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Fiji, which is more formally known as the Republic of the Fiji Islands, is actually a group of 322 islands and 522 islets. About 106 of these islands are inhabited, though the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu account for the majority of the population.

Fiji is an infectiously happy place, as most Polynesian islands are. This nation, however, boasts particularly boisterous and friendly locals and offers to-die-for fishing, diving, and surfing opportunities - all in a tropical paradise setting. In addition, this nation is an intriguing mixture of Melanesian, Micronesian, Polynesian, Indian, European, and Chinese influences, so you are in for cultural and culinary treats. The key word in this land - the first Fijian word you will learn, and maybe the only one you will remember - is “bula” (hello). This word pretty much embodies the Fijian way of life. You will be welcomed with open arms and often smiled at (so smile back!).

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There's never really a bad time to visit Fiji because its tropical climate keeps temperatures comfortable year-round. If you had to choose, it might be wise to travel to Fiji during the winter (May-October), which is considered the dry season where days are cooler, and there is a little less rain and humidity. And there are some excellent Fiji hotels.

he largest island in the Fijian archipelago is Viti Levu , a nature-lover's paradise and primary destination for first-time travel to the nation. You will likely begin your journey on the western coast in the city of Nadi (pronounced NAN-dee), where the country's only international airport is located. From Nadi, you can venture to the Mamanuca Islands by ferry, with world-class fishing and snorkeling or a bit farther north to the Yasawas , which is known for its classy, relaxing resorts.

It is logical from Nadi to continue along the southern coast, visiting the long sandy beach of Natadola , the spectacular Sigatoka sand dunes, the tropical rain forests near Korolevu , and the blue ocean stretching far out to the horizon near Pacific Harbor, finally reaching the other side of the island in the eastern city and the nation's capital, Suva . Scattered around Viti Levu's southern coast are some of the world best surf breaks, especially surrounding the islands of Namotu , Tavarua , and Yanuca.

From Suva, domestic ferries and planes depart to outer island destinations like Vanua Levu , which is oft regarded as the friendliest isle, Taveuni , where lush green rain forests abound, and the Lau Group for some surfing.

If the natural beauty of this nation doesn't satisfy you, Fiji also has some of the best fishing and diving in all of the Pacific islands. The reef at Frigate's Passage , for instance, has some of the most lively underwater life you will ever see. Even on a cloudy day you are sure to see a Spanish mackerel or barracuda swimming by within arm's reach. Fish, troll, snorkel, dive, swim — just get in the water and take in the tropical wonder that thrives beneath you. and enjoy scuba diving in Fiji.

Fiji has experienced two periods of non-violent, political unrest — most recently in December 2006. The recent coup, spurred by long-standing disagreements between the government and the military, should not dissuade travelers from coming to Fiji, as the situation poses no threat to tourists. However, with the noticeable division between the ethnic Fijians and growing Indian population, national unification proves difficult. Therefore, awareness of the most current political situation is still necessary.

Fiji information

The islands of Fiji offer spectacular natural beauty, which includes both mountains and tropical forests. In addition to its natural splendor, the islands boast a rich culture with a mixture of Chinese, Indian, and European traditions. As such, visitors typically enjoy submerging themselves deeply into the language, costumes, food, music, art, dance, architecture, and sports the island nation has to offer, it is a fantastic place for a holiday.

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