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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to Fiji
Fiji has had a long-standing reputation as a South Pacific tropical paradise. Travelers have been visiting the tiny archipelago for decades now to kick back oceanside and enjoy the azure waters. While there's been some political unrest in recent years, it's done little to deter travelers keen to soak up the island lifestyle and maybe sip a little kava while they're at it.
Here are a five things to know to make your Fijian adventure unforgetable.
1. On the subject of kava
Kava (also called yaqona, or grog) is a non-alcoholic, non-narcotic beverage made from the ground root of the pepper plant. Far from being spicy, though, the drink actually numbs the lips and tongue slightly for a few moments. Not to worry, though--this effect is short-lived and subtle. It takes a lot to have any effect on the average person, but after several cups, you may begin to feel slightly more relaxed than you were (if that's possible in a tropical paradise like Fiji). Kava contains massive amounts of vitamin B, a natural muscle relaxant and anti-depressant. Drink enough, and you'll start to feel aggressions and tensions melt away (again, assuming you had any to start with). Too much, and you'll find yourself too, well, groggy to do much of anything. If this happens, relax (you won't have a choice). It won't last long.
-Nicole Clausing, freelance writer (courtesy of Travelocity.com)
WorldNomads: Fiji's drinking water is of mixed quality; fine in some locations, not so good in others. So, ask your host to make your kava from the ubiquitious bottled Fiji Water, just to be on the safe side.
2. Flower power
If you’re a flower lover then a tour of the Garden of the Sleeping Giants is a must. Located in the Gorgeous Sabeto Valley, the Garden of the Sleeping Giants is where you’ll find the largest collection of orchids in all of Fiji.
-Courtesy of Canuck Abroad
3. Don't forget your wallet
Many of the shops in Nadi are run by villagers from the mountains who will invite you in for kava. We had a welcome ceremony especially for us and spent an hour joking and drinking kava on a mat in a Nadi store. But of course, after much hospitality, you SHOULD buy something from the store to help support the village. Just realize that some of the prices and items are much more expensive than the souvenirs you can get at "Jack's" down the street.
-"pporto" at Virtual Tourist
4. Airport agent alert
The agents can be of a great help, but take everything they say with a pinch of salt! Our agent Fili promised us that our room at Mereani's shared a bathroom with only one other room, and that the rate was 60 Fiji dollars for the two of us. What we paid was 70 plus tax, and we shared two showers and two toilets with 20 other people... Make sure to have all agreements written down and signed, with all prices including taxes. But be prepared for surprises anyway!
-"Rusket" at Virtual Tourist
5. Taxi tip
If getting a taxi, be prepared to heckle everyone walking past to get in the taxi too... because no one is setting off until it’s full.
-Courtesy of i-to-i
WorldNomads: One final tip of our own - Fiji is warm all year, but check your travel dates, cyclones at certain times of the year can take the edge of that relaxing beach holiday.
Want to know more? Ask a question and find out what other travellers say at Answers.
Have you been to Fiji? What do you wish you had known before you went?
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World Nomads travel alert for the pacific states of Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and PNG. A cyclone is expected to bring strong winds and heavy rain leading to flooding.
Cyclone Evan struck the South Pacific in December 2012, leaving a trail of devastation, including deaths. Samoa and Fiji were the worst affected by this natural disaster. It was recorded as the strongest cyclone in 20 years to hit Samoa, after it moved offshore briefly it then turned around and battered the nation a second time.
Cyclone Evan Dec 2012
What's Happening? UPDATE: 03/04/2012 Severe flood warnings for major water channels have been cancelled by the Fiji government, who also say that tropical Cyclone Daphne is moving away from the island nation.