The currency used in Fiji is the Fiji dollar. Notes come in denominations of F$1, F$2, F$5, F$10, F$20 and F$50. Coins are in amounts of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 cents and one dollar. Despite Fiji’s withdrawal from the Commonwealth, QE II’s countenance shines brightly from Fijian currency. Traditions die hard.
Always carry plenty of small change, especially small bills (which are called 'notes’ here). Why? It never ceases to amaze me how often taxis seem to be short of the proper change and expect you to make up the difference. The same scenario might occur when bargaining for an item at a craft market.
You will find that travelers’ checks are readily cashed in any Fiji bank and in most hotels and duty-free shops.
When traveling to Fiji it’s best to bring a minimal amount of cash. There is no point in bringing massive amounts of cash with you. In former times I'd bring travelers checks but I haven't used them in years. With the preponderance of automatic tellers, just go to the magic machine and retrieve your cash. What could be simpler?
If you want to be old fashioned, sure travelers checks are still an option. One can always cash them at a bank or at a hotel and if they are lost or stolen you can always get your money back. Naturally you will want to take your credit card with you for hotel stays or big ticket items. Many restaurants, merchants and virtually all larger hotels will honor credit cards. It’s not necessary to get Fijian currency prior to travel. One can exchange money at Nadi International Airport as soon as you land.
There they go again. The Fiji Government sprung a surprise on everyone in January of 2012 and raised the departure tax 50% to F$150 (approximately US$85). Just so you know... Normally it's part of the fees tucked in your airline ticket.
Inevitably one will ask how expensive Fiji is relative to other destinations or even to your home town. We have compiled a list of everyday purchases to give you an idea of how much things cost. All prices will be denominated in Fiji dollars.
Expect to get whacked with a 12.5% 'value added tax' (VAT) on all transactions associated with tourism. This includes car rentals, meals, rooms and other major (and minor) items.
Government and business offices are open five days a week. The usual hours are from 8 am to 4.30 pm (4 pm on Fridays), with at least an hour for lunch between 1 and 2 pm. Most shops and commercial outlets (including the public markets) are open five days a week and Saturday mornings which is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the week. After 10 pm virtually all restaurants begin closing down, even in Suva, so eat early. For those craving food in the wee hours there are a few takeaways open but these are not easy to find. If you really are starving its best to ask the taxi driver where to go – they know these things.
A few shops are open on Sundays (and holidays). However, Sunday morning service stations are often open and sometimes sell cigarettes and other `essentials’. Bakeries may be open at certain hours on Sundays and in major towns a chemist (pharmacy) is also open. In most towns the Hot Bread Kitchens are open on Sunday mornings and sell bread and other baked goods. Licensed restaurants are open from noon until 2 pm and from 7 to 10 pm.
`Fiji time’ does not necessarily coincide with the split-second punctuality you may be used to back home. Social and even business appointments tend to be later than scheduled, so if someone is late in appearing, don’t fret. Late arrivals and even no-shows are endemic to this part of the world. This can be very frustrating to the uninitiated, but there is nothing that can be done except to adopt the same behavior. However, this is changing to a degree. Some businesses and government offices in Fiji are actually beginning to expect 'Western' punctuality.
Visitors should note that Sundays are very quiet in Fiji. The `desecularization’ of Sundays is probably the most visible change from the old Fiji to the post-coup era. Once the clock strikes midnight on Saturday, most commercial activities (with the exception of restaurants) are shut down. There is, however, public transport and taxi services. Whereas immediately after the coup 10 years ago) all Sunday activities (except going to church) were forbidden, Fijians now are permitted to visit the beach, or play golf, tennis or any other similar recreational activity.