Planning a Trip to Fiji: 12 Tips

Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean comprised of approximately 300 islands. It is a bucket list destination for many, due to its postcard-perfect travel ads with photos of pristine beaches, aqua lagoons, and coral reefs brimming with sea life. Recently, we had the opportunity to visit Fiji and share 12 tips to help you plan your trip.

1) When to visit:

We visited in late September-early October and enjoyed warm and sunny days every day. You can expect rain in Fiji at any time but rainy season is usually from November to April during their “typhoon” season. Based on some research, visiting between June and mid-October is the least risky time for bad weather.


2) How long to stay:

We spent 9 days in Fiji: 6 on Viti Levu (main island) and 3 days on Tokoriki Island, a 1.5 hour ferry from the main island. Overall, we felt this was a decent amount of time to spend in Fiji to relax and explore.

If you are traveling from North America and Fiji is your sole destination, we recommend spending a minimum of 1 week.

If you are traveling from North America and plan to spend time in Fiji and Australia/New Zealand, we recommend spending a minimum of 4-5 days in Fiji as a stopover.

We know people who have spent months backpacking through Fiji and so it really is up to you and your trip’s purpose that will determine how long to spend exploring!

3) Getting Here:

For the Los Angeles to Nadi flights, each flight segment was approximately 10.5 hours flying with Fiji Airways. Overall, we were very pleased with the flight and service. Fiji Airways schedules their flights to maximize travel time: we left Los Angeles at 23:55 and arrived in Fiji at 06:00 in the morning. Our return trip was a 21:40 departure from Nadi and we landed in Los Angeles at 13:00. This made it easy to find connecting flights. Fiji Airways is launching a flight service from YVR – Vancouver to NAN – Nadi and we highly recommend considering that option as well if you are travelling from Canada.

If you are traveling to Fiji from Australia and New Zealand, there are many flight options. Fiji Airways is your best bet for a stopover in Fiji though.

We booked our flights on Fiji Airways using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan points to fly business class on the A350. It was not easy to find the availability to book this but if you want some tips and help, reach out directly to us.

4) Viti Levu VS the Islands:

Viti Levu is the main island in Fiji and NAN – Nadi Airport is where all international flights arrive. Many people transfer to an island immediately upon arrival but some do stay on Viti Levu for the entirety of their stay or a portion of it.

If you are looking for the Fiji you see in the ads, Viti Levu may not be the best option for you. The scenery is beautiful but there aren’t as many beaches on the island. The most popular resort area, Port Denarau, does not have much of a beach and many take a 30 minute ferry to Malala Beach Club/Island to experience a beach day. We ended up staying at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay and enjoyed the resort a lot but the lagoon is manmade and doesn’t feel as natural as many beaches we’ve been to. If you want to experience the nicest beach on the island, consider staying at InterContinental Fiji located on stunning Natadola Beach.  

One good thing about Viti Levu is that it does offer a wide variety of activities compared to the islands due to how large it is and how diverse the landscape is. You can check out hot springs, take a river safari on the Sigatoka River and visit villages, there are waterfalls, gardens, zip lines, and more.

When staying at an island resort, there are activities too but most time spent is relaxing at the resort and enjoying the setting. Many resorts have a gym/fitness classes, a spa, and activities like snorkeling, diving, kayaking, catamaran tours, village tours, etc.

5) Where to Stay:

We stayed at the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bayusing points and stayed at the Sheraton Tokoriki using free nights from our American Express Bonvoy credit cards and a Titanium free night certificate.

Overall, we really enjoyed the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay and would stay here again. When you compare this resort to the ones in Hawaii, it’s by far superior. The rooms are nicer, the setting is unique, the food and beverage are excellent and decently priced, and they don’t nickel and dime with resort fees and parking fees (…yet!). The resort was sold out during our stay and it did not feel crowded or overrun. This resort is very popular with families and we would recommend it to those traveling with children due to all the activities and the setting. We also recommend it to those who are looking for a child-free destination as it has enough facilities for adults to get some peace and quiet. The resort is also a short enough drive to Port Denarau (30 minutes) and Nadi (45 minutes) for restaurants and shops.

As for the Sheraton Tokoriki , we have mixed feelings. Some aspects of it were incredible and others could be improved. The rooms are okay but could be renovated and the overall property maintenance needs some attention. The food was very expensive and the quality was average and some of it was mediocre. We did enjoy swimming and snorkeling though with the nearby reef and coral, we saw so many different kinds of fish, including a family of clownfish! It is very difficult to operate resorts on these small islands with limited resources and we fully understand that. We would probably stay somewhere else next time we visit Fiji though.

If we visit again Viti Levu again, we would consider spending a few nights at InterContinental Fiji as it is on the nicest stretch of the beach. That being said, it is even further from things like restaurants, etc. than the Marriott and so you need to be prepared to spend most of your time there at the resort.

Stunning Natadola Beach from the Yatule Resort

For an island resort, we would consider the Tokoriki Island Resort after having an amazing meal and experience there during our stay at the Sheraton. We were not even hotel guests and each staff member we met remembered our names! The property is also stunning and each villa has a view of the ocean and a private pool.

6) Cash VS Credit Card:

Credit cards are widely accepted for payment everywhere in Fiji, as is cash. Credit card payments incur a 1%-3% fee, depending on the vendor. It is also easy to find an ATM to withdraw cash at a reasonable exchange rate with no additional fees. For those who bank with Scotiabank, look for Westpac ATMs. Hotels will also let you pay with cash for part of the balance and the rest with a credit card to minimize the amount paid for credit card payment fees. When traveling, we often use our HSBC World Elite MasterCard as it doesn’t incur foreign transaction fees.

7) Budget:

Overall, Fiji offers options for a variety of travelers: from very low budget, to splurge on ultimate luxury, and somewhere in between. It is much more affordable to visit Fiji than the Maldives but Fiji is more expensive than many destinations in Southeast Asia, like Bali, Thailand, and Vietnam. In our opinion, you can budget for your trip to Fiji similarly to a trip to the Caribbean.

Currently, the cost of accommodations in Fiji does seem higher than what we had seen prior to COVID but it is still much more reasonable and affordable than accommodations in Hawaii. For Canadians, the exchange rate between the Canadian Dollar and the Fijian Dollar is much more favorable than other currencies right now: $1CAD is worth $1.70FJD. If you can find a decent flight deal, a week in Fiji for a couple or a family of 4 will be similar or cheaper to a week in Hawaii, depending on where you stay and which tours/activities you participate in. For non-Americans like us who have Canadian dollars, the exchange rate in Fiji is more favorable than traveling in the US and paying in USD.

The cost of food and beverage can vary in Fiji but generally, you can get a meal for 2 with some drinks $50 or less on Viti Levu. It is more expensive at the island resorts due to everything needing to be shipped by boat but we found it more affordable than in the Maldives where every meal was at least $100. Staying somewhere on Viti Levu is definitely more affordable than going to an island for your vacation. If going to an island and taking the ferry, you can stock up on snacks, water, and other beverages at the ferry terminal in Port Denarau as a bottle of water at an island resort can cost $20.

For us, our trip to Fiji was very affordable: the only out-of-pocket expenses we incurred were for a car rental and gas, ferry tickets to the Sheraton, food, and beverage, and any other goods we chose to purchase. If you can, using points for the flights and hotel can make your trip very affordable.

8) Attend a Kava Ceremony:

If you get the chance, we highly recommend attending a kava ceremony as it is a part of Fijian culture. Most hotels and resorts offer this experience but some tours that take you to villages do as well. Kava can be intimidating, as it does not taste particularly good; it looks like muddy water and has a very bitter and earthy taste (similar to yerba mate). What makes the kava ceremony so fun and unique is experiencing it with Fijian people who tell you about it and encourage you to participate as though you are one of them. There is lots of clapping and saying “Bula”, as well as storytelling and no one leaves until the bowl is empty! The kava is supposed to make you relaxed and mellow but we are unsure if it was the kava, being on Fiji time, or the jetlag that led us to have an amazing sleep that evening!

Max at the Kava ceremony at the Marriott

9) Try Fijian Food:

Compared to other places we have visited, Fijian food is not as accessible to tourists: it’s not commonly found at resort restaurants and it’s hard to find off the resort (if you are looking for reviews to help you choose the best places). There are currently no food tours or cooking classes in Nadi either but it appears that there are more options in Suva, the largest city on the island. Some of the restaurants have very eclectic menus to appeal to a wide variety of people: think hamburgers, fettucine alfredo, and curry.  You will also find fried calamari on almost every menu.

As for the resorts, most offer a Fijian “lovo” buffet event that reminds us of a Hawaiian luau. A “lovo” is a feast cooked underground with hot coals where meat, fish, and vegetables are wrapped in banana and taro leaves.

Lovo feast night at the Marriott

We had lots of “kokoda”, which is a raw fish salad similar to poke or ceviche. Kokoda though, has red chilies, veggies, lime, and coconut milk and the fish is “walu”. Each place had its own recipe for kokoda, making it something you can eat frequently and not be bored.

We also ended up having lots of cassava fries, and sweets made with cassava. We also tried “nama”, which are sea grapes.

Voi Voi at Marriott Fiji: ceviche, cassava fries and fish with “nama”

If you are vising Viti Levu, we recommend the following restaurants:

  • The Crab Shack in Korotoga for local mud crab and other seafood dishes. Make a reservation for dinner.
  • Nadina in Port Denarau for Fijian food.
  • Vasaqa in Nadi for tacos and loaded fries. Make sure to visit Reef Brewing just down the street to pick up a growler of craft beer.
  • Fijian Hut in Nadi for Fijian food.
  • The Boatshed Restaurant and Sunset Bar in Vuda for casual food, like Kokoda, pizza, curry, and cocktails in a casual outdoor setting.
  • Byblos on Denarau Island for Lebanese/Middle Eastern food.
  • Wicked Walu in Warwick for an upscale oceanfront dinner.

Overall, we did enjoy food in Fiji but it wasn’t the most exciting destination for food but we didn’t expect it to be either. We did enjoy the food in Fiji more than the Maldives though!

10) What to Pack/Plan For:

You should pack for Fiji like you would for other beach destinations but also take note of a few items.

  • Snorkeling gear: Every hotel we stayed at, charges for snorkel gear rentals, and some were very expensive. If you can, bring your own.
  • Sunscreen: If we are going somewhere warm and tropical for 1+ weeks, we often buy sunscreen on arrival as we do not travel with checked bags but we recommend bringing your own Fiji if you plan to stay primarily at the resort.
  • Modest attire: If you plan on visiting a village or attending a church service, please pack and wear something modest that goes below the knee and covers your chest and shoulders out of respect.
  • Chargers: We packed a travel adapter but did not use it as UBS charging was always available.
  • Sun Protection: In addition to sunscreen, pack a few hats and even things like rash guards as the sun is very strong in Fiji.
  • Feminine Hygiene Products: You can buy pads in Fiji but tampons are not common. The selection of pads was also somewhat limited.
  • Pepto Bismal/Gravol: Pack Pepto Bismal and Gravol as it is not commonly found in Fiji.
  • Cell Phone Coverage: We used our unlocked phone and purchased an e-sim from Airalo which worked well. We had coverage almost all the time on Viti Levu.
  • Water Bottle: You cannot drink tap water in Fiji but many resorts have filtered water dispensers. This also helps to minimize landfill waste from plastic bottles on small island nations like Fiji.

11) COVID Protocols:

A couple of weeks before our trip, Fiji reduced some COVID entry protocols, notably the mandatory antigen test within 3 days of arrival at your resort. When we traveled, all we had to show was proof of vaccination (2 doses of a vaccine approved by Fiji). No booster is required. We also needed to show proof of medical insurance in case we got sick with COVID and needed medical care. We printed a copy of our employer-sponsored medical insurance that lists coverage due to COVID. More information is available on the official Fiji government website.

12) Enjoy Fiji Time:

“Fiji time” is a thing and it should be enjoyed. Fiji is a great place to disconnect, slow down, and just enjoy being alive. Some things are slower than expected, even when staying at luxury resorts. Some things are unpredictable, they should be open but are not. Some things are unavailable, due to shipping delays.

We deleted social media apps and did not read the news during our vacation, opting to just enjoy how far and in a different place in time Fiji felt. We drove around listening to the local radio stations that had limited range and focused solely on local things.

We spent so much time outside, just swimming, walking, and appreciating the landscape, like the stunning sunsets. We also enjoyed saying “Bula!” to many people every day (“Bula” is how you say “hello”). Yes, even off the resort, people say “Bula” to you with a smiling face when you encounter them walking or even driving down the road. We think that the world might be a better place if people were as friendly and welcoming as Fijians! Vinaka Fiji, until next time!

Enjoying the sunset at the Marriott Fiji from our room


As you can see, Fiji offers many options for those looking for a beach vacation. It is a great place for couples, families, and solo travelers. We hope you enjoyed this post and our tips. If we have forgotten anything or you want to add anything, please leave a comment below or contact us. We hope this post encourages you to visit Fiji and embrace all it has to offer.

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