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In the days of sailing ships, it was known as The Cannibal Isles and carefully avoided by mariners because of its fierce warriors and treacherous waters. More recently, Fiji’s tropical climate and location on Pacific air routes have made it a prime spot for tourists. Fiji’s population, which resides mostly on the two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, is divided almost equally between indigenous Fijians and Indo-Fijians, the descendants of indentured labourers brought from India. Mixing between the two groups is minimal, and informal segregation runs deep at almost every level of society.

Practical Information

Area: 18 376 km² (7 056 miles²)

Capital: Suva. Population: 210 000

Population: 905,949

Currency: Fijian Dollar (FJD symbol F$) = 100 cents

Government: Republic since 1987.

Tipping: Generally not neccessary; only small amounts for special services.

Legal drinking age: 18

Time zone: GMT + 12

Languages: Fijian, Hindustani and English

Additional descriptions

Fiji: Social customs

Fijians are a very welcoming people and visitors should not be afraid to accept hospitality. Informal casual wear is generally acceptable.Tips for visiting villages: Before visiting, it is customary toRead more purchase a bundle of unpounded yaqona (kava) the traditional sevusevu (gift). When approaching the village, visitors should not enter immediately but wait until greeted. They will then be taken to the chief or Turaga Ni Koro (headman), to whom the kava should be offered. Visitors who are accepted by the chief will be assigned a guide and host. Once inside the village, please also note the following: visitors should dress modestly and not wear shorts or hats, and women should not have their shoulders bare; shoes should always be taken off when entering someone’s house or any other village building; visitors should speak softly and not raise their voices too much as this may be interpreted as expressing anger; visitors should show respect but be cautious about praise as Fijians will feel obliged to make a gift of an object if visitors show too much liking for it; Fijians will always, out of custom, ask visitors to stay or eat with them; visitors who spend a night in the village should reward their host with a useful gift of similar value for each member of the party; it is not recommended to give money.

Fiji: Food and local specialties

Local cooking is Fijian and Indian. International cuisine is also available. Table service is normal, although some establishments offer buffet-style food at lunchtime. Hotels often serve meals to non-residents.Read more Bars and cocktail lounges have table and/or counter service. Only licensed restaurants, clubs and hotel bars can serve alcohol. The national specialties are: Kakoda (a marinated local fish steamed in coconut cream and lime). Rourou (a taro leaf dish). Kassaua (tapioca, often boiled, baked or grated and cooked in coconut cream with sugar and mashed bananas). Duruka (an unusual asparagus-like vegetable in season during April and May). Lovo (feast of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit cooked in covered pits). Kava (traditionally prepared by virgins, who chewed the root of the pepper plant into a soft pulpy mass before adding water). Carlton (a local beer brewed in Suva). Fiji Bitter (brewed in Lautoka). Meridan Moselle and Suvanna Moselle (local wines). Booth’s Gin, Bounty Fiji Golden Rum, Cossack Vodka and Old Club Whisky (produced by South Pacific Distilleries).

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