Fiji – To go, or not to go


I am Brooke Shields in Blue Lagoon, though in reality weathering more like Tom Hanks in Castaway.

Go to Viti Levu island, Fiji if you:

are British and want to holiday with few other Brits;

love fresh fruit, especially papaya and pineapple;

enjoy opportunities to chat to friendly locals;


appreciate lush, green countryside;

have embraced the recent coconut phase and love coconut or are open to its wonders;

like a choice of activities and trips;

have an inner (or outer) ornithologist in you;

want to be in the middle of a vast ocean yet somehow not feel overwhelmed by that fact;

like to know there’s always a Chinese or Indian restaurant close by;

appreciate learning local words (you can’t not respond to “bula” (it means life but is a very cheery, contagious Fijian “hello”);

love creative fish dishes;

want to see Nemo and Dory;

like your Instagram feed to be the envy of all;

love visiting food markets;

want to buy black/yellow South Sea pearls;

aspire to stay in a hut on the beach;

love the idea of an ensuite outdoor shower;


don’t want to be inundated by tempting souvenirs;

like to buy/use natural, interesting toiletries;

enjoy cocktails or beer at beach bars;

love seeing colourful homes;


like to hire a car to explore (petrol cheaper than UK, drive on left, OK tarmaced road around island);

appreciate deserted beaches.


Don’t go to Viti Levu island, Fiji if you:

want a cheap destination;

are recovering from a break-up (emphasis is on couples and families);

have seen Jaws and are prone to fin-sightings (ie seaweed or palm fronds);

want a holiday where you speak to no one and no one speaks to you;

never holiday where mosquitoes thrive;

are appalled by the idea of entertainment/airport welcome/hotel departure or arrival designed for tourists;

send smug postcards (all postcards seem to be from c1980 and a pathetic reflection of Fiji);

feel very uncomfortable with the concept of tourist v local prices;

are skint but a sucker for charming salespeople;


dislike fire (ceremonies, bonfires and flame lighting are popular);

feel lost without 24-hour WiFi;

want a guarantee of no rain;


expect pretty, colourful, photogenic towns (more functional and for everyday life rather than tourist prettification);

are a nervous but keen sea swimmer (waves, currents, potential for dangerous sea creatures);

love or hate dogs (love, you’ll want to rescue strays. Hate, you’ll see more dogs than you’d like);

plan to bring in food from your home country (Fiji is very strict about what can come in);

are put off by cockroaches, ants and mosquitoes;

expect it to be beautiful (it can be pretty, lush, colourful, interesting but not, to me at least, “Wow”);

judge a holiday by the variety of shops and souvenirs;

would find it alarming to see cows, goats, pigs, chickens and horses by the roadside.

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