What You Need to Know About Planning a Trip to Fiji
One of the world’s most strikingly beautiful island nations, Fiji is a country of more than 300 islands where swaying coconut palms, sweeping beaches and turquoise waters are never too far. But there’s more to the archipelago than the landscapes that decorate brochures. There’s a rugged interior to islands that are home to remote Fijian villages, exciting natural playgrounds and bustling Indo-Fijian towns which are a hub of culture. If Fiji has captured your heart and you’re ready to take the next step, this guide on how to plan a trip to Fiji is the right stepping stone to the trip of your dreams. Dive a little deeper into planning a trip to Fiji with our Fiji travel advice.
Fiji is a nation of 333 islands located in the South Pacific. The country covers 18,333 km² (7,078sq mi) and is split into eight islands/island groups consisting of Viti Levu (the main island), Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu, the Mamanuca Islands, the Yasawa Islands, the Lomaiviti Islands and the Lau Islands. As Viti Levu is the largest island of Fiji, it is split into several regions. Learn more in Understanding the Fiji Regions.
Why Visit Fiji?
Fiji is a top tropical destination of island resorts. It offers impeccable scuba diving, as well as interesting cultural activities relating to the Fijian culture. Visitors will find a balance of relaxation and adventure between the world-class resort spas and the exciting natural landscapes from jungles scattered with waterfalls to pristine beaches.
Who are the People of Fiji?
Fiji’s population is made up of around 60% of Fijians, descendants of Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian people, and around 40% of Indo-Fijians who are descendants of indentured labourers who came to Fiji to work in the sugar industry more than 100 years ago. Learn more in Who are the People of Fiji?
When is the Best Time to Visit Fiji?
There’s never really a bad time to visit Fiji, but depending on what activities you want to do and your ideal weather scenario, there might be a better season for you to visit.
The Climate in Fiji
Fiji is a tropical country and experiences warm temperatures throughout the year. It has two distinct seasons, a dry season which is drier and cooler, and a wet season which is hotter and humid. Learn more in What is the Weather Like in Fiji?
Dry Season (May to November)
The dry season is also known as the winter season in Fiji, although many would not describe it as winter with temperatures around 19-29°C (66-84°F). The rainfall per month is an average of 70-150mm (2.8-6″). The dry season is also the time for swimming with manta rays, surfing big waves, clearer scuba diving conditions and catching sailfish, skipjack tuna and wahoo.
Wet Season (December to April)
The wet season is hotter and more humid, with temperatures around 22-33°C (72-91°F) and an average monthly rainfall of 180-310mm (2.8-6″). This is also Fiji’s cyclone season, which means there’s a risk of cyclones (but only a risk, which you can learn more about in How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Fiji). The wet season is also the best time for catching Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Mahimahi, as well as avoiding other tourists.
So when is the best time to travel to Fiji? Get more information in The Best Time to Visit Fiji.
What Do You Need to Bring With You to Fiji?
Of course, packing is a personal choice, so we won’t dive into a full packing list here – see The Complete Packing List for Fiji for that. Just know that you’ll need a tropical wardrobe including some more modest items of clothing for visiting Fijian villages.
Here, we’ll talk about things you need to bring to Fiji that you might have not thought about.
Do You Need a Visa to Visit Fiji?
For citizens of around 100 different countries, the answer is no. You just need to arrive in Fiji with a valid passport and an onward travel ticket. Citizens not of visa-exempt countries will need to apply for a Visitor Visa. Find out more in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Fiji?
The currency in Fiji is Fijian Dollars. While credit/debit cards are accepted in major resorts and businesses in Fiji’s towns, you should have cash available for taxis and visiting villages. Find out more in What is the Currency in Fiji?
Although the water in towns is generally safe to drink, there is questionable drinking water in Fiji’s villages and more remote islands. That coupled with high UV levels and the presence of mosquitos means that certain health products are essential to take to Fiji. Fiji also has a fragile marine ecosystem so natural sunscreens and repellents are a must, while water purification bottles/tablets are preferable to buying bottled water. Find out more in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Fiji.
Where to Visit in Fiji
Fiji is split into eight islands/island groups, while Viti Levu has six distinct visitor destinations, each with its own attractions and charms. While we definitely recommend visiting at least two of the island groups, here’s a brief overview of each region so you can decide which is best for you. And for comparing the main island and the outer islands, see Visiting Fiji: Main Island Vs. Outer Islands.
The main island of Fiji and the island that visitors arrive at has several regions to explore. In short, there’s:
Nadi – Home to the international airport, hot springs, Indian temples, Fijian markets and more: see The Complete Guide to Nadi.
Denarau – Hub of five-star resorts and tours to the Mamanucas and Yasawas: see The Complete Guide to Denarau Island.
Coral Coast – Resorts line the sandy shores of Viti Levu’s south coast: see The Complete Guide to the Coral Coast.
Pacific Harbour – Fiji’s adventure capital! See The Complete Guide to Pacific Harbour & Beqa.
Suva – Fiji’s actual capital! See The Complete Guide to Suva.
Suncoast – The less-visited northern coast of Viti Levu: see The Complete Guide to the Suncoast.
Mamanuca Islands – Postcard-perfect islands close to Nadi Airport: see The Complete Guide to the Mamanuca Islands.
Yasawa Islands – A more remote scattering of islands with resorts: see The Complete Guide to the Yasawa Islands.
Lomaiviti Islands – Your island holiday alternative near Suva: see The Complete Guide to the Lomaiviti Islands.
Vanua Levu – Fiji’s second-largest island with plenty of resorts: see The Complete Guide to Vanua Levu.
Taveuni – A nature lover’s paradise with a national park: see The Complete Guide to Taveuni.
Kadavu – The southern island group for the intrepid explorer: see The Complete Guide to Kadavu.
Lau Islands – Fiji’s most remote island group where very few tourists go: see The Complete Guide to the Lau Islands.
How Long Do You Have in Fiji?
For most visitors, a Fiji getaway means staying in the same resort for a few days to a couple of weeks. However, more intrepid travellers will find that Fiji is an excellent country not only for island-hopping but road tripping around Viti Levu.
So how far can you get in Fiji? Here’s what you can achieve in certain timeframes.
3 Days in Fiji
Over a long weekend, you will have enough time to explore Nadi, Denarau and the Coral Coast or perhaps take a quick trip to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. See some example itineraries in The Best Fiji Itineraries for a Weekend.
5 Days in Fiji
Five days is enough time for a quick island-hopping itinerary in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands or check out Fiji’s landscape of resorts and adventure activities along the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour. Alternatively, those with more budget could take a charter flight to and between Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Check out The Best Fiji Itineraries for 5 Days.
One Week in Fiji
A week in Fiji gives you time to relax in any one of the island groups, but for those who want to move around, you could take a road trip around Viti Levu or do some island-hopping in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. Alternatively, you could explore between the two less-visited islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. See The Best Fiji Itineraries for 1 Week for trip ideas.
Two Weeks in Fiji
14 days allows you to extend itineraries suggested for a week. It will also give you time to explore a mix of Viti Levu and the Mamanuca/Yasawa Islands or Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, or a week in Kadavu and a week in Viti Levu… Check out more suggestions in The Best Fiji Itineraries for 2 Weeks.
Ways to Get Around Fiji
Don’t underestimate the number of ways to get around Fiji, not only between islands but across the islands. Check out all of your options for travelling the country in How to Get Around Fiji. Otherwise, some of your most popular transport methods include…
There are two scheduled domestic carriers in Fiji, both offering regular flights between Fiji’s most populated islands. Learn more about these flights in The Complete Guide to Flights in Fiji.
Charter flights via fixed-wing, seaplane and helicopter aircraft are available in Fiji to take passengers between Fiji’s island groups, particularly Viti Levu and the Mamanuca, Yasawa, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu. Find out more in Where to Hire a Plane or Seaplane in Fiji and Where to Hire a Helicopter in Fiji.
High-speed catamaran ferries service the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands from Port Denarau in Viti Levu, while the slower passenger, vehicle and cargo ferries run from Suva in Viti Levu to the Lomaiviti Islands, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu. Find out more in The Guide to Travelling in Fiji by Ferry.
Rental cars are available in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Learn more about hiring a car in The Guide to Renting a Car in Fiji.
Public Buses and Express Buses
Public buses are the cheapest type of transport available in Fiji. They are available in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau. Find out more in How to Travel Around Fiji by Bus.
Taxis in Fiji can be identified by their “Taxi” signs and “LT” at the beginning of the registration plate. They offer affordable metered fares within towns, while fares for sightseeing or going between towns can be negotiated. Find out more in The Guide to Taxis in Fiji.
Accommodation in Fiji
Fiji has more than 100 resorts across the country, being home to several major international hotel and resort groups. However, other accommodations in Fiji do exist in the form of hotel, lodges, villas, B&Bs, holiday homes, homestays, cruises, sailing charters and more.
There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to Fiji’s accommodations, so learn more in the following accommodation categories of Fiji Pocket Guide:
Food in Fiji
A wide range of international cuisine is represented in Fiji, from the menus of the restaurants in Fiji’s major towns to the resort restaurants. Local foods are also easy enough to come by especially on resort menus, while Indo-Fijian cuisine is best sampled at town curry houses.
There are no major health concerns to be worried about when it comes to food in Fiji. Resort restaurants have a high standard. However, one should be a little wary when it comes to street food – it’s best to try food that is cooked and to avoid drinking tap water (or treat it) if you’re unsure of the quality.
Self-catering is rarely available in Fiji, only in villas, holiday homes and apartments. See the Guide to Food Shopping in Fiji for purchasing groceries.
Vegetarian options are widely available in Fiji, but those with other dietary requirements should contact their resorts prior to arrival. Although most resorts can cater to just about any dietary need, they tend to need notice in order to prepare.
For more food-related advice, check out The Complete Guide to Food in Fiji.