9 Surprising Fiji Facts

I’m back!

I went to Fiji not really knowing what to expect, besides plenty of beaches and palm trees. I’d never read much about Fiji, or seen a lot of pictures, I had no idea what made it different from anywhere else in the South Pacific.

Well, this country surprised me in a big way. Not only was it incredibly beautiful, it has a lot of unique quirks that make it so much more than just a beach. I’m going to write plenty of detailed articles later on, but I thought I’d start with a short primer on some of the more surprising things that you probably never knew about Fiji:

1. It’s Made Up of a LOT of Tiny Islands

332 to be exact, not include over 500 tiny islets. These are spread out over 7000 square miles, making Fiji bigger than you’d think. It becomes slightly less daunting when you realize that only 110 islands are inhabitable and 87% of the population lives on the two biggest islands Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

The hideout of the last cannibals was around here

2. They Kind of Used to be Cannibals

Let’s just get that one out of the way right now. It’s 100% true that prior to the 19th century the Fijians practiced human sacrifices as well as cannibalism. According to the Great Wikipedia:

The bodies of enemies slain in battle, or in sacrifice, were piled up and cooked for festivals, such as the installation of chiefs or the launching of a great canoe.

The last man to be cannibalized in Fiji was the Reverend Thomas Baker in 1867. His partially consumed shoes can still be seen in the National Museum. The tribe apologized to the Reverends family in 2003.

Of course once Christianity spread, the practice was abandoned. Fijians are literally some of the nicest, most friendly people I have met anywhere on earth. They stick to fish now.

3. Village Culture is Still the Way of Life

While there are a handful of small cities, most native Fijians still lead a life centered around their village. Community is very important to their culture, and most wealth and resources are divided among the residents of a village. Even most of the resort staff I got to know all go home to their villages in the evening.

Some areas are very poor, without electricity or running water, and some are doing quite a bit better, but the community spirit can be seen everywhere.

Rafters and Rugby Players

4. Literally Everyone Speaks English

This one might surprise you, until you consider the fact that Fiji was an English colony for over a century, up until 1970. All children are taught English starting from first grade, in addition to standard Fijian AND their local dialect (and sometimes Hindi or Chinese as well!).

Other imports from the English include Christianity, fish and chips and a deep passion for rugby.

Ronal, our Indo-Fijian driver

5. Fiji is Pretty Diverse

Ethnic Fijians comprise only 54% of the country’s population. Really. One of the most surprising things I learned about Fiji is that it has a huge Indian population. Brought over as indentured servants by the British in the 1800’s, their descendants make up nearly 40% of the population. This means it’s really easy to find a good samosa.

There are also white Fijians and even Chinese Fijians who have been in the country for generations.

6. The Bottled Water Thing is Real

It really does come from Fiji! In the United States, Fiji Water is one of the priciest, classiest and, well most wasteful water brands. In Fiji they hand it out like candy.

Hotel Farm

7. They are Big on Sustainability

It might be because they live on small islands with limited resources, but Fiji is incredibly conscious about sustainable tourism practices. The villages of course, are almost completely self-sustaining. Many of the resorts also strive for self-sufficiency and many of the tour companies practice responsible tourism. Basically, unlike Thailand or some other places, you don’t have to feel like crap for being a tourist here.

 8. It’s Not Just a Luxury Destination.

Yes Fiji is full of really beautiful luxury resorts (and I saw some great ones) but that’s not the only way to experience lovely Fiji. There are a lot of reasonable, and even budget resorts, hotels and hostels, and I saw quite a few backpackers headed out to the islands.

9. It’s Gorgeous

Well maybe you knew that, but it’s still so true!

So there’s your primer… stay tuned for more!


Special thanks to Tourism Fiji for inviting us to Fiji and covering our stay.

All opinions are my own.

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51 thoughts on “9 Surprising Fiji Facts”

  1. Yea, ummmm, Rick James, the way you’re commenting and crxp talking about Fiji really shows how low and disgusting you can stoop just to get your way done and it really shows how your parents brought you up. Judging by all the bs you said, it clearly shows that you have never been to Fiji! It is that type of bs comments that make us retaliate in such horrible ways, we are a peace loving and friendly people. Most disagreements are solved within the conflicting parties within a short period of time but to disregard and insult Fiji as a whole is what we can’t just let slip. If you’ve actually been to Fiji, you would never hear us muttering racial slurs at people with different ethnicities.
    I invite you to actually visit Fiji and sew for yourself how we live our daily lives and how we treat visitors/tourists.

  2. Bula vnk…Vinaka Steph…for heritage sites…why don’t you try Levuka,Ovalau…The Old Capital of Fiji. We have the Cession Stone when Fiji was Ceeded to Britain… The first Hotel…Royal Hotel n more Historical sites.You either can go there by boat or by plane.Tour around the Island and Epi’s tour which is hiking to Lovoni village.Diving at Leleuvia Island.The best time to go there is Fiji Day.
    Thank you for your comments about my country… Vinaka Vakalevu

  3. P.S. To whomever wrote this article: Please go back to English class! I’m sure your country is beautiful, but your english sucks! I do not ever want to go to Fiji and talk to you people! I don’t care how cheap the Fiji brand water is!

    1. Rick, I am the author of this post. I’m American, not Fijian. Your reading comprehension skills clearly need work. I would be offended by your comment but the irony of your racist, poorly spelled comment makes it difficult.

  4. To Coop: I hope you do not mean your English school work, because, this whole gramatically- challenged article almost literally realy made my head kinda sorta; exploded, WHO learnt these peoples ( cannibles suposebly who arent or are not existed, anymore)? anyways huh? Borrow me sum of that fiji water and sent it here by way of federal ex. Thnx. P.S. Fu°* up sum commas yeah! Lololol!

  5. What makes Fiji attractive from the other Pacific nation as a tourist destination is that it is a multiracial country and yes everyone speaks good English. Ensure you do your medical /travel insurance etc if you plan a trip to Fiji. The Fijj Visitors Bureau is the best place to get all your queries answered. Fiji Airways now flies daily Lax-Fiji (Airbus A330’s) and its network spreads across the Pacific from its Nadi hub if you plan to explore other Pacific countries. Western union has outlets across the islands and international consulates and embassies are all in the main capital , Suva.

  6. Was looking to read about how is it the time change. I notice this is the last country in the world that is 17 hours ahead from USA East coast time. But if you travel a little further then you are in Hawaii time (6 hours behind) .
    Has anyone traveled back and forth to experience time change?..this must be funny

  7. There’s a wide range of deals throughout the year! And our currency is not that strong; so more savings to travel 🙂 Oh and don’t forget, we have a few World Heritage sites.

  8. Bula everyone! Well, I’m actually from Fiji. If you really want an adventure, then hop on the next plane. I’ve been to countries overseas and its not like home. Here its not that populated (we haven’t reached 1 million) and its practically easy to move around. If travelling by bus, you don’t have to pay a ticket first at the bus station and present it to the driver. You just hop on the bus and pay your fare. Oh, and did I mention that almost all local fruits and veggies are organic. yes, organic! 🙂 most of them grow wildly, so you can always go to the market to get nice stuff! Just some tips – If you want adventure/cultural experiences, go to an island. If you want to unwind/relax, try the coral coast. If you want to unwind, hit the clubs, shop and even go island hopping, try Nadi. If you want to go diving, try Beqa – home to the great white sharks! If want to go sailing – go through Denarau Nadi and tour the Mamanucas and even Lau where Mel Gibson recently bought an island. But then again, travelling around Fiji is not restricted to anything. Enjoy! 🙂

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