For many, Fiji is synonymous with palm fringed beaches and pristine waters. But there’s more to Fiji than a Pina Colada by the pool side.
We show you how to experience the islands’ rich culture.
Travel through the local villages
Fiji’s unique national identity is shaped by the Indian, Chinese and European ancestry held by many of the inhabitants of modern Fiji.
These vibrant cultural traditions are best experienced by travelling through one of the many villages scattered across the islands. Village tours are offered by most resorts and will take guests to villages in the surrounding areas.
While these are good options if you only have a short amount of time, those wanting a more authentic cultural experience should look for tours that travel to more remote villages. You can even consider a village homestay – living with a family for a night in a traditional bure (house).
Visit Fiji’s ‘cultural theme park’
If you’re not quite up for a day trip into the local villages, then a visit to Heritage Hamlet might is your next best option.
Located only a 15-minute drive from the main Nadi Airport, this ‘cultural theme park’ offers guests the chance to experience traditional Fijian and Indian cultural ceremonies, including traditional Meke dance performances and firewalking.
Take a trip back in time to Fiji’s first capital
Levuka is Fiji’s first capital and first World Heritage Site. Located on Ovalau Island, Levukas’ World Heritage status means that it is a perfect snapshot of a Fiji untouched by mass tourism and commerce.
A good start to your visit would be to take the Historical Walking Tour that passes through the main street of Levuka, showing off the British Colonial style buildings set among lines of coconut and mango trees.
Experience gastronomical delights
Being a tropical island means that Fiji’s have access to a wonderful blend of tropical ingredients and freshly-caught seafood. Combine this with traditional cooking practices and you get the Lovo style of cooking: a Fijian delicacy made for communal celebrations where vegetables, meat and fish are wrapped in banana leaves and places in a makeshift underground oven for slow cooking.
Most hotels will put on a Lovo night once a week for their guests, however if you are keen to give your hand a try at cooking the local cuisine, many cooking classes are offered across the islands.
Take a sip of Fiji’s national drink
An experience of the islands’ rich culture would not be complete without trying Fiji’s national drink, Kava.
Made from mixing the powdered root of the pepper plant with water, Kava is a mildly narcotic drink that results in a numb feeling in the mouth, lips and tongue, and for many a sense of relaxation.
With strong links to their ancestral past, a sip of this muddy-coloured and earthy tasting drink is one-of-a-kind.