Fiji is simply a fascinating community of islands that tramples the scenery we see on postcards. If you type Fiji on Google and click on the images, I will explain what I mean much better. Until 1950, cruise ships visiting the region could only watch the islands from afar. Now all of these islands are a tourist paradise from the beginning. Of course, if you have enough budget!
Whenever I heard the word Fiji, I would see postcards with a blue, sparkling sea with a fishing boat on it, with coconut trees stretching from its white sandy beach to the sea. It never occurred to me that I would be years later in one of the scenes on the cards we sent to each other during the old holidays.
Locals have started hosting tourists by building bungalows and resorts on the island. Nowadays, a tropical island paradise where tropical ocean waves ripple towards white sandy beaches welcomes young, old, family or honeymoon couples. It is possible to find an option suitable for every budget on these islands.
Fiji islands, which were closed to tourism in 1987, started to come to life when the state gave the authority over real estate to the island natives.
Fiji Travel Guide
Fiji is an ideal holiday destination especially for honeymooners and island lovers. Almost every island has distinctive characteristics. While some are party island where young people hang out, some are more quiet and more suitable for families. Some islands specialize in diving, others are quite seductive with ultra-luxury resorts.
Fiji is an archipelago of 333 islands. Its largest island, Viti Levu, and its capital, Suva, are also on this island. Stretching from north to south in the east of Viti Levu Island, the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands attract thousands of tourists with their white sandy beaches, rainforest-covered nature and incredible diversity and beauty of underwater life.
Ferries from the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu, to Fiji Islands are from Denarau Port. It cannot be said that the flights are very cheap.
Of these islands located in the Pacific Ocean, the Mamanuca Group is closer to the mainland and some are quite small. For example, Mana Island is only 300 acres in size. Mamanuca consists of 6 main islands, of which Qalito Island is known as Cast Away Island, since Cast Away (2000) starring Tom Hanks was shot here.
Yasawa Group, consisting of 12 large islands, has a structure consisting of volcanic rocks and has steep mountains. The highest point of the islands does not exceed 600 meters. With nearly 30 resorts, gorgeous white sand beaches and crystal clear lagoons, it has been the venue for many movies.
12 large islands along the North West of Fiji; Kuata, Nacula, Nanuya Lailai, Nanuya Levu (The Blue Lagoon), Naviti, Tavewa, Waya, Waya Lailai, Yaqeta.
There are affordable accommodation options for backpackers and tight budget travelers on the Fiji Islands, as well as ultra-luxury hotels with a private beach, pier and servants for over $ 5000 per night.
There are nearly 30 resorts on the Yasawa Islands. Many of them offer non-luxury, simple and affordable accommodation without the need to spend thousands of dollars to enjoy the tropical paradise, including meals.
Most of the resorts are all-inclusive. Snorkeling, canoe trips, traditional food, hiking and sunset tours on the island, kava ceremonies, traditional dances and night fire dance shows are some of the services offered by almost all of them.
My Fiji Route
In April 2010 I crossed over from New Zealand to Fiji. After staying for a few days in Viseisei Village on the main island, Viti Levu, I went to Kuata Island, famous for its impressive nature and beautiful beach.
I stayed in Barefoot Kuata located on Kuata Island. There are shared dorm rooms for those who want an economical holiday, as well as bungalows a few meters from the sea. Electricity is provided from the generator between 18.00-23.00 in the evening.
The sea is warm, between 24-28 degrees, the part near the shore is crystal clear, but it is difficult to walk and swim in the sea comfortably due to the abundance of marine plants, corals and shellfish.
There are more luxurious and exotic bungalows on Waya Lai Lai Island, just opposite Kuata Island.
Waya Lai Lai
There are more luxurious and exotic bungalows on Waya Lai Lai Island, just opposite Kuata Island. Naboro Village was an interesting opportunity to get to know real Fiji local life. The I stayed in this village for 25$ including 3 meals a day. The lonely village was more suitable for exploring travelers than vacationers.
Then I decided to go to the island of Waya Lai Lai just across and I went from island to island by canoe. Waya Lai lai is a huge island and there were many locals working at the resort on the island. After meeting and chatting with them, I asked if I could stay in the village with them. They accepted. The next day, I was sleeping in the homes of locals who were once cannibals.
I stayed in Naboro Village for 2 days. Naboro Village, built in an incredibly beautiful nature, on a Bosphorus with beaches on both sides, is a place free from smoking. Naboro Village was an interesting opportunity to get to know real Fiji local life.
Everyone in the village, where there is no electricity, telephone and TV, and where there is a very simple and simple life, was very warm to me. I was not only a guest of the house I stayed in, but everyone. I stayed in the village for 25 $, including 3 meals a day. The lonely village is more suitable for explorers than vacationers.
Fiji Coral Coast
After returning to the mainland, I stayed for a week in Coral Cost, located on the south coast of Viti Levu Island, at The Beach House. This place was as beautiful as the Fiji Islands in terms of atmosphere. The coconut trees on the beach, stretching towards the sea, reveal the image we see on postcards.
Nadi is one of Fiji’s most popular destinations. The reason for this is that no matter how many different touristic places you want to go to in Fiji, your first point has to be Nadi. Since the international airport is here, it is a real tourist center. Due to the majority of the Indo-Fijian population in Nadi, this place is also a center for Islam and Hinduism. There is so much to do, so it’s a place where you can easily spend a few days and have fun.
Scuba diving at the Scuba Bula diving center can also be a very good choice. They have 22 dive sites and the closest one is only 10 minutes away, so it is a very successful diving center that you can choose with peace of mind.
On the other hand, if you are interested in cultural and religious places, visit Sri Siva Subramaniya Shrine. In this temple, which is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, you will really feel like you are in India because it is almost exactly the same as there.
In Nadi, there are dozens of beaches and islands, jet skiing, boat trips and numerous activities, as well as a wide range of hotels from low budget to luxury.
If you want to learn more about Fiji’s political and commercial side, visit Suva. Although this is the center of politics and commerce in Fiji, don’t think that you will be bored because there are too many tourist areas.
Buy fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables from street markets in Suva, which also houses the Parliament building. I do not think you will attract much of a foreignness thanks to the warm atmosphere created by the warmth and hospitality of the people of Fiji.
You can also buy souvenirs from the Municipal Handicraft Center, where interesting artifacts and handicrafts created by local artists are sold.
One of the most beautiful parks you shouldn’t miss is the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. This is a place where you can see nature at its best. If you wish you can go bird watching, swimming, hiking etc. you can go. When you take a walk, you will witness an incredibly different vegetation. The destinations of the walking paths are generally magnificent waterfalls.
Another park you can visit is Albert Park. This place is well known not because of its interesting nature and sights, but because of a famous event of the place. On the Trans-Pacific flight in 1928, Charles Kingsford-Smith made his emergency landing at this point in Albert Park.
Besides street markets and parks, you can visit museums and enjoy cultural centers. If you want to know more about Fiji culture, you should visit the Fiji Museum, where a few artifacts and archaeological findings are exhibited. Some artifacts date back 3500 years. At least you will have an idea of what Fiji was like thousands of years ago before tourists or foreigners started coming here.
Things to do in Fiji
Fiji is a paradise for water sports lovers. Snorkeling, diving and windsurfing can be done in almost every island. Again, as I did, you can rent a canoe and open a little from the shore, enjoy the impressive view of the island and swim among the corals in the sparkling sea. Even looking under the sea from the canoe is quite impressive.
Fiji is known as one of the finest and most accessible diving routes in the Pacific Ocean and the “capital of soft corals”, according to Lonely Planet.
Fiji, which has marine creatures such as whales, tropical fish, colorful corals, sea rabbits, crayfish, tuna, stingrays and coral sharks, is the best time to dive in the dry season from May to October because this is the time when the water is clearest. The water temperature is quite high, between 25-28 degrees throughout the year.
Know or not know swimming, but you should definitely hire a snorkel and dive if possible. One should not return without seeing the beauties of the richest underwater life in the world. You shouldn’t worry about sharks in that area.
The number of deaths from shark attacks in the world is 8-10, and the bees we know cause more deaths, for example.You shouldn’t miss out on activities like shark watching dives. The sharks here are no different from the big fish.
Fiji Coral Coast
In some, it is possible to take scuba diving courses and go diving. One of the most beautiful activities that can be done on these islands is to explore the environment by canoe. Since the sea is calm almost everywhere, you can go on a landscape tour in the sea around the island with confidence and pleasure.
Don’t forget to take an underwater camera with you. You can see these beauties in very few places in the world. Most of these islands do not have electricity, nor do they have a GSM receiver or internet (it was in 2011 when I visited). Enjoy the real vacation away from emails and Facebook, even civilization. Don’t miss the sunrise and sunset. Do not go home without tasting tropical fruits.
Apart from that, trekking in the forests of the island or watching the sunset to the highest points on the island are among the unmissable activities. Swimming in the crystal clear blue sea, resting on the white sand, sleeping in a hammock, reading a book is enough to have a pleasant holiday even if you do nothing.
It is necessary to pay close attention to health in such island paradises. It may be a good idea to bring any medications you may need with you.
Today’s Fijian cuisine is a mix of Polynesian, Indian, Malay, Chinese and Western cuisines. Indian cuisine was formed by the influence of Indian slaves brought here by the British to work in sugar fields. Currently, 38% of the population is Indian origin Fijians.
Some of the most commonly used ingredients in Fiji cuisine are breadfruit, cassava, taro root (dalo) and leaves, which taste like potatoes. Beef, poultry, pork and seafood are integral parts of Fiji cuisine.
Most salads, appetizers, soups or drinks are essential. These are prepared with commonly available fruits such as guava, mango, banana and pineapple. These fruits are used in combination with coconut milk to prepare sweet, savory and spicy dishes.
Usually, a Fijian main dish is prepared using meat or chicken. Cassava, rich in starch, is used as a garnish.
The menu is decorated with boiled taro leaves, and some of the spices such as ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, coriander, cumin and Indian curry are added to enhance the flavor of the dish. It is important to use the right amount of spices. Although it does not have a special cooking technique of their own, traditional cooking methods taken from their neighbors are used with multiculturalism.
The dish called Kokoda is considered their national dish. It is made from raw fish marinated in coconut cream and lemon. The name of the national beverage is Kava. It is usually prepared by crushing the roots of the Kava plant and mixing it with cold water and it is recommended to be consumed as soon as possible. The drink is perfect for relaxing without disturbing mental clarity and getting drunk, as it has a calming effect.
When to go to Fiji
May-October, known as the Fiji Winter or dry season, is the best season to visit Fiji. This season with low humidity and rain provides a pleasant holiday opportunity with cooler weather. Sea water temperature hovers around 26 degrees. June and July are the months when tourist visits are the highest. Of course, prices are slightly higher this season.
High season: July – September. Low season: November – April. Mid season: May – June
Since Fiji has the tropical climate of the South Sea, the two seasons are very strongly felt: the dry season from May to June and the wet season from November to April. The dry season is mild and the temperature rises to a maximum of 28 degrees.
The rainy season is hot and humid, and the temperature goes up to 31 degrees. During this period, rainfalls are very sudden and irregular, but the sun comes right after. The rainy season is also known as the typhoon season.
For a romantic experience, it should be preferred when the full moon comes out at the end of September or late March, which is the solstice of Fiji, and the black silhouettes of the mountains are most pronounced. The sun’s rays bring out the deepest colors in the lakes and a magnificent view is created.
Fiji festivals do not attract the attention of visitors, but the locals show great interest. Among the local festivals you can attend are Suva’s Christmas Carnival, Latouka’s Sugar Festival in September, Nadi’s Bula Festival in July, Savusavu’s South Pacific Music Festival in November and the Diwali festival celebrated throughout Fiji in November.
How to get to Fiji
Boat providing transportation between the Islands. I landed at Fiji Nadi Airport with a 3.5-hour Air New Zealand airlines flight from Acukland, New Zealand. At the entrance to the airport, a music group with their guitars in their hands, dressed in their floral-patterned shirts and skirts, greeted them with songs.
You can also go to Fiji from Australia with Qantas Airlines. Flights between Fiji Islands are provided by Sun Air and Air Fiji. I took a boat from Nadi harbor to Kuata Island.