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Welcome to Fiji

Fiji

BULA!

This archipelago is blessed with 333 magnificent islands of which only 110 are permanently inhabited. In addition to the islands, Fiji also has more than 500 Islets, giving it a total land area of over 1830 square kilometers. The islands of Fiji are divided into several different regions. The two main large islands are Viti Levu and Vanau Levu, with 87% of the population calling these two islands home. The capital city of Suva is found on the largest island, Viti Levu. Three quarters of Fiji’s population live on this island’s coastal cities of Suva, Nadi and Lautoka.

It is believed that ancestors of the Polynesians were the first people to settle in the Fijian islands, soon followed by the Melanesians. European settlement on the islands began in the late 1800’s, bringing over Indian labourers to work in the sugar plantations, whalers and missionaries. The British subjugated the islands as a colony in 1874 and then granted Fiji independence in 1970. At this time the population was made up of native Fijians, Indians, Chinese, Pacific Islanders and Europeans Most of them have stayed and made Fiji their permanent home.

Most of Fiji’s islands were formed by volcanic activity more than 150 million years ago and some geothermic activity still occurs on Vanua Levu and Tavenui. The interior of many of the islands is too harsh for human habitation so most of the cities and towns rest along the coastline. This leaves an opportunity for lush, tall rainforests to flourish and provide habitat for many native birds, insects and reptile species, such as the crested iguana, banded iguana and the kula lorikeets. The rare green kadavu parrot can only be found on its namesake island, Kadavu. Other rare bird species include the long-legged warbler, the silktail, the Fiji petrel and the endangered peregrine falcon. The fruit bat (beka) and small insect-eating bat are the only native mammals found in Fiji. The coastlines and beaches are home to coconut palms, creeping vines, soft shrubs, screw pines and frangipanis and a few species of land crabs. The reefs and surrounding waters are home to fur seal, dolphins, mantas, turtles and hundreds of species of tropical fish. Humpback whales are also seen during their yearly migration.

Aside from the lush forests and secluded coastal plants, Fiji is known to produce an amazing selection of fresh fruits and vegetables including: papaya, passion fruit, bananas, mangos, pineapples, coconuts, plantains, pumpkin, sweet potato, taro, okra, sugar cane, cassava, noni and the kava plant, which is used to make the ceremonial drink, kava.

Visitors to Fiji can enjoy glimmering white sandy beaches, unspoiled tropical rainforests, pristine oceans and waterways and most importantly, the warm, hospitable and friendly locals of Fiji! You’ll find that time slows down as you immerse yourself into this rich and relaxing culture.

 

 


Information & Facts

Climate:

Some say there are only two seasons in Fiji, warm and even warmer. It is a sunny and tropical climate with the cooler months being from May through November, when temperatures range from 19ºC to 29ºC. The warmer months are from December through April, with temperatures ranging from 22ºC to 33ºC.

 

 

Customs:

Fiji's customs laws prevent you from bringing drugs, steroids, weapons, firearms and protected wildlife into Fiji. Some common items such as fresh or packaged food, fruit, eggs, meat, plants, seeds, skins and feathers are also prohibited. There is no limit on currency but you will need to declare amounts over FJD$10, 000.

If you are carrying prescription medicines or controlled drugs, you should have a prescription from your physician advising that the medicine is being used under a doctor’s direction and is necessary for your physical well-being.

Tourist VAT Refund Scheme (TVRS)

When goods are purchased in Fiji, a tourist is required to pay VAT on the purchase. The VAT may be refunded at the time of departure if the retailer is registered under TVRS. The TVRS will allow a tourist to claim a refund (subject to certain conditions) of VAT paid on goods purchased in Fiji and taken out of Fiji via the Nadi International Airport or the Suva Wharf ONLY.

What are the conditions of the Scheme?
To be eligible for a VAT refund under the Scheme, you must satisfy all of the following conditions:

Spend a minimum of F$500 (VAT Inclusive) in any of the approved licensed retailer outlets during your stay in Fiji and take the goods out of Fiji within 2 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 FJD500 at Jacks, Tapoo etc make sure you ask them for the refund form. The
licenced retailer must complete the form and attach receipts.

 

 

Duty Free:

Customs Duty and Duty Free Concessions

A 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 F$1, 000.00 in value.

Goods that are owned by passengers and not intended as gifts or for sale, e.g. 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 250grams net weight or

Tobacco not exceeding 250grams net weight or

Any combination of (1) to (3) above, provided the total net weight does not exceed 250grams

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 above, provided that the combination does not exceed the equivalent quantity under any one paragraph

Other dutiable goods, not exceeding F$1, 000.00 in value.

 

 

Electricity:

Mains voltage in Fiji is 240V 50Hz. Travellers from most nations in Asia, Africa and Europe should have appliances that work on the same mains voltage as Fiji so will not need a voltage converter. Notable exceptions to this are Japan, USA and Canada which uses 100/120V 50/60Hz. 

If your country does not use appliances within the 230V 50Hz mains voltage range, you will need to purchase a voltage converter. This will transform the voltage from the power outlet into one your appliance can use. Most cameras, laptops and tablets have built-in converters so please check the specifications of the device first.

You will also need a power adapter. The plugs in Fiji have 2 flat metal pins shaped like an upside down "V" and some may contain a third flat pin in the centre, the same as in Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 11v shavers, hair dryers and other electrical appliances.

 

 

Getting Around:

Getting around Fiji is easy and cheap.

Air

Fiji offers two domestic airlines that provide service between many of the islands, although services are less regular to the outer islands. Charter planes can also be hired.

Drive

Hiring a car is a great way to explore the two largest islands of Fiji.

Driving is on the left-hand side of the road in Fiji. The maximum speed limit is 50km/h in towns and built-up areas and 80km/h on the open roads. For your safety, drink-driving laws apply and it is mandatory for all drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts at all times. An international visitor may drive in Fiji on a valid overseas driver’s licence for the same class of vehicle. Canadian and US citizens do not require an international licence, unless their home licence is in a language other than English. You should carry both your home licence and international licence when driving.

Public Transit                                                                                             

There is a good network of buses, taxis and ferries for travel within Fiji’s main islands.

 

 

Health:

Travel Insurance

A travel insurance policy that covers you for theft, loss, accidents and medical problems before you leave home is highly recommended. If you plan on doing any adventure activities like scuba diving, water skiing, bushwalking or travelling in remote areas, check that your policy fully covers these activities. Remember to bring your insurance policy details and emergency contact numbers and with you.

Fiji is free from malaria, yellow fever and major tropical diseases. Inoculations are only required if travelling from an infected area. However, it is recommended that you check with your family doctor or a travel clinic a few weeks before you travel.

There is an effective medical system in place with government and privately run hospitals, clinics, surgical centres, dental service and pharmacies.

 

 

Language:

English is the official language. Fijian and Hindustani are also spoken.

 

 

Money:

In Fiji, the basic unit of currency is the Fijian dollar (FJD). It is available in denominations of $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes. Coins are 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, $1 and $2.


Normal banking hours are 9:30am to 4:00pm, Monday to Friday and 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturdays at 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.

There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Fiji. However, if you plan to arrive or leave Fiji with more than FJD$10, 000 in cash (Fijian dollars or foreign equivalent), you must declare it to Customs at the airport when you land. You will be required to fill in a Border Currency Reporting form with a customs agent.

Tipping

Tipping in Fiji is neither customary or expected, with the exception of tour leaders.

 

 

Passport Visa:

A 4 month visa is granted automatically on arrival into Fiji, for visitors from most countries. You do not need anything other than a passport that is valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay. Some travellers will have to apply for a visa through their nearest Fiji High Commission before departure. Please check with a Destination Specialist to see if you require a visa to enter Fiji.

 

 

Safety:

The islands of Fiji are generally a safe destination for travel. Fiji has a relatively low crime rate, few endemic diseases and a great health care system.

With common-sense, you can safely enjoy Fiji. However, as with all travel at home or away, you should observe the same precautions with your personal safety and possessions. Take copies of your important documents (passports and credit cards) and keep them separate from the originals. You should also keep a record of the description and serial numbers of valuable items (cameras and laptops).

 

 

Time:

Fiji Time, or FJT, is equal to UTC +12.

From November through February, Fiji moves ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time.