_ A South Seas island group that is easy to reach_
TIME ZONE: PST plus 19 hours.
** LOCATION:** Fiji is an archipelago of 320 islands 1,800 miles east of Australia and 1,000 miles north of New Zealand. ** GETTING THERE:** Visitors must hold a current passport (for three months after date of visit) and a return ticket to enter Fiji. The departure tax is 20 Fijian dollars.
From the gateway cities of Los Angeles and Honolulu, Air Pacific (800-227-4446) flies directly to Nadi, Fiji. Air New Zealand (800-262-1234) and Canadian Air (800-426-7000) also service Fiji.
Once you get there, you'll island-hop with Sunflower Airlines, Air Fiji, Air Pacific or Turtle Island Airways. If you're staying on a more remote island, note that travel among islands may be limited to daylight hours.
LANGUAGE: The official language is English. Fijian and Hindi are also spoken.
WEATHER: May through October, ranges from 70-80 degrees. The rest of the year is 5-10 degrees warmer, with frequent showers and higher humidity.
WATER: Water at resorts and in urban areas is safe to drink, unless you're told otherwise.
CURRENCY: The Fijian dollar. Exchange rate: US$1 to $1.95 Fijian at press time (Dec. 1998). Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted.
ELECTRICITY: 240 volts, 50 cycles, AC. (U.S. systems require converters).
COMMUNICATIONS: Most hotels have full overseas communications systems. Fiji, like Micronesia, operates on a debit-card-only pay-phone system; there are no coin pay phones. The country code is 679.
DRIVING: On the left side of the road. Car rentals are available. On the bigger islands, renting a car is feasible, but taxis are also widely available.
DRESS: To visit villages, men and women must wear a sulu, a wraparound skirt covering the knees. Revealing clothing is not acceptable in public places.
TOURS: On the bigger islands, tour operators offer day trips in air-conditioned coaches.
TIPPING: Tipping is not customary, but if you feel you received outstanding service, you can make a donation to the employee Christmas fund.
TRAVEL SPECIALISTS: For reservations, travel planning, dive packages and more information about Fiji diving, click on the home pages below.