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Holidays in Fiji

Understanding Fiji

Fiji is the product of volcanic mountains and warm tropical waters Its majestic and ever-varied coral reefs today draw tourists from around the world, but were the nightmare of European mariners until well into the 19th century As a result, Fijians have retained their land and often much of the noncommercial, sharing attitude of people who live in vast extended families with direct access to natural resources When it came, European involvement and cession to Britain was marked by the conversion to Christianity, the cessation of brutal tribal warfare and cannibalism, and the immigration of a large number of indentured Indian laborers, who now represent nearly half of the population, as well as smaller numbers of Europeans and Asians Today, Fiji is a land of tropical rainforests, coconut plantations, fine beaches, fire-cleared hills For the casual tourist it is blessedly free of evils such as malaria, landmines, or terrorism that attend many similarly lovely places in the world

Internal political events in the recent past resulted in a reduction in tourism The Fiji tourism industry has responded by lowering prices and increasing promotion of the main resort areas that are far removed from the politics in and around the capital, Suva

Climate

Tropical marine; only slight seasonal temperature variation Tropical cyclonic storms The South Pacific version of Hurricanes can occur from November to April Temperature sensitive visitors may wish to visit during the Southern Hemisphere winter

Terrain

Mostly mountains of volcanic origin

In most of the interior of the main islands there are some roads and always trails, and an amazing number of remote villages Buses and open or canvas topped "carriers" traverse the mountains of Vanua Levu several times a day and the interior mountains of Viti Levu many times weekly The Tacirua Transport "hydromaster" bus which leaves from Nausori in the morning and runs past the hydroelectric resevoir and mount Tomanivi to arrive the same day in Vatoukola and Tavua is the best and the scenery is truly spectacular in good weather!

History

Fiji became independent in 1970, after nearly a century as a British colony Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987, caused by concern over a government perceived as dominated by the Indian community descendants of contract laborers brought to the islands by the British in the 19th century The coups and a 1990 constitution that cemented native Melanesian control of Fiji, led to heavy Indian emigration; the population loss resulted in economic difficulties, but ensured that Melanesians became the majority A new constitution enacted in 1997 was more equitable Free and peaceful elections in 1999 resulted in a government led by an Indo-Fijian, but a civilian-led coup in May 2000 ushered in a prolonged period of political turmoil Parliamentary elections held in August 2001 provided Fiji with a democratically elected government led by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase There was a further military coup in 2006, led by Commodore Josaia Voreqe Frank Bainimarama

Talking in Fiji

Languages

English is an official language and is the language of instruction in education, and is spoken by most in Nadi, Suva and any other major tourist area On a few of the less touristy islands, English may be spoken with some difficulty Fijian or Hindustani Hindi/Urdu is spoken by most adults and children, and learning even a few key phrases will help you gain the respect of the locals

Words and Phrases

  • Bula! - A general greeting
  • Vinaka - "Please" or "thank you"

What to do in Fiji

  • Whitewater rafting Rivers Fiji, PO Box 307 Pacific Harbour, Fiji Islands 800-446-2411 http://wwwriversfijicom/ Rivers Fiji operates whitewater rafting and sea kayaking trips six days a week

Buying stuff in Fiji

Inflation in Fiji is relatively high - it has increased an estimated 12% per year recently Expect to pay prices similar to those of Australia in tourist regions

Food and eating in Fiji

Locals eat in the cafes and small restaurants that are found in every town The food is wholesome, cheap, and highly variable in quality What you order from the menu is often better than what comes out of the glass display case, except for places that sell a lot of food quickly and keep putting it out fresh Fish and Chips are usually a safe bet, and are widely available Many cafes serve Chinese food of some sort along with Indian and sometimes Fiji-style fish , lamb, or pork dishes Near the airport, a greater variety of food is found, including Japanese and Korean

Local delicacies include fresh tropical fruits they can be found at the farmer's market in any town when in season, paulsami baked taro leaves marinated in lemon juice and coconut milk often with some meat or fish filling and a bit of onion or garlic, kokoda fish or other seafood marinated in lemon and coconut milk, and anything cooked in a lovo or pit oven Vutu is a local variety of nut mainly grown on the island of Beqa, but also available in Suva and other towns around January and February A great deal of food is cooked in coconut milk, take note that everyone reacts different to increased fat levels in their diet

Take care when ordering chicken meals Very often the chicken will come cut into one-bite pieces, but with all the bones left, so it's quite easy to choke on sharp bone When uncertain, always ask for boneless chicken meal

Drinking in Fiji

A very popular drink in Fiji is yaqona "yang-go-na", also known as "kava " and sometimes referred to as "grog" by locals Kava is a peppery, earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant piper methysticum Its effects include a numbed tongue and lips usually lasting only about 5-10 minutes and relaxed muscles Kava is mildly intoxicating, especially when consumed in large quantities or on a regular basis and one should avoid taxi and other drivers who have recently partaken

Kava drinking in Fiji became popular during the fall of cannibalism, and originated as a way to resolve conflict and facilitate peaceful negotiations between villages It should not be consumed alongside alcohol

Accommodation in Fiji

Most Fiji travel agents will take a 'deposit' along with your booking, which is a commission usually between 15-20% Since this is an up-front payment, it is often beneficial to only book one night initially, and then you may be able to negotiate a lesser rate for subsequent nights if space is available

Many smaller and simpler accommodations have "local rates" and can give discounts that are simply huge if you can book a room in person or have a local do it for you and give a legitimate local address and phone number In the Suva area, the Raffles Tradewinds is nice and quiet and about a dollar by frequently running buses from central down town Sometimes upon arrival at the airport in Nadi, you can stop at the Raffles Gateway across from the airport entrance and book a room at the Tradewinds at a good local rate if business is slow

Suva has become a desirable destination for conventions, meetings and events With so many exciting off-site activities so close to the hotel, options for a unique and rewarding event are endless

Nadi is the hub of tourism for the Fiji Islands You can get all the resources you need to explore your lodging options, hotels and resorts , activities and trips and tours Nadi is a thriving community with many things to explore and experience There is also a number of local activities and places to see when you are in Nadi as well

Lautoka is Fiji's second largest city The real charm of this dry western side of the island is the mountain ranges inland from Nadi and Lautoka Koroyanitu National Park offers hiker overnight adventure through the semi-rainforest,waterfalls and small villages Tours to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant are also very popular for the different ornamental orchids together with forest walks through botanical wonders

Cities in Fiji

What do you think about Fiji?

How expensive is Fiji?
(1 FJD = 0.5 USD)
Meal in inexpensive restaurant6.44 FJD
3-course meal in restaurant (for 2)55.2 FJD
McDonalds meal12.22 FJD
Local beer (0.5 draft)4.75 FJD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 8 FJD
Cappuccino5.78 FJD
Pepsi/Coke (0.33 bottle)2.23 FJD
Water (0.33 bottle)2.66 FJD
Milk (1l)3.07 FJD
Fresh bread (500g)1.12 FJD
White Rice (1kg)2.37 FJD
Eggs (12) 4.95 FJD
Local Cheese (1kg) 28.23 FJD
Chicken Breast (1kg) 15.9 FJD
Apples (1kg) 4.96 FJD
Oranges (1kg) 4.96 FJD
Tomato (1kg) 5.55 FJD
Potato (1kg) 1.33 FJD
Lettuce (1 head) 1.66 FJD
Water (1.5l)3.05 FJD
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range) 14.55 FJD
Domestic Beer (0.5 bottle)4.21 FJD
Foreign beer (0.33 bottle) 6.95 FJD
Cigarettes8.82 FJD
One way local bus ticket0.96 FJD
Monthly pass for bus17.76 FJD
Taxi start1.66 FJD
Taxi 1km1.11 FJD
Taxi 1hour waiting6.64 FJD
Gasoline (1 liter) 3 FJD
Utilities for a "normal" apartment90.57 FJD
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) 10.55 FJD
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre 219.83 FJD
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre 955.94 FJD
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