As I mentioned in my last post, Fiji was probably one of my favorite places that I’ve been to yet. However, I ran in to quite a few travelers on the way who had their regrets about the way they’d planned their stay in Fiji. Though it was incredible, they didn’t truly get the full potential out of Fiji, especially those who didn’t move islands at all along the way. With that being said, I have a few Fiji travel tips for anyone that plans on visiting this amazing country!
1. Get off of the mainland and island hop.
If you’re looking for the ideal paradise version of Fiji that you’ve seen from the photos, you need to stray away from the mainland. Out in the islands is where you will find the turquoise water, hermit crabs and rainbow fish swimming about.
2. Buy a BULA Pass.
I purchased a 5-day BULA pass for my week in Fiji and it was the best decision I’d made out of them all. This pass grants you unlimited rides on the ferry between islands for the days that you’ve purchased. This is a really great deal, especially if you plan on hopping islands daily like I did, or if you plan on going to islands further away from the mainland, as those will cost a lot more to get to.
3. Take out cash on the mainland.
None of the islands have ATMs, so you’ll want to make sure you have cash with you before you head out on your adventuring. Though most places will let you use card, there’s a pretty high surcharge fee (about 3%), so it’s smarter just to bring cash with. Plus, this will come in handy if you get the chance to visit one of the local villages and want to purchase a souvenir.
4. Buy water on the mainland.
Most of the taps in Fiji are not safe to drink out of, so you will need to buy bottled water to stay hydrated in the heat. The prices of these bottles are more expensive on the islands than the mainland, so it’s better to purchase beforehand. If you’re lucky, some accommodations (like Barefoot Kuata, Barefoot Manta and Octopus Resort) have free water containers to refill your bottles from.
5. Bring a book.
There’s nothing more relaxing than swinging in a hammock and watching the sunrise with a good book in hand. Many of the islands have tiny libraries where you can do a book exchange from. However, I forgot to bring one and since it was difficult to read an entire book in 24 hours as I island hopped each night, I still am left wondering how those tales ended. Don’t be like me!
6. Be prepared to pay for island meal plans.
Most of the islands will require that you buy the meal plan if you stay the night because there is nothing on that island besides that accommodation. Therefore, they will be the ones cooking all of your meals. The food is always excellent and usually features all-you-can-eat buffets or three-course meals. However, the plan usually costs around $119 FJD, which is about $50 USD per night (more expensive than the accommodation itself)!
7. Remember to pack village-appropriate attire.
You may think to only pack shorts and tank tops since the weather is normally quite hot. However, if you plan to do a village visit, which I highly recommend, you need to respect their culture. This means that shoulders should be covered and shorts should be below the knees. Also, it is a form of respect to remove your hats and sunglasses.
Fiji is a great place to be and if you are having any trouble, the locals are always extremely happy to lend a hand equipped with a big, happy BULA (literally meaning ‘life’ but used as a hello/welcome often). I hope these Fiji travel tips assisted you with planning your travels, but if you have any questions as always, feel free to reach out!