• Launch Full Gallery

Stay at our Eco-Lodge Service Base in Fiji for two to ten weeks. Your weekdays will be filled with community service while on the weekend you can enjoy fun activities like island hopping, or scuba diving. Work on six different community service projects ranging from tutoring at a local elementary school to working on a construction project in a nearby village. Spend quality time with our local staff as you learn how to cook traditional dishes and get to know the Fijian culture and way of life.

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.

Read More

2018 Departures

Departs (USA) Returns (USA) Availability
June 5 June 20 Available
June 12 June 27 Limited
June 19 July 4 Available
June 26 July 11 Available
July 3 July 18 Available
July 10 July 25 Available
July 17 August 1 Very Limited
July 24 August 8 Available
July 31 August 15 Available

Program Profile

Country
Fiji Islands
Community Service Component
Introductory
Community Service Focus
Education, Infrastructure, Environment
Get to Know
The People
Lifestyle
Settle in at the Base
Travel Component
Stationary Program

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 decent, 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.

Weekend Side Trips

Students staying at the base for two or more weeks have the option of a weekend side trip after their first full week of service. Please note that students participating in Weekend Side Trips will lose 9 community service hours.

Highlands Discovery

3 days, 2 nights | $295

Journey into the rural interior of Fiji and experience local life in a way few visitors ever have. Enjoy swimming beneath a towering waterfall and hiking along ancient trails. Race bamboo rafts, tell stories under the stars, and sleep in Fijian thatched-roof bures. The Highlands Discovery will immerse you in the traditions of the “real” Fiji.

Tropical Island Interlude

3 days, 2 nights | $355

Our Tropical Island Interlude is a chance to recharge between your service projects by escaping to a beautiful island retreat. Take a dip in the warm Pacific waters, play beach soccer or volleyball, or enjoy your getaway by just napping on the sands. Accommodations are dormitory-style and include a variety of snorkeling, kayaking and nature-based activities!

Coral Coast Cruiser

3 days, 2 nights | $395

Add some additional excitement to your weekend with the chance to experience Fiji’s Coral Coast. Relax at a local backpacker resort, zip line across the tropical rainforest, challenge yourself on a high-ropes course, and explore Suva, the country’s capital, with dinner and a movie. Between activities, relax while paddling in warm waves or lounge on the beach.

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.

    Rustic Pathways primarily uses Fiji Airways, the national airline of the Fiji Islands, for our group flights departing Los Angeles. This flight is non-stop to Nadi International Airport and is escorted by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader. It departs LAX in the late evening and takes about 10 hours. During your flight take the time to get to know other students, get some sleep in preparation for your arrival in the South Pacific, relax with a movie or two and get ready to enjoy the easy-going and friendly nature of the Fijians and their legendary hospitality.

  • 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 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 over 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.

    In the evening, participate in a formal sevusevu ceremony (a traditional welcoming ceremony) and begin to learn about the amazing country you have just entered. 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 our huge deck with new friends is the perfect end to your first day in Fiji.

  • Day 4

    The Fijian People and Your Projects

    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 from 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 may 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.

  • Day 5 - 6

    Work and Wander this Weekend!

    Participate in large group community service projects over the weekend. Generally, work on Sunday will be focused 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! Generally, work on Sunday will be focused on larger projects that involve a whole village or community. 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!

  • Day 7 - 9

    More Exciting Projects and Wonderful Cross-Cultural Participation!

    The remainder of the week will run much the same as the first, but don’t worry! No day is exactly the same in Fiji, so there will be plenty of new opportunities for service and adventure. 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! They range from ridiculous trivia nights to quiet songs around a traditional kava circle. The staff will charm you into being outrageously silly or sincerely reflective. You will find that Fijians will inspire you to try both.

    Wednesday 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 who may be departing a week earlier than you.

  • Day 10

    A little bit of Morning Sunshine!

    Today is the chance to spend your morning soaking up the sun before you prepare for an afternoon of service. You will get the opportunity to welcome a new group of participants to the Eco-Lodge and answer their questions as the students before you answered yours. Head to the beach to get to know new friends and by the afternoon, you will be back out in the community working hard on the service initiatives.

    As you begin your second week, you will find that the more time you spend here, the greater your ability to communicate, participate, and contribute. Your understanding of Fijian culture will deepen and your friendships will become stronger.

  • Day 11 - 15

    The Sun, Sand and Service Adventure Continues

    While your second week of service will allow you to revisit some familiar sites, you will also have the opportunity to contribute to some initiatives for the first time. Your staff will encourage you to enjoy all that this program 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.

    Weekend Side Trips!

    During your second weekend (and third or fourth, if you stay for multiple sessions) at the Eco-Lodge you will have the opportunity to join an add-on Weekend Side Trip. These trips are a great way to explore more of Fiji in the midst of the important service work you are a part of at the Eco-Lodge. Choose from relaxing in a picture perfect island paradise, exploring native flora and fauna and zip lining, or traveling to the Highlands region and immersing yourself in village
    life. These trips are unique and awesome opportunities. Please note that number of community service hours awarded may be affected if you choose to do a weekend trip that extends for two or more days. For more information about these weekend adventures, please check out the special Eco-Lodge Weekend Side Trip web page.

  • Day 16

    Moce "Goodbye"

    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 bits of culture and shop for souvenirs today. 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 students joining the Sun, Sand and International Service program for additional weeks, get ready for more adventures, more time with local friends, and a lot more fun! Welcome in the new students and get back out in the amazing community of Fiji!

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.

  • 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 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 International 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.
    • WEEKEND SIDE TRIPS – $295-$395 (additional money for snacks/ add-on activities recommended) Please refer to the Overview section of the Sun, Sand, and International Service page for the trip options and pricing details.

     

  • $500 plus additional for skydiving or weekend side trips

  • Please refer to our Community Service Hour Awards webpage for more information on how service hours are awarded.

    Up to 60 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 Sun, Sand, and International Service 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 (6-8)
  • Underwear (10-12)
  • Base layers
  • Pants/capris (2-3)
  • Long shorts (must be knee length)
  • Long skirt (2-3)
  • Tank Tops (3-5)
  • T-shirts (6-8)
  • Long sleeved shirt (2-3)
  • 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
  • Contact 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
    Nadi

    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!

  2. b
    Momi

    This is where the Rustic Pathways Eco-Lodge is located. Service projects are in the surrounding area up to one hour away from Momi.