Fiji reopening on Dec. 1 to vaccinated Americans
After nearly two years and just in time for holiday travel, Fiji will be granting quarantine-free entry to fully vaccinated tourists from specific countries, including the U.S., beginning Dec. 1. Unvaccinated travelers under 18 from those countries will be able to enter Fiji if accompanied by a vaccinated adult.
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Fiji reopening to certain travelers on Dec. 1
"Fiji will initially offer quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated travellers from Travel Partner countries," says the Fijian government. Currently, those countries are:
- New Zealand.
- The United States of America.
- The United Kingdom.
- The United Arab Emirates.
- Republic of Korea (South Korea).
- Most Pacific Island countries and territories.
Fully vaccinated travelers from countries not yet listed may enter Fiji if they complete a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, and must provide a negative COVID-19 test to be released from quarantine.
"We’re counting on the full cooperation of our tourism industry to ensure that when our borders do open, they stay open," Fiji's Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said on Oct. 10. "These travel-safe areas will include all of our outer islands, the entire Coral Coast, Taveuni, Kadavu, and all of the North."
However, specific areas with low vaccination rates will be deemed "no-go zones," meaning tourists are prohibited from access, and the Fiji government will be publishing a map weekly identifying those restricted areas. "Everyone –– tourist or not –– will be discouraged from stopping in these communities to shop or purchase items by the roadside until more of their residents get the jab," he continued.
All travelers must show proof of vaccination with one of the four vaccines currently accepted by the Fijian government — AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson or Moderna. Additionally, everyone over the age of 12 must present the results of a negative PCR test taken within three days of departure for Fiji.
Read more: 5 Fiji resorts for families where the kids clubs — and even private nannies — are included
COVID-19 restrictions in Fiji
Fiji has a number of protocols in place as part of the country's "Care Fiji Commitment," World Health Organization-approved best practices for health and safety measures, that fall on both visitors and residents of the country.
Travelers must take a rapid COVID-19 test at their own expense upon arriving at their hotel. The Fijian government outlines clinics in Nadi and Suva for RT-PCR tests and notes that hotels can also assist in administering rapid tests. On-site RT-PCR tests cost approximately $166 per test, while rapid tests cost around $16.
Additionally, visitors are asked to download the careFiji app upon arrival, to be used to facilitate contact tracing to access businesses on the islands.
Face masks are required in public places, including restaurants and shops.
"As of mid-October, 80% of adults in Fiji are now fully vaccinated, allowing us to be able to now welcome travellers again to our beautiful country from 1st December, 2021," Tourism Fiji said in a press statement. The tourism organization also said that "nearly every hotel and tour operator in Fiji" has complied with COVID-19-related safety protocols via the country's "Care Fiji Commitment."
"Every tourism business will also have a dedicated Wellness Ambassador who is responsible for rolling out these enhanced health and safety measures across the business and keeping everybody safe," said Tourism Fiji. "The CFC also provides you with the reassurance that the only people you interact with on your travels will be vaccinated."
More information on COVID-19-related measures can be found via Tourism Fiji.
Arriving in Fiji
Fiji Airways, Fiji's national airline, announced the resumption of flights to the South Pacific island for the first time since March 2020, with Nov. 30 flights departing Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) arriving in Fiji's Nadi International Airport (NAN) on the main island on Dec. 2.
"From 30th November, Fiji Airways will launch daily flights from Los Angeles to Fiji (Nadi) utilising its brand new Airbus A350-900 aircraft, five flights a week from San Francisco on its A330 aircraft, and two flights a week from Honolulu utilising [its] Boeing 737 MAX," Fiji Airways said in a press statement. "Visitors from the US will be among the first to enjoy a well-deserved vacation in one of the world's first fully vaccinated tourist destinations, with Fiji on track to have the entire working population vaccinated by November."
Related: Financially feasible Fiji: How to plan a trip to Fiji without breaking the bank
How to get to Fiji
Many major carriers fly from the U.S. to Nadi, including Fiji Airways and its Oneworld partners, such as Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines. Flights to Fiji are currently not available on Delta. Booking directly through Fiji Airways is the best and cheapest way to get to Fiji from the mainland U.S., and the airline is currently advertising round-trip flights as low as $799 from Honolulu (HNL) and $899 from both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO).
Based on a test search, nonstop direct flights from LAX to NAN can be found as low as $900 through April 2022, for fares in its economy class for its Special fares, which also include its Bula Saver fare. Both classes include a meal, one checked bag and a carry-on bag. Although tickets can be changed for a fee, they are nonrefundable.
Inaugural Fiji Airways flights departing from LAX on Nov. 30 and arriving in Fiji on Dec. 2 would cost you just under $900 for a round-trip nonstop flight if you booked right now. You could take the same flight from SFO for approximately $100 more, but note that you would have to connect at LAX.
The island's national carrier also has flights around the same price into January, such as the below nonstop departing Jan. 9 from LAX for $898 round-trip.
Should you be so lucky to frequently fly Fiji Airways, Tabua Club Plus members could also book their flight through Fiji Airways' loyalty program, which grants members priority reservations, free business-class upgrades, global lounge access, extra checked baggage and other perks, for a one-time fee of 799 Fijian dollars, or approximately $855.
I also found Fiji-operated flights on American Airlines, where round-trip flights from LAX November through March can be had for around $1,400 for the main cabin, increasing to $4,500 in business class. AA-ticketed flights would cost you 80,000 AAdvantage miles and 160,000 miles, respectively, round-trip.
Read more: Fiji hopes to open to international travel by Nov. 1
Where to stay
Fiji Airways offers discounted packages that include flights, accommodations, meals and transfers, such as the below:
- Shangri-La Yanuca Island, Fiji – six-night stay starting at $1,299.
- InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa – six-night stay starting at $1,499.
- Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay – six-night stay starting at $1,699.
- Sheraton Resort & Spa, Tokoriki Island, Fiji – six-night stay starting at $1,799.
- Castaway Island Resort – six-night stay starting at $1,899.
TPG reviewed the InterContential Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in June 2019 and noted that IHG loyalists, including IHG Rewards Premier Credit Card holders, could earn 26 points per dollar spent at IHG properties, making this hotel an obvious choice. Otherwise, this property would cost you roughly 35,500 points for a standard king room with a garden view, or a combination of 20,571 points and $95.
TPG also reviewed the Fiji Marriot Resort in Momi Bay, approximately 45 minutes south of the Nadi Airport and three hours from Suva (SUV), the Fijian capital. The Marriott property is one of four 35,000-point Marriott properties on Fiji, however, the other ones (Sheraton Fiji Golf & Beach Resort in Nadi, Sheraton Resort & Spa on Tokoriki Island and the Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa in Nadi) are all temporarily closed.
Lastly, check out TPG's guide here outlining five family-friendly resorts in Fiji.
Read more: Factory Fiji: A review of the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa