Fiji

Tropical Paradise

Capital: Suva

Languages: English, Fijian, Hindi

The Biggest Cities


1. Suva = 77,366

2. Lautoka = 52,500

3. Nad i= 42,284

4. Labasa = 27,949

5. Ba = 14,596

6. Levuka = 8,360

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Why We Love Fiji

Is an island country in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles (2,000 km; 1,300 mi) northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tongato the east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north.

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Things To Do

Decompress on Viti Levu


Fiji’s largest isle, Vitu Levu, is home to the official capital, Suva (on the east coast), as well as the tourism capital, Nadi, arrival point for international flights via Air Pacific. But don’t hop on that interisland flight right away. Take a taxi ride from Nadi International Airport to the forested foothills of the Sabeto Range where late actor Raymond Burr (of Perry Mason fame) created the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a botanic sanctuary of vanilla-scented orchids and Zen-like lily ponds.

Sample the Culture in Nadi

At Nadi’s open-air souvenir market, pick up traditional Fijian crafts such as wooden kava bowls, hand-painted saris and scepter-like cannibal forks, the latter a nod to the region’s colorful past.

Fly Over the Mamanucas

To get a different vantage of Fiji’s topography, take a helicopter tour from Nadi International Airport to the Mamanuca Islands, a string of islets that stretch for miles northwest of Vitu Levu. One of the highlights: Monuriki, the island Tom Hanks made famous in Castaway.

See Fire-Walking on Beqa

Located just off Vitu Levu’s southern coast is Beqa Island and the surrounding Beqa Lagoon, home to more than 100 dives sites, some just a five- to 20-minute boat ride from shore. See why Fiji is considered the soft coral capital of the world as you spy on blue ribbon eels, ghost pipefish, seahorses, pelagics and more — most at depths above 50 feet. But it’s not just about underwater sightseeing. Beqa Island is home to the Sawau tribe, who originated the traditional art of fire-walking.

Fijian Culture

The Fijians are pretty easy-going, but if you are invited into a village, wear modest clothing and take off your hat (wearing one is an insult to the chief) when in the village. Leave your shoes outside the door when entering a home and keep in mind that it's also insulting to touch someone's head - which can be tempting when you are surrounded by wide-eyed, smiling children.

The indigenous culture is an active and living part of everyday life for the majority of the population. However, it has evolved with the introduction of vibrant and old cultures including Indian, Chinese and European culture, and various cultures from the Pacific neighbors of Fiji; in particular the Tongan and Rotuman cultures. The culture of Fiji, including language, has created a unique communal and national identity.

Fijian Food

Fijian food has traditionally been very healthy. Fijians prefer a more tuber and coconut based diet. High caloric foods are good for hard-working villagers who need extra calories while working on their farms but this causes a range of chronic illness such as obesity. Fiji is a multicultural country and is home to people of various races. In most Fijians' homes, food of other cultures is prepared on a regular basis such as Indian curries and Chinese dishes. Fiji is also famous for its seafood.

LANDFORMS

Islands

More than 330 islands make up Fiji, and many species of animals and plants on the islands are endemic to Fiji, found nowhere else in the world. The largest island is Viti Levu and is 4,042 square miles. The island is home to the country’s capital, the coastal city of Suva. Approximately 70 percent of Fiji’s residents live on Viti Levu. The island's interior has dramatic landscapes of tropical forests, waterfalls and mountainous terrain.

Mountains

Fiji has several mountains, many in dramatic cone shapes, covered in lush vegetation of tropical plants adding to the country’s paradisiacal aura. Mountain climbing is a popular activity for tourists. Mount Tomanivi is Fiji’s highest mountain. The extinct volcano is 4,341 feet high and located on Viti Levu; its top often is covered by clouds. Other mountains on Fiji include Mount Uluigalau (4,071 feet) on Taveuni, Mount Manuka (3,917 feet) on Vanua Levu, Mount Buke Levu (3,800 feet) on Kadavu, Mount Delaitho (2,421 feet) on Gau, Mount Delaiovalau (2,053 feet) on Ovalau and Mount Manuka (3,917 feet) on Vanua Levu.

Volcanoes

Fiji’s remaining volcanoes are scattered around the country and still have thermal activity. Some of the volcanoes have not erupted in several hundred years. Koro is a cinder cone volcano that rises 1,713 feet high between Vanua Levu and Viti Levu islands. Nabukelevu is a complex of lava domes on Kadavu island. The highest point of Nabukelevu is 2,641 feet, and its last eruption occurred around 1660. Taveuni, a massive shield volcano with more than 100 cones, makes up Fiji’s third largest island. The summit of Taveuni is 4,071 feet high. Virgin rain forests and endemic flora flourish in the island’s rich volcanic soil. Taveuni’s last known eruption occurred approximately 500 years ago.

Coral Reef

Fiji’s landforms off the coast include more than 6,000 square miles of stunning coral reefs considered to be among the most beautiful in the world, according to the Coral Reef Alliance. The beauty of the reefs attracts tourists from all over the globe. Scientists and conservationists also flock to Fiji to study the biodiversity of the coral reef system and how to protect it from damage. Fiji’s reef system contains more than 298 species of hard coral, 1,198 species of reef fish and 467 species of mollusks.

Fijian Population

Fiji is perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all South Pacific nations. Its population, just over 785,000, is an amalgam of Indians (46.2%),Fijians(49.9%), ‘part-Europeans’ or half-castes (1.7%), Europeans (0.7%), Rotumans (1.2%), Chinese (0.7%) and other Pacific Islanders (1%). (Note that the term ‘Europeans’ refers to White residents of Fiji, unless specified.) The late Fijian statesman Ratu Sukuna spoke of Fiji as a ‘three-legged stool’ requiring the support of Fijians, Indians, Europeans and other races to keep it upright.


The total membership of other ethnic groups of Pacific Islanders is about 7300. Tongans, who as traders and warriors have lived in Fiji for hundreds of years, form the largest part of this community. In the old days there was active commerce between Tonga and Fiji, and later in the history of this relationship the Fijians in the Lau Islands became vassals to the King of Tonga. One particular reason Tongans and Samoans came to Fiji was to build drua (large double-hulled canoes) which they couldn’t build on their own islands because of the lack of proper timber.

The second most important members of this group numerically are the Banabans, who are Micronesians. Originally from minuscule Ocean Island, which lies just south of the equator

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Fiji International Jazz and Blues Festival

Port Denarau is host to the Fiji International Jazz and Blues Festival. It spans three days in May and welcomes many local and international jazz and blues musicians to perform. Australian, American, European, and New Zealand musicians make up most of the performers. The festival is a great time visit Port Denarau as the sights and sounds of the event are unmatched during the rest of the year.


Bula Festival

Held across several days in mid-July, the Bula Fiji Festival is a fantastic celebration of the island nation’s heritage. Singing and dancing take center stage in the city of Nadi, and a parade is usually the spotlight of the event. At the end of the celebrations, a young woman is crowned Miss Bula for the year.


Diwali Festival

Due to Fiji’s large Indian population, the Diwali Festival is one of the main events held on the islands. Celebrated in the month of October, Diwali (which is also known as the Festival of Lights) is characterized by fantastic light shows, traditional firecracker displays, and plenty of night-time fun. It isn’t just the Indian population that gets into the swing of things, as all cultures love any excuse to party.


Hibiscus Festival

The event is held in several areas around Fiji in the month of August and has recently spread to other Pacific Islands nations. The Miss Hibiscus title is a coveted part of the event, drawing thousands of entrants from across the Fiji islands. In addition, local arts, crafts, sports, music, food, dance, and songs are exhibited throughout the festival.