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Vatulele Island, Fiji Travel Guide
 
Last Updated: Apr-01-2012, Hits: 9,166, Rating: 0, Reviews: 0, Votes: 0 Bookmark and Share
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Location: Australia & Pacific
Geography: Island, Beach
Vacation Type: Romantic, Relaxation
Popularity: Off-the-Beaten Path
Costs: Expensive
Attractions: Scenery, Boating, Cultural Attractions, Fishing, Scuba & Snorkeling, Spa & Wellness

Facts and Stats:
Population: Approximately 1,000
Land Area: 12 square miles
Country Dialing Code: 679
Languages: English, Bau Fijian, and Fiji Hindi
Electricity: 220V
Currency: Fijian dollar (FJD)
Time Zone: UTC +12 (+13 Summer)
Current Time:
Interactive map of Vatulele Island, Fiji

Introduction:
Vatulele Island is located about 20 miles south of the Coral Coast on the main island of Viti Levu. Vatulele only has 1 resort and a small local population spread across 4 villages. The island offers excellent beaches, snorkeling, scuba diving, and quiet.

Geography:
Located a short 25 minute flight from Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu, Vatulele is about 8 miles long and 3.5 miles wide at the widest point. Vatulele is surrounded by a barrier reef that is very close to shore on the western side (where the resort is). The island is almost flat with a high point of about 100 feet, and covered in dense jungle.

Brief History:
It is believed that Fiji was originally settled by the Lapita people in about 1220 BC. They likely came to the area from Vanuatu or the Solomon Islands by way of Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula. Aroung 500 BC, a shift towards agriculture combined with an increase in population resulted in intertribal fighting. As a result, cannibalism became common in times of war and this practice would continue until the 19th century.

Abel Tasman was the first European to sail past Fiji in 1643, but his descriptions of the dangerous reefs kept explorers away for nearly 130 years. James Cook was in the area in 1774, but Captain Bligh is often credited for sailing through the islands after the "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1789.

The first outsiders to live among the native Fijians were escaped Australian convicts and shipwrecked sailors, many of whom became dinner. Missionaries arrived during the 19th century, and as Christianity spread, cannabilism waned.

Fiji was pronounced a British crown colony in 1874. Enslaving local Fijians wasn't legal, so the British turned to indentured servants from India to help them run the sugar cane fields and sugar mills. Indentured servitude was abolished in 1919, however, over 40% of Fiji's population is made up of descendants of this Indian labor force.

Fiji gained its independence from the British in 1970.

Vatulele remains a place where time has stood still in spite of the Vatulele Island Resort which was built in 1990. The luxury resort is the only tourist lodging on the sparsely populated island.

People & Culture:
Most of the island's residents live in 4 villages on the eastern side of the island. From north to south, the villages are Taunovo, Ebuku, Lomanikaya, and Bouwaqa. Each village has a chief, but the Ekubu is home to the paramount chief (highest ranked).

Around 100 of the locals work at the Vatulele Island Resort while the rest sustain themselves farming, fishing, and making Tapa Cloth, in fact, most of Fiji's famous Tapa Cloth is produced on Vatulele. The cloth is made by pounding the bark of young Mulberry trees.

The islands residents are very friendly like those on the other Fijian Islands. In fact, Conde Nast recently voted the people of Fiji as the "Friendliest People in the World".

The majority of the island's residents are Methodist and there is a church in Lomanikaya Village.

Activities:
Most of the activities on the island are provided by the resort and include: tapa making, village tours, kayaking, tennis, visits to Red Prawn Caves and archaelogical sites, snorkeling, and diving. The diving is excellent here and the island boasts 22 dive sites that are accessible within a 15 minute or less boat ride. The resort offers a PADI 5 star dive center with instructors.

Entry Requirements:
Holders of Passports from visa exempt countries are granted visitors visas valid for 4 months on arrival. Extensions can be made up to 6 months on condition that they hold a valid passport (valid for 3 months) beyond the intended period of stay in Fiji, outward ticket and sufficient funds to facilitate duration of stay.

The visa exempt countries are: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cook Islands [NZ passport holder] Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Commonwealth Dominica, Estonia, The federal Republic of Germany, The federated States of Micronesia, Finland, France, The Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guyana, Holy See (Vatican), Hong Kong [SAR] Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lesotho, Luxemburg, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Nauru, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Serbia, Slovak Republic, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Visitors from countries not listed above are required to get a visa.

Getting There & Around:
To get to Vatulele, you will first need to fly to Nadi International Airport. From there you will catch a flight with Pacific Island Seaplanes that will take you directly to the resort. The resort will book this flight for you when you make your reservation. Note that the seaplane flight allows 33 lbs of luggage per person. There is also and airstrip on the island that can accomodate charter flights.

There are no cars on the island. The resort staff provides transportation to the island's attractions. They also provide boat trips to Nooki Nooki Island, dive sites, snorkeling spots, etc.

Weather:
Vatulele enjoys a tropical rainforest climate that experiences little temperature variation during the year. The days are hot and humid, however, there is substantial relief from the heat at night.

The best times to visit are between May and October when the heat, humidity, and rainfall are lower.

Below are the current conditions and weather forecast for Vatulele Island, Fiji.


The table below shows the weather averages for Vatulele.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High 88 88 88 88 86 82 82 84 84 86 86 86
Avg Low 73 73 73 72 70 66 64 66 68 70 72 72
Hours of Sun 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 7 7
Humidity 83 82 83 82 78 77 77 77 75 76 77 80
Water Temp 84 86 84 84 82 81 79 79 81 81 81 82
Precipitation 16" 10" 13" 8" 5" 3" 2" 3" 4" 5" 3" 8"

Tips & Additional Information:
  • Fiji is free from malaria, yellow fever and other major tropical diseases.
  • Yellow Fever and Cholera vaccinations are only required if coming from an infected area.
  • Although it won't likely matter on Vatulele, driving is on the left-hand side of the road in Fiji.
  • Tipping is not customary in Fiji and even somewhat discouraged unless you have received extraordinary service.





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