I recently wrote a guest post for Two Monkeys Travel on 7 awesome things to do while visiting Fiji, and while writing it I realized I made some mistakes and missed out on some things I really wish I had done. With that in mind, I thought I would share them in hopes no one else does the same! So here are the 5 mistakes I made while visiting Fiji + how to avoid them:
5 Mistakes Not to Make While Visiting Fiji
Fiji Mistake #1: Got talked into a "tour" by a local
This is the biggest mistake I made while in Fiji. Not only because I missed out on seeing many of the things I wanted to, but also because it wasn’t very safe.
One of the taxi drivers (and self-proclaimed tour guide) that worked for the hotel convinced me that he could take me to see better waterfalls, a real Fijian village, etc. for less and that it would be way better. In my defense, I didn’t really agree to a set plan and tried to wave him off, but the next morning he showed up and didn’t really give me an option. He made me believe that he had already booked all these things when in reality, nothing was actually booked. And surprise surprise, the price went up and up as the day went on with all these hidden extra costs.
To make it all that much worse, I was alone. In the middle of Fiji. With a stranger.
I know what you’re thinking “what an idiot,” and you’d be right. It was so unsmart of me, and I won’t ever make that mistake again. Most of the rest of my mistakes in this post come from making this first one and missing the things I really wanted to see.
Tip: Don’t let a local talk you into letting them show you around; stick to the legitimate tours, it’s safer and you’ll know what you’re getting upfront and have a much better experience.
Fiji Mistake #2: Missed out on the Jewel of Fiji
This I am really bummed about. The Jewel of Fiji is a tour that takes you to an amazing waterfall of the Navau river. I let the taxi driver convince me he knew of a bigger and better waterfall when I should’ve trusted my gut and gone to see the one I really wanted to. The tour also includes a village visit with a welcome kava ceremony (on this list of mistakes as well). This tour has won countless awards and I’m kicking myself for not going on it!
Tip: DO go chasing waterfalls, just not random ones your taxi driver says are best.
Fiji Mistake #3: Didn’t spend more days snorkeling
I went out on a snorkeling day cruise with Coral Cats, and had the BEST time! The snorkeling was absolutely amazing and I loved getting to sail around the islands. I only wish I had spent another day or two out on the water! All the fish absolutely surround you, it’s incredible. I felt like I was literally swimming in an aquarium. This is a must-do!
Tip: Definitely book a sailing tour for one day, and try and stay at a resort that has snorkeling right off the beach.
Fiji Mistake #4: Didn’t bring enough bug spray
I’ll save you the picture of my legs completely covered in mosquito bites… it’s not pretty. Instead, you can just imagine just how many bugs are in Fiji based on how many were crawling all over my bure (traditional Fijian villa). I came home one evening, and my showered was absolutely crawling with ants.
People warned me about the bugs in Fiji beforehand, but I didn’t take it seriously enough and got eaten alive. I ended up having to buy some from the hotel, which of course was double the price.
My packing list a tropical beach vacation might be helpful to check out!
Mistake #5: Didn’t get a real Fijian village experience
This is something I’m also really upset about missing. My “tour guide” took me to a traditional village, but I didn’t really get to experience it. I met the chief and then he and my driver talked in their native language while I awkwardly followed along behind not getting any insight into their world. I really wanted to hear about the history and culture and get a peek into real village life, but alas, that didn’t happen.
Tip: Go with an organized tour, you’ll have a much better experience overall and most include a Kava ceremony (traditional Fijian drink that is a must-try).
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