A very popular drink in Fiji is yaqona ("yang-go-na"), also known as "kava” and sometimes referred to as "grog" by locals. Kava, also known as Yaqona, is a peppery, earthy tasting drink made from the root of the pepper plant (piper methysticum) and is used for ceremonies. Its effects include a numbed tongue and lips (usually lasting only about 5-10 minutes) and relaxed muscles.
Everywhere you go in Fiji you’ll find the locals knocking it back. Some gappers say it tastes awful, while others can’t get enough of the stuff. It’s often mistaken for a hallucogenic drink, but actually, the only sensation you’ll get from it is the need to go to sleep. Most Fijians drink it every day and it’s actually one of the country’s biggest exports as happy tourists want to bring the ‘Fijian time’ home with them.
The legal drinking age in Fiji is 17.
Any wine lovers can make the most of the cheap Australian imports flown in from just over the water. If it’s beer you’re after make sure to try the robust Fiji Bitter Beer – perfect in the hot Fijian sun.
Fiji is full of sugar cane fields – making rum a must. The local brew is known as ‘Bounty’ and you’ll find it everywhere. Popular brands of booze that you’re used to will cost a lot more in Fiji as they have to be imported. Make sure to pick up a few duty free bottles in the airport if you’re worried about your backpacker budget on your gap year in Fiji.
Fiji’s mountain regions are filled with coffee bean plantations and supping a cup is a popular pastime throughout the island. The do describe their brews differently though...
The tap water is fine for the locals to drink, but if you’re travelling to Fiji on your gap year stick with bottled just to be sure.