Fiji Feature

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What You Need in Fiji

A warm smile and a sense of humor. Fijians are serious contenders for the friendliest people in the world. They are curious, warm, and giving. They are also so relaxed about time that they have their own time frame, Fiji Time, which is more constant than a clock. Be prepared (mentally and practically) for unconcerned delays.

Insect repellent. Mosquitoes outnumber Fijians 50 to 1, and they know it. These buzzing armies are fierce and unrepentant, so prepare for battle by packing repellent and mosquito coils, which you can find in major cities like Nadi and Suva. Stock up before hitting the outer islands.

Reef shoes. Most people consider flip-flops or sandals to be adequate reef shoes, but travelers to Fiji need to take it to the next level as most of the islands are surrounded by coral and reefs. Even the sandy shallows have sinkholes that will suck flimsy footwear off the unsuspecting travelers. Make sure you have well-fitted, industrial strength reef shoes and walk where the locals walk.

A list of emergency contacts. This includes embassies, state departments, airlines, your hotel(s), your bank, and family: Fiji likes to coup. Best to be prepared if you find yourself caught in a political earthquake.

Snorkel, mask, and underwater camera. Fiji is a tropical paradise with uncounted underwater wonders. After a while, you'll tire of ill-fitting rental masks, or remote beaches where rentals are unavailable. Bring your own well-fitting gear and enjoy the view.

A tropical wardrobe. This should include—for both men and women—shorts, T-shirts, breathable rain gear, a warm jacket or fleece, sturdy footwear, and the local sulu or lavalava (wrap).

Swimsuits and sunscreen. You will spend a lot of time near the water, in the water, or on the water. Make certain you bring a couple of swimsuits and plenty of sunscreen.

Seasickness tablets. If you're island-hopping, or even traveling to one of the outer islands for a prolonged stay, most likely you'll be spending time on a boat. The comfort level in Fijian boats varies, and the ocean is always unpredictable, so plan ahead.

Reading material. Remember Fiji Time? You may face a few long waits, so arm yourself with pleasant distractions. The major cities in Fiji have bookstores, but the outer islands don't.

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