Rustic Pathways | Fiji

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About

For over 20 years Rustic Pathways has built lasting relationships and genuine friendships with our partner villages. In Fiji, you will have the opportunity to explore the remote beaches and coral reefs in the breathtaking Yasawa Islands, live with a family in the villages of the Highlands, or take part in a unique marine conservation program and SCUBA certification. In these fully immersive programs you will participate in fabulous service initiatives, but there are also programs that are more focused on adventure and exploration.

“The South Pacific has always held a romantic allure of adventure and ancient traditions for many people...Everyone loves the clear, warm waters and tropical islands of Fiji, but for me it’s the people that keep me coming back--their loving attachment to their land, the surrounding ocean, and to each other. Their warmth and exuberant enthusiasm for life are contagious.”
--Evan Wells, Fiji Country Director

Questions & Answers

Hey Sarah! I had the exact same question when embarking on my trip to Fiji. Being my first Rustic trip I followed the packing list completely. Which you should do because some of my friends did not have some of the stuff I had. I wish I brought more lounging, comfy clothing. Everything says on the website "no leggings", but everyone wore leggings and comfy lounging clothes when we weren't in...
I used a huge duffel bag, along with a day pack on all of the Rustic trips that I went on. I found that to work very well rather than a suitcase, as a suitcase would be harder to lug around, and duffels are made to carry easily.
I wouldn't consider the experience as a "tour group feel" whatsoever. You get really close with the other travelers, as you spend all day every day with them. There are activities put in place to break some ice and learn names, but after that initial "awkward" stage of not knowing anyone else, you'll find that you bond with the other kids really easily. Everyone in the group doesn't want to "tour"...
Yes! The entire time I never questioned anything that was going on in terms of my safety. When we stayed on SomoSomo island there was a guard who watched our camp site throughout the entire night.

Reviews

93%
based on 51 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 9.1
Showing 1 - 15 of 51
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Emily
9/10

Rustic Pathways Fiji

I loved my trip and it was very fulfilling. The leaders were great. We did service that felt meaningful and made an impact onto other people. I made great friends with everyone i roomed with and local people and kids. The service was very personal and we were given opportunities to explore the country in ways many people are not. We grew close with the culture and the people living in it. I would recommend this trip to anyone.

Yes, I recommend
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Bernice
10/10

Life changing experience

I have never experienced a country to this depth before. Instead of being told about their culture through guided tours and pamphlets like I had grown so accustomed to, we were able to experience traditions and customs firsthand. We grew so close to the locals and, as a result, we were able to learn so much in such a natural and seamless way. Rustic Pathways has taught me so much, not only about the beautiful country that is Fiji but about myself as well.

Yes, I recommend
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Eleanor
8/10

Big Fiji Explorer

The Big Fiji Explorer trip was a lot of fun. It is great for someone who is interested in culture and exploring the island of Fiji. We had lots of activities packed into each day which I really enjoyed. I was never bored. I learned so much from the people of Fiji. They were all so excited to see us whether we were walking through their village or just driving by them, they always greeted us with a loud Bula!! We spent a good amount of time in villages and drinking Kava which is a celebratory drink of Fiji.
However, I will say the itinerary for the trip was completely off. The trip is rustic and the itinerary really tries to jazz it up to make it seem like more of a vacation. We did lots of hiking, swimming/snorkeling, and some zip lining and high ropes courses. Warning in advance: there are no hot showers. I didn't really have a problem with that because it is warm in Fiji and most of the time a cold shower felt refreshing. My biggest disappointment however was on the last day we could not go skydiving because it was too windy outside. I really think the program leaders of this trip should move the optional skydiving activity to another day in the trip that way if weather cancels it can be rescheduled. Everyone in my group was very disappointed that we couldn't skydive and it made everyone leave in a bad mood.
Overall I am still glad I went on the trip. I have always dreamed off traveling to Fiji and I think a rustic program or another student program is the best way to do it because you get the most out of your trip. I really did travel all over the island, spend time in local villages, and I think I did every activity available (besides skydive). I don't think this could have been possible on just a family vacation.

How can this program be improved?
The program could really be improved if the itinerary was updated and skydiving was moved to sometime in the middle of the trip.
Yes, I recommend
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Lily
10/10

Fiji- Highlands and Islands

Going on the Highlands and Islands trip in Fiji gave me a chance to go off the beaten path and really dive into a new culture. This trip gave me the opportunity to truly experience a culture because I got to live within it by staying in a host family and living as a local in the village of Nausori for a week. It's an amazing experience and probably the best time of my life. My leaders were so fun and caring and my group turned into my best friends.

How can this program be improved?
The itinerary was a little off so that could be updated.
Yes, I recommend
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Natalie
10/10

Incredible Experience!

I went on the Escape to the Fiji Islands trip with Rustic Pathways this past summer and could not have had a better experience! The activities were super fun, the scenery was breathtaking, and the locals were so kind to us. My group and I bonded so much over the course of the week and we still talk all the time! My program leaders were absolutely incredible and I miss them an insane amount. Overall, SO worth it and SO perfect!

How can this program be improved?
Better food options for people with intolerances/dietary restrictions.
Yes, I recommend
Emma
10/10

Sun Sand and Service

I went to Fiji on the Sun Sand and service trip and it was my first trip ever out of the country alone. I was really nervous because I didn't know what to expect but Rustic Pathways made it easy to prepare me for my trip from the start. They answered all my questions and provided me with resources to help me feel comfortable. From leaving the US, I instantly felt safe because the rustic leaders were so nice and supportive.
My trip in Fiji was truly life changing and so memorable. It was an unbelievable experience that I am so grateful to have had.
In Fiji, I met so many new people from all over the world and everyone was friendly and welcoming. Even after my trip I am still close with them and continue to stay in contact with them. It's crazy how close we are even after only being together for 2 weeks!
In Fiji, I really felt like I understood and was immersed in the culture as I talked with the locals, taught in schools with kids, and did service work that didn't even seem like work at all! Everything I did was so so fun! The evening programs were also really unique and helped me engage in the Fijian culture while bonding with my new friends I had met there.
Not only were the views incredible and all the unique activities we did, but even the simplest things like the bus rides were where I made the most memories. I felt so comfortable and at home in Fiji as everyone from the staff at the Eco Lodge to the group leaders were like a family to me.
This is experience was the definitely best trip of my life and was really impacted me post-trip. I'm now super eager to travel, help and learn about others in different countries, and get more involved in Rustic! This trip is a must!!
Some advice I would offer to future participants is to make sure you push yourself and go out of your comfort zone to meet people because it is so rewarding. Also, don't be afraid to try new foods and new activities because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you do not want to pass up. Don't be afraid to ask questions and talk with the locals because they truly know the country best and what they have to say is so interesting! Make the most of the time you have in the country and with the people because times flies when you are having fun!!

How can this program be improved?
This program was really amazing the only thing I would change about my trip is that my group was split up during the day to do service. I had bonded with a lot of the people I met at the airport and then they divided our group in half for service projects. So, we were not all able to be with eachother during the day. But overall, I still got really close with the people I met and am so thankful for the being able to experience a service trip like this!!
Yes, I recommend
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Gabby
10/10

Big Fiji Explorer

This summer with rustic in Fiji changed my life! It was the best experience! My trip leaders were amazing and I made lifelong friends with everyone on my trip! The itinerary was the perfect balance between not so rustic and 'roughing it' rustic, making the trip super enjoyable. This program in particular was the perfect balance between adventure and service; I recommend this trip to any one that loves people, adventure, and the ocean! I have nothing bad to say about this program or rustic; it's truly a life changing trip every one deserves to experience.

My personal favorites on the trip were Somosomo and Sasa. In Somosomo, the safari tents are fine, but in such a beautiful place I wanted to sleep outside at night, so I brought an eno, and it was so magical sleeping under a million stars right by the ocean. When you take the sunrise hike, don't complain about waking up early, because the hike is one of the best parts of the trip. In Sasa, it's chilly at night, so don't neglect the packing list and make sure to bring a light sweatshirt. Definitely pack less than you need, I know it sounds scary but trust me. Also, for when your in the village and have to cover up, elephant pants are really nice to have because they're lightweight and cute too;).

When your on your trip, take advantage of every opportunity! Live every moment to the fullest because it'll be over before you know it. GO SKYDIVING! GO SCUBA DIVING! GO UPSIDE DOWN ON THE ZIPLINE! I know I would have regretted it if I didn't do everything. Make sure you enjoy every boat ride, you'll miss them; I sure do. Jump off of every big rock you can, never stay in the boat when you can get in the water, and never stand still when you can dance! This trip has inspired me to change the way I look at the world. I'm already trying to convince my parents to let me take a gap year and travel. Adventure and experience is the most valuable thing any young adult can have.

I felt so much life and love on this trip! Thank you Rustic for making these experiences possible for us!

How can this program be improved?
It was perfect!
Yes, I recommend
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Audrey
10/10

Big Fiji Explorer

This summer I went on Big Fiji Explorer. It was my first Rustic Pathways trip, and my first time truly being away from my home for a long period of time. I can not recommend this trip enough. It was the perfect amount of time to see Fiji. We were able to explore so many aspects of the country in just 16 days. We stayed in a variety of accommodations, all of which were different from each other. You were on the move from place to place every few days, however it was exciting to be able to stay in a hotel in the city one night and stay in the mountains the next night. Throughout the 16 days we were there, we participated in so many awesome activities, from zip lining to snorkeling to taking the “leap of faith” at a high ropes course. Each activity we did was always so fun, and it brought us so much closer with our group. One thing I can not commend Rustic Pathways enough for was allowing us to totally immerse yourself in the culture. We always had the opportunity to talk to locals. While on this trip, we visited the village of Somosomo, and this was the most amazing experience of my life and something that I will never forget. At this village we participated in service, and we also got to go to a school to play with the village children and got to take part in a Sunday school service. These kids were so cute, and it was obvious that they all had an impact on all of us. Somosomo was definitely my favorite part of the trip. Overall, this trip was so amazing, and if you are even considering going on it, I would encourage you to! The opportunities we were able to take advantage of were opportunities that you won’t have again. I can’t recommend this trip enough!

Yes, I recommend
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Lucy
10/10

Intro to Community Service

The Intro to Community Service program was my third program that I had done with Rustic. And like my previous programs, it was an absolutely amazing experience like no other. I got to go step out of my comfort zone and go skydiving, I got to interact with the local community, and I got to have fun while doing service.

First, most of the Fiji groups stay in the Eco Lodge base house. I loved having not only my service group there, but also meeting all the other kids that were on a range of programs. On the first day we all went to the beach to get to know each other and it was like we were already best friends by the end of our time on the beach. There's a huge sense of community and camaraderie with every single person, wether it be a student or a program leader. I think that having people in a base house together, interacting with a bunch of different people, while still doing service with your primary group, is great and I got to be friend with so many people that way.

One thing that I loved was that all groups have a local Fijian person as one of the leaders. This gives you the opportunity to ask them questions and really dive deep into what life is like in Fiji. I honestly learned so much about the customs and different practices that Fiji has from my leader Villie. I also got to know the other local, Fijian program leaders really well, because all of the different programs that are at the base house becomes one big family and community. My Fijian program leader even wrote us a song at the end of our program! I was crying and I loved the song and it definitely came from the heart!

With all the service, you will absolutely be working with the community and kids. On the second day of service, we got to go to the Laloma house, a women's shelter, and cook a meal for the women and children there. We cooked the meal before going with Shilini, one of the base's chefs, so that we could spend as much time with the kids as possible. When we got there, all the kids ran up to us and immediately wanted us to pick them up and play. We all danced, played duck, duck, goose and had a great time before dinner. We then served them dinner, talked with the mothers about their life, served them ice cream, said our goodbyes, and then went back. I usually don't do service with kids when I'm in New York, so I really enjoyed grtting to play and dance with a bunch of kids.

If you like kids, then you'll love to hear that there's a day where my program got to teach a local kindergarten. We spent a long time working on our lesson plans and preparing to teach the kindergartens and then the day came and it was amazing. We worked one on one and with the whole class to teach them our lesson plans. After teaching, we got to play with them outside for recess and the moms even made us lunch. We spent a long time running around and playing with the kids. I loved that day, because teaching the kids and playing with them was so much fun.

Another example of Rustic really engaging the community is when we did service in the Bavu Village. This was personally my favorite day, because of how much my program interacted with the community. We first drove to the village with Rajesh, Shilini's husband and a local carpenter. When we got there, we immediately participated in a welcoming ceremony in our Sulus with the village chief and spokesperson. I've never seen a village chief before, so it was a very cool experience. After the ceremony, we went to work for the day. Throughout the day, we were never working by ourselves, because Rustic really believes in including the village in its service projects. One of the most memorable moments from that day was when I was shoveling cement into the mixer and I looked up and the village spokesperson was shoveling right next to me. We then got into a conversation about the banana tree that was a few feet away from us. I was in awe, because a person that is in such a high position is working right beside me and having a normal conversation.

After we were finished with our service we then got to do a Kid's Club with the children in Bavu. We got to play soccer, rugby (which I found out I'm really bad at), talk to them, sing songs from Moana, and overalls just have a great time. The kid's club sadly came to an end and we then concluded our welcoming ceremony. That day happened to be on of the other student's birthday, so during the last portion of the welcoming ceremony, the women in the village surprised him with a cake, tea, bread, crackers, and a bunch of treats. That's when I really understood how great of a connection Rustic had with the local villages that they work with.

There are so many more examples of the great interactions that Rustic has with the local community. I loved my experience in Fiji and now I see why so many people do a Rustic trip in Fiji. The people were so nice, the service was amazing, and I got to step out of my comfort zone.

Yes, I recommend
Asher
10/10

Big Fiji

On my second Rustic Pathways program, I opted to embark on a longer journey than my first , this time to Fiji. Fiji is thriving with culture, from the guitar players in the airport to the locals in the villages. My first experience of the Fijian lifestyle was my first Kava ceremony in the village of Somo Somo, where we spent the nights sleeping in beachside tents. Kava is a drink extracted from the root of the native Kava plants. Fijians use it to welcome new people into their village and as a beverage similar to alcohol. It is customary for those visiting the different villages in Fiji to greet the village chief with the root of a Kava plant, as we did. The chief instantly ground the root up, mixed it with water, and made a mud colored drink. The locals raised a glass and greeted us with “bula” (welcome). From this point on, I knew my trip would be remarkable. I enjoyed conversations with the locals about their way of life along with visiting the local church. My group and I bonded instantly, leading to an amazing trip. I was able to see both sides of Fiji, the beautiful beaches and also the village life style. Fiji was an amazing cultural experience where I also met life long friends. I have done multiple Rustic Pathway programs and highly suggest that everyone goes on one.

Yes, I recommend
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Isobella
10/10

Sun Sand and International Service

This program is perfect for people wanting to experience the 'real' Fiji but not leave all the comforts of home. Sun, Sand and International Service was a perfect balance of service and activities, letting us experience both the beautiful culture and sights of Fiji all in two weeks. The base house is the center of social interactions, meeting the local staff and making new friends was a highlight for so many of us at the base house. The service we participated in varied daily, all projects being significant in their own way. With the guidance of our amazing program leaders we were able to grasp an understanding of just how valued the tasks such as preparing a meal was to the people we were serving. There were daily activities to be involved in ranging from kayaking and relaxing at the mud pools in the afternoon and bonfires and fire dancers of a night. There was never a boring moment on this trip! The option of side trips added another element of immersion no matter what you chose. From the highlands to the islands weekend trips there was always so much to learn and experience. Personally, the highlands was a weekend of so much growth for me, being out of your comfort zone but still in a safe environment are rare attributes that rustic put together so well.

Overall, sun sand service was the trip of a lifetime and an experience I will never forget. Fiji is home to the most welcoming people I have ever encountered and the environment that the Rustic staff create allows each student to grow in their own way. I got off the plane in Fiji expecting to leave some sort of impact on the places I encountered, instead Fiji left a lasting impact on me.

Yes, I recommend
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Noah
10/10

Highlands and Islands in Fiji

I loved this trip because I felt very immersed in Fiji and felt that I saw a side of Fiji that not many people get to see. We stayed in a village with no electricity and in very rural homes. We got to stay with a family and see how these people lived on a day to day basis. In the mornings and afternoons, we would go up to the school and mix cement to build a footpath for the teachers. I liked this work because I could see that I was making a difference to these people and I got an appreciation for how difficult it was to live without being able to just call someone to do a job for you. After we left the village, we went to do service on a farm near a dam. This was another highlight because I got to bond even more with the other people on the trip which was great because I didn't know anybody at the start of the trip. At the dam, we were cutting trees into poles to make a fence for the farm. Finally, we went town and then to one of the smaller islands of Fiji to spend a few days relaxing and hanging out as a group. This is the part that I liked most -- not because we were relaxing, but because I got a chance to hang out with these great friends I made. I also felt like I really connected with my group as a whole to the point that we still talk to each other every day. I strongly encourage you to go on this trip as you will learn about the world and make great friends along the way.

Yes, I recommend
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Charlotte
10/10

Vin aka Rustic Pathways!!

I remember being so nervous before I went on this trip- I had no expectations whatsoever. Right from the start of the trip- at the airport- I knew this trip would be one I'd never forget!! All of the people who went on the Sun, Sand and Service program were so incredibly welcoming and friendly. I'm still talking to my group of girls who I hing out with, and it's almost a month later! All of the program leaders are so friendly and outgoing. They help you feel right at home! I especially loved the local staff! My sister and I ended up becoming so close with them that they bought us necklaces (shoutout to Wani). The staff was so incredible and helped you through every step of the way.
We also did such amazing service!! We volunteered at schools, made a meal for house for women and children and we painted a building that Rustic built for a local school called Ratu Namani. On our off time, we kayaked, went to the mud pools and chilled at the beach. This was the perfect blend of service and leisure and I wish I had the opportunity to repeat this program 5000x more. My sister went from hating people before the trip to becoming a people person afterwards. This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to everyone! No matter if you are a first time traveller or if you've been all across the globe, you are guaranteed to love the Sun, Sand and service program!

Yes, I recommend
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rachel
10/10

Most amazing experience of my life

This program was absolutely amazing. It's hard to put into words how incredible the people, activities, and locals all were. Between the amazing trip leaders and the other students on my trip, I got to be part of something magical, something unexplainable. On my trip, I did an intense community service program where in the mornings we would go out and do community service, and in the afternoons we would explore Fiji! The bonds I made with the locals and other students on my trip are irreplaceable. I definetly recommend this trip to anyone looking for a life changing experience.

How can this program be improved?
This program was absolutely amazing and I honestly would not change a thing.
Yes, I recommend
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Samantha
7/10

Big Fiji Explorer

It was a really fun trip! Our troop leaders were amazing; they were so nice and the perfect fit for our group. The kids in my group were all so nice. Our group was special and we all had a great bond. The experience was great! We explored all over the country. It exposed us to different views in Fiji. We got to immerse ourselves in the culture, while going to a few resorts and enjoying the beautiful nature Fiji has to offer, as well as the fun activities (snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking).
I came back home feeling happy that I went on the trip!

How can this program be improved?
It doesn't really follow the itinerary. We could of done more things; I expected us to explore more and do more activities.
Yes, I recommend

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