When to go to Fiji: Best time to visit the Islands

The best time to visit Fiji is during the dry season, between the months of May and October, which is otherwise known as “Fijian winter.”  During this time, the weather is dry and the temperature ranges from 26°C to 30°C (79°F to 86°F). The winter tradewinds blow steadily and there’s little risk of tropical cyclones. The dry season is also the “high season” and visitors planning trips should be aware that airline and accommodation prices peak between July and August, especially due to an influx of visitors from New Zealand and Australia, who hop over to the islands to escape the winter weather back home. (There are also other smaller holidays in these countries, which account for occasional spurts of high seasons in Fiji. See www.oztourism.com.au for a list of Australian holidays and www.tourism.org.nz for a list of New Zealand holidays.)

The months of November through April constitute “Fijian summer,” or the wet season. During this time, visitors can expect several days of continuous heavy rain followed by short bursts of glorious sunshine (we are talking about the tropics, after all). Although this is also the hottest and most humid season in Fiji and the chances of hurricanes are higher, visitors staying at comfortable resorts and hotels will be comforted by both the air-conditioned reprieves of their hotel rooms and the knowledge that hotel employees are well-trained in how to handle emergency situations related to weather. The heaviest rains fall from December until mid-April, and December and January tend to be particularly busy months in Fiji due to the holiday season in New Zealand and Australia.

Visitors planning their Fijian vacations might also keep in mind that the climate of Fiji varies from island to island. As wet tradewinds that cool the islands often blow from the east, the eastern parts of the islands tend to get more wet and cloudy than the western sides. Suva, the capital city located on the southeastern side of Viti Levu, for example, gets more rain than both the southwestern region of Viti Levu and the Mamancuas Islands, which tend to enjoy a sunnier climate year-round. And travelers who plan to trek in the mountains should keep in mind that the higher the altitude, the lower the temperature. (Visitors can check the Fiji Meteorological Service at www.met.gov.fj for current forecasts.)

Banks, government offices and most private businesses will close on official bank holidays, notably: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Ratu Sukana Day (May 30 or the Monday closest to May 30), the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday (a Monday in mid-July), Fiji Day (October 10 or the Monday closest to October 10), Diwali (late October or early November), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

School holidays in Fiji run from late April to mid-May and from mid-August to early September. Visitors may sometimes find it difficult to secure accommodation during these times. Hotel rooms can be relatively easy to come by from Christmas through mid-January, but available flights may be scarce as thousands of Fijians overseas fly home for the holidays.