We have two seasons: warm and even warmer. It’s a sunny, tropical climate that’ll wash the winter chills from your bones. That doesn’t mean it never rains here, but you can expect May to November, our cooler months, to range from 19° to 29°C. And from December to April, the temperatures move up the register to range from 22° to 33°C.
Fiji is a very hospitable land of blue-green lagoons, lush rainforests, pine forests, mountains and 1,666 kilometres (1000 miles) of white sand beaches spread over 300 islands scattered across 18,270 square kilometres (11,350 square miles) of ocean.
Straddling the 180th meridian, Fiji has frequently been called ‘the crossroads of the Pacific’. In fact, the International Date Line has been adjusted so that the entire archipelago falls into the same time zone, 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
From November to February Fiji moves one hour ahead with its own daylight savings.
Population and language
Fiji’s population is approximately 837,000 made up of indigenous Fijians, Indians, Chinese, Europeans and South Pacific Islanders. English is the official language with Fijian and Hindustani also spoken.
Fiji is a multi-cultural nation with many religious beliefs. The people are primarily of the Wesleyan persuasion. Various protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam are also represented.
It is important to dress modestly when away from hotels and resorts and particularly when visiting a Fijian village. Avoid wearing a hat in a village, it is considered an insult to the village chief. It is also insulting to touch someone’s head. It’s best to not wear shoes if visiting someone’s house. When visiting a village it is customary to present an inexpensive gift of yaqona or kava to the ‘Turaga Ni Koro’, the traditional head of the village. Be prepared to shake hands and answer personal questions as to where you are from, whether married; and, if so, how many children.
Fiji is free from malaria, yellow fever and major tropical diseases. Inoculations are only required if travelling from an infected area. There is an effective medical system in place with government and privately run hospitals, clinics, surgical centres, dental services and pharmacies.
Phone calls and Internet
Fiji’s country code is +679. Many hotels and resorts have direct dialling facilities (IDD), and card phones are available in many shops and stores. Look for the Telecom call card signage on display. Fiji is well serviced by local mobile networks including Vodafone Fiji Limited, Digicel and Inkk Mobile. You can also arrange roaming status before travelling here as well as on arrival. Access to the internet and email is available in most parts of Fiji. In addition to sites at all major hotels, internet cafés are abundant in major cities and towns.
Currency and banking
The Fijian dollar is the basic unit of currency, available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100. Coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2. Normal banking hours are 9:30am to 4:00pm, Monday – Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturdays in selected areas. There is a 24-hour currency exchange service at the arrivals concourse at Nadi Airport. ATMs are located around the country and at larger resorts and hotels.
You’ll find many sophisticated retail outlets here, suitable for traditional tourist shopping. And if you venture a little further, you’ll discover fruit and vegetable markets, overflowing with produce, curio and handicraft vendors, Indian merchandise and specialty gift stores. It’s here that you might find yourself in a bargaining session over price. It’s all part of the experience, so go ahead and enter into the spirit of it.
We don’t encourage tipping, but you may, if you wish, offer extra payment for an outstanding service.
The electric current is 240 volts AC 50Hz. Fiji has three-pin power outlets, which are identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances.
To avoid the introduction of foreign plant and animal pests and diseases, we prohibit the importation of vegetable matter, seeds, or any animal product without a permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests.
A 15% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable to all goods and services in Fiji. Visitors staying in hotels and resorts are subject to 5% Hotel Turnover Tax (HTT).
VAT refund scheme
The Fiji VAT refund scheme allows tourists to claim a refund (subject to certain conditions) of VAT paid on goods purchased in Fiji and taken out of Fiji via Nadi International Airport or Suva Wharf as the final port of departure to a foreign destination.
What are the conditions of the scheme?
To be eligible for a VAT refund under the Scheme, you must satisfy all of the following:
Spend a minimum of FJ$500 (VAT Inclusive) in any of the approved licensed retailer outlets during your stay in Fiji and take the goods out of Fiji within two months from the date of purchase.Carry the goods with you as check-in baggage or hand luggage. Purchase the goods from an approved licensed retailer. You must ask the retailer for a refund form and a tax invoice(s) for goods purchased. So if you are spending over FJ$500 at Jacks, Tapoo etc make sure you ask them for the refund form. The licensed retailer must complete the form and attach receipts.
Customs duty and duty free concessions
A bona fide passenger disembarking in Fiji is entitled to the following duty and VAT free concessions:
Dutiable goods accompanying passengers (other than alcohol and tobacco products) not exceeding FJ$1,000 in value. Goods that are owned by passengers and not intended as gifts or for sale – personal effects, household effects for returning residents or intending residents, articles taken out of Fiji on departure on which duty and tax have been paid.
Every passenger 17 years and over can bring into Fiji the following goods duty and VAT free, provided they are accompanied and not for sale:
- Cigarettes, not exceeding 250 sticks or
- Cigars, not exceeding 250 grams net weight or
- Tobacco not exceeding 250 grams net weight or
- Any combination of (1) to (3) above, provided the total net weight does not exceed 250 grams
- Spirituous liquors not exceeding 2.25 litres or
- Wines, not exceeding 4.5 litres or
- Beer, not exceeding 4.5 litres or
- Any combination of the goods in paragraph (5) to (7) above, provided that the combination does not exceed the equivalent quantity under any one paragraph
- Other dutiable goods, not exceeding F$1,000 in value.