Fiji Service and Adventure (17 Days)
$4,495 + Airfare
Jul 12 – July 28
9, 10, 11, 12
|Who can go on this trip?||
Students from around the world!
|Places we visit:||
Nadi Bay, Sigatoka, Mamanuca Islands, Yasawa Islands
|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 program 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, reef sharks, exotic fish and vibrant corals. Feel like a local as you explore limestone caves, cook a lovo, sample kava and visit several villages. Join us for a mix of cultural immersion, fun, adventure, and relaxation that you’re sure to never forget!
On this program you will:
- Improve the facilities at a local elementary school (up to 40 hours of community service credit)
- Make lifetime bonds with local Fijian students
- Scuba dive vibrant coral reefs teeming with incredible exotic marine life*
- Prepare a lovo with Fijians, learn how to weave palm frond baskets and cook like a local with this traditional earth oven
- Hike for incredible sunrise and sunset views of the Yasawa islands
- Snorkel amongst black and white-tipped reef sharks as they circle the water below your feet
- Jump and slide on giant sand dunes
- Witness a sevusevu performed by village elders before drinking kava alongside your hosts and learning all about this sacred tradition
- Marvel at manta rays as they glide, dip, and flip in the ocean currents
- Swim into sacred underwater limestone caves and hear the centuries-old local legends
- Learn a traditional tribal dance and then perform alongside your Fijian friends at a meke
- Kayak between amazingly beautiful islands in the turquoise water of the famous blue lagoon
- Play volleyball with the locals
- Spend a day cruising through the idyllic Mamanuca islands
- Have the best mud bath and natural spa day of your life in the shadow of the sleeping giant
*If your teen plans on diving, it is mandatory for you to purchase dive insurance in advance of the program. Please review our FAQ section for more information.
DAYS 1 – 3: LOS ANGELES
As the group flight takes off, the program officially begins! We lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
DAYS 3 – 4: NADI, VITI LEVU
We spend our first day on the largest of the islands in the Fijian Archipelago, Viti Levu. We’ll stop at beautiful sand dunes at a national park where we will shake off our jet lag with a leisurely hike, and even have the opportunity to jump and play on the dunes! Our first afternoon we will visit the most beautiful beach on the island to relax, swim, and get acquainted with island life. After a fun day exploring the main island we will head back to our beautiful resort, right on the beach with an incredible sunset view.
DAYS 4 – 15: YASAWA ISLANDS
Waking the next morning we will hop on a ferry bound for Nacula Island, one of the furthest north in the Yasawa island chain. We will spend our time here immersing ourselves into the laid back rhythm of Fiji time! Brilliant sunrises and sunsets beg for the attention of your eyes and camera.
Just a short ten minute boat ride away is a local school we have partnered with for many years, where we will complete an important renovation over the course of several days. You will be able to form genuine bonds with the Fijian students as you coordinate playground games, swap stories, and teach each other about your own cultures. You’ll also spend some time meeting the students from each classroom and feel warmly welcomed into the school with songs and dance. Our service project will be capped off with a touching assembly from the school thanking you for your hard work.
Our program will also involve day trips to the neighboring islands for village visits where you will spend time connecting with local families, some of whom may never have traveled further than 20 miles from the island in their entire lives. Many of the students from the school we partner with live in these villages, so you will be able to spend some time with the children outside of school and see what daily life for them is like!
Our time on Nacula will also involve fully immersing ourselves in Fijian culture while enjoying a wide variety of activities. Prepare an authentic lovo (Fijian feast cooked in the earth) to gain new appreciation for the local fare. Participate in a traditional kava ceremony. Learn Fijian songs and dances, and discover the meaning of “Fiji time” while soaking up everything this island has to offer!
Of course, no one’s time in Fiji would be complete without plenty of water activities! Paddle across the sea in a glass bottomed kayak, snorkel in the neighboring blue lagoon and dive beneath the waves to explore the pristine reefs and underwater ecosystems. Swim in the famous limestone caves of Sawa-I-Lau. Each day we’ll also enjoy the option to play volleyball with the local staff, snorkel, swim, or relish some laid back hammock time. We will play group games in the evenings, and some nights will even involve special Fijian performances and a bonfire!
After about a week on Nacula we travel by ferry to our second stop, Drawaqa Island to enjoy snorkeling in its world-class house reef. Relax on the perfect white sand taking in sunset from the aptly named sunset beach.
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 snorkel gear, board a boat, and jump into the current to 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 second tallest peak. Sunrise with a thirty mile view makes the early wake up absolutely worthwhile. After breakfast 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 program isn’t over yet!
DAYS 15 – 17: NADI, VITI LEVU
We will return to Nadi to come full circle and complete our adventure in Fiji. Our last two days will be packed with excitement. Take off on a thrilling Zipline tour through jungle, caves, and mountaintops. 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.
After two incredible weeks together it will be time to say goodbye to our new friends, but the memories we made together in Fiji will last a lifetime!
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
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.
This program is only for students who are currently in 9th through 12th grade and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
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 resort with great facilities for enjoying this idyllic setting. In the Yasawa Islands we stay at three local rustic 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 program.
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 program 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 LIKE MOST ABOUT 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, program related activities, program related activity admissions, taxes and tips.
Not Included (not intended to be an exhaustive list): Airfare, visas and visa application fees, beverages other than filtered water at meals, activities and admissions not referenced in the itinerary or deemed not program related, such as movies, expenses incurred by the participant that are outside the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels, expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters, as well as 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 program’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 program starts, and we get preferred group flight prices on programs 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 LEADS THE PROGRAM?
The Trip Director for every program 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 program 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. Programs 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 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?
Group size is important! A smaller group size provides unique opportunities that a large group cannot accommodate. Think of your favorite local restaurant; could it easily accommodate a group of 50 teens? Probably not! Our group sizes average between 14 to 21 students, which means that we are able to comfortably use local transport, enjoy local restaurants, and have a more authentic experience overall! A smaller group size also eliminates the likelihood of cliques, meaning that our groups all tend to bond as a cohesive unit. We guarantee that you’ll have enough people to meet some new best friends, but not so many that you feel like “just a number” or lost in a crowd.
How does this program connect to other programs?
This program is designed to easily connect with other TFT programs 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 program 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 program?
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!
During the program there is delicious array of dishes, and lots of it! 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.
As always, we are willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
How much free time do we get?
Our counselors are with the group almost 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.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
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/.
What kind of visa do you need for this program?
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!