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Facts About Fiji

The temperature

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 and April, the temperatures register from 22° to 33°c.

Geography

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 709,660 square kilometres (200,000 square miles) of ocean.

Time Zone

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 other South Pacific Islanders. English is the official language with Fijian and Hindustani also widely spoken.

Religion

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.

Local Customs

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 as 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.

Health

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 service 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 cafes 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 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.

Bargaining

You’ll find many 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 speciality 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.

Tipping

We don’t encourage tipping, but you may, if you wish, offer extra payment for outstanding service.

Electricity

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.

Drinking Water

Local water is safe to drink on the mainland but outer islands we recommend you drink bottled water.

Vaccinations Required

Fiji is free of most tropical diseases, including malaria and there is no need for inoculations unless you are arriving from an infected area.

Dining Out

Larger towns like Nadi and Suva have a variety of restaurants, offering local Fijian fare, Chinese, Indian, French, Japanese and European cuisine. However most visitors will have choices at resorts although these may be limited the further one goes from town centres. Fijian cuisine is primarily based on seafood which is often cooked in "lolo" (coconut milk), pork, chicken and root vegetables (dalo and tapioca). Most Fijians steam or boil their food rather than deep frying. "Lovo" - is a popular theme evening in many resort hotels. The earth oven is a traditional form of Fijian cooking and features Pacific food wrapped in banana leaves, lowered in a shallow pit of heated rocks and covered with earth. "Yaqona Drinking" (Kava ceremony) - this is a regularly practised social custom. Made of the root of the pepper plant, it is mildly anaesthetic and if you are offered a cup (bilo) the correct procedure is to clap twice, take the coconut cup and drink at once. "Meke" - is a ceremonial occasion with traditional songs and dances with costumes and stories that vary in each province or island. The music provided is usually on a Lali, a drum carved from the trunk of a tree or bamboo beaten on the ground.

Quarantine

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.

Taxes

A 9% Government Value Added Tax (VAT) is applicable to all goods and services in Fiji. Visitors staying in hotels and resorts are subject to 10% Hotel Turnover Tax (HTT) and Environment Levy of 6%.

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 the following:

  1. 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.
  2. Carry the goods with you as check-in baggage or hand luggage.
  3. 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 FJD$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 F$1,000.00 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 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 (5) to (7) above, provided that the combination does not exceed the equivalent quantity under any one paragraph
  • Other dutiable goods, not exceeding F$1,000.00 in value.

Airport Information

Nadi International Airport is located 8 km from Nadi Township.

Suva Airport is known as Nausori International Airport and is located 20 km from Suva city centre.

Passports and Visas

Fiji welcomes visitors and to facilitate easy entry, everything has been done to make the process as pleasant as possible. A valid passport for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay and a ticket for return or onward travel to another country, which he/she is authorized to enter, is required. Entry visas are granted on arrival for a stay of 4 months or less. Please refer to www.fijime.com for further details.

Local Departure Tax

Included in international air ticket.