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Spring to Fiji is a chance to experience the magic of Fiji in one action-packed week. Get a taste of what Fiji has to offer through a combination of service projects and daily adventures. Zip-line, kayak, and island hop with our happy-go-lucky staff then spend some time helping the community with education and infrastructure-based projects. You’ll enjoy the laid back, relaxed pace of island life with plenty of time to lounge in the sun and share laughs with your fellow Rustic travelers. You’ll wish you had more than a week to enjoy incredible Fiji!

Students must arrange their own international airfare for this program. Departures from the West Coast (LAX) on Fiji Airways leave at 10:30PM PST and arrive into Nadi, Fiji (NAN) at 6:00am local time on Sunday in Fiji. This program will end in Fiji on Saturdays. Return airfare departs Fiji on Saturday evening and arrives back in the United States on Saturday. There is a 19 hour time difference between Fiji and Los Angeles.

With our No-Stress Travel Policy, you cancel for any reason up until the day of travel, and escrow 100% of the program fees for up to two years from the cancellation date.

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2018 Departures

Starts Ends Availability
March 16 March 24 Available
March 23 March 31 Available
March 30 April 7 Available
April 6 April 14 Available
April 13 April 21 Available

Program Profile

Country
Fiji Islands
Community Service Focus
Education, Infrastructure, Environment

The Base

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.

Service Projects at the Eco-Lodge

English, Arts, and Sports Exchange

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.

Computers are the Future

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!

Environmental Service and Sustainability

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.

Village Infrastructure Project

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.

Building Schools

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.

Home-Cooked Meals

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.

  • Day 1

    Depart the U.S.

    Depart on your flight to Nadi. During your flight you can 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.

  • Day 2

    In Transit

    Today is lost as you cross the international dateline, but don’t worry too much – you will get it back on your way home!

  • Day 3

    Bula! Welcome to Fiji!

    Upon clearing customs and immigration, you will be greeted by Rustic Pathways’ Fiji leaders and transported to your new home at our beautiful Eco Lodge Base. After a round of icebreakers and introductions with the local staff, the group will receive an orientation about the week ahead. After unpacking your belongings in your bures, it’s off to the beach for a few hours of sun and fun for your first day in Fiji.

    In the evening, the group will participate in a formal sevusevu ceremony (a traditional welcoming ceremony) and begin learning the intricacies of cultural practices in Fiji. Dressed in your new sulu (traditional Fijian sarong or skirt), get to know our local staff while sharing a bowl of kava. 

  • Day 4 - 6

    The Adventure Begins!

    Today 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 spend half a day at a service site and the other half enjoying some of the beautiful natural wonders Fiji has to offer. 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.

    From surfing down sand dunes to soaking in 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.

  • Day 7

    Island Hopping

    After a tasty breakfast your group will head out island hopping through the Mamanuca Islands. You will tour around the islands where you will get to see the notorious waves at Cloudbreak and watch surfers try and ride out perfect barrels. Enjoy a smoothie or cold drink when we stop at a nearby resort for lunch. See the famous island where Tom Hanks’ “Cast Away” was filmed. Jump into the water for some snorkeling at one of Fiji’s beautiful reefs.

    When you reach dry land again you will be transported back to the Eco-Lodge for a warm shower.

  • Day 8

    Zip-lining

    Wake up and enjoy a leisurely breakfast overlooking your coastal resort before a morning of high-flying fun. Soar through the canopies of the rainforest and get your adrenaline pumping as you travel from platform to platform among the trees. Conquer your fear of heights while traveling 30 mph through the air and let out a loud Wananavu! as you enjoy stepping outside your comfort zone.

    Then spend the afternoon working on one last service initiative to round off your community efforts here in Fiji. We appreciate all the work you have done this week!

  • Day 9

    Departure Day and Optional Skydiving

    Take a day to go souvenir shopping or get your adrenaline up one last time. This morning you will have time to say goodbye to your new friends and the community that you have become a part of. Spend the morning enjoying the Eco-Lodge, relaxing by the infinity pool, or doing some last-minute packing.

    The serious thrill seekers in the group may participate in an optional heart-pumping skydive. Your legs will be shaking on the way up, but the fall is pure adrenaline.

    Head to Nadi in the afternoon where you can explore the town and purchase gifts for your family and friends. Enjoy your final dinner in Fiji with a view of the sunset before leaving for the airport.

    Tonight you will bid Fiji farewell (until next year perhaps). Fiji’s doors will always be open for you to return again!

An Important Note About Schedule Changes

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 fiji@rusticpathways.com

Program-Specific FAQs

  • 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.

  • 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.What is the ratio of Program Leaders to participants?

  • 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 HX Global 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 HX Global 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.

  • HX Global is one of the world’s leading providers of medical evacuation and travel services. All participants traveling with Rustic Pathways will have access to HX Global benefits through Rustic Pathways’ membership.

    As a member you will have access to HX Global’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 HX Global 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
    • Fijian Massage: $30

     

  • $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.

Rustic Gear. Want to get all your shopping done for your program in one place? We’ve got you covered. Check out Rustic Gear and get all the essentials sent right to your door.

Carry-On

A school backpack or similar sized bag is ideal.

  • Passport
  • Photocopy of passport
  • Wallet/money
  • Book and/or journal
  • Pen
  • Phone
  • Camera
  • Chargers
  • Ear buds
  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Medication
  • Additional community service forms
  • Any relevant Scuba Diving certifications
  • Small backpack or overnight bag (if not already using as carry-on)
  • Outlet power converter
  • Consent to Travel form
  • Rustic Pathways emergency contacts

Checked Luggage

A 50-70 Liter duffel bag or backpack is ideal.

Clothes

  • Socks (3-4)
  • Underwear (6-8)
  • Base layers/long underwear
  • Pants/capris (1-2)
  • Long shorts (must be knee length)
  • Long skirt (1-2) Tank Tops (2-3)
  • T-shirts (3-5)
  • Long sleeved shirt (1-2)
  • Fleece/hoodie
  • Pajamas
  • Swimsuit (1-2)
  • Quick dry towel
  • Beach towel/sarong
  • Rain jacket
  • Strappy sandals (like Tevas or Chacos)
  • Sneakers
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Work gloves

Toiletries

(Travel size bottles in Ziploc bags)

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Face wash
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Contacts
  • Contacts solution
  • Foam ear plugs
  • Personal med kit
  • Deodorant
  • Wet Wipes
  • Razor/shaving cream

Other (Required)

  • Sleeping bag (35 degrees and up)
  • Headlamp/flashlight

Important Reminders

  • Visas for students traveling on U.S. passports will be issued upon arrival. Make sure you check that you are in Fiji on “Holiday” when you fill out the customs and immigration form on the plane.
  • Leggings DO NOT count as long shorts. Long shorts must be loose fitting, like basketball shorts, or cargo shorts.
  • You will be receiving a sulu, a traditional Fijian sarong, when you arrive!
  1. a
    Rustic Pathways Eco-Lodge

    Everything happens here! Hub for the entire program.

  2. b
    Sigatoka Sand Dunes

    Hiking through one of Fiji’s only National Parks.

  3. c
    Mamanuca Islands

    Island hopping day moves around between several islands in this chain.