STA Travel and other student-travel agencies give discounts on international airfares to full-time students who have an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Application forms are available at these travel agencies. Student discounts are occasionally given for entry fees, restaurants and accommodation in Fiji. You can also use the student health service at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva.
Embassies & Consulates
Generally speaking, your country’s embassy won’t be much help if the trouble you’re in is remotely your own fault. Remember, you are bound by the laws of the country you are in.
A number of countries have diplomatic representation in Fiji (a complete list can be found at www.fiji.gov.fj). All embassies are in Suva.
Emergency & Important Numbers
There are no area codes in Fiji; within the country numbers can be dialled as they are presented.
|Fiji's country code||679|
|International access code||00E|
|International directory assistance||022|
Entry & Exit Formalities
All visitors require a passport valid for more than three months after their proposed date of departure. Most nationalities can obtain visas on arrival.
Visitors arriving in Fiji may bring the following:
- 2.25L of liqueur or spirits, or 4.5L of wine or beer
- No more than 250g of tobacco products.
- You can bring as much currency as you like into the country, but you will need to declare any amount over $10,000 and you can’t take out more than you brought in.
Be aware that Fiji operates strict biosecurity measures. Importation of vegetable matter, seeds, animals, meat or dairy produce is prohibited without a licence from the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries. Bins are provided at customs for disposal of food items you may have inadvertently brought with you.
Pottery shards, turtle shells, coral, trochus shells and giant clamshells cannot be taken out of the country without a permit.
Tourist VAT Refund Scheme
Tourists can reclaim VAT on many items bought in Fiji, through the Tourist VAT Refund Scheme (TVRS). Refunds may be claimed at Nadi International Airport or Suva Wharf only. You need to have spent $500 at a registered VAT refund outlet (these include Jack's and Tappoo shops). Present your receipt at a Tourist VAT Refund Inspection Counter on departure. For more information vist the Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority.
Visas are given on arrival to most nationalities and are valid for three months.
Visa Application Process
Entering Fiji is very straightforward. To get a visa you’ll need an onward ticket and a passport valid for at least three months longer than your intended stay. A free tourist visa for four months is granted on arrival to citizens of more than 100 countries, including most countries belonging to the European Union, British Commonwealth, North America, much of South America, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and many others.
Nationals from countries excluded from the list will have to apply for visas through a Fijian embassy abroad prior to arrival. More information can be found on the website of the Department of Immigration.
Visitors cannot partake in political activity or study, and work permits are needed if you intend to live and work in Fiji. Foreign journalists will require a work visa if they spend more than 14 days in Fiji.
Fiji is one of the the more progressive countries in the Pacific region when it comes to the legal status of homosexuality. Laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity were introduced following the implementation of the 2013 constitution.
Same-sex marriages and civil unions are not recognised in Fijian family law, which means visiting gay couples are unable to marry while on vacation.
There is a strong LGBT movement in Fiji, but the local scene remains fairly closeted. Nonetheless, a large number of openly gay men and women work in the hospitality industry, and some nightclubs in Lautoka, Nadi and Suva are gay-tolerant.
Fiji is socially conservative: any public displays of affection are frowned upon. For gay or lesbian couples the risks of receiving unwanted attention for outwardly homosexual behaviour is high.
Gay singles should exercise some caution; don’t give anyone an excuse to even think you are paying for sex, and be very careful not to give the impression you are after young Fijian men.
Useful local NGOs include:
- Drodrolagi Movement (www.facebook.com/Drodrolagi.Movement)
- Haus of Khameleon (www.hausofkhameleon.org)
- DIVA for Equality (www.divafiji.com)
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel_services. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
A good travel insurance policy covering theft, loss and medical problems is essential. Some policies specifically exclude designated ‘dangerous activities’ such as scuba diving, so make sure the policy you choose fully covers you for your activity of choice.
You may prefer a policy that pays doctors or hospitals directly rather than requiring you to pay on the spot and claim later. If you have to claim later make sure you keep all documentation. Check that the policy covers ambulances and emergency medical evacuations by air.
If you can get a phone signal in Fiji, you can normally find somewhere to get online. In remote areas, prepare for internet access to be limited, expensive (due to the need for connection by satellite) or completely non-existent.
* Budget resorts in Nadi also have internet access, some using prepay cards that deduct credits in 15-minute allotments (which works out at around $10 an hour).
* If you’re carrying your own laptop or iPad you can sign up for a prepay account with a service provider such as Connect, Unwired Fiji or Vodafone. The latter sells modem sticks for $79 and 1GB of data costs $15.
* Many midrange and top-end resorts have internet connections, so you simply need to plug in your computer.
Internet cafes are fairly common in Suva, Lautoka and Nadi; competition means that you can jump online for as little as $3 per hour. Outside of urban centres access is more limited, slower and pricier, reaching up to $8 per hour.
Wi-fi is increasingly widespread in Nadi and Suva. Hotels may or may not offer it as standard, and there's often a fee to get online. On island resorts, wi-fi is more likely to be restricted or expensive.
Drugs are not uncommon in Fiji, including marijuana and amphetamines. All are illegal. The consequences if you are caught in possession can be serious – it is not uncommon for drug users in Fiji to be imprisoned in the psychiatric hospital.
Most travellers manage to avoid any run-ins with the local authorities. If you are arrested, though, you have the right to contact your embassy or consulate, which will be allowed to provide you with legal representation but can do little else.
Specialist marine charts are usually available at Fijian ports but are expensive.
The local currency is the Fiji dollar ($); it’s fairly stable relative to Australian and New Zealand dollars. All prices quoted here are in Fiji dollars unless otherwise specified.
The dollar is broken down into 100 cents. Bank notes come in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10 and $5. There are coins valued at $2, $1, $0.50, $0.20, $0.10 and $0.05.
It’s good to have a few options for accessing money – take a credit card, a debit card, and a small amount of foreign currency. The best currencies to carry are Australian, New Zealand or US dollars, which all freely exchangeable.
Before you head out to remote parts of Fiji, always check to make sure you can access money, use your plastic or change currency.
ATMs and banks are widespread in larger towns on the main islands but scarce or nonexistent on outlying islands. Top-end resorts accept credit cards.
Restaurants, shops, midrange to top-end hotels, car-rental agencies and tour and travel agents will usually accept major credit cards. Visa, Amex and MasterCard are widely used. Some resorts charge an additional 5% for payment by credit card. Cash advances are available through credit cards at most banks in larger towns.
Tipping is not expected or overtly encouraged in Fiji; however, if you feel that the service is worth it, tips are always appreciated.
For current exchange rates see www.xe.com.
Fiji pretty much shuts down on Sundays, though many eateries and a handful of shops will operate until the afternoon. 'Fiji time' is a real thing; the hours provided below may prove flexible.
Banks 9.30am–4pm Monday to Thursday, to 3pm Friday
Restaurants 11am–2pm and 6pm–9pm Monday to Saturday
Shops 9am–5pm Monday to Friday, until 1pm Saturday
Post Fiji is generally quick with its actual delivery, if a little slow at the counter, and has offices throughout the country.
If you're posting souvenirs home that include woven grass or wood, you'll need to have your parcel cleared by the Fiji Biosecurity Authority. This is a free and usually quick procedure – give their biosecurity seal sticker to the post office clerk with your parcel.
Fijians celebrate a variety of holidays and festivals.
Exact dates vary from year to year but are given a year in advance on the government’s website (www.fiji.gov.fj) in the 'About Fiji' section.
Annual public holidays include the following:
New Year’s Day 1 January
Prophet Mohammed’s Birthday December or January
Easter (Good Friday & Easter Monday) March/April
National Sports Day March
Fiji Day (Independence Day) 10 October
Diwali Festival October/November
Christmas Day 25 December
Boxing Day 26 December
Dangers & Annoyances
Fiji is a very safe place for travellers and common sense is all you really need to ensure a safe and happy holiday. That said, Fiji isn’t immune to crime and occasionally tourists are targeted. It is worth keeping the following in mind.
- When you’re in Nadi or Suva do not walk around at night, even in a group. Locals catch cabs after dark and you should do the same.
- Male travellers in particular are often approached and asked if they want marijuana and/or prostitutes – it's illegal to buy either (both sex work and buying sex are criminalised in Fiji).
- If your stay is long-term, be aware that burglaries are not uncommon. Always make sure you have good locks on all doors and windows of rental properties.
Government Travel Advice
For the latest travel warnings and cautious advice, log on to the following websites:
There are no area codes within Fiji. Smaller and more remote islands often lie outside the phone network.
|International access code||00|
|International operator assistance||022|
Vodafone and Digicel are Fiji's mobile-phone carriers. With an unlocked phone, you can buy a SIM card and top up with pre-pay units.
Fiji has distinctive public phone booths, their shapes inspired by traditional drua (masted canoes). They take telecards, which can be purchased from post offices, phone shops and many general stores in denominations ranging from $3 to $50.
Fintel in downtown Suva is the only provider of international VOIP (voice over internet protocol) calls and these are a fraction of the cost of using traditional lines.
Fiji is 12 hours ahead of GMT/UTC. When it’s noon in Suva, corresponding times elsewhere are as follows:
Add one hour to these times if the other country has daylight saving in place.
The Fiji Visitors Bureau in Nadi is the only tourist information body in Fiji. The website is excellent but the office deals mainly with promoting Fiji abroad and has little to offer walk-in travellers.
The South Pacific Tourism Organisation promotes cooperation between the South Pacific island nations for the development of tourism in the region including Fiji.
Travel With Children
Fiji is a kids’ own adventure story writ large. The swimming is spectacular, the fish are friendly, there are caves and jungles to explore, and there are enough mangroves and mud pools to satisfy every get-grubby urge. And the Fijians – who famously adore children – have smiles and hugs for every little visitor.
Best Regions for Kids
- Nadi, Suva & Viti Levu
Kids can run amok on the Coral Coast, exploring dunes, rivers, villages and a hill fort; good luck getting them to bed after a stimulating evening cultural show. Pacific Harbour has adventure sports, highland tours from nearby Navua and offshore island trips. Just north of Nadi, the mud pools, buggy tours and zipline are thrilling for all ages.
- Mamanuca & Yasawa Groups
Safe swimming, awesome snorkelling and some of the most family-friendly resorts in the world, plus boat rides galore: what’s not to love?
- Vanua Levu & Taveuni
Fiji’s wild islands offer jungle adventures, waterfall pools, village visits and raft rides. There are great resorts here, or you can rent your own rainforest bungalow. Jumping between days at Taveuni's International Dateline marker is a strangely thrilling buzz.
- Kadavu, Lau & Moala Groups
Snorkel with manta rays, watch the kids catch their first big fish and wonder how you'll ever tear them away from their new village pals.
Fiji for Kids
The unofficial adage of Fiji seems to be: children should be seen, heard, smooched and squeezed at every given opportunity. Children are cherished here, and local littlies seem unfamiliar with the concept of shyness: your kids will be quickly absorbed into their games and welcomed into their homes.
Not all resorts accept children in Fiji. Many that do have kids clubs (usually for children from 3 or 4 to 12 years) and child-friendly pools. Nannies and babysitting for babies and toddlers is easily arranged from about $7 per hour, or overnight at a fixed rate.
Most eateries have kid-pleasing items such as hamburgers and pasta dishes on the menu, but it’s worth encouraging them to try local specialities like fish in coconut milk, root vegetable ‘chips’, roti wraps or a mild dhal. Ice cream – often homemade – is frequently available, and in addition to the usual favourites, often comes in exotic local flavours.
Some restaurants in cities, touristed regions and well-equipped resorts have high chairs, but they’re quite uncommon elsewhere. Travel high chairs make a good investment if you don’t want someone squirming on your (doubtless splattered) knee at mealtimes.
Supermarkets aren’t always that super when it comes to kids’ food: if you’ve got a fussy eater, pack a few backup tins or pouches of their favourite meals. Long-life milk is readily available, as is bottled water and fruit juice. If you’re not sure whether your formula brand is sold in Fiji, make room in the suitcase for a tin or two. While breastfeeding is common, you’ll seldom see it: you'll probably want to follow locals’ example and be discreet.
Babies and toddlers will be delirious with delight on most of Fiji’s beaches. The sands are soft, the waters warm, and there are plenty of fish, hermit crabs and shells to play with and goggle at. Older kids wishing to explore the colourful world beneath the tranquil seas can go snorkelling or take their first underwater breaths on a Bubblemaker course (from age eight); good swimmers aged 10 and up can enrol in a Junior Open Water Diver course – see www.padi.com for information. Most resorts offer kayaks and stand-up paddleboards free of charge; many have superfun sea trampolines. Banana boat and jet-boat rides offer squeals and hilarity by the bucketload.
Contrary to popular belief, Fiji is not just a neverending series of stunning beaches; its tropical interiors are adventures unto themselves, with waterfalls, tangled jungle, natural waterslides and muddy trails, not to mention the brilliantly bumpy 4WD trips that are a requirement to get almost anywhere inland. Children will have fun looking out for spectacular native birds (including brightly coloured parrots), while critter-keen kids can spy on sleeping fruit bats, native lizards and snakes (there are no venomous land snakes in Fiji). Village visits often end with declarations of love and ‘best friends forever!’ between visiting kids and their local counterparts. Whatever your beliefs, Sunday church services provide enough fascinating, goosebumpy moments to hold the interest of even the squirmiest scallywag.
Best Resorts For Kids
Blue Lagoon Rightfully famous for its calm, sparkling waters.
Treasure Island Lightly sloping beaches, perfect for toddlers.
Kadavu The protected west side holds patches of perfect sandy-bottom lagoon.
Leleuvia Wade into shallow swimming straight from the beach.
Tavoro Waterfalls The first falls (there are three) have a superb natural pool.
Yasawa Group Plentiful corals, sea turtles and friendly (really!) sharks.
Mana Island Easy snorkelling from the beach; lots of colourful fish.
Caqalai Older kids who can get in the water over some reef will be awestruck by the amount of life here.
Kadavu, Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa Snorkel with manta rays!
South Sea Island Check out sharks, starfish and other sea-dwellers in a semi-submersible.
Long Beach (Nacula) A sublime stretch, aptly named for its sandy length.
Octopus Resort (Waya) Wide stretch of wonderful beach with never-want-to-leave charm.
Resort islands around Ovalau All of the resorts on outlying islands of the Lomaiviti Group are encircled by low-key, kid-friendly white beaches.
Lavena Beach A stunning strip framed by forest; its neighbouring black-sand beach is cool, too.
Cultural Shows & Museums
Robinson Crusoe Island Everything from a ‘cannibal attack’ on arrival to hermit-crab racing and traditional performances at night.
Arts Village (Pacific Harbour) Disney-like take on a Fijian village with performances including mock battles and dance.
Denarau The child-friendly resorts here have regular cultural shows and entertainment.
Village Visits & Homestays
Navala village Be welcomed into the traditional lifestyle of one of Fiji’s most scenic villages.
Silana Ecolodge (Ovalau) If you don't mind roughing it, you'll have a ball with the huge, friendly family here.
Waya There are heaps of homestay options on this beautiful, rugged island in the Yasawas.
Viseisei village Fiji's first settlement is easily accessible from Nadi; there are loads of kids to play with.
Nananu-i-Ra Kiteboarding and windsurfing.
Natadola Beach Good for bodysurfing.
Natadola Inside Break Best bet for beginner surfers.
Ziplining Near Pacific Harbour and Nadi.
Jet-boating Down the Sigatoka River.
Rafting White-water or low-key bilibili (bamboo raft) thrills on the Navua River or around the Namosi Highlands.
Trail-riding On the Coral Coast.
Buggy-riding Through the forests near Nadi.
Kula Eco Park Meet sea turtles, parrots and flying foxes.
Treasure Island Turtle- and iguana- feeding.
Mana Monthly ‘Environment Day’ with coral planting.
Kadavu Manta rays.
Takalana Bay Dolphin-spotting.
Navua River Inland villages, hiking and river activities.
Colo-i-Suva Forest Park Walking trails, swimming holes (one with a rope swing) and great birdlife.
Waitavala Water Slide Older kids love this natural slippery dip in the middle of the rainforest.
Lovoni Jungle village trek to an extinct crater.
Bouma National Heritage Park Seaside walks, steep treks and waterfall pools just begging to be splashed in.
Some hotels and resorts have no-children policies (especially under 12s); others let kids stay for free – always ask when booking. Some tours and activities are discounted for kids.
Nappies, wipes, formula, sterilising solution and baby food are available in pharmacies and supermarkets in the main cities and towns, but if you are travelling to remote areas or islands, take your own supplies. Top tip: pack nappies in 'space bags'; you'll never fit anything else in your suitcase otherwise!
Infant/child pain relievers and teething gels are hard to come by; bring your own. If your baby uses a dummy (pacifier), bring plenty, as well as a clip-on strap.
Check with your child's doctor about pre-trip shots, especially if you're going to be spending time in remote areas. Some GPs recommend Hep A and Typhoid jabs (the latter is unsuitable for kids under two years old).
What to Pack
All ages need sunscreen, sunhat, insect repellent, warmer clothes for evenings and rain gear.
For babies and toddlers, consider packing a folding stroller (though a baby carrier is a better option if you plan on hiking or staying at a resort with terraced or sandy paths), a portable changing mat (baby-changing facilities are almost nonexistent) and inflatable ‘floaties’.
For older kids you may want to pack binoculars, a snorkelling mask and field guides to Fijian flora and fauna.
Transport & Safety
Large-chain car-rental companies and some private drivers can provide baby seats (if arranged in advance), but local companies and taxis don’t. Local buses have bench seating, no seat belts and can be fairly cramped; babies and small children will be expected to sit on your lap.
Many small boats don’t carry enough life jackets and rarely have child-size ones; if you’re using these to island-hop, consider bringing your own.
In Pacific countries people with disabilities are simply part of the community, looked after by family where necessary. In some cities there are schools for children with disabilities, but access facilities such as ramps, lifts, accessible toilets and Braille, are rare. Buses do not have wheelchair access and pavements have high curbs.
Nevertheless, people will go out of their way to give you assistance when you need it. This includes scooping you up in their arms so that they can carry you on and off boats.
Most top-end hotels have at least one disabled-friendly room with wheelchair access, paths, walk-in showers and handrails, but this may be tucked away at the back of the resort. It’s a good idea to check exactly what facilities a hotel has to ensure it suits your needs.
Even if the resort is disabled-friendly, consider how you plan to reach your destination. Mamanuca and Yasawa resorts are commonly accessed by catamarans, which are met by small dinghies that run guests to the beach. Those with mobility impairments may find arriving this way challenging. Instead opt for islands that can be reached by plane or, at the very least, have a wharf.
The Fiji Disabled People’s Association may be able to offer pretrip planning advice.
Several organisations offer volunteering opportunies in Fiji, mostly for extended periods of time. Different organisations are on the lookout for different skill sets, so do your research well and if at all possible, make contact with the volunteers who went before.
Volunteering often takes place in fairly remote locations under fairly basic conditions. If you are liable to faint at the sight of a gecko clinging to the roof of your thatched hut, it may not be for you.
For more information, see Lonely Planet's Volunteer: A Traveller's Guide.
Lonely Planet’s volunteering website (www.lonelyplanet.com/volunteer/index.cfm) has excellent resources for those interested in making a contribution to Fiji or elsewhere.
Trusted organisations with volunteer opportunities in Fiji include:
Weights & Measures
Fiji follows the metric system: kilometres, kilograms, litres and degrees in Celsius.
Fiji is a fairly male-dominated society, but it is unlikely that solo women travellers will experience any difficulties as a result.
If you’re travelling alone, you may experience whistles and stares but you’re unlikely to feel threatened. Nevertheless, some men will assume lone females are fair game and several female readers have complained of being harassed or ripped off, particularly in touristy areas.
On rare occasions lone women have been harassed and even attacked on mainland beaches and forest trails. We haven’t heard of any incidents on the small outlying islands, but exercise caution before visiting a secluded spot by yourself.
Generally speaking, though, female travellers will find Fijian men friendly and helpful.
Banned in public areas (including bars and restaurants) since 2013.