If you’re dreaming of an island escape or a holiday spent laying on the beach with cocktail in hand, then try to avoid Fiji in Cyclone season! Cyclone season normally runs from November to April and whilst you might get lucky with the weather, it’s always a gamble. We did choose to go during this time and unfortunately the weather kept reminding us of exactly that: Cyclones! Forever rainy, overcast and extremely windy, we spent 8 nights in Fiji and unfortunately only got one afternoon of sunshine. Not one to let the weather get us down, we still had an amazing time, but of course would have preferred to get a bit more sunshine and swimming in.
One thing to know about Fiji is that it is still very much a developing country. This means there isn’t too much to offer beyond the resort. Sure, there are village tours and day trips, but it’s not like Bali where you can just walk down the road and find restaurants, convenience stores and shops. These things are still available in Fiji, but if your resort isn’t close to them, then they’re not on offer to you. We stayed at the Warwick Fiji resort and the closest shops could only be travelled to by car. That means, breakfast, lunch and dinner is at the resort (unless you do a day trip elsewhere). If you’re fussy on your food this can be challenging after a few days of eating the same thing and if you’re not a fan of that resort style holiday, then definitely reconsider Fiji as a destination. Personally, I would compare it to what I can only image a cruise to be like: everything you need is there for you, but you are limited to what’s on board (and sometimes that just doesn’t suit everyone).
Another thing to take into account is the prices of things when you get there. Food can be kind of expensive for what it is, so unless you’ve got full board as part of your accommodation package, allow extra cash for food and incidentals. To give you a guide, we were paying $10FJD ($6.60 AUD) for a Fiji 1 ½ litre bottle of water, and it’s bloody hot and humid there so you’re likely to be wanting 3 of these per day (that adds up).
The best thing about Fiji beyond the beautiful scenery is the people. They are genuine, loving and incredibly kind. They live a fairly simple life seeped in tradition and rituals, yet are always smiling and friendly to tourists.
My final warning is beware (or embrace) Fiji time! Fiji is a place to visit if you’re ready to relax, unwind and totally switch off. Nothing should be stressful and there certainly shouldn’t be any hurry when you are here. Fijians live by this rule and it’s hard not to let it rub off on you. The perfect example is our tour guide on a day trip we did – Our bus picked him up on the side of the road half an hour into the tour, he hurried on and then exclaimed, ‘Sorry, Fiji time, I slept in!’.