Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands that are home to some of the happiest people on Earth. Known for its luxurious private-islands, all-inclusive resorts, top spas, culinary destinations, and outdoor adventures, Fiji is most widely celebrated for its culture, which uniquely welcomes visitors home.
Fiji’s white-sand beaches and pristine, crystal-clear ocean waters offer an ideal vacation destination for divers, honeymooners, and families – or simply, those looking to relax and get away from it all. Fiji is easily accessible through convenient, non-stop flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Honolulu aboard Fiji Airways.
The best meal I’ve had was in Tavarua, an island in Fiji. It was just before sunset. A bunch of guys had just caught all this yellow fin tuna; they literally brought this huge wooden table down to the sand, pulled the tuna from the boat, dropped it on top of the table, pulled the skin off and sliced the tuna up.– via Rob Machado
Famous for its friendly people and heavenly tropical islands, Fiji is the quintessential South Pacific paradise. With more than 300 islands to choose from, you’ll find plenty of tropical attractions and fun things to do. Suva, on the largest island of Viti Levu, is the capital, and the tourist town of Nadi, on the western side of the island, is Fiji’s main international gateway, near the large resorts of the Coral Coast and Denarau Island. Not far from here, you can stroll along sand dunes to ancient archeological sites, soak in therapeutic mud pools and hot springs, dive with sharks in Beqa Lagoon, and raft the Upper Navua River through pristine rainforests. Farther afield, the outer islands have their own alluring natural attractions. The Mamanuca Islands are home to one of the world’s top surf breaks, and in other island groups, you’ll find mystical caves, Fiji’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the world’s fourth-largest barrier reef. Fijians also love children, so this is a great destination for families.
Top-Rated Attractions on Fiji
Blue Lagoon Cruise: Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands
If you want to sample several islands on your Fiji holiday, a Blue Lagoon Cruise is a great option. These intimate 68-passenger cruises offer a choice of three different itineraries in the picture-postcard Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands. You can choose from three, four, or seven-night cruises, and all have flexible itineraries that are subject to change depending on the weather and local festivities. Daily schedules incorporate a maximum of four hours of cruising each day, so you can spend most of your time exploring the islands. Activities include swimming; diving; and snorkeling in the silky waters; picnics on uninhabited islands; fishing; and visiting local villages and attractions, like the Sawa I Lau Caves. Cruises depart from Port Denarau. The Yasawa Flyer also offers daily voyages through the Yasawas from Denarau Marina.
Cloudbreak, Mamanuca Islands
Frequently gracing the list of the world’s best and most challenging waves for surfers, Cloudbreak lies on a sheltered reef about two kilometers from Tavarua Island Resort, near Namotu Island Resort, in the Mamanuca Islands. This internationally renowned left reef break speeds up as it barrels over a shallow reef, dumping a massive volume of water, and it’s surfable during all tides. Depending on conditions, waves vary in height from two to 20-feet, and access is usually via a jet-ski and tow board. Not surprisingly, the wave is best attempted by expert surfers only. In 2016, Hawaiian surfer Aaron Gold almost drowned riding this break. The best swell comes from the south/southwest, thanks to the eastern trade winds, which typically blow between March and October. Tavarua and nearby islands offer access to eight main surf breaks, including Swimming Pools, Tavarua Rights, and Namotu Left. Besides Tavarua and Namotu, other resorts that offer access to Cloudbreak include Funky Fish Beach Resort, Plantation Island Resort, and Lomani Island Resort.
Bouma National Heritage Park, Taveuni Island
Nature lovers, hikers, and birders can soak up some of Fiji’s lush natural beauty in Bouma National Heritage Park on the island of Taveuni. Established in 1990, the park encompasses about 150 square kilometers of rainforest, with rare tropical plants and an impressive diversity of birds, as well as four villages that are each responsible for managing portions of the park. You can snorkel in the marine park at Waitabu; hike through the rainforest to ancient ruins near Vidawa; and kayak or stroll the Lavena Coastal Walk, stopping at waterfalls for a swim along the way. A particular highlight of the park is the Tavoro Waterfalls, with three sets of falls maintained by the nearby Korovou village, where you can swim in the cool volcanic pools and capture photos of the veil-like streams of water gushing down the rockfaces. The park is also home to Lake Tagimaucia, a crater lake, where the rare Tagimaucia flower blooms, and Des Voeux Peak, which offers spectacular views from its 1,195-meter summit.
Beqa Lagoon, Viti Levu
About 144 kilometers southeast of Nadi, off Pacific Harbour, Beqa (pronounced “Benga”) Lagoon lures avid divers and adventure seekers, many of whom come here to experience the Beqa Lagoon Shark Dive. With stringent safety measures in place, expert local dive operators offer exhilarating face-to-face encounters with these much-feared creatures in their natural habitat. Among the many species, you can see are bull sharks, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, and even tiger sharks. If you’re looking for a more subdued underwater experience, the lagoon is home to more than 100 dive sites, including coral bommies, pinnacles, and wrecks that showcase an impressive diversity of soft corals and tropical fish. Most sites are in relatively shallow waters not far from shore. This is a great place to dive if you’re visiting Viti Levu and don’t have time to travel to reefs around the smaller islands. Beqa Island, just offshore, is home to the Sawau tribe, who started the famous Fiji tradition of firewalking, and you can still watch this centuries-old tradition at ceremonies in nearby resorts.
Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu
Less than 50 kilometers from Suva, Pacific Harbour is the self-proclaimed “Adventure Capital of Fiji.” This upscale enclave of vacation homes and resorts began its life as a residential canal development in the 1970s, and today, it’s evolving into a hot spot for adrenaline sports. Popular activities here include river rafting on the nearby Upper Navua River, zip-lining, jet skiing, surfing, 4WD adventures, and a heart-pumping dive with bull sharks in Beqa Lagoon. If you prefer more low-key activities, Pacific Harbour is also home to a popular arts village with restaurants, souvenir stalls, and cultural shows. Accommodation options range from budget hostels to luxury resorts, and the brand new Pacific Palm Marina is underway, with restaurants, upscale residences, a golf course, and spa. About 20 minutes by car from Pacific Harbour, Kila World offers ropes courses and nature walks.
Navua River, Viti Levu
The Navua River on Viti Levu flows for 65 kilometers from the Viti Levu highlands to the south coast through magnificent scenery, with lush rainforests, waterfalls, and rugged canyons.
You can paddle the Upper Navua River in kayaks or canoes, float along on a bilibili (bamboo raft), or ride the whitewater rapids (Grade II to Grade III) on an inflatable raft. Wildlife such as fruit bats, herons, and native parrots are often spotted along the way, and you can combine a river experience with cultural tours to local villages and participate in traditional kava ceremonies. This tangled, tropical wilderness offers a taste of the real Fiji – especially if you are based at one of the manicured resorts of the Coral Coast, Denarau Island, and Pacific Harbour.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Sabeto Hot Springs, Viti Levu
Less than 30 minutes by car from Nadi, snuggled in the lush foothills of their namesake mountain peak, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a rewarding day trip – especially if you’re a green thumb. Once the private collection of the late actor Raymond Burr of Perry Mason fame, these gorgeous gardens spotlight more than 2,000 species of orchids, as well as a tranquil lily pond replete with tadpoles and frogs. You can explore the gardens on covered boardwalks that wind through 20-hectares of lawns and native forests. Swings and hammocks invite you to linger and enjoy the peace and serenity of this verdant valley, and free guided tours share fascinating details on the history of the gardens.
After admiring all the botanical beauties, visit the nearby Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool and enjoy a therapeutic mud bath and a soothing soak in the thermal pools.
Great Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu
Fringing Fiji’s fourth largest island, Kadavu, and other small islands in the Kadavu Group, the 100-kilometer-long Great Astrolabe Reef is the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. Divers come here to submerge themselves in an underwater wonderland of caverns, tunnels, pinnacles, drop-offs, kaleidoscopic hard and soft corals, and tropical fish. Most of the dive sites are easily accessible by boat from the southern shores of Kadavu, the currents are typically moderate, and visibility ranges from 10 to 40 meters. The dives cover all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. Snorkelers can also enjoy the rich marine life here and the chance to swim with manta rays. Anglers can fish in designated areas; the reef is known for its abundance of billfish species, as well as tuna, mahi-mahi, and giant trevally.
Sawa-i-Lau Caves, Yasawa Islands
In the northern Yasawa Islands, the mystical Sawa-i-Lau Caves were sculpted by wind and waves over thousands of years and they are famous as the.e site of scenes from the famous Brooke Shields movie, The Blue Lagoon. Bathed in light, the first limestone cavern is easy to access, and you can swim in the cool, crystal-clear water of the deep pool and admire the interesting limestone formations. To access the inner cave, you have to swim through an underwater tunnel. Locals believe that this inner cavern is the heart of the Yasawas and that the caves are the final resting place of the ten-headed Fijian God, Ulutini. Note that the second cave is only accessible when the tide allows. Guides are highly recommended.
Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Viti Levu
About 60 kilometers south of Nadi, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park was the country’s first national park, established to protect this fragile ecosystem of coastal dunes near the mouth of the Sigatoka River. Formed over thousands of years, the dunes range in height from 20 to 60 meters, with breathtaking views of the surf from the highest peaks. To explore the park, you can choose from two self-guided walks: a one-hour walk through a forest to the beach or a two-hour walk along the ridgeline. Highlights include visiting the archaeological sites to see ancient Lapita artifacts, including more than two-thousand-year-old pottery, stone tools, and one of the biggest burial sites in the Pacific. Birdwatching is also popular, and the small visitor center displays some interesting artifacts found at the site as well as information about its history and ecology.
Wetter is Better
Fiji’s calm seas belie the riot of life going on beneath them. With seemingly endless reels of intensely colored reefs, over 1500 species of fish and colossal creatures – from otherworldly manta rays to tiger sharks – Fiji’s underwater world is worth the plunge. Seasoned divers and snorkellers will find plenty to excite them, while first-timers – looked after by top-notch divemasters and experienced guides – will be bubbling excited exclamations into their mouthpieces. Anywhere fin flashes or coral may wave, you’ll find a diving or snorkel day trip, though there are excellent live-aboard journeys for those after a truly immersive experience.
Beyond the Beach
While it’s easy to spend your holiday in, on or under the water, those who take the time to towel off will be rewarded by a wealth of terra firma treats. Fiji offers ample opportunities for hikers, birdwatchers, amblers and forest-fanciers, particularly on the islands of Taveuni – known as ‘The Garden Island’ for its ludicrously lush interiors – and Kadavu, a less-traveled slice of prehistoric paradise with almost no roads to speak of. If urban wildlife is your thing, Suva boasts a surprising nightlife scene, while towns like Savusavu entice with rollicking taverns and meet-the-locals haunts.