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Explore Fiji's 400 dream-inspiring islands

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile

The Fiji Islands is a region little explored by the British and yet, having 400 dream islands at your disposal, it is a distinctly tempting destination. Only around a hundred of them are inhabited, and by a richly mixed population of Polynesians, Micronesians, Melanesians, Europeans and Chinese, which make up the Fijian population. The Fiji Islands is one of the most beautiful countries to dive due to its rich and natural marine life.

The tropical cyclone season in normally runs from November to April. Those wanting to travel to Fiji during these months are advised to monitor the weather forecast. Check Fiji Meteorological Service updates.

Travel guide

Bouma Hertiage National Park

Bouma National Park is located on Taveuni Island and aims both to protect the rain forest there and to encourage tourism. The highlight of this national park is the natural swimming pools that can be found at the bottom of the three Tavoro Waterfalls. If you'd rather a gentle walk to one of the natural pools head for the first waterfall. On the other hand, if you're feeling slightly more adventurous and are keen to seek out a less touristy spot make your way to the second waterfall only 30 minutes away.

Fire walking on Beqa

Beqa Island is renowned for its fire-walking and if you happen to be in the neighbouring vicinity a visit is thoroughly recommended. It is a well known myth within Fiji that over 500 years ago the men of Beqa Island were rewarded with the ability to walk on fire by an eel after it sacrificed itself. To this day the warriors that live there are keen to keep the tradition alive and regularly walk across the red stones.

R&R in Malolo

Suitable for both fun with the family or a romantic getaway for two, Malolo provides the perfect holiday setting to unwind and relax. The island is run by the friendliest Fijian family who have spent their whole lives happy to entertain and welcome any guests. Water sports eat your heart out; Malolo offers snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddle boards, walking traits and beach volleyball.

Garden of the Sleeping Giant

This is one of Fiji's best kept secret locations; there are over 35 different types of Asian orchids and Cattleya hybrids in this green oasis as well as Lilly pad ponds and fountains that can be heard trickling from afar. After walking for a while around the beautifully manicured gardens you eventually stumble across the tropical rainforest in the middle. Upon arrival, you can receive a free introduction of the exact history of the site and an insight into how a mountain valley became a garden full of such beautiful flowers. Admission 21FJD.

Dip in the ocean

The diving and snorkeling in Fiji is truly breathtaking; the water is always crystal clear, allowing perfect visibility for marine life spotting, and never too cold! Coral reefs feature at every corner of the island and so often you are able to snorkel directly off the strip of beach in front of your Bure (little hotel room.) Plate corals, staghorn corals, soft corals, blue star fish, giant damsm large anemones and clown fish are just a handful of things that you will see under the water. Our top recommendation for a great snorkeling spot is Sunflower Reef, near Malolo you can reach this reef by boat and bigger than 3 football pitches.

Our Editorial team's advice

The Fiji Islands has had the reputation of being a costly destination for a long time, reserved to a small handful of privileged people. Today, things have changed, especially now, thanks to the cheaper flights. It all depends as well, on your living standards once there. If you adopt the local style, by staying in small hostels, by eating in local restaurants and on market stands, by using public buses and boats, your daily budget will not exceed £25. However, if you want to live Hollywood style, with sunbeds under the coconut trees, azure cocktails next to the swimming pool of a luxurious hotel, surrounded by tropical vegetation and bordered by a private lagoon, crayfish and champagne served by a majordomo in livery, as well as a chartered yacht to go swimming on an atoll, your budget might sky rocket very quickly.

It would be unfair to sum up Fiji just for its blissful beaches and lagoons. Archipelago is a vast and varied travel destination, where you have the opportunity to discover both nature and culture. It can be explored any way either by bus, by boat, by car or by plane.

The international airport, Nadi, on the west cost of Viti Levu is the main entry point to Fiji. However, there are numerous internal flights that can connect you to the smaller islands. The main local airports are Nausori (near to the capital Suva), Labassa and Savusavu (Vanua Levu), Taveuni, Vanua Bavalu, Cici, Labeka, Koro, Gau, Moala, and Kadavu.

pros

  • +A tropical garden of Eden, a loveable population: Samoa Islands have been making the dreams of romantic souls come true for over two centuries.
  • +Exceptional under-water depths, among the planet's most beautiful, and plenty of seaside and sporting activities.
  • +A favourable climate, well-timed as far as the summer holidays are concerned.

cons

  • -A very high cost of living due to the need to import most consumer goods.
  • -A long flight, a tiring journey, jet lag and climate.

Traditions

Fijian people still make traditional handwork of quality, pieces of pottery in particular, that have survived the destructive impact of the western world, missionaries and tourist influences. The ritual dances (mekes), that are accompanied by tales passed on through old spoken traditions, are still very much practiced.

Fiji isnt a country renowned for its punctuality, 'Fijan time' is a loose and unpredictable time space but still based on quite a simple principle: I'll be there when I'm there, whatever happens happens. Bear in mind that once you step out of the luxury hotels in Fiji, all concept of time goes out the window and the locals adopt a much more relaxed pace.

Fijans are known to be very welcoming and easygoing but remember to try and keep your clothing modest, take your hats off around the villages and don't touch anyone else's head as its considered impolite.

A common religion amongst all Fijians is rugby. Fiji has a total of nine rugby league teams and is home to some of the best rugby league players in the world. The national rugby league team has competed in a total of five Rugby World Cup competitions.

Being topless on beaches as well as wearing shorts in villages is strongly unadvised.

Food

The local cuisine is made up of Fijian and Indian dishes. Fish and seafood are the two staple foods but chicken and pork also often feature in recipes. Fish and white meat work perfectly when accompanied with 'root crops', a generic name used by the Fijians to describe tubers which are widely consumed in Fiji.

Among the specialities is the kadoka (fish with coconut milk and green lime), rourou (dish made with taro), kassaua (tapioca cooked in the oven, grilled with coconut juice, sugar cane and banana puree) and duruka (a kind of local asparagus). As well as a lot of Indian curries, many western dishes are available in addition to a wide selection of exotic and fresh fruits.

Souvenirs

Things to bring back: local handicraft (sarongs, embroidery, wickerwork, pottery, carved wood objects), mother-of-pearl jewels, pearls, sea shells, spices and folk music recordings. Bargaining is very little practiced, except in shops owned by Indians. Shops are usually open from 9:00 am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday and from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on Saturdays.