Shopping in Fiji earned some bad press for many years with cheap street trinkets and aggressive hawkers, but this has been largely addressed with much better quality products and upgraded shopping centres. Nevertheless, be on your guard for hustlers. Handicrafts, natural fabrics, jewellery, local specialty food items and duty free make up most travellers’ shopping lists.
Top 3 Things You Should Buy:
The most authentic Fijian souvenir, if that is what you are looking for, is an exquisite hand-carved item. But beware of cheap and poor quality stuff that crams the shelves of the tourist stores. You’ll need to find an upmarket gallery or local artisan for the best stuff.
Artisan produce is another Fijian staple including locally distilled rums and liqueurs. Bounty brand is the local staple, but new flavoured varieties are also offered. Otherwise, the local Pure Fiji brand of coconut-based lotions and personal amenities are superb. Yes, like the ones found in premium hotels.
Famed black pearls
In terms of fashion, Fiji has a healthy fabric and garments industry, but for something uniquely Fijian, the locally farmed black pearls from J. Hunter Pearls at Savusavu are distinctly Fijian with a lustre and colouration only found in Fijian waters, you can find them in stores or at the farm.
Top 7 Places You Should Shop
Of course, you can visit any number of the urban shopping precincts, but for something special, it often pays to venture away from the tourist areas and explore local and provincial markets for individual and singular items like carvings and crafts.
A no brainer for the many guests from any of the beachfront resorts, this complex is a familiar mix of Western-style boutiques, eateries, bars and sundry retail. Pick up stuff from the pharmacy or supermarket, post a postcard or get money from an ATM, it’s all here.
Suva Curio & Handicraft Market
Located downtown on Stinson Parade, here’s your chance to get some genuine Fijian handicrafts. You’ll need to barter and sort through some of the cheaper stuff in 71 stalls, but a trained eye will find the best stuff. Pottery and tapa cloth (masi) are a good find here, closer weave the better.
Suva Flea Market
Nearby on Rodwell St, is the informal and knockabout flea market that has all manner of stuff from handicrafts to clothing, cheaper carvings and T-shirts. A good place to look for gifts for second cousins. Bula shirts, shell necklaces and sarongs aplenty. There’s also Ratu Sukuna House for more handicrafts.
Nadi Handicraft Market
A pleasant alternative to the commercial retail shops like Jack’s downtown and others in Port Denarau. In this authentic Fijian shopping centre you’ll find local farmers, fishermen and artisans displaying their handiwork to locals. Kava can no longer be brought into Australia, sorry.
Pure Fiji Factory
Of course you can find their quality coconut-based products in nearly every store and hotel throughout Fiji, but a visit to the factory in Suva is where you can see everything at once and visit their renowned day spa at the same time. A homegrown success story.
Downtown Sigatoka is really a window-shoppers’ treat with all manner of retail business on show from upscale boutiques to casual street hawkers. You’re sure to find either quick gifts or something special for yourself. Take in the aromas of fresh fruit, vegetable and spices at the produce market.
If you are staying in or near Pacific Harbour, this will be your local stop for staples and gifts. It’s not somewhere you’d rave about, but there is a supermarket some stores and occasional fire walking shows put on for visitors, or hang out at the Tiki Pool Bar & Restaurant.