Renowned for its palm-lined beaches, clear lagoons and rocky landscapes, Fiji is a South Pacific paradise offering an excellent quality of life with a gentle cost of living. While Fiji may seem like the perfect expat destination, there are some drawbacks to life in the world’s soft coral capital.
Below are some pros and cons that expats may experience living in Fiji.
Lifestyle in Fiji
+ PRO: Breathtaking natural scenery
Nature-loving expats will love Fiji’s pristine coastline, picturesque turquoise waters and dramatic mountainscapes and rainforests. Bouma National Heritage Park is a beautiful oasis where expats can hike in some of Fiji’s forests or swim in one of the many waterfalls. Reef viewing, kayaking and island hopping are some exciting activities adventurists can look forward to.
+ PRO: Shimmering beaches
Lounging on one of Fiji’s sandy beaches is sure to become a favourite pastime for new arrivals looking to wind down. Expats can enjoy water sports such as surfing, scuba diving and fishing or simply take in the stunning ocean views from a comfortable beachside resort or restaurant.
+ PRO: Lively annual festivals
Fiji is well known for its rich traditions and culture, and the island country’s festivals celebrate this loudly. The South Indian Fire-Walking Festival is a traditional Hindu cleansing festival that expats can witness around July or August every year. Fijians also observe Diwali and the Hibiscus Festival in a colourful and lively fashion.
- CON: Highly visible economic inequality
Fiji has a noticeable wealth gap, with some of the country’s well-to-do residing in modern housing in the capital and the rural areas unable to access basic services. The contrast between the country's affluent suburbs and villages can be jarring for some expats.
Working in Fiji
+ PRO: Great work culture
The island nation boasts a casual, warm and welcoming work environment, which can make setting up a business or working in Fiji a largely pleasant experience.
- CON: Difficult to find a job and obtain a work visa
Perhaps, one of the biggest downsides to moving to Fiji is the challenge of landing a role. Expats who want to work in Fiji must have a job offer to apply for a work permit. Securing a job offer can be difficult as the country’s economy is still recovering from years of political instability.
Accommodation in Fiji
+ PRO: Most accommodation is furnished or semi-furnished
The standard of housing in Fiji varies considerably depending on where one looks. Fortunately, most rentals come fully or semi-furnished, which helps reduce costs for house hunters.
- CON: House hunting is competitive
Finding suitable accommodation in Fiji can be arduous, especially during the high season. High demand in cities such as Suva or Nadi means rentals do not stay on the market for long.
Getting around in Fiji
+ PRO: Plenty of public transport options
Fiji has an abundance of public transport. Whether expats want to travel on land, by sea or in the air, the island country has something for every occasion. Buses are the most common form of transit, while taxis, ferries and domestic flights are also available.
- CON: Aggressive driving and chaotic traffic
Fijians are infamous for their aggressive and unsafe driving, so those looking to get behind the wheel in the country are encouraged to drive defensively. The country also lacks good quality road infrastructure, further making driving conditions dangerous.
Cost of living in Fiji
+ PRO: Affordable public transport
Owing to the abundance of public transport in Fiji, most options like buses, shared taxis, carriers and ferries are reasonably priced.
+ PRO: Local produce and restaurants are relatively cheap
Expats can decrease their expenses by purchasing locally grown fruit and vegetables. The island country also offers a diverse and vibrant culinary scene, featuring everything from street food to delicious local delicacies at low prices.
- CON: High accommodation prices
A disparity in the supply and demand for homes in Fiji’s urban areas means that accommodation can be quite pricey. Be that as it may, homes in smaller towns and outside the city centres are often more affordable.
- CON: International schools are expensive
Expat parents will likely have to enrol their children in one of the few international schools in Suva or Nadi, which are notoriously competitive and costly.
- CON: Expats will need private health insurance
Fiji’s public health facilities sometimes lack the amenities and skills typical of hospitals and practitioners in Western countries, so expats will need comprehensive health insurance to access high-quality private healthcare in the country.
Safety and security in Fiji
- CON: Petty theft and house break-ins are common
Petty crime and house break-ins are unfortunately a reality in Fiji. The country’s wealth gap has led to an increase in crime and created a need for home security.
Climate in Fiji
+ PRO: Fantastic weather year-round
Fiji is a tropical wonderland blessed with warm weather all year, meaning expats can enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.
- CON: Cyclones can occur
Cyclone season in Fiji is from November to April, and these natural events can be mild or cause massive destruction. Expats must be careful and follow the local authorities’ instructions to ensure their safety.
► For an overview of life in the island country, have a look at Moving to Fiji
"Fiji is a wonderful place to live because of the welcoming and friendly lifestyle. As Fiji is still developing its economy and resources the standard of living is different from Australia, but there is an immeasurable quality of life created through the support and kindness of the community."
Read more about Australian expat Emma's experiences of Fiji here.
Are you an expat living in Fiji?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Fiji. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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