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Fiji

If you’re travelling to Fiji, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise you to take normal precautions.

Latest Travel News

Zika Virus

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) locations including Fiji. Infection with Zika virus has been increasingly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where the baby is born with an abnormally small head and/or brain damage.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas. Irish Citizens are advised to follow the advice of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

Emergency Assistance

Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Fiji, we’re limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Canberra.

We suggest you learn as much as you can about Fiji before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you’re in Fiji, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Other EU embassies

You can contact the Embassies and Consulates of other EU countries represented in Fiji for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Civil unrest

The political situation in Fiji is relatively stable but you should be aware that Fiji is currently ruled by decree, which give the police and military extensive powers.

There is potential for civil unrest and you should avoid all political rallies and avoid openly discussing political issues. You should also avoid military installations, military activity and concentrations of military personnel, especially around Suva.

Local media in Fiji faces censorship so if you want to monitor the political situation during your visit, check the Internet for news from international media.

Crime

Most Irish visitors to Fiji stay in resorts and these are generally very safe. If you intend to move outside resort areas, be aware of your surroundings and take additional precautions:

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Lock your luggage as a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft.
  • Significant numbers of foreign tourists are victims of violent robbery, particularly after dark in Suva and other towns. When you’re travelling, especially alone, take extra care, particularly if you’re visiting isolated locations.

Lost or stolen passports

Given that the nearest Irish Embassy is a huge distance away in Canberra, Australia, dealing with a lost or stolen passport can be extremely inconvenient and can take time to resolve. In emergencies, you can get limited consular assistance from EU partners with Embassies in Suva.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Fiji, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Canberra if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Fiji, you should be extremely careful. Traffic discipline can be poor, roads are often badly lit and of poor quality and animals on the road are a hazard.  In particular, it’s dangerous to drive at night between Nadi and Suva. If you want to drive, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

Taxis/minibuses

When using taxis or mini buses, we advise you to use ones with yellow registration plates. This show that the vehicle recently complied with Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulations. Not all minibuses currently operating in Fiji are licensed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and unlicensed minibuses will probably not be insured.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Outdoor activities

Safety standards of tour operators in Fiji may not compare to Irish standards, especially for adventure sports (including diving) or on boats in coastal waters and between islands. There may not be enough life jackets for boats, rafts and kayaks. Check the operator’s credentials and safety equipment beforehand and make sure your travel insurance policy covers your planned activities.

Water sports

Be aware that there are dangerous rip tides along many of Fiji’s reefs and river estuaries, so you should know what you’re dealing with before you get in the water. Always wear the appropriate safety equipment before going out to the reefs or engaging in water sports and take local advice on safety.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including fines and long prison terms. Possession of any amount of marijuana carries a mandatory three-month prison sentence.

Alcohol

It’s illegal to be under the influence of alcohol while at an airport. Airline travellers who are intoxicated may be detained by police.

Local culture

You may be invited to take part in the local ceremony of drinking kava. Be aware that in rare cases, there are indications that this could have adverse effects on the liver.

Law enforcement

Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden.

LGBT

Homosexuality in Fiji is legal. Nonetheless, discretion, and awareness of local sensitivities, is advised particularly when visiting rural communities.

Natural disasters and climate

Cyclones

Tropical Cyclone Winston (February 2016)

Tropical Cyclone Winston hit Fiji on 20/21 February, causing widespread coastal and flash flooding, damaging property, and disrupting power supplies and communications. Flights into and out of Fiji were temporarily suspended, but services resumed on 22 February. There are no reports of significant structural damage to the majority of hotels in Viti Levu, except in some localised areas. Irish Citizens should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor weather reports closely. Our very strong advice is that you should check with your airline or travel agent for the latest travel information before attempting to travel.

Tropical cyclones are common in Fiji from the beginning of November until the end of April. There is a warning system in operation, though it may not always be adequate.  

The direction and strength of tropical cyclones can change with little warning. The Fiji Meteorological Service provides up to date information about the weather conditions in Fiji and you can also get information from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster,  the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre or the Humanitarian Early Warning Service

In the event of an approaching cyclone, you should identify your local shelter. Follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments. Carry your travel documents (ie passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. If possible, contact friends and family in Ireland with updates to let them know you’re safe.

Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended and you should be aware that available flights may fill quickly. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to everyone who chooses to stay.

Earthquakes

Fiji is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors from time to time. These can trigger tsunami alerts. Familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake, and take note of earthquake and tsunami-related instructions from your hotel or the local authorities.

Flooding

Flash floods resulting in landslides and road blockages can happen throughout the year in the Fiji Islands. In periods of heavy rain, check with your tour operator or resort before travelling, particularly by road.

 

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure of the entry requirements for Fiji, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Fiji.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Fiji.

Medical facilities

Health care facilities in Fiji are adequate for routine medical treatment, but they are limited in range and may not be available in some regions. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation could be a likely option for treatment, and you should make sure that your insurance policy covers this. Be aware that doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Zika Virus

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America, the Caribbean and other locations including Fiji. Infection with Zika virus has been increasingly linked with a serious birth condition called microcephaly where the baby is born with an abnormally small head and/or brain damage. An increase in cases of a neurological illness (called Guillan Barre Syndrome) have also been reported in areas where Zika virus outbreaks have occurred. Irish Citizens are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by the Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas.

As the Zika virus can be passed in a man’s semen, men returning from a Zika-affected area who do not have any symptoms of Zika are advised to practice safe sex (by wearing a condom) for one month after return. Men who have developed symptoms that could be due to Zika virus infection (fever, headache, aches, pains, rash, itchy eyes) are advised to practice safe sex (by wearing a condom) for 6 months after return. This is precautionary advice that may be revised as more information becomes available.

Dengue fever

Outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses (including dengue fever and filariasis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Before travelling, get up-to-date medical advice as to whether you will need anti-malarial medication. When you arrive, avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Other illnesses

Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including typhoid, hepatitis, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, measles and mumps) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Fijian authorities have reported cases of typhoid in Suva and throughout the country.

Water

We recommend that you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes, raw and undercooked food.

Money

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Consult with your bank to find the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work.

Mobile phone coverage

The mobile phone network generally works well in cities and large towns but coverage in some rural areas and outlying islands can be limited or non-existent. This may result in you being out of contact with home for periods of time.