Fiji is home to the third-largest reef system in the world and thousands of exotic marine species. Most of the tourists that come to this island nation dive in its warm waters and enjoy its marine life without ever considering the fragile state of this underwater world. Your trip to Fiji will be more meaningful than a simple island tour. You'll become familiar with the issues that threaten the reef system and lend a hand to help preserve it. You will learn about the life beneath the surface that depends on the reef, and the work you do on land will help ensure this underwater world's survival.
Your introduction to Fiji’s marine environment will start on a breathtaking boat ride through the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. When you reach your remote tropical island – home base during your time here – you’ll receive an introduction to the reef system and learn about the threats this fragile environment faces.
In an effort to preserve the fish population and diversity of species here, Rustic Pathways assists in monitoring local fish populations. Part of your work on the Marine and Environmental Monitoring program will be to count the species in this reserve in order to monitor the health of the reef. Other service includes creating fish houses that will act as new homes for fish and invertebrate species. You’ll work hard, but don’t forget that you’ll also be snorkeling with exotic fish, squid, sea turtles, and stingrays in one of the world’s most beautiful reef systems.
When you take a break from marine monitoring, you can relax island-style and enjoy the beautiful beach. Take a kayak out for a paddle or spend an afternoon playing with the village children. Living near a village means that you can meet the locals and learn about island life. In your down time, play with the local children, learn how to spear fish for dinner and open coconuts, or just sit back and enjoy the sunset.
Those with an adventurous spirit will also be able to take part in optional activities throughout the week. Hike to the tallest point on the island and take in a view of the ocean that very few people will ever have the chance to see.
Marine and Environmental Monitoring is an exciting mix of science and sun suitable for anyone interested in the marine environment. Whether you are unfamiliar with ocean life or you have already taken marine biology, you will love this week of research and relaxation. Come prepared to swim and snorkel in the ocean, but don't fret if you've never pulled on a mask or a pair of flippers. Your trip leaders will guide you through the process and make sure you know what you're doing before you get in the water.
This program easily connects with all of our other programs in the South Pacific.
All of Rustic Pathways scheduled group flights to Fiji depart from
Los Angeles. Our carrier is Air Pacific – Fiji's national airline. The
flight each week is non-stop to Nadi International Airport and is escorted
by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader. The flight departs LAX in the evening
and takes about 10 hours. During your flight take the time to get to know
other students on your flight, 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 Fijian and their legendary
Today is "lost" as you cross the international dateline, but don't worry too
much… you will get it back on your way home!
You will immediately be greeted by our Rustic Pathways staff and start the journey of a lifetime. After hopping off a plane you will take a short car ride and then board a ferry ride through the breathtaking Yasawa Islands. Pass by some of the most beautiful islands in the world while enjoying a nice cold ice-cream bar and talking with your group. Over the next week you will call one of these tropical islands home as you explore the white sandy beaches, clear blue water, and surrounding hills. By the time you reach your new home there will be a village ready to welcome you with open arms. After lunch you will start orientation with your trip leaders about what to expect over the next week.
Once you have finished orientation, throw on your swimsuit, snorkel, and fins and head out to see some of the beautiful marine life that the South Pacific has to offer. There is a beautiful reef where you can snorkel and usually spot an assortment of fish, squid, and rays. If you are not up to snorkeling, spend time relaxing in the sun or pull out a kayak and explore the beach. The island village has a population of approximately 200 people and still maintains strong cultural traditions and this becomes very evident within a short period of time here. Students will be able to gain a great impression of the Fijian way of life and contribute to worthwhile service projects. They will also have the chance to see some wonderful areas of Fiji, including the beaches, islands, and mountains that Fiji is famous for.
For the next two days, you will spend the majority of your time in the water participating in various types of marine conservation efforts and observational research. Before you set out each day, your counselor will go over a short lesson regarding the various types of reefs that you will be encountering and what types of fish species you can expect to see.
Some of the projects that you will be participating in include coral clean up, fish counts and identification, invertebrate counts and identification, coral gardening, and fish house construction. When you have finished your work for the day, it will then be time to enjoy the island and everything it has to offer. You can spend some time with the locals and learn how to make a bracelet out of a coconut, kayak, play with the young villagers, or relax on the beach.
In the evening, join the villagers to celebrate new friends with traditional dances (meke) or lie on the beach and admire the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Enjoy a bonfire on the beach, night fishing, or tea with a local family. The nights are always a wonderful spectacle of traditional Fijian culture, laughter, and fun. Each morning after breakfast, your group will continue with their community service projects. Afternoon activities will depend on the group’s rate of progress and several afternoons may also be spent working. Most days end with an incredible Fijian sunset.
In the Fijian culture, Sundays are generally observed as a day to rest, relax, and enjoy the company of family and friends. Your Sunday will be spent living like a local. A family will "adopt" you for the day. You might spend time at church, cooking, playing with your "siblings," or feeding the livestock. Spending time with a Fijian family is an experience you will never forget and by the end of the day you will have made some amazing new friends.
Today is an exciting day away from service. You have the chance to pick an optional activity and set out on an exciting adventure. Choose to go scuba diving or island hopping, or spend the day exploring other areas of the Yasawa Islands. If you want to spend the day on the beach, enjoy relaxing and snorkeling with the locals.
After a relaxing day of optional activities it is time to get back to work and continue with your last two days of marine service.
On Wednesday afternoon you will say goodbye to your island home and head back to Nadi via the Yasawa Flyer. It is amazing how in the space of a few days, solid friendships have developed, deep relationships have been nurtured, and genuinely warm feelings are shared. This afternoon can be a deeply emotional time. The interaction you have with the people and the project you contributed create a wonderful brotherhood between the Fijian people and Rustic students. This evening there will time for some excellent pizza while revisiting your experiences from the week.
Well your first week has flown by like a dream and you should now be well very familiar with Fijian culture and much of what this easy-going island nation is all about. Today is a chance to enjoy a break from your marine surveys and do some much desired shopping for souvenirs. You will get the chance to explore town and the local handy craft market for gifts and reminders of your time in Fiji. In the evening, you will be treated to a nice final meal to conclude your wonderful experience in Fiji. This will give you some time to reminisce about the week’s adventures, exchange contact information with friends and staff, and prepare for your journey home. You will be escorted to the airport by staff where you can take some time to say good-bye and will fly back to LAX with a Rustic Pathways flight leader.
Extending your Marine Survey Week: Weeks Two, Three, Four and beyond….
If you're staying longer, your weeks will remain much the same as your first week but no day is exactly the same in Fiji so there will be new service and adventure opportunities. Your understanding of Fijian culture will be better, the depth of the friendships you've made will be stronger, and your ability to communicate, participate, and contribute will be enhanced the greater the amount of time you spend here. Fiji has a way of seducing you and these islands have captivated many a visitor. To find a place with the degree of friendliness that the locals possess, the natural beauty that this country encapsulates, and the easy-going and peaceful pace of life that the locals adhere to can be wonderfully refreshing and incredibly enticing. 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!
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.
It is imperative for both male and female students to bring shorts that reach the knee on these service trips. It is culturally inappropriate to show any amount of thigh in Fiji. If students do not wear appropriate clothing, they will be unable to participate in community service and will be deducted service hours.
We ask that you pack as lightly as you can. You will be expected to carry your bags and gear yourself. Please bring a backpack/daypack that you can use for day excursions. You may wish to bring two smaller bags or one large bag (we suggest not larger than 30”).
If you are connecting to other Rustic Pathways programs, please check each of their packing lists to make sure you bring any special items that might be needed.
You must wear your Rustic Pathways t-shirt when you are travelling - in the Los Angles Airport and on the plane!
There is a general packing list for Fiji programs that can be found at http://rusticpathways.com/fiji#packing-list. It is not possible to do laundry on this program, so please pack accordingly. Additional items for the Marine and Environmental Monitoring program include:
Due to cultural rules in Fijian villages, it is customary for females to have their shoulders and knees covered at all times. While you are outside of the village you will be able to wear tank tops and shorts, but for the majority of the program female students will need to wear t-shirts or other sleeved shirts. Women must also wear sulus (sarongs) or a long skirt when in villages and at traditional ceremonies. We will provide the students with a sulu on their arrival, and students typically wear light shorts under their sulus. You may wear a long skirt that covers your knees instead of a sulu. If you have a sarong already at home you may want to bring it along.
Please pack with this in mind!
A note about electricity:
There is no electricity in the village although there is a small generator that provides power for some basic items at the village community building. Please make sure you bring a good flashlight (head lamps work especially well). Make sure you bring your camera batteries fully charged, and a spare one if you have one, as it may not be possible to recharge these items during your program.
Optional items to donate to schools and health centers (3-5)
Students on our community service programs will visit kindergartens, elementary schools, high schools, and rural village health centers during their time in Fiji. If you would like to provide additional support to these efforts, donations are greatly appreciated. Below is a list of items identified through consultation with local institutions, which are particularly needed.
We ask that if you are bringing donations, you keep as close to this list as possible. This allows schools and health centers to have enough of each item to make them useful and to ensure that the items being brought are needed.
Please note that it is very costly to ship donations to Fiji after you have traveled (and we don’t encourage it), so we strongly recommend you bring any items you might like to contribute with you when you come.
Students on this program will be staying on the island of Nacula. Rustic Pathways will be renting homes from the local Fijians and girls will stay in one house and boys will stay in another. Students will sleep on mattresses on the floor during this program. There will be a separate building where the students will eat their meals. Students have access to cold water showers and flush toilets.
Students can purchase bottled water but will be supplied with safe drinking water at each location.
The food will be cooked for the students by staff from both islands. There will be a fix of traditional Fijian food, which includes chicken, rice and various vegetables.
The average trip load is 60% girls and 40% boys.
Other trips will be running on our remote island base so you can easily add a week of marine research, with Marine and Environmental Monitoring or a week of community service with Green Island Service. This program connects easily with other programs in the South Pacific, as well as our other countries. Students who will be coming from or going to other countries will fly to and from Nadi, Fiji.
Students traveling on our group flights from Los Angeles will fly to Nadi, Fiji and will be accompanied by a flight leader.
From Los Angeles to Fiji is 10 hours by air.
US citizens do not need a visa for entry as a tourist into Fiji. On arrival into Fiji, immigration will issue US citizens a tourist visa for entry into the county. No prior arrangements for US citizens are needed.
Rustic Pathways does not make recommendations regarding immunizations. We strongly suggest that you consult with a travel doctor or your family physician regarding immunizations before you travel. You can also find more information on the websites of the Center for Disease Control (http://www.cdc.gov) or World Health Organization (http://www.who.int).
Optional activities, snacks and souvenirs are not included in the program cost. Optional activities include:
Scuba diving: $100 – $150 (depending on if you are scuba certified) Skydiving: $300 to $400 depending on height
Souvenirs and snack food: $20-$200
It is not necessary to bring more than a swimsuit or towel, as the locations where we will be diving provide all equipment. If you have a lucky pair of goggles and a snorkel that you would like to bring, feel free to!
Students will be given a journal at the beginning of the program in which they will log their data. If you would like to take notes on the various new animal species that you will discover, then a small notebook is recommended.
Contact Us: For more information about Marine and Environmental Monitoring you can email email@example.com.
Ages: 14 to 18 years old
Length: 10 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 10 hours awarded
International airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Thu||Availability|
|18 Jun||27 Jun||Very Limited|
|2 Jul||11 Jul||Available|
|16 Jul||25 Jul||Sold Out|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now