While the general Fijian community is friendly, welcoming with Bula smiles and very fresh with the green ecosystem there are numerous points that you should be mindful of as you plan your trip to stay with us. The points below are not to deter you from your visit to our friendly isles but a guide to help you prepare yourself better.
Fiji is a large archipelago with diverse landscapes and climate. More than 300 islands are scattered over 1.3 million square kilometers of ocean. The islands are characterized by diverse ecosystems including significant areas of natural forest, freshwater, and coastal and marine life. The terrestrial flora and fauna of Fiji demonstrate a high degree of endemism—over half (56%) of Fiji’s 1,594 known plant species are entirely endemic. Abundant rainfall, an intact forest cover, and the presence of perennial rivers and streams ensure that the larger islands in the archipelago have adequate supplies of water to meet the needs of the population.
As you plan your trip to Fiji, you should be mindful of the following. as a guide to help you prepare yourself better.
All travellers into Fiji are required to declare on arrival if they are carrying FJ$10,000 or more in currency. If yes, you are required to complete the Border Currency Reporting form. Travelers who fill out the quarantine section of the arrival card incorrectly risk an instant fine.
All students coming to study at the University of the South Pacific are advised to have a comprehensive insurance cover. Please also follow your country’s Travel Advice to Fiji.
- Public healthcare in Fiji
- The standard of public healthcare in Fiji varies considerably. In urban areas, Fiji’s public hospitals may approach adequate but in rural areas public health facilities are very basic. You can seek treatment at government-run hospitals
- You can opt for private healthcare in Fiji wherever possible
- There are very few private facilities in Fiji, most of which are situated in Suva or Nadi. These hospitals generally have 24-hour medical centres with general practitioners, specialist practitioners and fairly comfortable in-patient accommodation
- Pharmacies in Fiji
- Pharmaceutical and chemist supplies are generally adequate however, it is rare to find a pharmacy that is open 24/7. Most pharmacies close for business by 9pm or 10pm.
- Pre-travel vaccinations for Fiji
- There are no special immunisations required for travel to Fiji. However, those moving to Fiji should ensure that routine vaccinations are up to date
In the event of a medical emergency, you can call an ambulance in Fiji on 911.
SAFETY & SECURITY
While Fiji is generally a safe and friendly country, petty theft is fairly common. You must always be mindful of your belongings and don’t trust your personal items with strangers. Keep your money and documents in a safe place and always be mindful of your surroundings when moving in crowded areas.
Before you travel, make copies of your passport and travel documents. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.
Take particular care when walking at night in cities and towns and when visiting isolated areas.
The cyclone season in Fiji is from November to April however due to effects of climate change, the number and intensity of cyclones has changed. During this period there is a greater risk of strong winds, heavy rains, flooding, landslides and road closures. It is advisable to monitor weather updates from the Fiji Meteorological Service and to follow the NaDraki weather updates on Facebook. It is also advisable to know the nearest evacuation points and stock up on the essential items such as food, candles, matches, torch and drinking water.
SWIMMING/WATER BASED ACTIVITIES
Some areas are unsafe to swim in therefore it is advisable to consult with the locals and read up about the place before heading out. You must always read and adhere to the warning signs and swim only in approved areas. Do not go out to reefs or engage in water activities alone. Always inform someone of your whereabouts and ensure that the company and equipment you are using are of proper standards and are safe. Ask for a valid license from the company, if necessary.
There are numerous water-based activities that you can explore and enjoy In Fiji such as , whitewater rafting, River safaris, jet-skiing, shark feeding and deep sea diving
There are two main highways on the main island (Viti Levu) of Fiji. These are the Queens highway and the Kings highway. When arriving at the international airport you can take a domestic flight or travel by road to Suva where the main campus is situated or you can take a local bus or taxi from the Nadi Airport to Suva. It takes approximately 4.5 – 5 hours by the local bus and 3.5 – 4 hours by taxi/car from the Nadi International Airport to Suva. If you are arriving at Nausori airport, the road trip to the University main campus is approximately 1 hour. Before boarding a taxi ensure they are a registered taxi with a yellow number plate and the registration beginning with LT. Nadi Airport taxis are yellow in colour and have a higher flag charge when compared to other taxis. Minibus or Minivan is another mode of transportation in Fiji however we do not recommend this. Not all minibuses/minivans have a license to operate as a Public Service Vehicle under the Land Transport Authority (LTA) act.
If you are planning to explore Fiji on your own (or with friends) please take extra precaution. Hitchhiking is also not recommended. It is very common to find stray animals along the highways. While some areas have street lights other areas are poorly lit or have no street lights at all.
Be mindful of the road signs and of your surrounding as some areas have damaged or no road signs. Adverse weather conditions can lead to roads becoming damaged, blocked or washed away. Seek local advice before you set out and keep up to date with the weather forecast and bulletins.
INTERNET/MOBILE PHONE PROVIDERS
There are three mobile networks in Fiji, two on the GSM platform – Vodafone Fiji and Digicel Fiji, and one CDMA network operated by Telecom Fiji Limited. There is another cell phone service provider Inkk which runs as a virtual mobile operator on Vodafone’s network. Mobile phone coverage can be found throughout the country with weak or no network in some parts of the country.
You may also opt to get a local student sim with either of the major mobile phone carriers. Sim cards can be purchased upon arrival at the airport or this can be arranged when you attend your orientation at the University. A valid ID card will be required when purchasing your sim card.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Illegal drugs of any kind in any quantity are forbidden from being brought into the country and a hefty fine (with imprisonment) can apply. Possession of any amount of marijuana carries a mandatory 3-month prison sentence.
If you are invited to take part in a kava drinking ceremony, you should be aware of the associated risk of liver toxicity. Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden and you must cover your shoulders and knees during ceremonial kava ceremonies and when in rural villages.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in February 2010, but travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly when visiting rural and traditional communities.
It is important that you read about the entry requirements before entering Fiji. For student visa related matters you will need to contact the International Office mobility officer.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Fiji. You will need to obtain the appropriate visa before entering Fiji.