From Whitewater Thrills to Coastal CalmFrom rapids-choked canyons to shaded jungle rivers and calm, mangrove-fringed coastal lagoons, the islands of Fiji are a paddler’s delight. Whitewater Rivers tumble from mountain heights, and then gradually mellow as their flow reaches the coastal plains. Along the way, the personalities of these waterways transition from wild and exciting to mild and scenic. Various routes can be enjoyed by kayak, rubber raft, canoe or even a traditional bamboo float. Coastlines create different opportunities for explorations of wetlands or open water crossings to fringing coral reefs and small deserted islands ringed in white sand beaches.
- Best for: Solos, couples and families, beach lovers, spa afficianados and adventurers
- Best season to visit: Year round, drier from June-September
- Weather: Tropical weather patterns rotate between winter from May - Oct and summer from Nov - Apr with common rain showers. Air temperatures can drop to low 70s in the winter and mid to high 80s in summer. Chance of rain and storms increase in Jan and Feb
Paddle Sports in Fiji Overview
There are dozens of rivers flowing from the highlands of Fiji's largest island, Viti Levu. The longest and most popular with rafters is the Navua, which begins in remote mountain highlands as a whitewater stream with class III and IV rapids. Closer to the coast in the Pacific Harbour area, the river's middle and lower sections offer more sedate drifts for rafts and canoes, while coastal areas provide routes for sea kayaking.
Paddle Sports in Fiji Tips
Though a whitewater excursion might seem challenging, most all Fiji rafting trips are suitable for families and persons of all ages. As an alternative to rafts, some operators offer inflatable kayaks, which are easier to handle and more forgiving than hard kayaks, but still provide a thrilling ride.
Best Places for Paddle Sports in Fiji
The upper Navua River flows through a steep, narrow gorge where waterfalls tumble from overhead cliffs and a lush rainforest canopy reaches to the river's edge. On the north coast of Viti Levu, guided kayak tours wind through mangrove lagoons and across turquoise bays. Bamboo rafts are used for traditional rides at Naqesa village.
What to Pack for Paddle Sports in Fiji
Wear synthetic water shirts and fast-drying shorts or swim suits for whitewater trips where getting wet is a given. Water shoes or sandals with heel straps are a good choice for any paddling adventure. A brimmed hat and long-sleeved shirt provide sun protection for open-water coastal routes. Remember a floating waterproof bag or case for valuables.
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
A valid passport is required for entry into Fiji that must be valid for 6 months beyond your date of entry into the country. A return or onward ticket is also required. No visa is required for stays under 4 months. Your passport must have at least 1 blank page for entry stamp. Read about Fiji's entry and exit requirements here. Fiji has a departure tax of 200 FJD that should be included in your international ticket.
There are no immunizations required to enter Fiji. It is always recommended that you consult the CDC Website or check with your doctor for recommended vaccines.
Culture and Customs
Fijians take pride in being known as the friendliest people in the world. The welcoming and easy-going attitude that permeates their island culture invite visitors to venture beyond resorts and discover a traditional way of life that values relationships, traditions and inclusion. It's not uncommon for Fijians to strike up a conversation with total strangers, and take a genuine interest in those they meet. This spirit of hospitality can be found at Lovo feasts, where foods cooked in open pits are shared in a communal fashion. Fiji's most iconic cultural tradition is the yaqona or kava ceremony. The sharing of this mildly narcotic drink, which is made from the ground root of the kava plant, creates a sense of relation and wellbeing rather than impairment. When visiting a village, it is customary to bring a gift of kava root, and the drinking of a cup is followed by a cry of Bula! Traditions remain, but Fiji is not stuck in the past, and the well-developed tourism industry offers the expected range of water sports, spa services and land-based activities. There are a number of golf courses on the major islands, and tour companies provide a range of adventures from horseback rides, cycle tours and zip lines to off-road safaris and even whitewater rafting in streams that plunge from mountainous interiors.
Electricity, Phone and Internet Access
The electrical current in Fiji is 240 volts AC 50 Hz. Fiji has three flat pin power outlets identical to Australia and New Zealand. Leading hotels and resorts offer universal outlets for 240v or 110v shavers, hair dryers, etc. A converter is recommended with a transformer to convert 240V to 110V. Some hotels offer universal outlets for either voltage appliances or adapters but to be guaranteed no problems it may be best to bring your own adapter.
The country code for the Fiji islands is 679. Direct dialing is available to and from Fiji. Check with your cell phone provider for international plans or voice, data and text. Many hotels offer WiFi.
Many hotels have purified water. If in doubt, bottled water is available for purchase.
Language & Currency
Fiji has three official languages: Fijian, English and Hindi (a Fijian form of Hindi spoken by the Indian population which is different than Hindi spoken in India). There are also many Fijian dialects which are spoken by the indigenous Fijians (Bauan is the most common).
The currency is the Fijian dollar (FJD). For the current exchange rate click here. Major credit cards are welcomed by hotels, restaurants, shops, rental car agencies, cruises and travel agents. Currency may be exchanged at the airport upon arrival or from ATMs located at banks.
Fiji observes Fiji Time (FJD) which is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+12GMT). Local time in Fiji is 12 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time from March 1 to October 31. Fiji does observe Daylight Savings Time which is recognized as Fiji Summer Time (FJST) between November and February at which time it is 13 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+13 GMT). Although the 180° meridian passes through Taveuni, all of Fiji is west of the international dateline, so it's one day ahead of the United States.
Location, Size and Population
Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean, east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 330 islands, scattered across 200,000 square miles of ocean, of which 100 are permanently inhabited. The two major island, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for approximately 85% of the total population. Fiji offers lagoons, rainforests, pine forests, mountains and over 1,000 miles of white sand beaches.
Fiji's population is 897,000 (2016).