Join us for two weeks, four weeks, or the entire summer on Sun, Sand and Service at the Rustic Pathways Eco-Lodge. Spend your days contributing to a variety of meaningful and fun environmental and community service projects, and then relax and enjoy your tropical surroundings in the evenings and on the weekends. One of our most popular programs, Sun, Sand and Service will give you insight into the Fijian way of life and introduce you to the natural beauty of this island nation.
Our South Pacific Eco-Lodge is tucked into the hills south of Nadi and overlooks Momi Bay. It features beautiful ocean views, tropical surroundings, and a relaxed island atmosphere. It's a friendly and social place with lots of space for you to get to know your fellow travelers and our local staff and friends. We have several ongoing service projects at the Eco-Lodge, and you will be assigned to a small service team that will work on a combination of these initiatives. The projects range from teaching English to refurbishing schools and contributing to reforestation efforts. The small service groups will encourage you to build strong bonds with your fellow students and to take on a leadership role in your group's projects.
In the evenings everyone will return to the Eco-Lodge to relax with our local staff, neighbors, and friends. Lovo feasts, meke dances, and kava ceremonies will give you a rich taste of traditional Fijian food and culture. And playing soccer with the local children, hanging out by the pool, or dancing around a bonfire will keep your evenings relaxed and fun.
The Eco-Lodge sits between two indigenous villages and is surrounded by a host of Indian and Fijian families. People from these two distinct cultures live right next to each other in many of the coastal and urban areas on Viti Levu, Fiji's main island, even though they speak different languages and observe different customs and religions.
Native Fijian village life is centered around traditional chiefs and daily ceremonies, and Indo-Fijians hold on to separate customs from India. Women dress in colorful saris, and dinners are spiced with curry. You'll learn first hand about these distinct ways of life and rich cultures. Our local staff grew up in the area, and they will share their backgrounds, families, and friends with you while you are in this South Pacific paradise.
If you're staying with us for two weeks or more, you'll have the chance to take part in the weekend side trips that run out of the Eco-Lodge. Spend the night in a picture-perfect island paradise, immerse yourself in the local culture during a visit to a Highlands village, or get your adrenaline pumping on a high-energy adventure. There will usually be four optional excursions to choose from each week, and each will show you a different side of Fiji.
Students staying at the Eco-Lodge Base for two or more weeks have the option of joining a weekend side trip after their first full week of service. We offer four very different options throughout the summer, with two or three options operating each week. Side trips allow students to get off the base and explore different areas and aspects of the Fiji Islands. Almost all students who stay two weeks or more take advantage of these side trip opportunities to explore the culture, beauty, and diversity of this South Seas paradise.
3 days, 2 nights | $295
3 days, 2 nights | $365
3 days, 2 nights | $365
3 days, 2 nights | $395
Rustic Pathways primarily uses Air Pacific, the national airline of the Fiji Islands, for our group flights departing Los Angeles. This flight is non-stop to Nadi International Airport and is escorted by a Rustic Pathways Flight Leader. It departs LAX in the late evening and takes about 10 hours. During your flight take the time to get to know other students, 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's and their legendary hospitality.
Today is "lost" as you cross the international dateline, but don't worry too much… you will get it back on your way home!
Upon clearing customs and immigration, you will be greeted by Rustic Pathways' Fiji leaders and transported to your new home at our beautiful Eco-Lodge Base. Here you will enjoy a tropical breakfast with your leaders and new friends. You will receive an orientation about the week ahead of you while you overlook sugarcane fields that seem to fall into the ocean. The staff will help you settle into your new home and answer any questions you might have. Then, it is off to the beach for a few hours of sun and fun for your first day in Fiji.
After lunch there is no time to waste. You will stop by a local school to lead after-school sports and games for a few hours. This is a great time to start exploring your new community and get a sense of what to expect in the days ahead. You will be surprised at how welcoming and excited the Fijians are to see you!
During the evening you will participate in a formal sevusevu ceremony (a traditional welcoming ceremony) and begin to learn about the amazing country you have just entered. Dressed in your new sulu (traditional Fijian sarong or skirt) and sitting around the kava circle, you will begin to learn that there is more than just the world-renowned beaches that makes Fiji special. The local staff will guide you through your first step of cultural understanding as you participate in this ceremony. Sharing in a kava ceremony while watching the sunset from our huge deck with new friends is the perfect end to your first day in Fiji.
Friday will be your first full day of service work. Rustic Pathways has developed a wonderful relationship with the local people of Momi Bay and the larger Nadi area. Project work during the course of your program is focused around the eight service initiatives we have undertaken at the Eco-Lodge. You will typically get involved in two projects during the course of the day, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. You can expect to spend time working in the local schools, tutoring students in English, getting involved with afternoon sporting events and facilitating much needed art and music classes. In addition, you might teach computer literacy classes to older youth and young adults or help a neighbor repair their roof or build a kitchen. You may also spend a day at the local hospital or one of the rural nursing stations to help disperse medical donations, teach the locals about hygiene, dental care, and general medical issues. You will also get involved in some environmental projects to help preserve the incredibly beautiful and fragile ecosystems here. Your service will be varied, interesting, challenging, and extremely rewarding and worthwhile.
In the afternoon and evenings you will participate in some of the beautiful natural wonders Fiji has to offer. From surfing down sand dunes to soaking in the natural hot springs or jumping into a pool of mud, no afternoon is dull. At our base house we host meke performances (indigenous Fijian dances) and Indo-Fijian cultural nights where you can learn about the large Indian culture that exists in Fiji. We keep your afternoons full of the exotic beauty that makes Fiji a top tourist destination while providing you the opportunity to learn about the culture that makes it so special.
During the weekend you will participate in large group community service projects. Generally, work on Saturday will involve projects that enable us to complete tasks at schools while students are not in their classrooms or larger projects that involve a whole village or community. Many of the local adults are able to participate and get involved after meeting their job obligations during the course of a normal working week.
When your group is not doing service this weekend, your time will be spent enjoying the wonders that Fiji has to offer in whatever way that fits your mood! How you spend your free day is up to you. You can go swimming, snorkeling or surfing at our beautiful Natadola beach, or join in the awesome optional activities that are available. Whether you choose to explore paradise while island hopping, participate in adrenaline sports, discover the world below us while scuba diving, or test your courage by sky diving, get ready for a day you will never forget.
After a day of fun and sun, the focus of your next three days will be on service. You will break into small groups each morning and spend the days on a variety of different initiatives. Get ready to teach, paint, plant, build, and share in the diverse and welcoming communities around the Eco-Lodge.
Evenings are special at the Eco-Lodge! They range from the ridiculous 80's dance parties to the quiet songs around a traditional kava circle. The staff will charm you into being outrageously silly or sincerely reflective. You will find that Fijians will inspire you to try both.
Wednesday nights are reserved for our weekly farewell ceremony. Take time to reflect on your experiences and the lessons that you’ve learned and say good bye to your new but very special friends.
Today is the chance to spend your morning soaking up the sun before you prepare for an afternoon of service. You will get the opportunity to welcome a new group of participants to the Eco-Lodge and answer their questions as the students before you answered yours. You'll head to the beach to get to know new friends and then by afternoon, you will be back out in the community working on much need service initiatives.
As you begin your second week, you will find that the more time you spend here, the greater your ability to communicate, participate, and contribute.. Your understanding of Fijian culture will deepen and your friendships will become stronger
The remainder of the week will run much the same as the first, although no day is exactly the same in Fiji, so there will be new opportunities of service and adventure. Fiji has a way of seducing you and these islands have captivated many a visitor. 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.
Weekend Side Trips!
During your second weekend (and third or fourth, if you stay for multiple sessions) at the Eco-Lodge you will have the opportunity to join an optional Weekend Side Trip. These trips are a great way to explore more of Fiji in the midst of the important service work you are a part of from at the Eco-Lodge. Choose from spending the weekend sailing through the tropical islands, white water rafting and zip lining, or traveling to the interior highlands and immersing yourself in village life. These trips are unique and awesome opportunities. Please note that number of community service hours awarded may be affected if you choose to do a weekend trip that extends for two or more days. For more information about these weekend adventures, please check out the special Eco-Lodge Weekend Side Trip web page.
Well your time in Fiji has flown by like a dream and you should now be very familiar with Fijian culture and much of what this easy-going island nation is all about. Today is a chance to do some much desired shopping for souvenirs. You will get the chance to explore town and the local handicraft market for gifts and reminders of your time in Fiji.
If you are departing to the USA tonight, after a final meal with your group, you travel to the airport and bid Fiji farewell (until next year perhaps). You will be escorted to LAX with a Rustic Pathways Flight leader.
For those students who are continuing to another Rustic Pathways program in Fiji or overseas, you will commence your next program this morning.
For students joining the Sun, Sand and Service program for additional weeks, get ready for more adventures, more time with local friends, and a lot more fun! Welcome in the new students and get back out in the amazing community of Fiji!
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.
You will be traveling to Fiji during the dry season, where the days are generally hot, with humidity. The evenings can cool off but often remain warm.
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.
We ask that you pack as lightly as you can. You will be expected to carry your bags and gear yourself. The baggage limit on Air Pacific is 50lbs, but please also be aware of the baggage restrictions for any domestic connections in the USA. You can find more details on Air Pacific's baggage allowances on their website at http://www.airpacific.com/Baggage/International-Baggage-Allowance
Dress for Service Projects: Standards of dress in Fiji are often more conservative than in common in the USA. Please be prepared with the items included in the packing list for your service projects. During service work, female students will need to wear t-shirts or other sleeved shirts. Women must also wear sulus (sarongs) or a long skirt when at schools for service or in villages. 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
You must wear your Rustic Pathways t-shirt when you are travelling - in the Los Angles Airport and on the plane!
Please use a small backpack/daypack. This will be used throughout the trip on excursions.
Linens – You will need a top sheet and/or blanket or lightweight sleeping bag. A bottom sheet and pillowcase will be provided for your bed, although some students choose to bring their own as well.
Toiletries – Please note that we strongly encourage all students to use only biodegradable soap.
Many students ask about bringing donations with them and they are always appreciated! If you would like to bring donations, we ask that you follow the list below of suggested items, which has been developed with the local community and schools. We suggest bringing 3-5 items if you wish and encourage you to be mindful of airline baggage allowances.
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 will stay our South Pacific Eco Lodge Base during this program. The Eco Lodge is situated on 14 acres of land about 45 minutes drive from the town of Nadi. The base is nestled in the rolling hills here and has ocean views at a distance.
The Eco Lodge consists of a main house with kitchen and activity space and several small houses that sleep six to eight students on bunk-beds. Students share rooms with others of the same gender and one same-sex staff member. Each house has an attached bathroom with solar powered hot water showers, sinks, and flush toilets. There is an infinity-edge swimming pool, soccer field, small weight room, and pool table.
The water is safe to drink at the Eco Lodge. Bottled water is available for purchase from a snack bar at the Eco Lodge if preferred.
The Eco Lodge has its own resident chef and team of cooking staff. Students will eat a combination of local Fijian dishes and more western-style dishes. Breakfasts typically include cereal, breads, eggs, crackers, and fruit. Lunches and dinners range from traditional Fijian lovo feasts of chicken, cassava, and dalo (root crops similar to potatoes) to barbeques, pastas, stir fries, curries, salads, and vegetables. Vegetarians can easily be catered for, and most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
On average, our programs in Fiji are 70% female and 30% male.
All programs in Fiji connect easily together. On the final day of each program, students will go to the airport to connect with the staff, arriving students, and other connecting participants for their next program. Students connecting to programs in Australia and New Zealand will depart on the final day of their Fiji program and connect with their next trip as it begins.
A flight leader will accompany students on the group flight to Fiji from Los Angeles. Students will meet their flight leader at the departure gate in Los Angeles. Students joining a program in Fiji from Australia or New Zealand will not be accompanied by a flight leader. Our program staff will greet students when they arrive at the Nadi Airport in Fiji.
Fiji is 10 hours by air from Los Angeles. Flights from Australia and New Zealand are 3-4 hours.
US citizens do not need a visa for entry as a tourist into Fiji. On arrival into Fiji, immigration will issue US citizens with 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).
The only items not included in this trip are optional activities (see below), souvenirs, snacks, drinks, phone cards, and the like. Local phone cards can be purchased to call the US for about 75 cents a minute. Laundry service is available at the Eco Lodge for approximately $25 per load.
The amount of allowance or spending money needed varies based on each student’s spending habits and choice of optional activities. We recommend about $200.00 USD per week to cover snacks, souvenirs, phone cards, and other small expenses plus allowance for any optional activities. Students are given one day during their Introduction to Community Service program to participate in these optional activities should they wish. Below is a list of the optional activities that may be available and their estimated costs that we suggest you use as a guide in determining allowance. All activities and prices are subject to change.
Optional Activities (Estimated Prices in USD)
Island Hopping Day - $80
Scuba diving - $75 - $150
Skydiving - $300-500
Banana Boat - $20
Parasailing - $40
Wake Boarding $40
Hotel Lunch - $20
Contact Us: For more information about Sun, Sand and International Service you can email email@example.com.
Ages: 14 to 18 years old
Length: 17 days from the USA
Hours: Up to 60 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|
|11 Jun||27 Jun||Available|
|18 Jun||4 Jul||Available|
|25 Jun||11 Jul||Limited|
|2 Jul||18 Jul||Limited|
|9 Jul||25 Jul||Sold Out|
|16 Jul||1 Aug||Limited|
|23 Jul||8 Aug||Available|
|30 Jul||15 Aug||Available|
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