Rustic Pathways | Fiji

Video and Photos

About

Our community partnerships in Fiji date to 1993. These deep roots mean that we have friends in every village we visit and our expert local staff members make students immediately feel at home. Arriving students are welcomed to their programs with a traditional sevu sevu ceremony and invited to share a taste of kava. Our Fiji programs visit villages on remote islands and in the mountainous highlands, locations not available to the average tourist.

Sailing through the islands of Fiji feels like you’re in a postcard brought to life. Whether you are in the highlands or among the islands, you will constantly be surrounded by calming tropical scenery. The warmth of the Fijian people make you feel at home and you will find yourself easily adjusting to island life.

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 61 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 16 - 30 of 61
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
Default avatar
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 this program
headshot of girl in mountains
Cesca
10/10

One of the best things I've ever experiened

This past summer I visited Fiji on the sun, sand, and service program and going on this trip was probably the best decision I have ever made. Before making my decision to travel abroad to Fiji, I had my heart set on Laos. Unfortunately things fell through so my parents had forced me to pick another program. I chose Fiji as the country I wanted to travel to. Flash forward to embarking on my journey, The staff at the airport were super helpful. I did arrive 12 hours early for my flight, but in no time I found another rustic person rocking the green shirt.

Now for my time in Fiji. Fiji is a beautiful place with beautiful people and I hope that one day I can live there and help people with more time. The staff at the base house were great! I loved my program leader so much they became my favorite people ever. I had Sam and Wane. If you don't know if you like service or not, do not stop yourself from choosing this program with heavy hours. The website says 60 hours, but really it feels like 10, because you'll be having so much fun it wont feel long at all. There were only a couple of things I didn't enjoy while at the base. The food. I went in expecting that the food was not going to be like America but some days the food just looked so unappetizing I couldn't eat it, but I'm not saying that all the meals were bad. One day they made spring rolls and I ate so many. Another issue I had was when the water would shut off or we would just run out. The toilets, sinks, and showers wouldn't work all at once and somedays that really stunk. But many of the program leaders at the base say that the water situation never happens so I'm sure it won't happen to you. I stayed at the base house for two weeks and these were the only two things I could find wrong with it. For service in general, I really enjoyed every project I did. You have to be ok with getting dirty. The only thing I didn't like was how they split up the sun sand group into two, but in the end we all bonded and made really strong ties.

If you do choose to go on a weekend side trip I highly recommend Highlands. When visiting the Highlands the culture is extremely different than anything you're probably used too. I really enjoyed immersing myself in a totally different culture.

If you are thinking about going to Fiji in the future with Rustic do not hesitate to choose a base house program. You will meet people from everywhere. Another thing I want to tell you is to read the itinerary for your trip but just know that your trip is going to be very different than what they say on the website. Every day was something new and I loved it. Also the packing list. Follow it or don't. I personally followed it word for word and I felt like I needed more things, so bring whatever you think you will need. I have friends who didn't follow it and some didn't have the right clothes and others did so it's completely a you thing.

One last thing is go in and have fun. Meet new people. Sometimes your not going to like everyone and thats ok but if I were you, just keep it to yourself until the end of your trip. My Rustic trip was amazing and really impacted me.

How can this program be improved?
I really found no faults in this program other than the other students on sun sand not doing service with us or being with us during the day. The only time I saw my other friends on some days would be for breakfast and dinner.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Bailey
9/10

Sun sand and international service

I had the greatest experience on this trip. Every person I met was very nice and friendly. Service activities were for the most part fun. Teaching and playing with the village children was so much fun. Other activities like the greenhouse and chicken coops were less fun but it was still good service. The local staff are the nicest people you will ever meet. They know everyones name and are engaging. Overall, I highly recommend this trip. It is an experience you can't get anywhere else.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Romy
10/10

Big Fiji Explorer :)

I was on the BFE trip in July 2017. It was my first trip with Rustic Pathways, and would definitely recommend this trip to anyone, first timers and alumni! It gave me a true sense of what Fiji really is from the tourist perspective but the local as well.
For the first week we stayed on an island resort, Leleuvia, and villas in Pacific Harbor. Leleuvia was the most "touristy" we got as a trip but that never got to the group and me. We interacted with the locals by playing volleyball, opening coconuts, and talking to them whenever the chance was given. The pacific harbor experience was amazing. Every night we all ate dinner together and our bonds became so strong. Whoever you encounter on the trip, Rustic Pathways student, leader or local, will turn into family within the first few moments of meeting them.
The most memorable part of the trip was the last week, which was spent in villages. The first was Somosomo. It is located among the Yasawa Islands. We all developed a love for all the villagers who welcomed us to their home with open arms. The second village was in the highlands. This was our last destination before the heading home. It was like the locals were part of our group. We loved them as if they were family.
I had heard too that in the past the trips were flip-floped from ours. (Villages at the beginning and Leleuvia at the end). I thought the layout of our itinerary was the perfect way to experience Fiji. We got closer through the trip as we had to live in more and more rustic conditions the longer time we spent in the country.
My group was absolutely amazing along with my local Fijian leader Akuila. The trip as a whole has not only impacted me in an amazing way, but also was incredibly memorable. Thank you Rustic for an amazing two weeks!

How can this program be improved?
Loved my trip so much! No improvements.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Charlotte
10/10

Sun, sand and international service

I went on the sun, sand and service program July 11th- July 26th and it was absolutely amazing! During the trip we volunteered at local schools and taught lessons there. I taught grades 1+2 my first time teaching and although the language Barrier was a little difficult, I had an amazing time teaching! The following week I taught grades 5+6 and that was my favorite! All of the kids were very smart and so much fun to be around! My favorite service that we did was working at the loloma house and serving them meals. We made them meals and them served it to the families and got to talk to the children. It was so much fun! Other service projects we worked on was building bathrooms and painting schools. After service we did fun activities such as kayaking and going to the mud pools. The staff was all very accepting and friendly. It was the locals working at base that made this trip the most memorable for me. Thank you so much rustic for giving me this experience!

How can this program be improved?
A lot of people got sick after the highlands, but that may just be because of personal problems.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Hazel
10/10

Impact of Climate Change on marine environments

When I first signed up for this trip I was slightly apprehensive because my previous Rustic trip, Lake Titicaca service adventure, was so incredible I didn't think it could be topped. I was wrong. This trip was not only fun but also so informative about marine life and our effects on the ocean. On our trip we had many informative talks about sharks, tides, invasive species, coral bleaching, and fish. After our discussions and talks we always had the chance to be hands on in the water. This trip allowed us to see everything we learned about first hand. Throughout the trip we stayed in nice beachfront and marine friendly resorts. We also had the chance to stay at a local village. Here, we stayed in safari style tents and we let on cots. While it was the most rustic sleeping arrangement on this trip, it was the most memorable. Getting to help the locals who hosted us by planting coral and removing invasive species was such a rewarding experience. Some of the most memorable experiences were snorkeling with sharks and planting and cleaning coral. Our leaders were incredibly educated and always teaching us new things. They got us excited in the service we were partaking in. This trip was so eye opening and made me aware of our effects on this earth. I got to see the effects of climate change first hand. It was so fun seeing everyone on my trip get so excited and involved in our marine work. Our leaders did an amazing job educating us and this trip was truly unforgettable.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

Meet the Alumni

About Rustic Pathways

Travel and volunteer abroad with Rustic Pathways to one of many exotic locations.

We take students on unique, rewarding, and safe programs to some of the world's friendliest and fascinating countries. Immerse yourself in a new culture, work on...