The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Fiji. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
For entry requirements for Fiji, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Fiji.
SAFETY & SECURITY
Irish citizens in Fiji are strongly recommended to register
If there is a natural disaster while you are in Fiji, this
registration will ensure that we know you are there. Registering
with us also ensures that we have your next of kin details if
something goes wrong and we need to contact them quickly.
It is 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 but leave your passport and other important documents and spare cash in a safe place when you go out.
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. Significant numbers of foreign tourists are victims of violent robbery, particularly after dark in Suva and other towns. Be alert when you are withdrawing cash from cash machines. Travellers, especially when travelling alone, should take extra care when visiting isolated locations. Women travelling on their own should exercise caution to help ensure their personal security.
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 out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work. Don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves. As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage.
The most common issue to come to the attention of the Embassy is theft of a passport, which can present a very serious inconvenience, due to the huge distance from the nearest Irish Embassy (in Canberra, Australia). In emergencies, limited consular assistance can be made available from EU partners with Embassies in Suva.
In April 2009 the President of Fiji abrogated the constitution following a Fiji court decision that the interim government led by the Commander of the Fiji military since the December 2006 military coup is illegal. Fiji is currently ruled by decree, including a set of Public Emergency Regulations, giving the police and military extensive powers. There remains a potential for civil unrest. You should avoid all political rallies and avoid openly discussing political issues. You should avoid military installations, military activity and concentrations of military personnel, especially around Suva. In view of censorship of local media, travellers wishing to monitor the political situation during their visit should seek internet access to international media.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
Possession of any quantity of illicit drugs may result in a prison sentence. Possession of any amount of marijuana carries a mandatory three-month prison sentence.
It is illegal in Fiji to be under the influence of alcohol while at an airport. Airline travellers who are intoxicated may be detained by police.
Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden.
Homosexuality in Fiji has been decriminalised by the Crime Decree which came into effect in February 2010. Gay and lesbian travellers should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly when visiting rural communities.
You may be invited to participate in the local ceremony of drinking kava. There are indications that this may have adverse affects on the liver in rare cases.
Your doctor or travel clinic is the best source of information about preventive measures, immunisations (including booster doses of childhood vaccinations) and disease outbreaks overseas.
Health care facilities in Fiji are adequate for routine medical treatment, but are limited in range and availability. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation could be a likely option for treatment, and you should ensure that your insurance policy covers this.
Outbreaks of mosquito-borne illnesses (including dengue fever and filariasis) are common, with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. We recommend you take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes, including using insect repellent.
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 recently reported cases of typhoid in Suva and throughout the country. We recommend that you boil all drinking water or drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes, raw and undercooked food.
Traffic discipline can be poor and driving is therefore potentially hazardous. In particular, it is dangerous to drive at night between Nadi and Suva. Road quality and lighting are poor and animals on the road are a hazard.
When using taxis, it is advisable to use one with a yellow registration plate, which denotes recent compliance with Land Transport Authority (LTA) regulations. You should be aware not all minibuses currently operating in Fiji are licensed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA). As with taxis, those with yellow number plates have been approved by the LTA. Unlicensed minibuses will probably not be insured.
The safety standards you might expect of tour operators are not always met, especially for adventure sports (including diving) or on boats in coastal waters and between islands. There are sometimes insufficient life jackets for boats, rafts and kayaks. Check operators' credentials and safety equipment beforehand and ensure your travel insurance policy covers your planned activities.
There are dangerous rip tides along many of the reefs and river estuaries. Check before entering the water. Wear the appropriate safety equipment before going out to the reefs or engaging in water sports and take local advice on safety at all times when engaging in adventure sports.
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 [http://www.met.gov.fj/] provides up to date information about the weather conditions in Fiji. Information can also be obtained from the Asia-Pacific Centre for Emergency and Disaster Information http://apcedi.blogspot.com/, the World Meteorological Organisation Severe Weather Information Centre [http://severe.worldweather.org/] or the Humanitarian Early Warning Service [http://www.hewsweb.org/storms/].
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 (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. If possible, contact friends and family in Ireland with updates about your welfare and whereabouts.
Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe cyclone may not be available to all who may choose to stay.
Fiji is in an earthquake zone and suffers from tremors from time to time. These can trigger tsunami alerts. You should familiarise yourself with safety procedures in the event of an earthquake, and take note of earthquake and tsunami related instructions e.g. in hotel rooms.
Flash floods resulting in landslides and road blockages are not uncommon throughout the Fiji Islands. In periods of heavy rain, which can occur at any time of year, check with your tour operator or resort before travelling, particularly by road.
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 you being out of contact with home for periods of time.
DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS