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So you’re going to Fiji! Or rather, you’ve decided you WANT to go to Fiji and now you need to plan the perfect trip. It’s Fiji, after all! This is a “dream vacation,” a “once in a lifetime trip,” a “bucket list adventure.” It’s a little different than planning for your usual vacation to Florida or Arizona or your annual trip to visit Aunt Sophie in Sandusky, all of which are fine trips, but let’s be honest- they are not Fiji.
Have I been to Fiji? Nope. Have I drooled over fabulous photos of Fiji? Yup. Do I have a Pinterest board dedicated to Fiji with dozens and dozens of pins? Maybe…. (Ok, fine, I do. You can judge, or you can check it out because it’s awesome and inspiring and it will make you want to visit Fiji immediately.) So why am I writing about Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Planning the Perfect Trip to Fiji? Because I’m planning a trip to Fiji with my husband, and it’s going to be perfect, because this is a “dream vacation,” a “once in a lifetime trip,” and a “bucket list adventure.” We arrived at the decision to make Fiji our next Big Trip easily. I said to my husband, “if you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be” and without hesitation he replied, “Fiji.” Ok then! I have been dropping hints about going to Iceland for months, but obviously my hints aren’t great. But Fiji? I can definitely get on board with a vacation to Fiji because I have been in love with the idea of an overwater bungalow vacation for, I don’t know, my entire life maybe? I am very much a water person, married to a water person, who lives on a lake and plans vacations based on their proximity to water. It was not hard to sell me on Fiji.
Fiji: Need to Know
First things first: If we are going to Fiji we need to know about Fiji. Of course we’ve heard of Fiji, and we’ve seen pictures of Fiji, but do we know anything about Fiji? I’ll be honest, aside from knowing Fiji is an island country I’ve seen gorgeous photos of, and knowing I will have a very easy time finding lodging that meets my “overwater bungalow” requirement, I don’t know the first thing about Fiji.
Are there seasons that experience changes in temperature? Does anyone speak English? Where is Fiji? (<– Yes, really. I have NO IDEA.) Do we need to worry about hurricanes, tropical storms, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanoes, sharks? (Our last vacation was to Daytona Beach, FL, which is just north of “New Smyrna Beach: Shark Bite Capital of the Country.” Who knew? Now we do!) So we are starting from pretty much ground zero as far as knowledge about Fiji goes, which is great because that means we get to research and follow that research wherever it takes us. So let’s see where this goes!
Where is Fiji located?
When you think of Fiji, you probably think of an island in the middle of nowhere. You are partially right- Fiji is located in the South Pacific and is about 1700 miles east of Brisbane, AU, and about 1300 miles north of Auckland, NZ. Those are the closest large land masses, so middle of nowhere is pretty much right on. Fiji is about 5500 miles south-west of Los Angeles and 3100 miles south-west of Hawaii. So now you can visualize Fiji’s location on your brain map. Another fun fact? Fiji is located in “tomorrow,” because it is just beyond the International Date Line. We’ll have to keep that in mind when booking a hotel and any excursions or we’ll be early. Or would it be late?
Fiji isn’t just an island, though. It’s a country made up of more than 300 small islands! That means when you visit Fiji you won’t be seeing all of Fiji, just the areas you want to see, just as if you were visiting Europe or the US. The largest populations, and therefor amenities, can be found on the major islands of Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, which is also where you will find the capital city of Suva.
Good news- the temperature is tropical year round, averaging between 79-88 degrees Fahrenheit, so no matter what time of year you visit you’re pretty much guaranteed warm, but not uncomfortably hot, weather. The rainy season is from November to April, and with rain comes the added risk of tropical cyclonic storms, which is the South Pacific’s way of saying “hurricane.” Peak tourist season is from July through September, when the southeast trade winds bring in drier weather. There are many deals to be found during the offseason, including hotels that run “stay 5, get 2 nights free” specials. If a little rain doesn’t bother you, visiting Fiji in the offseason and taking advantage of promotions could lead to more activities or even a longer vacation.
If you’re traveling from the US, I have more good news. While the primary languages of Fiji are Fijian and Hindustani, English is widely spoken, which makes communicating with locals, reading menus and navigating attractions about a zillion times easier. As Fiji was once under British rule, children are still taught the “King’s English” in school so you should be able to communicate with just about everyone. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to learn a few friendly phrases to ingratiate yourself with the locals: