Fiji is quite simply picture postcard stunning! White sandy beaches, turqouise water, lush tropical mountains and a smile on every local's face.
The jewel of the South Pacific, the Fijian Islands cover around 1.3 million square kilometres but less than 1.5% of this is dry land. Fiji has over 300 islands and VESA invites you to come join us this year and see a few of the best!
Fiji lies to the south of the equator and to the north of the Tropic of Capricorn, the international date line making a marked dogleg to the east to keep all of Fiij falling within the same time zone. The largest island and home to it's capital (Suva) is Viti Levu. Suva, the capital of Fiji and it's largest city has a poplulation of little over 190,000 people. Whilst English is widely spoken in Fiji, the official languages are Fijian and Fijian Hindi.
Owing to it's geography Fiji's richest wildlife is found underwater, in it's crystal clear oceans. There are hundreds of species of hard and soft corals, seas fans and sponges. The tropical fish of Fiji are breathtaking and numerous. Finding Nemo is relatively simple in the warm waters of Fiji's coral reefs. Turtles can be seen cruising the shallows near the beaches and numerous large pelagic and reef fish abound!
Fiji's population is a vibrant melting pot of indigenous Fijian's and Indo - Fijian's. Whilst indigenous Fijian's are more likely to live in traditional villages with strict hierarchy, the minority Indo - Fijian's are more prevalent in the larger cities. It is a predominantly Catholic society with a significant Hindu minority. Women play an important role in the Fijian economy and society with female travellers rarely, if ever, experiencing any trouble in this friendly and welcoming culture.
Although a fortunate country in many ways, Fiji is still a developing nation. Average wages for unskilled workers is about $50 per week with this figure even lower within remote communities. Whilst tourism has bought prosperity to some fortunate Fijian's, many of the large resorts and operators are foreign operated with profit's headed overseas.
Even so, the Fijian people remain endearingly optimistic and welcoming. The lucky few that experience traditional village life in Fiji whilst volunteering with VESA will take away memories and make friendship's that will last a lifetime.