden grain. Wharariki Beach, located on the northernmost point of the South Island, is one of the purest. A 20-mintue walk from the DOC car park will take you through green meadows onto white sand. Watch out for seals and stay for sunset.

8

Abel Tasman National Park

Its easy accessibility and vicinity to Nelson makes the Abel Tasman one of the busiest national parks in the country. Rightly so, as the many hidden bays and beaches could be from one of the Pacific Islands up north. Bring your walking shoes and do some kayaking to best enjoy New Zealand’s version of Fiji.

9

Nelson Lakes National Park

Heading South from Nelson, the Nelson Lakes reminds me of continental Europe, Austria perhaps. Clear lakes and excellent day walks (or multi-day hikes) make this a popular camping destination. If you only have one night, stay in Kerr Bay. Bring sand-fly/mosquito repellent.

Intermission

20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world

25 places we’re dying to explore right now

This Instagrammer’s amazing shots of Queensland will make you want to travel right now

10

Hanmer Springs

An easy 2-hour drive (make it three if you stop at the wineries along the way; Black Estate is a favorite), Hanmer Springs calls for adventure. After all the outdoors fun, the thermal pools will soothe tired muscles.

11

Shamarra Alpaca Farm in Wainui Bay

Did you know that Alpaca fiber is three times warmer than sheep’s wool? Feed the cuddly creatures and don’t forget to take in the backdrop.

12

Sealy Tarns/Mueller Hut

The choice for day walks around the South Island is abundant and while I have spent my fair share of days and nights hiking across it, Mueller Hut remains a firm favorite. Plan for a 4-hour ascent and a 3-hour descent. Staying overnight requires a booking (DOC website) and is highly recommended. Otherwise, Sealy Tarns make a beautiful 3-hour return trip.

13

Milford Sounds

Awesome rain or shine. On a sunny day, take a scenic flight with Milford Sound Scenic Flights. Otherwise, rise early for a long drive (4 hours) from Queenstown or base yourself in picturesque Te Anau (2 hours). Once arrived, jump aboard a nature cruise to get up and close with the fiord, its waterfalls, and seals.

14

Queenstown Hill

A local favourite and accessible by foot from town. The 500-meter climb up starts and ends on Belfast Street and takes around 3 hours return.

15

Mt. Roy

There is a reason Mt. Roy is one of New Zealand’s most instagrammed spots. From Wanaka, follow Mt. Aspiring Road for approximately 6km until you come across a Roys Peak Track sign on the left. Towering 1578m over Wanaka, the 8km hike to the top will take you around three hours. Note that the track is closed in spring from October 1st to November 10th (inclusive) to allow for lambing.

TODAY IS WORLD WATER DAY. The international holiday was first set up by the United Nations in 1993 as a way to get people thinking about how we can better provide clean water to everyone on earth. It sounds like it should be easy, but it’s actually a monumental task — a lot of water is wasted, and a lot of the world is stuck drinking contaminated water.

One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to give everyone in the world access to clean water by 2030, so they’re working with governments around the world to try and move us towards a cleaner planet.

We here at Matador are water freaks — our staff is jam-packed with divers, surfers, snorkelers, kayakers, and skiiers (and we like to drink the stuff, too). So we thought we’d dive into our archives and into our travelstoke app to find some of the most beautiful pictures of water we’ve ever taken. To learn more about World Water Day, check out the UN site.

 Elowah FallsCascade Locks, United StatesOne of my favorite places to visit in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s best in the winter or spring when the water level is highest, like in this photo. #hiking

Dog Island, Panama

Dog Island is one of the San Blas Islands off the north coast of Panama.

Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Cape Kiwanda State Natural AreaCloverdale, United StatesCape Kiwanda is one of my favorite spots on the Oregon Coast. The massive sand dune is fun to climb but my favorite spots are beyond that. There are these awesome rock formations to explore. #oregon

 Two Jack LakeImprovement District No. 9, CanadaTwo Jack lake is a great drive up spot just outside of Banff. I went to this lake a couple times but this time at sunrise was probably my favorite. Watching the sun light up the snowy peaks was an amazing experience.

Linapacan Island, Philippines

Located in the remote province of Palawan, Linapacan is surrounded by quiet beaches and super clear water.

Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Vermilion LakesImprovement District No. 9, CanadaLoved this spot near Banff!  It’s just a few minutes from downtown and you can drive right up to this pier. I went at sunset and got this view out over the lake. #banff

Great Barrier Reef Australia

Known as the world’s largest coral-reef system and the most popular diving location on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is submerged in clear, blue water. Thanks to this clarity, the reef can be seen from space.

Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Seljalandsfoss WaterfallSouth, IcelandStanding behind this stunning waterfall at sunset was one of my favorite experiences in Iceland.

It is an easily accessible waterfall as the parking lot is just a few hundred feet from the falls.

Sua Trench, Samoa

The Sua Trench in Samoa. Photo: Abhimanyu Sabnis

 Colchuck LakeLeavenworth, United StatesOne of the best hikes in the area. The hike is 8 miles roundtrip with 2280 feet of elevation gain. #hiking

Newport Beach, California

Newport Beach, California. Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Boardman LakeGranite Falls, United StatesLooking down on Boardman Lake with my drone.

The hike to the lake is just 2 miles roundtrip with 300 feet of elevation gain. #hiking

Cloudbreak, Tavarua, Fiji. Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Horseshoe BendPage, United StatesThis spectacular view is just a short walk from a parking lot near Page, AZ. It is such a good spot for sunset which is when I took this photo. #Arizona

 Gorton Creek FallsCascade Locks, United StatesA short 1.2 mile out and back trail with 150 feet of elevation gain leads up to this beautiful waterfall. Best during the winter or spring as the water level is higher. #oregon

Cayos Cochinos Honduras

One of the most low-key destinations on our list, the Cayos Cochinos are protected by the Honduran government and remain off limits to commercial fishing. The islets are a true example of the word “pristine”—and we all know how overused that is. They’re also home to some of the best, and mostly still undiscovered, scuba diving in the world.Photo: Scott Sporleder

 Bruarfoss Waterfall, IcelandThis waterfall isn’t the biggest in size but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its color. The water there was this amazing blue shade that I could hardly believe was real.

ALL AROUND THE WORLD, whether it’s a gnarly rapid, wave, or simply a vast stretch of open ocean, water remains the ultimate proving ground for athletes and adventurers. We’re entering an exciting era, a time when technology combined with technique allows athletes to enter realms that have never been accessed before.

We’re talking about paddling massive-volume rivers or huge waterfalls with total style and control. Or innovating designs of surfboards, kitesurfs, or sailboats so they perform in ways that are very close to flying. And with arsenals of drones, cameras / water housings, and social media channels, these adventurers and innovators are bringing audiences along for the ride in unprecedented ways.

While each of the following stories are unique, they all exemplify courage, endurance, creativity, and, above all, a special connection to the water. Meet these seven individuals pushing new limits in a progressive, technology-driven era.

1. James Spithill

America's Cup

Photo: Sperry

Australian yachtsman James Spithill is arguably the most elite racer in the world, holding records as both the youngest helmsman in the America’s Cup (age 20), and the youngest skipper to win the America’s Cup (2010). The design of his America’s Cup boats use hydrofoil technology, allowing the boats to essentially fly over water at speeds of up to 50 knots. It was this focus on purposeful that design that attracted the interest of Sperry, who worked with Spithill and the rest of ORACLE TEAM USA to develop the new Sperry 7 SEAS series of footwear — a boat shoe for those pushing the limits.

2. Liz Clark

While others on this list may be breaking endurance or speed records, surfer, environmentalist, and captain Liz Clark is pushing another kind of boundary on the water. Having spent her last 11 years exploring the Pacific (much of the time alone) aboard her sailboat Swell, Liz has captivated people’s imagination with her message of living simply and protecting the environment. “I travel at a pace not much faster than you can run,” she writes. “Weather, swell, and tides dictate my days. This isn’t just a surf trip — it’s a lifestyle, passion, and search for better ways for humanity to inhabit our shared planet.”

3. Chris Bertish

Chris Bertish SUP

Photo: Marco Bava

In March of 2017, South African big-wave surfer and stand-up paddleboarder Chris Bertish set several new world records in his 93-day solo, unsupported crossing of the Atlantic on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). Bertish’s SUP had an incredible design: 20 feet long with a tiny sleeping cabin in the bow, a self-righting system, solar panels, and a desalinator for making fresh water. Already an accomplished athlete and explorer, Bertish had previously won the Maverick’s Big Wave competition in 2009. In the emotional moments after his landing, he said, “I was paddling one stroke at a time. Just focus on what’s in front of you.”

4. Pat Keller

Among the current generation of whitewater paddling stars, Pat Keller is probably the least flashy. He lets his runs speak for themselves — first descents all over the world, including a truly death-defying run at Linville Falls. But beyond his whitewater prowess, Pat deserves special recognition for his contributions to the sport as a designer. In 2005, he envisioned a new type of whitewater kayak specifically for racing down the Green River. He was actually a student at UNCA at the time, but Dagger accepted his proposal, even giving him internship credit to work on the design. A year later, the new boat — the “Green Boat” — dominated the race, and went on to inspire a whole new boat category (the “longboat”) that was quickly picked up by other manufacturers. Longboats like the Green Boat not only excel in extreme races, but — with their large capacity — have become go-to boats for expedition paddlers on multi-day adventures.

5. Bethany Hamilton

Bethany Hamilton

Photo: Troy Williams

Like Liz Clark, pro surfer Bethany Hamilton is pushing her own unique boundaries on the water — in this case, an incredible story of courage and perseverance. At age 13, while surfing in Hawaii, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, resulting in the loss of her left arm. Undeterred, Hamilton returned to the water only a month after the attack, learning to paddle with one arm. Over the next decade she would continue to train and compete, winning and being a top finisher in recent contests such as the Pipeline Women’s Pro and the Fiji Women’s Pro.

6. Austin Keen

Among the lesser-known boardsport of skimboarding, World Champion Skimboarder Austin Keen is innovating some of the most amazing maneuvers ever performed on the water. Because of the explosiveness and short duration of skimboarding rides, they’re particularly well-suited for sharing on Instagram, where he has a huge following. Over the years, Keen has pioneered new ways of accessing waves on a skimboard by taking off first on a SUP or regular surfboard, then jumping onto the skimboard once on the wave. He’s currently experimenting with riding hydrofoil skimboards as well.

7. Nico Landauer

Nico Landauer

Photo: Nico Landauer

Nico’s story begins as a Uruguayan who came to California to compete as a pro surfer. Also an accomplished sailboat racer, he began to combine the two sports in the form of kiteboarding. Taking into consideration the latest in hydrofoil technology developed for racing sailboats, he began experimenting with “hydrofoiling,” or riding a kiteboard modified with a hydrofoil. The result: Nico is able to glide smoothly through rough water at super high speeds, opening new possibilities — pushing new boundaries — in the sport.

 

Sperry_Logo_NAVY 296 This post is proudly produced in partnership with Sperry shoes.

 

Lonely Planet Fiji (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to Fiji*

Lonely Planet Fiji is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Say bula to the locals at a dance ceremony; trek to hidden waterfalls on 'Garden Island' Taveuni or ride a bamboo raft through the Namosi Highlands; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Fiji and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Fiji:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - history, environment, culture, traditional lifestyles Over 35 maps Covers NadiSuva, Viti Levu, Mamanuca Islands, Yasawa Islands, Ovalau, Lomaiviti Islands, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu Islands, Lau Islands, Moala Islands and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Fiji, our most comprehensive guide to Fiji, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, gift and lifestyle books and stationery, as well as an award-winning website, magazines, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

*Best-selling guide to Fiji. Source: Nielsen BookScan. Australia, UK and USA

Fiji Map & Reef Creatures Guide Franko Maps Laminated Fish Card

Franko Maps Ltd.

Perfect for divers, snorkelers and nature lovers! Side One is a mini-map of the islands of Fiji. Side Two is a fish identification guide with nearly 100 species illustrated. This convenient, waterproof reference is made of hard, laminated plastic with hole for lanyard. 5.5" x 8.5"

Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu

J. Maarten Troost

With The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Maarten Troost established himself as one of the most engaging and original travel writers around. Getting Stoned with Savages again reveals his wry wit and infectious joy of discovery in a side-splittingly funny account of life in the farthest reaches of the world. After two grueling years on the island of Tarawa, battling feral dogs, machete-wielding neighbors, and a lack of beer on a daily basis, Maarten Troost was in no hurry to return to the South Pacific. But as time went on, he realized he felt remarkably out of place among the trappings of twenty-first-century America. When he found himself holding down a job—one that might possibly lead to a career—he knew it was time for him and his wife, Sylvia, to repack their bags and set off for parts unknown.Getting Stoned with Savages tells the hilarious story of Troost’s time on Vanuatu—a rugged cluster of islands where the natives gorge themselves on kava and are still known to “eat the man.” Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. When Sylvia gets pregnant, they decamp for slightly-more-civilized Fiji, a fallen paradise where the local chiefs can be found watching rugby in the house next door. And as they contend with new parenthood in a country rife with prostitutes and government coups, their son begins to take quite naturally to island living—in complete contrast to his dad.

Fiji: A Novel

Lance Morcan

Fiji is a spellbinding novel of adventure, cultural misunderstandings, religious conflict and sexual tension set in one of the most exotic and isolated places on earth.As the pharaohs of ancient Egypt build their mighty pyramids, and Chinese civilization evolves under the Shang Dynasty, adventurous seafarers from South East Asia begin to settle the far-flung islands of the South Pacific. The exotic archipelago of Fiji is one of the last island groups to be discovered and will remain hidden from the outside world for many centuries to come.By the mid-1800's, Fiji has become a melting pot of cannibals, warring native tribes, sailors, traders, prostitutes, escaped convicts and all manner of foreign undesirables. It's in this hostile environment an innocent young Englishwoman and a worldly American adventurer find themselves.Susannah Drake, a missionary, questions her calling to spread God's Word as she's torn between her spiritual and sexual selves. As her forbidden desires intensify, she turns to the scriptures and prayer to quash the sinful thoughts - without success.Nathan Johnson arrives to trade muskets to the Fijians and immediately finds himself at odds with Susannah. She despises him for introducing the white man's weapons to the very people she is trying to convert and he pities her for her naivety. Despite their differences, there's an undeniable chemistry between them.When their lives are suddenly endangered by marauding cannibals, Susannah and Nathan are forced to rely on each other for their very survival.Written by father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan (authors of The Orphan Trilogy), Fiji is an historical adventure-romance published by Sterling Gate Books. A feature film adaptation of Fiji is currently being developed.Reviews for Fiji:★★★★★ "Fun Adventure in Foreign Locales" -Jason Letts (author of 'The Inevitable Trilogy')★★★★★ "The extensive research is evident and the plot electrifying" -MyShelf.com★★★★★ "Exciting story from beginning to end" -Lynelle Clark (author of 'A Pirate's Wife')★★★★ "A wonderfully entrancing read" -Joan McGrath (historical author)★★★★★ "Awesome book!" -A Bit Of Everything Reviews★★★★★ "History, sex, romance and some great adventures to boot" -BRAB Online Book Club★★★★ "You'll enjoy the voyage this book takes you on" -Have You Heard Book Review★★★★★ "A fabulous novel, beautiful for its blunt rawness, exotic scenery, and fascinating storyline" -Historical Novel Review★★★★★ "A well-written, totally absorbing novel" -J.B. DiNizo (author of Comings and Goings)★★★★★ "The book is packed with adventure" -Karine Brégeon (author of 'Francette and the Mystery of the Deaf Soldier')★★★★ "A fantastic combination of romance and action"-The Kindle Book Review UK★★★★★ "A perfect plot, flawless writing and a consistent storyline with no kinks or glitches throughout" -Review Buzz★★★★★ "The richly woven world of Fiji sometimes comes across as a human Jurassic Park" -Greg Kuhn (author & quantum physicist)★★★★★ "A journey not only of adventure, but of heart, and most definitely of soul"-WelcomeHomeSoldier Reviews★★★★ "Reminiscent of the great South Pacific tales of Jack London and James Michener" -John R. Lindermuth (historical novelist) Rambles Reviews

Insight Guides: Explore Fiji (Insight Explore Guides)

Insight Guides

A palm tree-lined South Pacific island paradise, yet also easily accessible from the Antipodes, Fiji offers a tropical idyll with all the white sand beaches, fabulous diving and other outdoor activities you could ask for. Insight Guide Explore Fiji is a brand new title and is the ideal pocket companion for your trip: a full-colour guide containing 12 easy-to-follow routes around the Fijian islands.

Discover the lively nightlife and bustling daytime of Fiji's capital, Suva, hike in the Nausori Highlands, experience a homestay in Viti Levu and cruise the Yasawa Islands, with their perfect beaches and great seafood. Insight's trademark cultural coverage sets the routes in context, with introductions to Fiji's cuisine, entertainment options, wealth of activities on offer and key historical dates. Our recommended places to eat and drink are highlighted in each route, with even more suggestions in the directory section, which also contains a wealth of useful practical information, including a range of carefully selected accommodation to suit all budgets. All routes are plotted on the useful pull-out map, and evocative photography captures Fiji's stunning tropical island scenery.

Moon Fiji

David Stanley

South Pacific expert and veteran travel writer David Stanley knows the best way to experience Fiji, from making the most of one of the world's premiere diving spots to getting away from it all in lesser-known villages. David provides great trip ideas for a variety of travelers, such as Best of Fiji, Island-Hopper Special, and The Life Aquatic. Packed with information on swimming the reefs, taking day-long boat cruises, and sampling Fijian specialties, Moon Fiji gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.

FIJI Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Fiji

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Fiji with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Lonely Planet Fiji (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to Fiji*

Lonely Planet Fiji is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Island-hop between Yasawa beaches, dive with the bull sharks in Beqa Lagoon, or experience the multicultural mix of colonial and contemporary Fiji; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Fiji and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Fiji Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, art, music, dance, sport, architecture, politics, landscapes, and wildlife Over 38 local maps Useful features - including Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), Diving, and Travel with Children Coverage of the Mamanuca & Yasawa groups, NadiSuva, Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Ovalau, the Lomaiviti Group, the Kadavu, Lau & Moala groups, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Fiji, our most comprehensive guide to Fiji, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for more coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South Pacific guide for a comprehensive look at what the whole region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Dean Starnes, Celeste Brash, and Virginia Jealous.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

*Bestselling guide to Fiji Source: Nielsen Bookscan. Australia, UK and USA, March 2011 to February 2012.

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Political situation

On January 6, 2012, Fiji’s Public Order Act was updated, providing military and police with extensive powers of arrest and detention. Although the situation is currently calm, any provocation of the police or military should be avoided. Maintain a low profile, expect a number of police and military checkpoints, closely monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Crime

Robbery and assault occur, particularly at night in urban areas. Petty crime, such as theft from hotel rooms and purse snatching, is prevalent. Armed assaults occur, even in hotels. Exercise caution at all times, and pay particular attention when exchanging money at hotels or withdrawing money from automatic banking machines (ABMs) or banks. Do not show signs of affluence. Do not share taxis with strangers. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Transportation

Traffic drives on the left. Roads outside cities are unpaved. Driving can be hazardous, particularly after dark, due to potholes and stray animals. The maximum speed limit is 60km/h.

Use taxis with yellow registration plates, which denote recent compliance with Land Transport Authority regulations. Unlicensed minibuses may not be insured.

Travel by boat on coastal waters and inter-islands trips should be undertaken only with a reputable tour company. If you are contemplating sea journeys, contact the Meteorological Office (tel.: 23401) or consult the Fiji Meteorological Service website for weather reports.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Do not walk alone after dark, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations of any size, avoid military installations and personnel, and follow the advice of local authorities.

Do not hike alone; the terrain can be hazardous. Consult with local guides before setting out, and stay on marked paths.

Riptides can be dangerous along the reefs and river estuaries. Several drownings have occurred. Sharks are present.

Emergency services

Dial 911 or 919.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical facilities are adequate. Serious medical problems may require evacuation to New Zealand, Australia or Canada. Emergency evacuations may cost tens of thousands of dollars. There are two decompression chambers in Suva. Many popular diving sites are located away from Suva. Divers visiting Fiji should buy travel insurance that includes decompression and medical evacuation services.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Laws

Possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by imprisonment.

There are harsh penalties for engaging in sexual acts with a minor. In addition, Canadians may be prosecuted at home for sexually exploiting children while abroad. Consult our publication entitled Child Sex Tourism: It's a Crime for more information.

Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Money

The currency is the Fijian dollar (FJD). Major credit cards are accepted by most hotels, restaurants and shops. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in LabasaLautokaNadi, Nausori, Sigatoka and Suva.

Climate

Fiji is located in an active seismic zone.

The rainy (or monsoon) and typhoon seasons in the South Pacific are from November to April. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. Disruptions to air services and to water and power supplies may also occur. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.

During a typhoon or monsoon, hotel guests may be required to leave accommodations near the shore and move to safety centres inland. Travel to and from outer islands may be disrupted for some days.

Consult our Typhoons and monsoons page for more information.