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When it comes to paying for things, you’re in luck again if you are coming from the US. The currency is Fijian dollars (FJD), which at the time of this writing was trading very favorably with USD at about 1.5%. That means you can get a lot of bang for your buck while on this vacation of a lifetime. Most everyone associated with tourism (resorts, rental cars, restaurants, attractions, etc.) accepts credit/debit cards, but it would be a good idea to have some FJD on hand. Better safe than sorry- ATM machines are not on every corner like they are in major US cities.
We all know Fiji is known for its beaches, but did you know there are over 1000 miles of white sand and perfectly pristine beaches scattered across the 300+ islands that dot over 200,000 square miles of ocean? Fiji is quite an amazing archipelago! In addition to beaches, there is city life in the major cities of Suva and Nadi, blue lagoons, pine forests, mountains, rainforests and coral reefs to explore. Fiji is the perfect place to have a full day of adventure with morning hikes, afternoons on the beach and snorkeling, amazing local cuisine and nightlife in the evenings. Whatever you enjoy doing, Fiji seems to have it.
If you’re worried about getting around while in Fiji, don’t be. You can rent a car, or take advantage of public transportation or taxis. If you’d rather be more “outdoorsy” in your transportation, you can easily rent a motorbike or bicycle. Even getting from island to island is
easy with inter-island boat charters that run periodically throughout the islands. Feeling more adventurous yet? You can save time by taking a sea-plane (we did this from Key West to Dry Tortugas and it was amazing) or a helicopter from island to island. With so many transportation options you can easily see everything you want to see on one, or several, islands! Many of the upscale resorts offer boat charters to various islands for day trips and excursions, which is something to consider when choosing your accommodations.
Local Customs and Government
As when visiting any foreign land, it is important to be mindful of local customs, cultures and traditions to avoid being a “rude tourist” and offending the locals. Fiji is no different. The Fijian culture is a modest culture that runs on “Fiji Time.” Don’t be surprised if the bus is running late or the line at the store moves slowly as cashiers chat with friends. You’re in a relaxed state, so just chill and go with it. You’re on Fiji Time! As Fiji is a modest culture, be sure to dress the part when outside of your resort. If you go into the villages, markets or stores dress modestly, being sure to cover your knees and shoulders. Men should remove their hats, especially when going into villages, as hats are seen as disrespectful to the village chief. (The same goes for sunglasses on top of your head. Pretty much keep everything off your head while visiting villages.) When visiting someone’s home, be sure to remove your hat, sunglasses and shoes, and always leave through the door you entered through. It is also best to ask permission before taking photos of people in rural areas. It would be a little weird if some random stranger was taking photos of your kids outside at your cottage and this is no different!
Fiji’s government, like most governments, collects taxes on services and goods, but they also do something a little different, which is offering a refund on their “value added tax” (VAT) if you spend over $500FSD at specific, authorized merchants. More information about this refund, and also customs and duty-free concessions, can be found in the FAQ section here.
Now that we have some facts about Fiji, we can move on to the truly fun part: The Vacation.
So, what do you want to do on your adventure of a lifetime? In Fiji there are so many choices you could live there for a year and still not see and do everything! Let’s assume we’re on a 7-10 day trip, which is about average for a vacation. The last few vacations we’ve been on we have left Thursday night and come home Saturday. This works great for us because we have Friday to acclimate and learn the lay of the land, and when we return the following Saturday we have Sunday to recuperate from our week+ of adventure before having to work Monday. The extra couple days and end-of-trip buffer day have made our recent vacations seem much more relaxing than vacations of the past!
Back to planning some adventures and days in the sun…. Have you thought beyond “go to the beach” when thinking about what you want to do in Fiji? There is so much to do! Once you figure out what to do, and which islands these activities are on, you can narrow down where you want to stay. If you’re going to be on one island for the majority of your adventures and beach days, it would make sense to stay on that island. If you are going to spend most of your time on the beach, a resort on a private island with inter-island transportation may be better for you. Let’s start by listing the most popular and well known Fiji islands, and activities that can be found on each one.
With 300 islands to choose from, how does anyone decide which ones to visit? Well, first off, most of them are uninhabited or privately owned, either by individuals or resorts. If you want to vacation on a private island that is limited to only hotel guests, you’re in luck because Fiji has several to choose from. From five-star resorts to glamping in a tropical cabin, Fiji has accommodations to suit the needs of every traveler from solo adventurers to honeymooners to families and scuba diving enthusiasts.