- Discover Fiji
Bula is one word you will hear often on landing in Fiji. The people are incredibly warm and welcoming. The population is made up mostly of indigenous Fijians and Fijian Indians, and all speak English. Fiji is very poor, and it's shocking at first to see just how poor a country it is. The houses are no more than run down shacks, and the locals will constantly harrass you to buy their wares, eat in their restaurants, ride in their taxis. Don't let this put you what is a fabulous country. As it's a tropical country, there's a wet season and a dry season, and the dry is obviously the best time to visit, which is May to October.
Fiji has 333 islands, most of them remain uninhabited. It's a tropical paradise, with white sandy beaches, coconut trees and deserted islands. Fiji has some of the best dive spots in the world, the reefs are spectacular.
There is so much to do here, from snorkelling and diving to whitewater rafting, trekking to cruising, and of course relaxing on a hammock, watching the sunset. You can live it up in a five star hotel or slum it in a cheap hostel. There's also the option of eco-living. Either way you'll love this country.
Nadi (Nandi) is one of the main cities on the Island of Vitu Levu, and has one of the international airports. In the arrivals hall of the airport there is a local band playing Fijian music, and it definitely helps you realise where you are and gets you in the mood for a good time.
Nadi is hectic and crazy, loud music emanating from shops and touts trying to part you from your money. There are lots of restaurants, hotels and a lively nightlife. But Nadi has no beaches of note and most travellers use it as a starting off point when visiting the Mamanucas and the Yasawas. The Mamanucas include Monuriki island, where Castaway was filmed (Tom Hanks).
Nananu I Ra
To get to Nananu I Ra (Nanu I Ra ) from Nadi, get a bus from the Nadi bus station to Lautoka (FD$1.90). Get another bus from there to Rakirak ($6). You should then get picked up by a taxi ($10) from there which will bring you to the Ellington Wharf where you will get a small boat to Nananu I Ra. You can get a four bed dorm with a kitchen from $125pp for 5 nights at Bethams Beach Cottages. The island has fantastic beaches with great snorkelling, especially down at the jetty. They feed fish at the end of the jetty so there is an amazing array of colourful fish you can snorkel with. The reef is right on the beach so you can you just grab your snorkels and dive in.
Other accommodation includes Charlies Place, and McDonalds Nananu Beach Cottages. There's a bar, restaurant and shop down by the beach near Bethams, but its advised to take your own food as they don't have much variety and what they do have is more expensive.
Most travellers will head straight to the islands, and understandably so, they are fantastic, however inland, Viti Levu is worth visiting. There reside the highlands where there are amazing national parks.
Take a rafting trip along the Upper Navua River. See waterfalls, mountains, canyons. You can also white water raft down parts of the river.
Most flights arrive at Nadi International Airport. Flights arrive from Australia, NZ, US, Canada, Japan, South Korea.
Flight times to Fiji
Dublin 19.5 hours | London 20 hours | Hong Kong 10 hours | New York 15.5 hours | San Diego 11.5 hours | Sydney 4 hours
Take care if you are driving as the roads can be dark in areas, have potholes and there are lots of wild animals wandering onto the roads.
Make sure you use the official taxis with yellow license plates.
Personal property theft can be a problem. Keep your passport safe, there have been cases of stolen passports at the airport as well as out of people’s hotel rooms. If there is a safe in the room, make sure to use it.
If people on the street ask your name, don’t tell them. One trick that is used is they carve your name onto ceremonial sticks or masks then try and get you to buy them. They can be pushy and intimidating.
Fijian police and military have been given extensive powers since 2012 so don’t do anything that could see you on their wrong side.
Call 911 or 919 for emergencies.
Mosquitoes in Fiji can carry Dengue Fever so use an insect repellent that includes DEET. Wear long and light coloured clothes if you can. Make sure the room you are staying in is mosquito proof. Symptoms include headache, fever, joint pains and rash so get yourself to a doctor if you suspect you may have it.
Be careful when entering the sea as there are very dangerous rip tides in certain areas. There are also sharks. Although nowhere near the volume of shark attacks in places such as the United States and Florida you should be aware that the risk is there.