Fiji, sometimes referred to as ‘the Crossroads of the Pacific’ is located in the South Pacific Ocean and is an archipelago made up of more than 300 islands, of which approximately 100 are inhabited with remainder being natural reserves.
So much to do in Fiji. Whether you choose to laze on the beach and work on your suntan while reading your favourite book, or get wild and adventurous with the many choices of activities in the ‘land of paradise’, there is something for everyone in Fiji.
There is a range of accommodation choices from basic to deluxe and very competitively priced giving you extra dollars to see the sights and experience more. General styles of accommodation include dormitories, Bure (traditional style huts with a modern twist), lodges, hotel rooms and villa’s.
What about the attractions and activities you ask? We could take up the entire page with an A-Z of activities and things to do in Fiji, here are some of the fun in the sun experiences you can expect: village tours, day trips, island hopping, cruises, zip lining, kayaking, fishing, white water rafting, sky diving, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kite surfing, para sailing, jet ski rides, shark diving, snorkelling, horse riding, archery, bird watching, hiking, go kart racing, souvenir shopping and more…
Fiji is a destination that offers it all and then some. The country is stunning and diverse with an interesting blend of cultures. Unlike many countries, Fiji is still quite traditional in its heritage. Customs such as meke (Fijian dance and legend), kava ceremonies and bure building are often seen and experienced by visitors. Learning about the Fijian people their culture and tradition prior to your arrival will be helpful when experiencing the Fijian lifestyle.
Fiji’s History Prior to the arrival of Europeans, Fiji was called Viti by its native people. These natives were a blend of Micronesian, Polynesian and Melanesian cultures and lived a relatively harmonious life dating back approximately 2500 years. In 1643, Abel Tasman set sail to Indonesia and stumbled upon the islands that are now know as Fiji. Nobody returned to see these islands until Captain James Cook, 130 years later. At this time people avoided the Fiji islands due to the reputation of the people as being ‘crazed cannibals’. During the late 19th Century the High Chief of Fiji ceeded the Islands to Queen Victoria and Britain controlled their colonial subjects until Independence in 1970. Fiji is now a Republic with a democratic parliamentary system similar to other Western Countries. Also in the 19th Century many Christian missionaries came to live and preach. At present nearly all Fijian are Christians and many practice their faith enthusiastically.
Multicultural Life With around 800 000 people living in Fiji it is the most populated in the South Pacific. Fiji is a multi-cultural society with more than 50% being indigenous Fijians and about 44% Indians (primarily Hindu and Muslim belief). Others that populate the island include Banabans, Polynesian Rotumans, and Tuvaluans and some European and Chinese settlers.
The Fijians The Indigenous Fijians adhere to a traditional system that involves a hierarchical ladder with the chief at the top. Most Fijians still bind to village life where clans of people live on the same land that is controlled by the chief. The chiefs power and his family claims are hereditary. The common people do not have any substantial say in the goings on of the village and traditionally Fijian women are not treated as equals when making decisions in the family. This is the traditional way of life for Fijians although some of the village people leave the village to work in towns or other countries. Those away from home are still expected to contribute to their village and provide financial support. Many of the younger generation Fijians find this tradition difficult to live by due to western influence.
Fiji-Indians Indians that reside in Fiji are the descendants of labourers brought over to work the sugar cane plantations in the late 1800’s. Many of the Indians assumed residency in Fiji even though the contracts that they were under lasted only five years. The Indians dominate the business and sugarcane industry of Fiji today and make up 44% of Fiji’s population.
Rotumans The Polynesian island of Rotuma is a state of Fiji however is quite different in its culture and tradition from the native Fijians. Families structures differ in that the Rotumans have individual houses with distinct boarders, The people in the villages are not particularly controlled by the chiefs and the village clan. Women in Rotuma are also treated with greater respect here and have primary responsibilities in family decision making. Rotumans are known for their good nature and fun humor.
Fijian Lifestyle The country of Fiji is situated in the South Pacific Seas, 22o south of the equator and near the 180o meridian. The country consists of 333 islands, some so small that you can walk around their white sandy beaches in only a few minutes! The country is organized into seven remarkable island groups which surround Viti Levu, the largest and busiest of the group [link to map of Fiji]. Rotuma and the Lau group are the only areas that present any challenge to access as all the other island groups are situated in close proximity to the main island and transport via boat or plane is convenient to arrange. Many of the islands are volcanic in nature and have endless trekking and beach seeking possibilities.
Conduct & Taboos In Fiji, there are many codes and rituals that are sill practised on a day to day basis. In visiting Fiji, it is helpful to be aware of some of these traditions in order to be respectful to the locals particularly when visiting a village or being introduced to a chief.