On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Prices in Fiji are often unlisted, and travelers should take reasonable precautions to avoid being overcharged. Always negotiate taxi fare before getting in the cab, and ask someone at your hotel or resort about how much a specific trip should cost. In Nadi and Suva, a number of small souvenir shops will sell items available at the larger chains at a significant markup, so be leery of any store that doesn't put prices on its merchandise. A favorite tactic of aggressive vendors is to ask your name and carve it into an item for you, but don't feel obligated to buy from them. Most hotels will have listings of reputable tour and experience companies, and it's best to book with one of those. Also, while physical violence is not common, muggings of international visitors have increased dramatically in recent years. Don't go too far from the cities or your hotels without a driver, guide or tour group.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Fijian wooden handicrafts can make great gifts or display items for your home and is one of the best things to bring home from a trip to Fiji. Kava bowls (handcarved out of a local hardwood) come in many sizes and styles, and you can find them in nearly any village or any souvenir shop in the cities. Carved turtles, masks, and the “cannibal set” of tools used in that long-abandoned tradition are also popular handicrafts. Depending which countries you're visiting on your route home, make sure you check customs rules on wood, so that you can bring them back safely. Note, the United States does allow Fijian woodcrafts through customs.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Fiji has a more casual food vibe with ingredients such as spicy curries, coconut milk and fresh fish. Here are the Forbes Travel Guide picks for the five food experiences not to miss in Fiji:
1. Spicy Curry. About 40 percent of Fijians are of Indian descent, so it's easy to find curries that are authentic. Be prepared—many of these curries are a lot spicier than most American restaurants serve.
2. Fresh Fruit. The best thing you can eat in Fiji comes right off the trees, with a variety of fruit made perfect by the volcanic soil. You're likely to find the best green coconut, bananas or pandanus (which resemble the fruit of a pineapple) you've ever had.
3. Breadfruit Chips. Breadfruit is a starchy local delicacy, and it makes great chips when combined with the right amount of olive oil and salt. Most resorts will sell packaged chips, but go for the fresh, local ones.
4. Cassava Cake. One of the best Fijian deserts, try this moist cake made with cassava (the root used in tapioca) and coconut milk. This treat is available in many restaurants, and is perfect for desert or a snack.
5. Ota Miti. Try this surprisingly tasty Fiji staple, made from wood fern shoots cooked in coconut milk, at Nadina restaurant, or at any small village.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Nightlife in Fiji will depend heavily on where you're staying, as it's usually a good idea to stick close to your hotel at night. Most of the resorts will host evening activities, like fire dancers or live music, and offer the chance to have a few drinks on a moonlit beach. If you're staying in or near Nadi, the city's Martinar neighborhood has several popular late-night bars, including the After Dark Nightclub, Frequency Lounge and Ed's Bar. There are also a number of nightclubs in Suva that host live music, including Birdland, Golden Dragon, and the Down Under Club. If you're going to a city nightclub, stay on the safe side and book a cab in advance to take you home.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:One day probably means staying in Nadi, as it's probably the best place to get a feel for all Fiji has to offer in a short time. Arrange all your activities beforehand, so you can pack as much in as you can.
Start with a visit to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant to get a taste of the country's forests, then head downtown. Stop at the Hindu temple, do some shopping in the city center and grab a quick curry and roti (a signature Fijian dish) for lunch. In the afternoon, take an arranged tour of a local village. Then make sure to take advantage of the bright blue ocean—spend some time snorkeling, dolphin watching or boating. At sundown, enjoy the sandy beaches, relax in a hammock and take a walk on the white sand. After dinner, see a fire dance (the traditional “meke”dance) at one of the local resorts.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Fiji isn't a big shopping destination, but there are several places to pick up handicrafts, jewelry and island clothing such as sulus and flower-print skirts. Jacks, which has large stores in Nadi and Suva, as well as in the Nadi airport, offers a wide variety and low prices, though its merchandise is mass produced. For more unique crafts, check out the Suva Curio and Handicraft Centre or the handicraft market in Nadi, though be careful not to overpay. The United Nations-sponsored Free Shop in Suva sells locally made jewelry, and the nearby spa Pure Fiji sells locally produced creams and scrubs on Saturday mornings.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:1. See a Fire Dance. Make sure to see one of these traditional “meke” dances with elaborate uses of burning spears, poi and other implements. Most resorts host fire dancers regularly enough to accommodate any stay, and the traditional dance (that combines chanting, clapping, singing, dancing and drums) is a must-see for adults or kids.
2. Kula Eco Park. This protected reserve on the Coral Coast is an ideal place to see Fiji's wildlife in a gorgeous native habitat. The park is easy to navigate for all ages, head down the wooden walkway and into the forest—the little ones can keep their eyes peeled for everything from parrots to iguanas to falcons.
3. Coral Coast Railway. Anyone who loves trains will get a kick out of this railway, with its restored vintage trains, and it's also a perfect way to see some less-touristy areas of the country. The railway passes through villages, sugarcane farms and rainforests, and includes a stop at caves.
4. Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Near central Nadi, this garden was originally the estate of actor Raymond Burr. He had one of the world's largest orchid collections, and the garden still has more than 200 types of orchids. Burr's Fiji home is open to the public, and the garden is a great way to spend a warm day in the shade.
5. Dolphin Watching. Dolphins are common in Fiji's tropical waters, and you can take your kids on a dolphin-watching tour or you can book your own boat. Depending on the time of year and migration patterns, you might also see pilot whales, false killer whales (the third largest member of the dolphin family) and humpbacks.
On September 19, 2012Jeff Fleisher answered the question:Though one of the best things to do in Fiji is to simply sit back and relax, you’ll also want to experience some iconic Fiji experiences by checking out these Forbes Travel Guide picks for the five can’t-miss Fiji sites:
1. Enjoy the Beaches. Relaxing on scenic beaches, surrounded by palm trees, is the quintessential Pacific experience, and Fiji is known for it. Most top resorts have private beaches, and there are also public spots along the coast for sunbathing or going for a swim. If you love white sand beaches, spend some time on Qalito Island, one of Fiji’s most popular beach destinations.
2. Snorkeling. Fiji gives snorkelers (and certified divers) clear waters (visibility can go more than 100-feet-deep in spots) and multiple marine environments to explore. Sharks, eels, rays and over 400 species of coral make for an interesting snorkeling session.
3. Visit the Hindu Temple. One of the most colorful temples anywhere in the world, Sri Siva Subramaniya in downtown Nadi is a great place to explore Fiji's Indian culture. The temple is one of Fiji's most unique architectural attractions, and guides are available to show you around.
4. See the Rainforests. Its volcanic soil and warm temperatures give Fiji vast rainforests filled with colorful flowers and interesting birds. The mountains have hiking trails for every skill level, and most resorts will help you book a reputable guide. The Bouma National Heritage Park has beautiful hikes and waterfalls to explore.
5. Visit a Village. Outside of the major cities, most Fijians still live in small villages with a handful of basic homes. Some of those villages survive by offering tours to visitors, often including a home-cooked Fijian meal and an interesting history of the area. Most resorts will book tours to the nearest villages.
On July 6, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Fiji is all about its beaches, so why not stay right on one. Here are our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ top-five picks for where to stay in Fiji, and trust us, you may never want to go home:
1. Wakaya Club & Spa. Staying at this luxury 11-room hotel may mean spotting a celebrity or two. This property is on a private island, owned by the creator of Fiji water, who moved here after tiring of importing the fresh water. The palatial rooms are 1,650 square feet and up, all tucked away into tropical gardens, with massive baths, open-air rock-garden showers and air conditioning for when the ceiling fan’s just not enough.
2. Laucala Island Resort. In the 70s, this island was owned and loved by Malcolm Forbes, and in 2003 Dietrich Mateschitz, co-founder of Red Bull, bought the island from Forbes heirs and turned it into a resort. The 25 thatched-roofed villas have their own private swimming pools and private beach. And because they are built on stilts above the lagoon, the rooms offer jaw-dropping panoramic views.
3. Likuliku Lagoon Resort. This hotel started the trend of overwater bungalows—it was the first resort in Fiji to have them. With 10 completely private overwater bungalows and 35 beachfront bungalows, you’ll love the privacy of these spaces. Lounge on your deck or recline in your bathtub while taking in Lagoon views. All bungalows have air-conditioning, music systems, phones, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV’s, a daily chef’s plate and a comfortable King bed.
4. Jean-Michel Cousteau Fiji Islands Resort. If you're looking to stay on one of the smaller islands, the Cousteau resort on Vanua Levu has bungalows with traditional thatch roofs, spread over a 17-acre coconut plantation. The resort has a marine biologist on site, for visitors interested in the islands' ocean life.
5. Namale Fiji Resort. This all-inclusive, 325-acre luxury resort is owned by self-help guru Tony Robbins, and you’re likely to see a few celebs on your trip (clientele includes Donna Karan and Edward Norton). When you stay here, you’ll have your own private villa, five-course dinners and access to an award-winning spa with amazing ocean views. Since it’s all-inclusive, everything is taken care of for you—round-trip rides to the airport, accommodations, meals and activities.
On June 27, 2012Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Fiji is known for its spicy curries, coconut milk and fresh fish. Here are the Forbes Travel Guide editors’ recommendations for the five best places to eat right now in Fiji:
1. Old Mill Cottage. If you're in Suva, check out the local cuisine at this quaint, popular spot. The Old Mill offers a variety of Indian, Chinese and Fijian chow served in a charming, small Colonial cottage. The best seats in the house are on the veranda, and many would argue that the best dishes are the curry varieties.
2. Nadina Authentic Fijian Restaurant. The name says it all for this Nadi spot –it’s authentic Fijian. This restaurant serves simple and fresh seafood and vegetable dishes, cooked the Fijian way, and is a nice change of pace from the hotel dining scene.
3. Chefs, the Restaurant. This Nadi town spot, founded by executive chef Eugene Gomes, serves anything from inexpensive breakfasts to full dinners (think roasted duckling ravioli, grilled beef tenderloin and fresh seafood dishes). The menu changes seasonally, taking advantage of fresh ingredients.
4. Maya Dhaba. One of Fiji's best Indian restaurants is this upscale, modern Suva spot. It's open late, and has a huge selection of curries, biryani and tandoori dishes, with everything from Punjabi tandoori chicken tikka to huge vegetarian masala dosa.
5. Nuku Restaurant. This fine restaurant is nestled in the Fiji Beach Resort and Spa, with its own private beach. Dine on a latern-lit meal of fresh seafood (octopus or local mud crap) and sip on a few glasses of wine. Nuku has an extensive wine list.