The Best Things to Do in Fiji
Fiji is made up of more than 300 islands and islets, the majority of which are uninhabited. It’s a true tropical paradise, filled with unforgettable sights and people that make a trip to this stunning island nation a dream come true. From ocean-centric activities to exploring more inland, here are the best things to do in Fiji.
A draw for scuba divers, this lagoon off Fiji’s main island is the only place in the world where divers can see bull sharks and lemon sharks and six other species in such numbers. If you’re lucky, a giant tiger shark will come join the party, flashing its stripes through the clear waters. If sharks weren’t enough reason to visit, divers in Beqa Lagoon can also swim down walls blanketed in vivid corals and sea fans: Blue Wall and Frigate Wall attract lots of good-size pelagic fish, sharks, and manta and eagle rays. Snorkelers can also enjoy the vast reefs and marine life on the reefs that house Fiji’s fantastic underwater fauna.
With its perfect semicircle of powder-white sand arcing around pristine aquamarine water, the beach at Horseshoe Bay on private Matangi Island is one of Fiji’s most beautiful. From here, you’ll have wild green jungle on one side and blue water on the other, all crowned by often amazing cloud formations by day, saturated sunsets in the evening, and brilliant stars at night. The resort on the island is remote enough for the beach and the reef to remain unspoiled.
Near the town of Savusavu on Vanua Levu, Nukubalavu is a wonderful introduction to the lively life and cultural protocol of a Fijian village. Start with a welcome by the elders, who will walk you around the thatched huts where women prepare pandanus leaves to make mats or weave into baskets. Children smile from doorways as coconut palms from the copra (coconut oil) plantation wave in the breeze. The visit culminates in a sevusevu welcome ceremony where the elders prepare kava and drink the muddy concoction in a circle to create a peaceful bond.
Fiji is called the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” almost entirely because of the abundant soft coral in the Somosomo Strait. Float with the current past the multicolored outcrops swaying like trees along the aptly named Rainbow Reef or the Great White Wall, a veritable blanket of white coral that’s considered one of the most beautiful and unusual dive sites in the world. Of course, there are colorful fish everywhere—more than 1,200 species—as well as rays, mollusks, and spinner dolphins. Companies on Vanua Levu and Taveuni all lead trips to this underwater wonderland.
The first in Fiji to introduce overwater bures (traditional huts made of wood and straw), adults-only Likuliku Lagoon Resort continues to set the standard for romantic luxury. At the all-inclusive property on Malolo Island, about 15 miles west of Viti Levu, couples who spring for one of those accommodations enjoy sun-bathed views over a sparkling marine reserve from the teak deck or oversized soaking tub; at night, fish are drawn to lights under the hut and are visible through glass panels inset in the floor. Back on the beach and closer to the restaurant and two bars (one located on a small island in the lagoon), there are 35 beachfront bures, including 18 split-level deluxe bungalows that feature private plunge pools and secluded courtyards with outdoor showers. Activities like snorkeling, stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and sailing are complimentary.
Though it’s often called “Tom Hanks Island” because the actor and his adorable volleyball Wilson were stranded on this uninhabited island in the classic film Cast Away, don’t expect a feeling of isolation here. Many resorts do day tours to Monuriki, and you’re likely to have company as you lounge on the sparkling white-sand beach and snorkel the big blue lagoon before lunch. There are lots of seabirds and some endemic lizards, as well, including the rare Fijian crested iguana, for those interested in spotting wildlife. So don’t forget your camera, then relax and enjoy.
Framed by green mountains, the traditional thatched bures (huts) of this charming 200-year-old village make for one of the most photo-worthy inland scenery spots on Viti Levu. The village tour starts with a sevusevu welcoming ceremony and kava with the chief. From here you will tour the village, meet the friendly residents, take a dip in the cool waters of the Ba River, and learn about local life. You may see people constructing roofs or drying coconuts or bananas in the sun, or you might meet children at the primary school. End with a meal of taro, cassava, tropical fruit, and local Fijian dishes.
The three-mile Lavena Coastal Walk on Taveuni Island begins at rustic Lavena Lodge and traces a white-sand-fringed blue lagoon, then a black-sand beach, past friendly villages before climbing through forestland to Wainibau Falls. Plunge into the natural swimming pool below the falls in a landscape that looks positively primeval. You can hire a guide for this walk or go it alone by taking a taxi from anywhere on Taveuni to the lodge. (Note that you’ll be tackling a few fairly easy river crossings, so expect to get wet.) Allot time to swim or snorkel off Lavena Point, or arrange a guided kayak trip along the coast.
This local farmers market is a wonderful place to shop for fresh and locally grown fruit and vegetables, as well as seafood (tuna, lobster, prawns), a few imported items and local favorites like refreshing coconut water drunk right from the husk. Prices are reasonable and locals are friendly—as they are at the connected handicrafts market around the corner, where you can find a selection of handmade crafts, jewelry and assorted artworks and gifts. Note that Saturdays can be busy, so get there early if you can.