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.
Tip: Buy plenty before (this one is plant-based) and reapply often while you’re there. I also like the bug repellent bracelets too.
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).
Fiji is amazing and so worth visiting, just don’t make the same mistakes I did and ruin your dream vacation!
You Might Also Like These Fiji Posts:
- 21 Gorgeous Photos to Inspire You to Visit Fiji
- A Fiji Must See: Garden of the Sleeping Giant
- Best Fiji Sailing Tour
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13 thoughts on “5 Mistakes I Made While Visiting Fiji”
I tried Kava and don’t worry, you’re not missing out on much! It just tastes like water and gives your lips a tingle. But I guess it’s nice to try these things for yourself too!
Haha I tried it as well, it tasted awful, like nasty muddy water!
Great post! I feel you always learn from travel mistakes though so that’s important
Very true, definitely won’t be making those mistakes again!
Well, u learn the hard way
Don’t take everything for granted
I m from Fiji
People have upgraded their conartist!!
IT’S everywhere now!!
Thanks for your candidness in sharing this rather than only glossing over important lessons you learned and could share! Hopefully they’ll turn into reasons for you to go back to Fiji – I would love to see it myself!
Ah glad you enjoyed it! Am pretty embarrassed about the tour guide part, was just so unsafe. I definitely would like to return!
Thanks for the update on bug spray. Sounds awful that a dream vacation should be spoiled by bugs and ants. Yuk. Hmm maybe I’ll stick to the Daintree
Agreed! It was a bummer :/ but hey travel isn’t always perfect
Hi there, my family and I went to Fiji when the kids were little. I went in the swimming pool at the resort for a scuba diving lesson. I came out with raging diarrhea. I ran past the same waiter 8 times to get to the toilet on time. It was awful. Then I started throwing up. Lucky the loo was next to the bath so I could do both at the same time. Then middle child got it and took to throwing up in the room’s ice bucket which was handy. Younger toddler got it next then oldest child. He was throwing up into an empty cereal packet. At the airport, he was desperately clutching his cereal bag of vomit and we got told to put it on the scanner for an xray lol. Husband got it once we got home. Worst holiday ever. We noticed they didn’t cook their chicken properly in the restaurant and no doubt it was in the swimming pool too. Your trip could have ended like ours.
And we almost got mugged in Suva too. Three Indian guys started following us but we got saved by a Canadian guy who had seen them start following us and pulled us aside. We had our hands full with kids and bags, and hubby’s wallet was slightly sticking out of his pants. This was after we got threatened we had to park our rental car in a person’s special parking lot for $10 or it would be stolen.
Haha I like the moral of the story, when you go to fiji its a good idea to have a trustworthy local otherwise you’re gonna be hassled or offered “deals or sales, just for you” left and right because you look like a tourist. Not exactly the land of opportunity being that it is an impoverished island with a minimum wage of .75 usd so, ya you’re gonna find con artists. Last time I was visiting family in a village near Nadi children were in school and adults were preparing a big meal for a funeral service that night and it was a blessing to see everyone working together enjoying the simplicity and cooperation of their culture. Did you know it’s common to leave your front door open when eating a meal so that anyone who is hungry can smell the meal and join. Their marijuana is garbage tho but on the plus side it doesn’t smell so you dont have to worry about that haha it’s like they crop out months before its ready. Ya kava tastes like dirty water but if you catch a buzz on it, you will feel cooler in the heat (just like alcohol makes your blood temp lower, making you feel warmer) but can dry out your skin. With over 300 islands there’s no limit to what you can explore, only time and “fiji time means no time”. I have really never had too much bug/mosquito trouble but maybe its because I’m fijian, although I hate geckos so I had to get used to em around. Denaraus barely even a drive from viti levu and is definitely the tourist spot with high end hotels but there are more nice hotels like natadola (great beautiful beach). I appreciate the fact bula means hello but it also means life. Every village has it’s own dialect but there is a common dialect called Bauan. Guess I miss it there haha