10 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji

Your flight and hotel are booked, your bags are packed, and you are ready to go! Before you head out to the beautiful islands of Fiji, it’s important to know a little bit about the culture.  We’ve done the research and gathered 10 helpful tips for you to have the best possible vacation! So read on:

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Photo copyright Duncan Odds

 

  1. Get To and From the Airport

You don’t want to be stranded after your long flight, and if you’re in a pinch there are taxis for hire, but the best course of action is to have a driver waiting for you when you land.  Most hotels, especially those on the outer islands, will offer an airport service. Double check with your travel agent that this has been arranged before you set off on your trip.  

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Photo copyright Roderick Eime

 

  1. Fijians Drive on the Left

This can come as a shock to people who are accustomed to driving on the right side, and it’s all the more reason to hire a driver if this is something you’re not used to. You’ll probably adapt to it quickly enough, but if you’re nervous about the prospect of driving, it’s best to sit back, relax and to hire a local.  

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Photo copyright Kyle Post

 

  1. Forget About Vibrant Nightlife 

Fijians generally go to bed early and wake up with the sun, so if you plan on partying until the sun comes up, you might be on your own. Instead, plan to enjoy your drinks by the pool or on the beautiful beaches by the light of day and save partying for another time.

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Photo copyright Carmen

 

  1. Go Hiking with a Local Guide 

Fiji is full of wonderful natural beauty and hiking is a great way to experience the gorgeous tropical rain-forests. However, it’s important to know that many of the paths aren’t well-maintained and the terrain can be hazardous, so hiring a local guide is going to be the safest and most enjoyable option.  Ask your travel agent for help on finding great deals on local tours.  

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Copyright Pablo Marx

 

  1. Be Mindful of Your Attire in the Local Villages

Sundresses, shorts and tank tops are fine in and around the resorts but if you decide to visit a local village it’s best to dress a little more conservatively in order to show respect. Visitors should plan to remove all hats and sunglasses while in the village and plan to wear clothing that covers both shoulders and knees.  

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Photo copyright Kanaka Rastamon

 

  1. Visit the Outer Islands 

Many people have the impulse to stay on the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu on their trip to Fiji but the real magic is on the outer islands.  Steer clear of the urban areas and opt for a seaplane or speedboat ride to places like the Mamanuca Islands, known for their scuba diving, snorkeling and coral reefs or check out Yasawa, known for its pristine beaches and jungles.  With more than 300 islands, there is no shortage of places to explore. 

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Photo copyright Joyce T

 

  1. Embrace ‘Island Time’

It can be difficult to slow down when you’re used to fast-paced living but that’s why you’re taking a vacation from the hustle and bustle, right? In Fiji, like most of the South Pacific, people live by ‘island time,’ a slowed down, relaxed mentality and they are happier for it. So relax, take a load off and embrace the slow pace living, you might just learn to love it!

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Photo copyright MickiTakesPictures

 

  1. Attend a Kava Ceremony

Kava is a legal and traditional herbal drink made from the ground root of a spicy pepper plant and is used for medicinal and cultural purposes throughout the Pacific. It has relaxing effects similar to alcohol, but without the risk of intoxication or hangover.  In Fiji, a formal kava ceremony will often accompany important social functions, usually involving drinking kava and a ritual presentation of bundled roots as a gift. If you have the opportunity to attend a kava ceremony, I highly recommend it. 

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Photo copyright Melody Tan

 

  1. Respect the Locals

Fijians are some of the most welcoming, friendly people I have ever met, and are quick to greet you with “bula,” (meaning hello) and a huge smile on their faces.  Just know that while they are making sure your vacation goes smoothly, they are often away from their families for weeks at a time. It should go without saying to treat them with the respect deserved to all people, but especially those in the service industries. 

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Photo copyright Timo

 

  1. Watch the Sunrise

Vacations are for sleeping in, right? Yes, but we recommend devoting at least one morning to watch the magnificent light reflecting off the tropical waters. The colors in the sky will make waking up well worth it, just don’t forget to have your camera ready!

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Photo copyright Kyle Post

Keep Garbage Out Of Our Oceans

As a scuba diver, I’m appalled by the amount of trash I see in our oceans. But the bulk of it isn’t on the coral reefs–it’s worse in other places.

Last month, a dead sperm whale in Indonesia was discovered to have over 12 lbs of plastic in its stomach.

There’s a floating garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that’s twice the size of Texas!

Boyan Slat from the Ocean Cleanup Project. Photo courtesy USA Today.

Photo courtesy Ocean Cleanup Project.

Luckily there are folks with great ideas and plans for cleaning it up, including The Ocean Cleanup Project.

Snorkel Adventures Destin from Florida has put together this infographic with some simple guidelines–some of which are being implemented by cities today. Some US cities have made the news for their plans to ban plastic straws, and others, including Visual Itineraries’ hometown of Bend, Oregon, have voted to ban plastic bags.

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The 10 Types of Travelers

Travelers are all individuals. Most come complete with delightful quirks and idiosyncrasies. That being said, having founded and run a travel business in the Galapagos Islands for 10 years, I’ve come to recognize some definitive traveler types. Here are my top 10 – which category do you fall into?

Giant Tortoise and boy, San Cristobal

A Giant Tortoise and boy in San Cristobal.

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Air Canada Pilot Saves Dog By Diverting Flight

French Bulldog Simba & Owner

French Bulldog Simba is held by his owner after the diverted flight.

If you’re a traveler who’s had to take your pet along on flights…this will hit especially close to home. An Air Canada flight, slated originally from Tel Aviv to Toronto, had an unexpected change of course when the pilot decided to take emergency action and land the plane in Frankfurt, Germany. The reason? He noticed a heating system malfunction in the cargo area just as the plane was about to head over the Atlantic Ocean, which would have caused cargo temperatures to drop significantly – bad news for the pooch stowed there. Continue reading

14 Tips for a Fool-proof Honeymoon

Marcia Miller and camels

The writer, Marcia Miller, hangs out with her favorite camel pals.

If you happen to be getting hitched during the “prime time” of the upcoming summer months, that means your honeymoon isn’t too far away! Your honeymoon is a wonderful extension of your wedding. Every wedding seems to have a glitch you talk about for the rest of your life, but you want your honeymoon to be perfect. Whether you have traveled together before or this is your first adventure, here are the tips to smooth the road and take it up a notch. After all, this is the beginning of your life together. Continue reading