Many people travel to the Fijian Islands for their beauty, interesting culture and their tropical climate. In fact, the temperature varies very little between summer and winter, and the average annual temperature is a comfortable 25°C (77°F).
Even though the winter months (May through November) are usually quite warm, it can get a bit chilly in the evenings, so it is a good idea to bring a light jacket if you are visiting the islands during this time.
The dress code in Fiji is quite strict and conservative. Wearing bathing suits, short shorts and tank tops in public is seen as a lack of respect. Revealing too much skin in Fijian villages is considered offensive. Men should always wear shirts in town, and women should wear skirts or dresses that cover at least the upper legs while seated.
On the beach near the resort hotels it's ok to wear beach wear. However, keep in mind that in Fijian society, bathing suits are considered risky wear for local women, and public nudity and topless sunbathing for women is illegal.
Currency and credit cards
The currency is the Fiji dollar. It is available in denominations of F$2, F$5, F$10, F$20, F$50 and F$100, while coins are available in 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c and $1. It is recommended to bring travelers checks instead of a lot of cash for security reasons. American Express traveler's checks are probably the best to bring because they are represented in Fiji by a.t.s. Pacific. It's usually not possible to exchange travelers checks or foreign banknotes in rural areas, so plan ahead and bring sufficient Fijian dollars with you if you plan to go to these areas. Also avoid exchanging money at the hotels because they often times give a lower rate than the banks.
Credit cards are accepted usually only in the cities and resorts. The most common ones that are accepted are MasterCard and Visa. Many tourism operators don't accept American Express credit cards.
There's no restriction on the import of foreign currency, however, only F$500 may be imported or exported. But it's best to not take any Fijian dollars home as Fiji banknotes are difficult to change outside Fiji and are usually very discounted.
A passport is necessary for everyone entering Fiji. The passport has to be valid at least three months beyond the intended date of departure from Fiji. Visas are not required for visitors from 101 countries, such as North America, Western Europe, Japan, Israel and most Commonwealth countries, for example (see complete list of visa-exempt countries below*). Visitors from visa-exempt countries may stay up to four months. A two-month extension is possible, but one has to apply for it before the initial four months are up and there is a fee. Visitors are required to have a valid returning airline ticket with them when entering the country.
A yellow fever vaccination is only required for visitors coming directly from an infected area, such as the Amazon in South America, for example. No vaccinations are required for visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Western Europe or North America.
Main Fiji airports and travel seasons
The Nadi International Airport (NAN), located in Nadi on the island of Viti Levu, is where most international flights arrive. Bus and taxi services are available at the airport, as well as car rentals, restaurants, duty-free shops, a post office, tourist information and a 24-hour bank. This airport is open 24 hours a day, and it is allowed to stay overnight.
The Nausori International Airport (SUV), located near Fiji's capital Suva on the eastern coast of Viti Levu, is the main hub for inter-island flights. Some similar services that are offered at the Nadi Airport are available here as well. However, at this airport you're not allowed to stay overnight.
Any time is a good time to visit Fiji, even during its rainy season or off-season. Flights during the months of February and March, Fiji's wet season, are often times available at discounted rates. The dry season from May to October is Fiji's peak tourist season, but this is when the rates for airfare and accommodation are highest.
Tipping and bargaining
Tipping is not customary in Fiji, so leaving a tip is up to the customer. Bargaining is common in smaller shops. Once an item is purchased, it cannot be returned. Sales are final.
There aren't many facilities for disabled travelers in Fiji. However, things may improve in the future since Fiji ratified the United Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities in March 2007. Contact the Fiji Disabled People's Association for more information. Their phone number is 331-1203, and the address is 355 Waimanu Road, Suva.
Traveling with children
Fiji is a family-friendly destination. Many hotels offer discounts and facilities for children. At many large resort hotels, children can stay free if they share a room with their parents and if they don't require extra bedding. Kids also often times eat at a reduced price, and many large resorts have children's clubs where parents can drop off their offspring, so they can play with other children under the supervision of the hotel staff. Resorts that offer this service include Malolo Island Resort, Plantation Island Resort, Bounty Island Sanctuary Resort, Musket Cove Island Resort, Amanuca Island Resort, Castaway Island Resort and Treasure Island Resort, among many others. However, some upscale resorts that cater to romantic or honeymoon couples don't accept children.
Women traveling alone
As long as women follow some simple rules, they should have few problems while traveling alone or with a female friend in Fiji. A woman shouldn't accept a ride back to her hotel by someone she doesn't know, especially after dark. Also, conservative dress and polite behavior is recommended. Women should also avoid being alone in remote areas, such as beaches and trails.
Gay and lesbian travelers
Homosexuality in Fiji is illegal. The Fiji Law Reform is currently considering to decriminalize homosexual conduct, but as of today, this hasn't happened yet. Gay and lesbian travelers to Fiji should be discreet and avoid displaying affection toward each other in public. There are some gay-friendly nightclubs in Suva as well as a few gay-friendly hotels, including the Tiliva Resort, Maravu Plantation Resort, Taveuni Palms, Navutu Stars Resort and Royal Davui.
*List of visa-exempt countries
Nationals of the following countries are NOT required to obtain a visa before entering Fiji as visitors:
Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cook Islands [NZ passport holder], Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Commonwealth Dominica, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong [SAR], Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Slovak Republic, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe.