How to Travel More Sustainably in Fiji
While climate change can seem like a distant issue, the impact of global warming is certainly present on the islands of the South Pacific. Although Fiji has some marine reserves and national parks to protect its flora, fauna and reefs from overfishing, the nation has been known for being slack with some large resorts being allowed to remove reefs for infrastructure, for example. As is a common theme for anyone trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, it’s up to us travellers to be mindful of the tourism operators used, as well as be careful with the environments and respectful of communities in order to travel more sustainably. Nevertheless, ecotourism in Fiji is alive and we’re here to guide you through it.
Quick Tips for More Eco-Friendly Travel in Fiji
Although our guide to ecotourism in Fiji will go into much more detail on eco-friendly and ethical travel in Fiji, here are some quick sustainability tips to get you started.
- Stay in one of Fiji’s eco-resorts to reduce your environmental impacts
- Do a village homestay to support local communities
- Visit Fiji’s national heritage parks
- Join an eco-tour for a tourism operator doing good things for the environment and/or local people
- Minimise your waste in Fiji by packing a reusable water bottle, plastic-free toiletries, metal straws, etc.
- Use public transport in Fiji where possible
- Take the most direct flight to Fiji
- Use reef-safe sunscreen and natural insect repellent
- Be careful to not stand on or damage coral.
Eco-Resorts in Fiji
Resorts play a huge part in a Fiji getaway. For many, the resort is the place where travellers stay the most thanks to the offering of in-house activities, dining and bures (accommodation).
Choosing an eco-resort can help reduce your environmental impact tremendously. Typical aspects of these environmentally focussed resorts include sustainable energy sources, usually solar power, wastewater treatment to use in the resort’s organic gardens and to protect the coral, cleaning products that are biodegradable, and other initiatives. Some resorts even have their own coral conservation programs, while many hire local staff and work closely with villages for more ethical tourism.
The Best Eco-Friendly Resorts in Fiji
- Palmlea Farms Oceanfront Resort, Vanua Levu
- Royal Davui Island Resort, Pacific Harbour and Beqa
- Koro Sun Resort, Vanua Levu
- Maqai Beach Resort, Taveuni
- Matava Resort, Kadavu
- Matanivusi Beach Eco Resort, Coral Coast
- Six Senses Fiji, Mamanuca Islands
- Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, Vanua Levu
Ethical Village Stays in Fiji
Another way to experience Fiji is by staying with locals. Many villagers in Fiji open their homes to visitors to give travellers an insight into real village life in Fiji. Apart from the small commission given to booking websites, like Airbnb and Booking.com, the cost of your stay stays within the community.
Take some cash with you to the village to pay for more affordable activities than what’s on offer at resorts. Be prepared to respect the local customs, however, which we go through in our Fiji Village Etiquette guide.
See recommended village stays in the 10 Authentic Village Stays in Fiji.
Eco-Tours and Attractions in Fiji
Fiji is home to several eco-friendly and ethical tourist attractions, including one of the pioneers of ecotourism in Fiji, Rivers Fiji. The white water rafting company established a conservation area along the rivers they use, as well as train, educate and, of course, pay local river guides. Learn more in The Best Places to Do White Water Rafting in Fiji.
Another top ecotourism attraction in Fiji is the Kula WILD Adventure Park, established as a bird park where Fiji’s native species are preserved through breeding programs and such. The attraction now also has a waterpark and a zipride. Find out more about the park on Viator or Tripadvisor.
Fiji’s National Heritage Parks
On the islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, you’ll find national heritage parks where visitors are encouraged to donate a small fee to the local villages tasked with protecting them in exchange for a guided walk or to be able to enjoy freedom hiking on the trails maintained by them. National heritage parks include:
- Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Coral Coast
- Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, Nadi/Suncoast
- Bouma National Heritage Park, Taveuni
- Momi Battery Historical Park, Nadi
- Waisali Rainforest Reserve, Vanua Levu
- Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, Suva
The main way to experience the national heritage parks of Fiji is on its walking trails, which you can learn more about in the Hiking section of FijiPocketGuide.com or head over to the 10 Best Hikes in Fiji.
Other Ecotourism Activities in Fiji
Here are some honourable mentions of tour companies doing good things for the environment and/or communities through sustainable tourism.
- Talanoa Treks
- Mamanuca Environmental Society
- Vinaka Fiji
- Discover Fiji Tours
- Fiji Museum
And remember, eco-resorts offer their own eco-friendly activities, so bear this in mind when planning your sustainable trip to Fiji.
Tips for Sustainable Transport
More often than not, our biggest environmental impact when travelling is, well, the travelling part. There are, however, some ways to reduce your carbon footprint when it comes to transport.
- While carbon offsetting programs aren’t an excuse to fly more, they can help toward neutralising the associated danger to the planet. Most airlines have an option to pay a carbon offsetting organisation for the amount of CO2 you will emit on your flight. However, you can always do your own research and choose a reputable company with a proven program that invests in renewable energy
- Take the most direct flight to Fiji. Nonstop flights generally require less fuel than flights that need to land and take-off again
- Use public transport. Taking the bus or ferry in Fiji has much lower carbon emissions per head than, for instance, flying or renting your own car
- If renting a car is needed, choose one of Fiji’s hybrid rentals cars available with Group 3 – Everyday Rental Cars and Dream Drives Rentals, for example.
Eco-Friendly Packing Tips
Mindful packing not only means that you may save a few bucks on excess luggage fees, but it also can help you be less wasteful while visiting Fiji.
- Only take reef-safe sunscreen with you to Fiji to protect the reefs from harmful chemicals found in traditional sunscreens
- Only use natural insect repellents to protect your skin and the environment from harmful chemicals
- To avoid having to buy bottled water, take a reusable water bottle, such as the Lifestraw Bottle, that removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria
- Pack plastic-free toiletries, such as Ethique shampoo bars, to avoid using plastic-heavy resort toiletries. Plus, no shampoo explosions from your flight!
- Choose luggage that is durable and made with recyclable materials, such as Herschel’s Eco Collection.
And, as we are sure from someone reading this guide about sustainable travel in Fiji, we don’t need to tell you to skip wrapping your luggage in plastic film at the airport…