Welcome to Fiji! You will arrive into Nadi and start your adventure! This is also where you can jump from a plane on an optional skydive!
Work on a variety of community service projects while staying at our beautiful Eco-Lodge Service Base in Fiji. From tutoring at a local school to working on small construction projects, you’ll have the ability to do a range of service work. Get to know Fijian culture through our local staff who will teach you about the country’s history, perform a traditional dance, and show you how to cook delicious local food. Meet students from all over the world at the base as you spend your free time swimming in the pool and hanging out in the sun.
Established in 2004, the Rustic Pathways Eco-Lodge continues to positively integrate itself into the local environment and community. The main lodge was constructed using locally grown timber. The ground level contains a kitchen, office, large dining area, and game room with billiards. The house also features a large deck leading to an infinity-edge swimming pool. The grounds have extensive gardens, sports fields, and meditation decks tucked among fruit trees and swaying palms. The base is a favorite location for students traveling in Fiji. Rooms are divided between dormitory-style bedrooms and several authentic bures, or cabins, spread throughout the property. Bathrooms are modern, with flushing toilets and solarpowered hot-water showers. Our base is located between two Fijian villages and surrounded by a number of local farms that are generally owned by families of Indian descent, which make up close to 40 percent of Fiji’s population. The mixture of Fijian and Indian neighbors creates an interesting and vibrant atmosphere from which to explore and learn about Fiji and its unique mix of cultures.
Schools are taught in English in Fiji but most young students arrive at school only having spoken their native Fijian or Hindi at home. Help boost English skills in young students by leading lessons at public schools. You will also design and run art projects that inspire creativity and imagination and support school curricula. Join in weekend enrichment programs with disadvantaged youth, sharing in sports clinics and other activities that build teamwork and leadership skills.
Spend time teaching Fijian youth computer basics to help them build important skills for their future. The young students we work with rarely have access to a computer and you will have a blast playing educational games, leading typing lessons, and teaching them general computer basics. You will also share your computer knowledge and lessons with local teachers so they can continue to assist their own students. Feel a great sense of accomplishment as you watch your students’ skills grow!
The daily life of most Fijians is still closely tied to the natural world, but increasing urban development, pollution, and other environmental challenges are a growing concern. Learn more about these issues as you help protect Fiji’s magnificent natural environment through beach cleanups and reforestation projects with park rangers who are working to reduce pollution and prevent erosion along the coast. Explore Fiji’s amazing island eco-system as you support local environmental conservation efforts.
Rural villages in Fiji often have limited access to the basic infrastructure that is essential for healthy, productive, and sustainable communities. Join our ongoing work to build toilets and footpaths in a Fijian village to improve health and sanitation. You will be amazed at the warm welcome you receive as you work with villagers to mix cement, lay pipes, and make a positive impact. Lead health awareness activities for village children and get a real taste of what life is like in a traditional Fijian village.
Make much-needed improvements to school and kindergarten facilities and paint colorful murals alongside village students. We work with a group of rural schools around our Eco-Lodge Base that operate on very limited budgets yet continuously strive to improve their facilities to provide a better education for their students. Join forces with local children, parents, and teachers, and share in lots of laughs and fun as you work on building projects to improve school facilities and make new friends in Fiji.
For Fijians living near the poverty line, the high cost of food in the country can be a major concern. You may spend a morning or afternoon in the home of a village family preparing healthy meals and then head out to deliver them in partnership with social service agencies. Or, you may work on our chicken coop project, which works with local families to develop both a source of food and income so they can better meet basic needs. Learn best practices of sustainability through this popular initiative.
Welcome to your South Pacific adventure! All of our scheduled group flights to Fiji depart from Los Angeles on Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline. Your flight will be non-stop to Nadi International Airport and will be escorted by a Rustic Pathways flight leader. The flight will depart LAX in the evening and take about 10 hours. During your flight you can meet other students, get some sleep in preparation for your arrival, relax with a movie or two, and start to settle into the easy-going Fijian way of life.
Today is lost as you cross the international dateline, but don’t worry too much – you will get it back on your way home!
Upon clearing customs and immigration, you will be greeted by Rustic Pathways’ Fiji leaders and transported to your new home at the beautiful South Pacific Eco-Lodge Base. Enjoy a tropical breakfast with your leaders and new friends. Receive an orientation about the week ahead of you while you look out at sugarcane fields that seem to fall into the ocean. The staff will help you settle into your new home and answer any questions you might have. Then, it is off to the beach for a few hours of sun and fun for your first day in Fiji.
Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands in total but you will spend most of your time on Viti Levu, the largest island. While the islands have been inhabited for thousands of years, European settlement occurred less than 200 years ago. Many ancient Fijian traditions are still intact and regularly practiced today and as part of your trip, you’ll learn about these from our local staff and friends.
This evening, participate in a formal sevusevu ceremony (a traditional welcoming ceremony) and begin to learn about the amazing country you are visiting. Dressed in your new sulu (traditional Fijian sarong or skirt), you will sit in a kava circle and begin to learn that it is more than just the world-renowned beaches that make Fiji special. The local staff will guide you through your first step of cultural understanding as you participate in this ceremony. Sharing in a kava ceremony while watching the sunset from a huge deck with new friends is the perfect end to your first day in Fiji.
Friday will be your first full day of service work. Rustic Pathways has developed a wonderful relationship with the local people of Momi Bay and the larger Nadi area. Project work during the course of your program is focused around the six service initiatives we have undertaken at the Eco-Lodge.
You will typically get involved in two projects during the course of the day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. You can expect to spend time working in the local schools, tutoring students in English, getting involved with afternoon sporting events, and facilitating much-needed art and music classes. In addition, you might teach computer literacy classes to older youth and young adults or help a neighbor repair their roof or build a kitchen. You will also get involved in some environmental projects to help preserve the beautiful and fragile ecosystems here. Your service will be varied, interesting, challenging, and extremely rewarding and worthwhile.
In the afternoon and evenings you will enjoy some of the beautiful natural wonders Fiji has to offer. From surfing down sand dunes to soaking in the natural hot springs or jumping into a pool of mud, no afternoon is dull. The Base hosts meke performances (indigenous Fijian dances) and Indo-Fijian cultural nights where you can learn about the large Indian culture that exists in Fiji. Your afternoons will be full of the exotic beauty that makes Fiji a top tourist destination, and opportunities to learn about the culture that created it.
Participate in large group community service projects over the weekend. Generally, work on Saturday will involve projects that enable you to complete tasks at schools while students are not in their classrooms, or to work on larger projects that involve a whole village or community. Many of the local adults are able to participate and get involved after meeting their job obligations during the course of a normal working week.
When your group is not doing service this weekend, your time will be spent enjoying the wonders that Fiji has to offer in whatever way that fits your mood! How you spend your free day is up to you. Go swimming, snorkeling, or surfing at beautiful Natadola beach, or join in the awesome add-on activities that are available. You might choose to explore paradise while island hopping, discover the world below while scuba diving, or test your courage by sky diving. Get ready for a day you will never forget!
After a day of fun and sun, the focus of your next two days will be on service. Break into small groups each morning and spend the days on a variety of different initiatives. Get ready to teach, paint, plant, build, and share in the diverse and welcoming communities around the Eco-Lodge.
Evenings are special at The Base! The staff will charm you into being outrageously silly or sincerely reflective. You will find that Fijians will inspire you to try both.
Tuesday nights are reserved for a weekly farewell ceremony. Take the time to reflect on your experiences and lessons learned, and say goodbye to your new but very special friends.
Your time in Fiji has flown by like a dream, and you should now be very familiar with Fijian culture and what this easy-going island nation is all about. Soak up some last rays of sunshine and shop for souvenirs today after completing a final morning of service work. You will get the chance to explore the town and the local handicraft market for gifts and reminders of your time in Fiji.
If you are departing to the U.S. tonight, after a final meal with your group, you travel to the airport and bid Fiji farewell (until next year perhaps). You will be escorted to LAX with a Rustic Pathways Flight leader.
For those students who are continuing to another Rustic Pathways program in Fiji or overseas, you will commence your next program on Thursday morning.
Extending Your Stay: Weeks Two, Three, Four and beyond….
Fiji has a way of seducing you and these islands have captivated many a visitor. Finding a place with the degree of friendliness that the locals possess, the natural beauty that this country exudes, and the easy-going and peaceful pace of life is wonderfully refreshing and incredibly enticing. Your staff will encourage you to enjoy all that Fiji has to offer and we hope that the quality and range of projects, personalities, and activities you experience only make you want to stay longer!
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity.
The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
“Optional Activities” are fully included in the cost of your program, but you can choose to not do these activities.
“Add-On Activities” are not included in the cost of your program and must be paid for separately. Add-on activities are rare, but include things like skydiving, bungee jumping, or weekend side-trips. Not every program has add-on activities.
For more information, email email@example.com
All programs in Fiji connect easily together. On the final day of each program, participants will go to the airport to connect with the staff, arriving participants, and other connecting participants for their next program. Participants connecting to programs in Australia will depart on the final day of their Fiji program and connect with their next trip as it begins.
US citizens do not need a visa for entry as a tourist into Fiji. On arrival into Fiji, immigration will issue US citizens with a tourist visa for entry into the county. No prior arrangements for US citizens are needed.
A flight leader will accompany participants on the group flight to Fiji from Los Angeles. Participants will meet their flight leader at the departure gate in Los Angeles. Participants joining a program in Fiji from Australia will not be accompanied by a flight leader. Our program staff will greet participants when they arrive at the Nadi Airport in Fiji.
Fiji is 10 hours by air from Los Angeles. Flights from Australia are usually 3-4 hours.
Yes, the trip length includes international travel to and from the United States.
This program operates on the main island of Fiji, Viti Levu. This program will be focused in Momi Bay.
Each program will have leaders who are certified in First Aid and CPR. Some of our program leaders are also certified as Wilderness First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Rustic Pathways maintains a minimum of 1 Program Leader for every 7 participants. Additionally, each program maintains at least 2 primary program leaders, one male and one female.
Rustic Pathways uses sterilization techniques to ensure that all drinking water for participants is potable and safe to drink. We ask participants to bring reusable water bottles in order to reduce plastic usage.
Participants are allowed to bring phones on their Rustic Pathways program, but must abide by our cell phone policy. Participants will not be allowed to use their phones during group activities, nor at any other time where it is disruptive to the group dynamic. If participants are unable to abide by this policy, disciplinary action may be taken.
Fiji operates at 240 V and uses plug I, the same as in Australia and New Zealand. You will just need a plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances.
The weather is an average of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Mornings and evenings tend to be a little cooler so a light jacket is advisable. Rain is not likely but can occur.
The Eco Lodge consists of a main house with kitchen and activity space and several small houses that sleep six to eight participants on bunk-beds. Participants share rooms with others of the same gender and one same-sex staff member. Each house has an attached bathroom with solar powered hot water showers, sinks, and flush toilets. There is an infinity-edge swimming pool, soccer field, small weight room, and pool table.
The Eco Lodge has its own resident chef and team of cooking staff. Participants will eat a combination of local Fijian dishes and more western-style dishes. Breakfasts typically include cereal, breads, eggs, crackers, and fruit. Lunches and dinners range from traditional Fijian lovo feasts of chicken, cassava, and dalo (root crops similar to potatoes) to barbeques, pastas, stir fries, curries, salads, and vegetables. Vegetarians can easily be catered for, and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Bathrooms are western style toilets with running water while at the Eco Lodge.
Participants can call home in the morning of a program before their program departs for the day’s activities. Local phone cards typically offer the best rates (about $5 for 15mins) and participants can purchase these when in Fiji. Participants are not allowed to use cell phones during scheduled program activities.
Safe arrival emails will be sent out when participants settle in country. Participants will have the opportunity at least once a week to check the Internet in town.
Laundry can be washed by hand at any time. It is best to pack without the expectation of doing laundry. Laundry can be sent out once a week for $25-$50 a load depending on weight.
On average, our programs in Fiji are 60% female and 40% male.
Please visit International SOS for an up to date report on current situations regarding visiting Fiji. Staff will alert participants if any changes to safety occur within the country.
Please consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for immunization and other medical recommendations, based on the area(s) where you will be traveling and on your own medical history. In addition to consulting with a medical professional, please visit the International SOS and Centers for Disease Control websites for country specific information around immunizations and traveler’s health. Please let us know if you have specific questions.
International SOS is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to International SOS benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.
As a member you will have access to SOS’s extensive travel information database to help you make informed decisions prior to travel. Additionally, all travelers who travel outside their country of residence will have access to medical evacuation support during their program. For more information please visit our International SOS webpage.
We are a 45 minute drive away from a doctor and public hospital in the town of Nadi; 3 hours from a more advanced private hospital in the capital, Suva, and a 4-hour flight to Western-style care in New Zealand or Australia.
The Eco lodge can cater to most specific diets including but not limited to vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose free, as well as peanut free cooking.
Mosquitos are prevalent in Fiji and participants are expected to bring bug spray. Participants will be provided with a mosquito net over each individual bed.
Personal gifts, Internet, phone calls, and snacks are not included. All other costs (accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, and activities) are included in the program price.
• Skydiving: Nadi, $300 to $500
• Skydiving Photos: $120-$150
• Island Hopping: Mamanuca Islands: $80 (extra $ for add-on Banana Boat – $20 Parasailing – $40 Wake Boarding $40 Hotel Lunch – $20)
• Zip-Lining: $60
• Fijian Massage: $30
• Scuba Diving: $100-$200 depending on certification level and number of dives.
$250 plus additional for skydiving
Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.
Up to 30 community service hours will be awarded, less if attending a weekend side trip.
Rustic Pathways works with local community leaders and organizations to identify and prioritize the needs of each community.
Please refer to the Overview section of the Intro to Community Service in Fiji page for more detailed information about our service projects at the Ecolodge.
Packing the right gear (and the right amounts) is the first step to an incredible travel experience. Follow these tips to pack like a pro:
Travel light. Pack only the essentials. You’ll need less than you think!
Bring the right clothes. Pack clothes that are culturally appropriate for your destination and acceptable for service projects. This means bringing long shorts (think Bermuda and basketball shorts), t-shirts with sleeves to cover shoulders, and appropriate footwear.
Leave your valuables behind. While traveling, it’s easier for things to get lost, stolen, or damaged. Keep any prized possessions safe at home.
Check with TSA. Make sure your luggage complies with TSA regulations, especially your carry-on. Useful tip: Pack an empty water bottle and fill it up after security.
Extra paperwork? If you need additional forms filled out to get credit for your service hours, no problem! Bring these forms with you so they can be completed in-country.
A school backpack or similar sized bag is ideal.
A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.
(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)
Welcome to Fiji! You will arrive into Nadi and start your adventure! This is also where you can jump from a plane on an optional skydive!
This is where the Rustic Pathways Eco-Lodge is located. Service projects are in the surrounding area up to one hour away from Momi.