With 333 idyllic islands, Fiji is the heart of the South Pacific. Blessed with amazing weather year-round, friendly islanders who are happy to share their homes and traditions, luxurious resorts fronting white-sand beaches, adventures in the water and in the jungle – well, the list goes on – Fiji is that paradise of which you’ve been dreaming. Here, we give you the rundown on the different regions within Fiji, what you can do there (so much!) and what you need to know before you go.
Get to Know the Areas of Fiji
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the Fiji Islands, the Coral Coast is several miles south of Nadi Town. Pass through sugarcane fields and pine forests to reach dramatic views of the South Pacific. Steep hills plunge into the bay and beaches, where some of the world’s most luxurious resorts are located. The Coral Coast is family friendly, thanks to calm swimming conditions at the beach. From the Sigatoka Market to authentic Fijian villages to unspoiled beaches, this is where you’ll find an authentic Fiji experience.
Just 15 minutes from Nadi International Airport, Denarau Island is the gateway to Fiji’s Outer Islands. You’ll find countless world-class resorts, restaurants and entertainment venues here. Plus, one of Fiji’s best golf courses is located here. This is a where helicopters leave for the nearby island groups and where boats depart for Mamanuca and Yasawa islands.
Pleasingly off the beaten track, Kadavu is for you if you’re looking for serenity. It offers unfettered rain forests, beautiful coral reefs (including the 40-mile-long Great Astrolabe Reef) and authentic villages – be sure to visit stunning Dravuni, home to just 125 people, and purchase a floormat made from pandanus palm. Known as “bird island,” Kadavu is home to four endemic birds, including the rainbow-hued shining musk parrot.
Twenty idyllic islands off the coast of Nadi comprise the Mamanuca Islands. They’re easily accessible via daily boat transfer from Port Denaru or by quick flight from Nadi Airport. There’s a cool wreck dive here, world-class surfing waves, hidden beaches, friendly villages, secluded picnic spots, sumptuous spas and more.
You’ll begin and end your Fiji vacation in Nadi, home to the international airport. And, if you’re island hopping you’ll pass back through. If you are planning to stay for any length of time, and you should, there are several hotel options available. Shop, visit the Rejuvenation Centre spa or explore other attractions in this multicultural town.
Like Kadavu, Fiji’s Outer Islands are the exact opposite of the country’s tourist hotspots. Whether it’s adventure or culture you seek, you’ll find it in Lomaiviti’s seven large islands. Tour the colonial capital of Levuka on Ovalau Island, go deep-sea fishing or head out to some of Fiji’s most popular dive sites.
Pacific Harbour and Beqa Island
Looking for adventure? Pacific Harbour and Beqa Island are for you. Between the championship gold course, the 4WD trips into the jungle, ziplining through the forest canopy or running the rapids of the Navua River, this region is a tropical playground on overload. Go on a jetski excrusion to Beqa Island, go deep-sea fishing, go diving and surfing or, for a quieter adventure, head to the Arts Village to browse the shops and enjoy a local beer.
Savusavu and Surrounding Region
Savusavu is Fiji’s second-largest island, but that doesn’t mean it comes with more people – in fact, there are more palm trees than residents on this picturesque isle. Diving is a big deal here, with spectacular reefs just minutes away, while the Namena Marine Reserve and Split Rock are popular destinations as well. Kayak in Salt Lake, swim under a waterfall or visit the mysterious Snake rock temple at Labasa.
Sun, sun and more sun define Viti Levu’s aplty named Suncoast. Drive two and a half hours north out of Nadi past market towns and rural villages to the Nakauvadra Mountains. There are astonishing resorts on the peninsula, dolphins to spot in the lagoon, the world-class dive sites of Bligh Water and gorgeous bays on Nananu-i-Ra, a favorite of kiteboarders and windsurfers. The beaches are uncrowded, the sky is blue – what’s keeping you away?
Suva and Surrounding Region
A top economic, educational and diplomatic center in the South Pacific, cosmopolitan Suva is home to about a third of Fiji’s population. Notice the British colonial-era architecture as you explore shopping malls, farmers markets and restaurants. If you’re on a cruise in the South Pacific, this will be one of your ports of call – hop off and learn about the area at the Fiji Museum and tour the Thurston Gardens. Historic hotels, apartments and modern hotel suites are all available here.
Known as the “Garden Isle,” Tavenui is famous for its Bouma National Heritage Park, which makes up most of the island. Nature reigns supreme here, so take advantage with jungle hikes, waterfall swims, diving at Eel Reef and the Great White Wall, birdwatching, climbing to a crater lake and searching for the scarlet flower.
Look closely – you might recognize the lush mountains and white-sand beaches of the Yasawa Islands from a Hollywood movie or a reality television show. Make your own beautiful moments as you island hop to the Sawa-i-Lau caves, swim with manta rays and snorkel over coral gardens. Don’t stop at one of the isles – the more you explore, the more hidden beaches and deserted bays you’ll find.
What to Do in Fiji
While visions of Fiji may include your lounging on a white-sand beach or in a hammock beneath swaying palms, don’t exclude the option for tropical adventure. If your idea of vacation means revving your heartrate, Fiji has plenty to offer. Go river rafting and ocean kayaking, snorkeling and diving, ziplining through the jungle canopy and off-roading along muddy tracks to out-of-the-way vistas. Visit Fijian villages to get to know the locals and their customs. There’s something for every adventuring personality in the islands.
If you’re a honeymooning couple or just looking to rekindle the flame, Fiji provides the spark. There are countless islands where you can slip away and find a dreamy beach, just for the two of you, and luxury adults-only resorts. Choose an overwater bungalow and feel worlds away from the everyday. Soak under a waterfall, enjoy a mouthwatering, candlelit dinner on the beach or sink into a blissful couple’s massage, the only sound the chattering of the birds in the jungle nearby.
Snorkeling & Diving
As drawn as you are to Fiji’s sparkling azure waters, it’s what’s beneath the surface that may woo you even more. Glide over colorful coral reefs brimming with tropical marine life – in some places, you can snorkel right from the beach, where in others, you can hop in a boat for a scenic ride to outer reefs. Ever wanted to snorkel with manta rays? This is one of the best places in the world to do so.
If diving is calling your name, follow in flippers of Jean Michel Cousteau and discover the Great Sea Reef, the Great Astrolabe Reef, Grand Central Station, the Nigali Passage and the Great White Wall. Never dived before? No problem. There are numerous dive operators who will get you certified.
As much as Fiji is beloved by romance seekers, Fiji is fantastic for families. Many accommodations throughout the islands cater to kiddos with meal deals and kids clubs, as well as spacious suites and bungalows. Your ultimate family vacation here can include snorkeling, diving, jetskiing, kayaking, building sandcastles on white-sand beaches, watching for wildlife, hiking in the jungle and more. Nanny services and kids clubs can provide the care and entertainment while the grown-ups enjoy a well-deserved evening to themselves.
That glistening South Pacific sea will be calling every moment you’re in Fiji, so heed the call with a cruise on crystal-clear waters. The sailing conditions are optimal and Fiji is world-renowned as a yachting hub. Book a day trip or charter a yacht for a short island hopping cruise.
The water is warm and the surf breaks are uncrowded, making Fiji a famously awesome surfing destination. Try Restaurants, Tavarua Rights and Cloudbreak, among other renowned waves that have hosted international competitions. Learn to surf at Natadola Beach and the Sigatoka Sand Dunes. For even lesser-known, but equally excellent breaks, head to Qamea Island and Suva Reef Lighthouse.
What to Know Before You Go to Fiji
How to Visit Villages Respectfully
- You’ll most likely want to visit a Fijian village while you’re in the islands – to meet friendly local islanders and learn about their traditions and customs. To make the most of your visit, and to avoid faux pas, consider the following:
- Visit a village with your hotel or tour operator who can alert you to the local customs.
- Dress conservatively.
- Remove hats and sunglasses within the village.
- Remember, it’s disrespectful to touch someone’s head in Fiji – the head is sacred in Fijian tradition.
- The village chief typically expects kava roots as a gift in a ceremony known as sevusevu upon arrival of guests. This formal ceremony sis central to social and community gatherings. Be quiet during the ceremony and only take photos and vidoes when the village chief deems it appropriate.
- If you are offered a bowl of kava during the sevusevu ceremony, cup your hands together and clap once before accepting the drink. Say “Bulu” and drink all the kava at once. Then, hand the bowl bag and clap three more times.
What the Weather Is Like in Fiji
When’s the best weather in Fiji? Anytime! The temperature is consistent throughout the year, with highs in the 80s. There are occasional tropical storms between November and April. For the peak of the peak weather, visit between July and September. You’ll save money on accommodations during the shoulder season months: May, June and October.
Words and Phrases to Know in Fiji
It’s a sign of respect to attempt to learn some of the local language of your travel destination. You’ll hear “bulu” and “vinaka” quite a bit during your Fiji vacation – the first is a standard greeting, while the latter means thank you.
Don’t Eat Reef Fish
We know you’ll want to enjoy the fresh seafood of the South Pacific, but when you do, choose wahoo, tuna, marlin or mahi mahi. The reef fish that live in the shallower waters are associated with sickness throughout the South Pacific.
Sunday Is Church Day
Don’t plan for a lot of activities or shopping on Sundays, as most places will be closed or have limited hours on that day. It’s church day and Fijians, most of whom are Christian, attend service and gather with friends and family.
Pack Insect Repellent
Mozzie, or mosquitoes, which can carry the Zika virus, are prevalent in Fiji, especially around the water, so be sure to pack and consistently apply insect repellent.
How Will I Get Around Fiji?
Getting around 333 islands is a bit more challenging than, say, taking a driving tour of a European country, but Fiji makes it possible to go island hopping to your heart’s content. The two biggest islands – Viti Levu and Vanua Levu – have paved highways that connect towns and cities, so driving is fairly easy. Car rentals are available at the Nadi International Airport.
When you arrive, you can get a hotel transfer or a private transfer through a local operator. Alternatively, you can catch the bus. Bus service is also an inexpensive way to reach the Suncoast, Lautoka, the Coral Coast, Pacific Harbour or Suva. Taxi service is readily available at the airport.
To visit islands other than Viti Levu, take short hop flights on Fiji Link and Northern Air. Or, arrive at your resort via chartered flight on a small airplane, seaplane or helicopter.
Ferries are available to Mamanuca and Yasawa islands and the Tavewa Sebus services Lautoka and the Yasawa Islands. There is also a cheap inter-island ferry, pouplra with locals and great for self-drive Fiji itineraries. Regular ferries operate to Ovalau (Levuka) and Kadavu islands. And finally, water taxis service the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands.