Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.


Fiji Islands
Paradise in the South Pacific
by Sophie Gayot

With hundreds of islands, beautiful beaches are everywhere

For those of us who don't live in Australia or New Zealand, Fiji can seem very far away. But isn't that what we want? To get as far away as possible from our daily routine, from the demands of work, from the phone and e-mail? The Fiji Islands are a perfect destination to replenish oneself among nature and extremely friendly people. Anywhere you go, you are greeted with the famous "Bula!" meaning hello or welcome, as well as cheers and good health. Of course, you are expected to reply, "Bula!"

Out of the 300 islands that constitute this republic, 130 are inhabited, and you're sure to find one that suits your needs and your budget. People often think of going to Fiji for a romantic trip, but it's also a great place to escape with your children, whatever their age. Fijians love kids and care for them with great pleasure.

Reefs, islands & sandbars
rise out of the Pacific

Whatever type of trip you choose, you will, most likely, be landing at Nadi International Airport, located on Viti Levu, the main island. From there, it is easy to travel to the other islands, each with their own distinct atmosphere. We recommend that you try more than one during your stay. Hop a charter boat from South Sea Cruises, a plane from Sun Air (if you are going north), or a private helicopter or sea plane. By air or sea, both means of transportation have their charms; the boat will let you have a close look at the islands along the way; from the air, one can admire the vast coral reefs that grow throughout the archipelago. Seeing them, one wonders how the explorers of times past made it through without a map or sophisticated technology.

The clear waters of Fiji

The focal point of your vacation is the sea and all of its recreational components. Choose between relaxing at the beach, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, jet skiing, windsurfing, waterskiing, or parasailing. Scuba experts will tell you that Fiji is one of the best spots in the world to dive, and they are right.

If you've never done it, take a resort course, which provides basic training, usually in the pool, before immersing yourself into a world of stunning beauty and peace. When you resurface, you'll likely have a different perspective on life, hoping to see more graciousness around us, and more aware and appreciative of nature's splendor.

A bar on a beach paradise

And splendor is all around in Fiji. Most of the time, on any island you visit, you will see others islands nearby—some larger, some just a rock or a bar of sand rising out of the Pacific Ocean.

In most of Fiji's hotels, it's the restaurants that occupy the prime real estate, set right on the beach. Imagine having lunch overlooking white sand and clear water. To the delight of our palate, most kitchens use fresh local ingredients such as tomatoes, fish, pineapple, papaya and mango. Don't miss the "lovo dinner," offered once a week in many hotels, where the food is wrapped in banana leaves and cooked slowly in an earthen oven, giving it a delectable smoky flavor.

Very often, we were asked, "First time in Fiji?" We hope, one day soon, we will return and happily reply, "No."

Where to Stay

Castaway Island, Castaway - See it in pictures.
Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort, Vanua Levu - See it in pictures.
Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, Denarau - See it in pictures.
Vomo Island Resort, Vomo - See it in pictures.
The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa, Fiji, Denarau - See it in pictures.

Fiji in Images

To see some of Fiji's beauty in color, click here.

Recommended Things to Do

Visit the only pearl farm in Fiji, in Savusavu (on the island of Vanua Lenu).
Take a day cruise on an island so small (on South Sea Island).
Pump up your adrenaline by parasailing & sky diving (on the island of Viti Levu).
Enjoy a tour of Nadi town (on the island of Viti Levu).

Facts to Know

Currency: Fiji Dollar

Exchange money at the main airport once you arrive. For the best rate, use an ATM or get cash back on purchases. Some places at the airport may take U.S. dollars, however the vast majority of businesses on the islands take only Fijian ones, which trade at a rate of about 1.7 Fijian dollars to each U.S. dollar.

Transportation

How to get there?
The best way to get to Fiji is to fly Air Pacific airlines, the Fijian national carrier, which flies into Nadi International Airport or Suva Airport. The island chain is also served by Air New Zealand and Qantas Airlines. Your passport must be valid at least three months beyond the intended period of stay. Depending on your ticket, a $30 departure tax is to be paid at the airport at the time of your leaving.

Inbound Tours
Established since 1974, Rosie Holidays Fiji is the largest operator in Fiji for all of your travel needs during your stay in Fiji. They will organize any sightseeing tour you desire. They have many different locations, including one at Nadi International Airport.

Rosie Holidays Fiji
P.O. Box 9268, Nadi Airport, Fiji Islands
Phone: 679 672 2755, Fax: 679 672 2607
reservations@rosie.com.fj
www.rosiefiji.com

Rental cars
Various locations. Driving is on the left side.


A Few Basics Facts

Location
The Fijian Islands are located in the South Pacific Ocean, west of Hawaii, south of the Equator. Fiji is an independent country, formerly under British Colonial rule until 1970. The capital, Suva, is located on the largest island, Viti Levu.

Language

English, Fijian and Hindi. Practically everyone is fluent in English.

Local Time
GMT +12


Climate

Remember that the seasons are opposite of the Northern hemisphere. Summer is from November to March. It is warm, and it is the wetter season. Winter starts in April and ends in October. The temperature is mild and dryer.

Electricity
Electricity is 240 AC voltage. Three-prong power outlets identical to those in Australia and New Zealand. Adapters are usually not provided by the hotels.

Other
Immunizations are not necessary. Fiji is free from Malaria, but mosquitoes are common, so do bring insect repellent.
Tipping is not customary.
For more information visit www.bulafiji.com

*Photos by Sophie Gayot

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(Updated: 07/02/08 HC)

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