"More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure."Well, it seems like these words were meant for no place else, but the gorgeous, sun-drenched islands of Fiji. Diminutive the country maybe (its 700-odd islands and islets measure up to a mere 7,100 sq mi), but as far as tourism is concerned, it does pack a punch. So, whether it's a honeymoon, a conference, a family outing, or even backpacking, Fiji will never disappoint.
Tourists coming here are instantly enamored by Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, only to be further entrapped by the copious charms of Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, which lie towards the north, forming a curve. But if you think that beaches are all there is to Fiji, you sure haven't been there. For starters, there are underwater delights to explore, tropical forests to be lost in, and mountains to hike on. And if all of this seems too hectic, you're also advised to simply soak in the sun, and do nothing at all.
The austral weather is in charge here, so in Fiji, summers are from November to April. These months can be hot and humid, which is typically tropical. June to September is the best time to be here, as it is dry and slightly cooler. July and August are particularly crowded, as a lot of tourists from Australia and New Zealand visit the isles to beat the depressing cold back home. These, therefore, happen to be Fiji's most expensive months, and also the most perfect, weather-wise.
If you are a citizen of the United States, or any of the Commonwealth Nations, you will be issued a visitor permit upon arrival. This enables you to stay in Fiji for up to four months. Your passport must be valid beyond six months of your arrival, and you must be in possession of a return or an onward ticket.
There are frequent flights from Australia and New Zealand to Fiji's Nadi International Airport located on the western side of Viti Levu, around 7 miles north of Nadi Town. A flight from LA takes about 11 hours to get there, and the frequency is lesser. Air Pacific and Qantas have direct flights from LA to Fiji; most other carriers will have stopovers.
Well, like the paradise it is, Fiji may seem unaffordable at first glance. But for a country whose economy rests mainly on tourism, Fiji has a lot of options to suit all budgets. You may want to go all-out luxurious at the Fiji Beach Resort & Spa (managed by the Hilton group) or the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa.
Smaller, and more intimate establishments like the family-run Aquarius On The Beach will give you a more homely experience, without crushing your budget. Boutique hotel seekers can try the Aroha Taveuni, situated by the Somosomo Strait.
Those with beach sports and adventure on their minds can head to the Waisalima Beach Resort & Dive Centre. Surfing enthusiasts particularly, can try Rendezvous Fiji, close to Tavarua and Namotu, considered to be the best surfing spots in Fiji.
The national currency is the Fiji dollar, which converts to approximately USD 0.55. The best way to obtain local currency is to carry your debit card to withdraw cash from local ATMs. ANZ Bank has ATM counters all over the country, which makes it convenient to withdraw money at leisure. All major credit cards including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa are accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and travel companies.
Seafood is a way of life on islands, and Fiji is no exception to the rule. But as far as Fijian cuisine is concerned, it is as unique as the residents here―an amazing blend of tastes, both native and imported. With the booming tourist industry, you will find restaurants catering to all palates here, right from classic French to authentic Indian, to fish 'n' chips too. If you're in for a typical island experience, book a lovely sunset dinner cruise over the Nadi Bay―a nice option for all the romantics out there.
For the jet-setters, Pacific Sun and Air Fiji have regular flights from Nadi to various other island destinations, including Malolo Lailai, Savusavu, Taveuni, and Suva. Though expensive, they do let you travel in style and utmost comfort. A point to note is that you are advised to book your inter-island flights from home, since last-minute bookings won't nevessarily yield a seat. Also, ensure that you confirm these bookings once you arrive in Fiji, as the unpredictable weather may cause some changes in schedule.
You can also island-hop using the ferry services. These ferries may be private, luxury liners, or vehicle- and passenger-carrying type. Timings and schedule are heavily influenced by the weather conditions.
Inland transport includes taxis and car rentals, both of which are easy to obtain. A cheaper option to public transport are buses, which are comfortable and reliable. Transport options in Fiji are plentiful, all you need to do is pick one that suits your purpose and budget.
Fiji ... your slice of paradise
Yes, we're all aware of the awe-inspiring awesome beauty of these islands. But there are a few other places you can check out while you're here. Take a look.
Wairiki Methodist Church
Temple on Nadi Island
One of the two things you simply cannot miss out on is snorkeling in Fiji's clear waters―it does not require any diving skills, and is an extremely enjoyable activity for people of all ages. The second unmissable thing is to gape at a gorgeous sunset. It may sound cliched, but island sunsets are just mesmerizing, and you cannot afford to miss out on these.
Snorkel in the clear waters
Enjoy a gorgeous beach sunset
Now that you've realized how easy it is to come here, you're probably not going to waste another minute in planning a fabulous vacation. Well, Fiji's calling out to you, and its high season ain't too far away!