brought to you by Fijian Village Homestays

I will never forget the wonderful memories or friends I made at the village of Namuamua... I will be back. A hotel could never have matched the experience of living with the friendly Fijian people - and what value!! - Mark Thompson 
Video clip below - why travellers are turning to village homestays in Fiji

IMPORTANT NOTE: Wherever you stay in Fiji it is essential that you take out full travel insurance cover for medical treatment and accidents, and it is advisable to have cover for unexpected losses such as stolen cash or credit cards, passports or luggage.


Holiday Packages to Fiji promoted by travel agents

If you go to your local travel agent you will be recommended a "holiday package" sold out of a glossy brochure (they will try to talk you out of a village homestay as they make no money out of it). This holiday package promoted by travel agents includes your flight to and from Fiji and accommodation at a hotel at what appears at first to be very favourable rates. "Holiday packages" are marketed to travel agents by wholesalers who purchase large blocks of nights at resorts. While they might seem to be favourable at first glance, your experience will be different.

Even packages that appear to include all meals and drink can cost you as much again on departure from the hotel that you are staying at.

As seasoned travellers to Fiji we find the purchase of airline tickets direct from organisations like Virgin's Pacific Blue and booking our accommodation direct through a travel agent in Fiji (we have a travel agent who can help you with this) will save you hundreds of dollars and you will have a far more flexible and enjoyable holiday away from the main tourism packaged market. Virgin's flights each way are as low as $200.

There is no shortage of accommodation options in Fiji - and, when you get away from the wholesale market (which buys up all accommodation causing a false shortage in hotels like the Warwick and Naviti on the Coral Coast) you will find better value, the real Fiji, and the ability to create your own holiday mix including village homestays. (FijiBure.com is not part of the wholesale tourism market). 

You will save money by booking direct and not through a holiday package and you will not get the feeling of being part of a sausage processing plant when you make your own plans and book your own accommodation - whether it be at a village or elsewhere.

If you need help - feel free to contact us for more information.

Fiji's Climate

Fiji is tropical year round, the mild and dry season is May through November. The highest recorded average temperature in Nadi (Viti Levu) is 32 degrees celsius (December and January) and the lowest recorded average temperature is 18 degrees celsius in July

Temperature F/C Jan Mar May Jul Sep Nov
Average High 86/30 85/29 82/27 79/26 81/27 83/28
Average Low 74/23 74/23 71/22 69/21 70/21 72/22

The wettest months on Viti Levu are in March and April, closely followed by October to February:

The current weather forecast for all major Fiji towns and cities can be seen at this link


Flying Time

Wherever you travel to Fiji your perception of time changes (we call this "Fiji time").

From the U.S., remember you will be crossing the dateline which means you will gain a day on your way to Fiji and get it back upon returning to the U.S.  From Los Angeles, flying time is 10 hours non-stop or 13 hours if you stop in Honolulu. 

From London the flying time to Brisbane is 20 hours then a further 3.5 hours from Brisbane to Fiji. The total time (lost) when travelling to Fiji from London is twelve hours.

From Sydney and Brisbane in Australia Qantas travel time to Nadi, Fiji is 3.5 hours; you lose two hours when you travel to Fiji.


Fiji School Holidays in 2005

First Term  24th January to 29th April

Second Term 16th May to 19th August

Third Term 5th Septemebr to 2nd December


Money:

A history of Fijian Paper Money can be seen at this link

The extremely rare Fiji Debenture note issued in 1872.

Convert from F$ to all major currencies using the table on the right:

Convert from Fijian $
Enter amount:

F$

Convert to:

There are ATM's where you can draw Fijian dollars using major credit cards (Via, Mastercard, Citibank etc) at all major cities and towns as well as the larger hotels.

A very useful facility by Visa Card at this link allows you to locate all ATMs in Fiji by city or town (eg Sigatoka. Suva, Pacific Harbour and Nadi)  


Electricity

Local voltage is 240V (some hotels have 110V). Most Fijian villages have some form of electricity - direct power or generator.

Power points are based on Australian standards - see graphic to the right.


Traditional Fijian Food

Fijian food - delicious and unique to our islands - is surprising hard to come by when on holiday in Fiji. While most hotels and restaurants will feature a dish or two (most likely Kokoda) on the menu as well as have “Lovo Nights” (food cooked over hot stones in an earth-oven) there are only a handful of restaurants that specialise in traditional Fijian cuisine.

The best way to experience traditional Fijian food is to stay in a Fijian village.

To view the Fijian villages participating in FijiBure.com take this link.


How and What to Pack

Dress is always casual and comfortable.  We suggest loose fitting, cotton wash & wear clothing including: two knee-length shorts or dresses; blouses, shirts or t-shirts, cotton trousers (denim if you plan to ride horses); two swimsuits; two pairs of tennis or hiking shoes, reef walkers, and thongs or sandals; light jacket or sweater; camera, batteries, film; sunscreen.  Always pack toiletries and a change of clothing in a separate carry-on bag.  Each person is limited to two suitcases (up to 70 pounds/31 kilos) on international flights and 33 pounds/15 kilos for domestic flights. If staying in a village remember to dress modestly while in the village (ie wear dresses and shorts below the knee and no skimpy blouses in the village area - bikinis are a no-no)

Fijian's are very conservative and disapprove strongly of tourists who flaunt themselves or their bodies in the village area.


Chart of visitor numbers to Fiji in 2003 by country of origin


Fijian Terms and Phrases

Bula (mbula) - Fijian greeting io (ee o) - yes sega (senga) - no
Vinaka (vee naka) - thank you, with appreciation Bure (mburey) - cottage-style accommodations Kava - tranquilizing non-alcoholic drink made from the root of the yaqona tree

 

Meke (meh ke) - traditional Fijian dance ceremony Lovo - traditional feast cooked underground on special occasions

More useful Fijian words at this link


Kava

Kava is the Fijian national drink which has narcotic (mildly mind altering) effects once drunk in quantity.

Image right: Kava roots before crushing

A complete FAQ on Kava can be found at this link.


Getting married in Fiji

Fiji is the perfect place to get married but be careful there are some rip-off merchants, especially at hotels where you will be fleeced!

To get married in Fiji you will need the following:

More on getting married in Fiji can be seen at this link


Health issues in Fijian Hotels and Villages

  1. When travelling anywhere it is important to have travel insurance, Fiji is no different.
  2. Please consult your doctor about your homestay in Fiji to see whether you should have any injections or take any drugs with you. This is especially important if any people in your party have health issues.

    During our many visits to Fijian villages we have never contracted any sicknesses or ailments. Fijians are as concerned about cleanliness in their home as you are in yours.


Life in a Fijian Village

The way of life for our Fijian Family is based solely on the patriarchal village. The village is divided into groups. The way to identify yourself is through your mataqali and yavusa tokatoka. This status tells what role in the village you are, such as a fisherman, hunter, warrior, herald or a chiefly person in the village. This role also identifies who your closest relatives are. These divide groups into positions that dictate the kind of food that is forbidden, the war-cry, and the animal or fish that must be prepared for the chief in the village or the island.

When you stay at a village you stay with one of these families and are accepted as an equal member of that family during your stay. Visiting children are quickly welcomed into playgroups with Fijian children and adults are quickly made to feel at home by the entire village.

In the old days when a marriage took place it was arranged and the wife went to live in the husbands village. Today Fijians marry for love but continue to move into the husband's village, but in the cities this does not take place other, than in rituals. However, children still inherit the land from the father's village.

In the typical Fijian Village, they truly live day to day because they do not believe in tomorrow. The man of the house gets up in the early morning to tend to his crops and forage in the garden for some roots and vegetables, while the wife goes out fishing to get seafood and then comes back to prepare the food. after breakfast the man cuts the lawn and goes to his garden.

Image right: The ladies at Malevu Village gather and chat while doing their chores

The wife will meet the other women of the village to weave mats or do other handicraft. The children are either in school or playing with the other children. When the husband returns from the garden with food, he might go out fishing for the evening. The next day the wife will stay home and do housework. She has a routine of alternating days of preparing food and housework - you often find the women gathered in the shade of a tree in the village cleaning, matting etc... while they talk.

The traditional Fijian house in the village is called a bure. It used to be made up from tree branches and leaves - very few of these now remain except in villages like Nadrau. Traditionally the food was cooked over a wood fire in a separate little bure, but now it is more commonly cooked in a small room attached to the back of the house. The water is sometimes drawn from the creek but all village participating in FijiBure.com have water piped in from a reservoir.

Image right: some traditional bures remain in the village of Nadrau  

Time has not changed much in the villages in Fiji other than some of the western influences in clothing, generators, housing and radio. The cities are similar to western commentates with churches and government buildings, schools and businesses. Currently there are very few hire cars for transportation but getting a taxi from a major city or hotel is never a problem. The bus and boat system can get a person any where.

Any traveller to Fiji should spend at least a few days with the Fijians in their village. It is an extraordinary experience - FijiBure.Com has been set up to provide tourists with the opportunity of spending time with a Fijian family in their village to enable them to get to know their unique culture!

Visa Requirements:

US, UK, Australian and New Zealand Citizens - Passport, proof of sufficient funds and onward/return ticket required. Visa not required for stay of up to 4 months. All visitors over age 12 are required to pay $20 departure tax (tax must be paid in Fijian currency). For further information, contact the Embassy of the Republic of the Fiji Islands, 2233 Wisconsin Ave., NW, #240, Washington, DC 20007 (202/337-8320).

Other countries - check with your passport authorities for special requirements such as visa.