Fiji Service and Adventure (17 Day)
$4,395 + Airfare
Jul 13 – July 29
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
Yasawa, Mamanuca Islands, Nanuya Balavu Islands, Nadi
|Optional group flight there:||
Los Angeles to Nadi
|Optional group flight back:||
Nadi to Los Angeles
On this extended version of our 13 day Fiji trip to the land of smiles you get a little more of everything with a full 40 hours of community service and more sensational days to really savor Fiji time in paradise. See the direct positive impact of your hard work and earn service credits as you spend time with the locals and help improve the facilities of a local island school. Discover what it feels like to make a difference in the lives of the friendly school children who you’ll come to see as little brothers and sisters over the course of our project.
Combine this enriching experience with an amazing adventure that showcases all the best parts of this idyllic Pacific island nation. During our time exploring two spectacular island chains, dive into the crystal clear blue waters as you the swim with manta rays, bull sharks*, reef sharks, exotic fish and vibrant corals. Feel like a local as you explore limestone caves, cook a lovo, savour kava and spend a Sunday with a local family. Join us for a mix of cultural immersion, fun, adventure, and relaxation that you’re sure to never forget!
On this trip you will:
- Improve the facilities at a local high school (up to 40 hrs community service credit)
- Make lifetime bonds with local Fijian students as you help them in the classroom and the playground
- Snorkel through vibrant coral reefs and be surrounded by a variety of marine life
- Scuba dive with Bull sharks!* (certified divers only)
- Prepare a lovo with Fijians, learning how to weave palm frond baskets and cook like a local with a traditional earth oven
- Hike for incredible sunrise and sunset views of the Yasawa islands
- Witness a Sevusevu performed by village elders before drinking kava alongside your hosts while learning all about this sacred tradition
- Marvel at manta rays as they glide, dip, and flip in the ocean currents
- Learn how to throw a perfectly timed dummy as you test your touch rugby skills with the local Fijians
- Swim into sacred underwater limestone caves and hear the centuries old local legends
- Learn traditional tribal dance from locals then perform your new moves alongside your Fijian friends at a Meke Ceremony
- Snorkel amongst black and white-tipped reef sharks as they circle the water below your feet
- Kayak between amazingly beautiful islands in the turquoise water of the famous blue lagoon
- Relish your time at the pristine island resorts located right on the beach
- Spend a day cruising through the idyllic Mamanuca Islands
- Have the best mud bath and natural spa of your life in the shadow of the sleeping giant
DAYS 1 – 3: LOS ANGELES
As the group flight takes off, the trip officially begins! We lose a day crossing the international date line.
DAYS 3 – 4: NADI, VITI LEVU
We tour the largest of the islands in the Fijian Archipelago, Viti Levu, with the help of local guides, who give us real insight into the Fijian way of life. We’ll stop at archeological sites uncovered in the sand dunes, witness traditional Fijian pottery demonstrations before dancing side by side with the local villagers at a ceremony. We will also get down and dirty and enjoy a day spa the natural way by covering yourself head to toe in mud before relaxing in the warm, re-invigorating water of natural hot springs. You will experience all the joys and hidden beauty of the mainland.
DAYS 4 – 15: YASAWA ISLANDS
Waking the next morning we will hop on a catamaran bound for Nacula Island, one of the furthest north in the Yasawa island chain. We will spend a little over a week here immersing ourselves into the laid back rhythm of Fiji time! Brilliant sunrises and sunsets beg for the attention of your eyes and camera. Preparing a traditional lovo (Fijian feast) will give you new appreciation for the local fare. Paddle across the sea in a glass bottomed kayak to the neighboring blue lagoon and dive beneath the waves to explore the pristine reefs and underwater ecosystems. Returning to our island home, we are greeted with tea and cakes, vestiges of the days of British rule. In the late afternoon we’ll enjoy some volleyball, rugby, snorkelling, or laid back hammock time.
Our trip will also involve day trips to the neighboring islands for village visits where you will spend time having lunch and connecting with local families, some of whom may never have traveled further than 20 miles from the island in their entire lives.
On these neighboring islands, we have partnered with a local school for many years, where we will complete an important renovation of the local elementary school over the course of several days. You will be able to form genuine bonds with the local students as you play rugby or volleyball, swap stories, or make up secret handshakes. You’ll also spend some time in the classrooms helping teach the students before a touching assembly from the school thanking you for your hard work. We finish our time on the islands with a relaxing swim in the famous limestone caves of Sawa-I-Lau.
Then we travel by catamaran to our second stop, Drawaqa Island to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in its world-class house reef. Laze around on an inner tube taking in the amazing sunset from the aptly named sunset beach, before a bonfire on the beach at night under a canopy of stars. The morning after we arrive, if we are lucky, we will be greeted by the furious drumming signaling that manta rays have been spotted feeding in the channel just off the shore. We will throw on our wetsuits and snorkel gear, board a boat, and jump into the current for the adrenaline rush of a lifetime: a swim above and next to these gentle, majestic animals whose wingspans can reach up to twenty feet!
The last Yasawa Island, Waya Lailai, has the tallest peak of any of the islands we will visit. Play beach volleyball in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable before getting a few hours rest. The next morning we take an early morning hike up the 2nd tallest peak. Sunrise with a thirty mile view makes the early wake up absolutely worthwhile. After breakfast we will venture offshore to a coral reef where we will have the ultimate in adrenaline experiences: swimming with reef sharks (with our expert guide, of course!). These beautiful animals will be curious, but keep their distance from you. Landing back on shore for lunch, you will be completely in love with the islands and never want to go home; but the trip isn’t over yet!
DAYS 15 – 17: MAMANUCA ISLANDS AND NADI, VITI LEVU
Sail through the islands of the Mamanuca island chain where “Castaway” and “Survivor” were filmed. Stop on a private island to jump in the water for snorkeling, head to the beach for beach volleyball and sunbathing, then emerge for a BBQ lunch feast. In the afternoon participate in a traditional kava ceremony with the Chief and Spokesman of the village and peruse the handicrafts made by the local women. Return to the mainland for a delicious final dinner with your newfound best friends.
On our last day, explore the mainland and head into town for last minute souvenirs before catching the group flight back to the USA dreaming of your pacific island adventures!
Who can go on this trip? What kind of teen typically goes on this trip?
We have teens join this program from all over the world! They are typically culturally curious teens who are excited about making new friends, stepping out of their comfort zone, expanding their horizons, and trying something new.
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are specifically chosen to be in safe areas and well-suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. This means we do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities. We prefer to select smaller, family run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
On the mainland we stay in Nadi Bay at a beachfront hotel with great facilities perfect for enjoying this idyllic setting. In the Yasawa Islands we stay at three different resorts, each situated on the water and selected for the amazing activities and famous Fijian hospitality on offer.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for a trip.
Do most travelers go by themselves?
Yes, in fact over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that are formed along the way. If you travel by yourself, you are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new BFFs on another TFT trip the next summer!
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We just ask that if you come with a friend, you and your friend(s) are still open to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students generally like most on this program?
Every year students fall in love with the tropical paradise that is Fiji. Picturesque white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters, a huge array of adventure activities both in and out of the water and the legendary Fijian hospitality leave such an impression on the teens they often wish they could stay just one more day!
What is unique about this program?
The community service program with the local school is something we are very proud of, having formed a wonderful relationship after returning to volunteer there for years. This gives the teens an exclusive all-access pass to form amazing bonds with the students. Year after year there are tears as the teens have to bid fond farewells to their new found friends.
What is included?
Ground transportation, accommodations, all breakfasts, lunches and dinners, chaperones and guides, trip related activities, trip related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included: (not intended to be an exhaustive list) Airfare, rail passes, visas & visa application fees, beverages other than tap water, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not trip related such as movies, clubs and the like, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the trip description such as damage to hotels, excess baggage fees and the like, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances such as transportation strikes, natural disasters and the like, personal and medical expenses.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss this trip’s flight details. You are not required to take the group flight, although there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is chaperoned by TFT staff, it offers an opportunity for the students to get to know each other before the trip starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on trips that have group contracts (ask for details). Parents are responsible for arranging for participants to get to the group flight airport. Travel For Teens staff are at the airport, greet arriving participants, and help them get to where the rest of the group has assembled. For more information about Flights, visit our Flights page.
Who are the counselors on the trip?
The Trip Director for every trip is a seasoned teen travel professional with extensive TFT experience. Trip Directors often live or have lived and worked in the destination country. Extensive knowledge of the language and culture of the destination is crucial. Our Senior Counselors are experienced, responsible and fun-loving individuals who our participants can share experiences with and look to for guidance and support. At Travel for Teens we pride ourselves on our rigorous staff application process and the professionalism of our full time and summer staff.
It is the job of the counselors to keep the trip fun and exciting, the learning and the laughter in good balance, and to oversee the safety of the participants. Minimum ratios are on average one staff member to every seven participants. Trips may also include one or two Junior Counselors, who are college students with a history of TFT travel, and one or more Counselors in Training (CIT’s) with limited responsibility. CIT’s are not counted in staff-participant ratios.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
All of our staff members attend a week long training session every May to prepare for the upcoming summer and go over safety precautions and protocols. Likewise, every counselor is CPR/First Aid certified and Trip Directors are Lifeguard certified. All staff undergo a rigorous interview process and thorough background check.
What is the average group size?
At Travel for Teens, our trips typically fall into 3 different size categories.
Small: 7-14 students where 14 is the maximum.
Medium: Average is between 14-21 students with 21 as the maximum.
Large: Trips 21-35 students. These are our largest trips.
Typically Fiji Service and Adventure (17 Day) falls into the small to medium range, but trip sizes differ from year to year.
How does this program connect to other programs?
This trip is designed to easily connect with other TFT trips in Asia, Australia and Africa. If you are connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the trip and help you get to your next destination where you will meet up with your new counselors and group.
What is the food like on this trip?
In a word – Delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
Fijians are amazing chefs, so during the trip there will always be a wide and tasty array of dishes.Try a TFT favorite, the local fish and coconut delicacy kokoda, as well as taro and cassava, straight from the steaming lovo, which is a traditional earth oven used for centuries.
We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do I need any vaccinations for this trip?
We recommend that you check with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the areas you will be visiting. For more information, please check out the World Health Organization’s website www.who.int/en/.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group nearly always. Everyday we will break up into smaller groups to give our participants some choices and flexibility in their itinerary. We do offer some free time to do some shopping, for example, in defined areas that we are very familiar with. If participants are ever shopping by themselves within these defined areas they go in groups and for no more than an hour. On this trip, there is just enough free time to enjoy paradise; exploring pristine beaches, swimming in house reefs teeming with fish, hanging out with the local Fijians or lazing in a hammock with amazing views. A counselor will always be nearby when participants have free time, and a lifeguard certified counselor whenever anyone is in the water.
What kind of Visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Fiji is automatically granted a free 4 month tourist visa. If you are coming from somewhere outside the US, please be sure to check your country specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No, our skilled staff members will help you get around and even teach you a few fun phrases!