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Car Rental in Fiji: the Soft Coral Capital of the World
A South Pacific archipelago of over 300 islands, Fiji has turned from the mariner’s worst nightmare to the visitor’s best tropical dream. Called the “soft coral capital of the world,” Fiji is a great place to explore isolated beaches, soft coral reefs, and pristine volcanic forests. Get off the beaten track and explore this tropical haven thoroughly by booking your car today!
Fiji doesn’t witness much variation in weather year round, making it a summer-like escape virtually any time of the year. With that said, tropical storms are most likely to occur between November and April.
The official languages of Fiji are Fijian, Hindi, and English; while English is the language of government offices and is widely spoken in tourist areas, you may have some trouble finding English speakers off the beaten track, making some quick lessons in Fijian a great idea and a nice way to earn some respect from the locals.
The currency is the Fijian dollar and the time zone is Fijian Standard Time, GMT/UTC+13. It’s likely that many gas or petrol stations and other services will not take credit cards, so have some cash on hand!
You are likely to arrive by airplane at either Nadi International Airport or Nausori International Airport, Suva, both of which have rental car companies nearby. If you can’t book a rental car directly from the airport, ask your rental company if they can deliver the car for you when you arrive. There are car rental services in Lautoka and along the Sigatoka River, as well as at most major hotels.
Fiji’s main island is circumnavigated by a road called the Queens Road in the south and the Kings Road in the north. You can drive between Suva and Nadi in about three hours, and it takes about nine hours to circumnavigate Fiji’s main island as a whole.
Driving in Fiji
Outside of popular tourist areas, roads in Fiji are in poor shape. Whenever driving, be alert for sudden changes in road quality and other obstacles on the road, especially the sudden appearance of animals or other drivers, many of whom are in quite a hurry. Driving at night is not recommended. Of the 3,300 kilometers of roads in Fiji, 1,200 kilometers are tar-sealed. Because of these conditions, many visitors to Fiji miss out on excellent sights and adventures because they’re not willing to drive! Get off the beaten track and make the most of your visit via automobile hire.
- Traffic drives on the left-hand side of the road in Fiji.
- In villages: 60 km/h.
- On the highway: 80 km/h.
- Parking in Suva, which is quite busy, will be regulated, but in all other parts of the country, you are likely able to park wherever convenient.
- Domestic driver’s licenses from English-speaking countries are recognized in Fiji. All other drivers will need to obtain an international driver’s permit in addition to their domestic driver’s license.
- The minimum driving age in Fiji is 17 years old, and driving education for inhabitants is fairly low-key, which may be the reason that traffic can become so chaotic. You’ll need to be at least 21 years old to rent a car, and you’ll likely have to pay extra if you are under 25.
- Third party insurance is required to rent in Fiji.
- If you are stopped by the police, you’ll be asked to show your documents and pay on the spot fines for any offences committed.
- Travellers from many countries can visit Fiji visa-free. They will receive a visitor’s permit valid for 4 months upon entry. All other nationalities will need to apply for a visa before they arrive.
- Hire a guide! Guides can meet you at airports or your hotel and introduce you to authentic village life in Fiji. There’s a stringent protocol for getting to know villagers, and guides will be the ones to help you follow it.
- Some ferries may take passenger cars, though service is limited and irregular. Ask your rental company for information about car travel between islands.
- If you feel as though you are being bullied into purchasing things in markets, firmly and politely say no.
- Take pictures of the car you rent when you pick it up and drop it off, and ask your rental provider to write down any damages to the car that he or she can see before and after you rent it. Keep a copy of these documents to avoid any unfair additional charges. There are petrol or gas stations in all major towns, but petrol stations can be few and far between in rural areas. If you find yourself off the beaten track with a low tank, ask for petrol at a village shop; they may have some fuel for sale in drums.