Fiji is surely every beach bum’s vision of nirvana. Palm-fringed beaches, fish-packed reefs and smiling locals: pack your swimsuit and sunscreen, these sunny isles are so warm they sizzle.
Throwing Down the (Beach) Towel
Fiji has been in the tourism business for decades, drawing vacationers like pilgrims to a holy land with its promise of white-sand beaches, cloudless skies and the opportunity to fall into a sun-induced coma under a palm tree.
The perennial favourites are the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands, which arc north like a stingray’s tail from the body of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. These are Fiji’s movie stars, dangled in front of the world as idyllic South Sea Edens, their reefs and cobalt-blue waters providing cinematic eye candy for films such as Tom Hanks’ Cast Away and Brooke Shields’ vehicle to stardom The Blue Lagoon. It is therefore little wonder that, despite a coup in 2006, Fiji’s beaches remain flushed with sunburnt tourists.
Wetter is Better
Fiji’s underwater scenery is spectacular and some of the finest, and most accessible dives in the Pacific can be found here. Its reputation as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ is well justified and its countless reefs, drop-offs, walls and channels will have even experienced divers and snorkellers ‘ohhhing’ and ‘ahhing’ into their mouthpieces.
Fiji is also a great surfing destination and now that its surf breaks are open to all, the legendary waves of Cloudbreak, Swimming Pools and Frigates are free to be enjoyed by anyone experienced and brave enough to take them on.
Beyond the Beach
But the beaches – as lovely as they are – are only part of what Fiji has to offer. To get to grips with the national psyche you have to spend some time on the mainland. Two-thirds of the population live in urban centres and it is on Viti Levu that you’ll find the country’s two cities: Suva, the capital, and Lautoka, a port town reliant on the sugar-cane farms that surround it. Suva’s nightlife and large student population give it a youthful if unexpected vibe.
Those who take their time will discover that there are ample opportunities to stretch the legs and climb a mountain, visit an orchid garden, raft down a river, soak in a hot spring or visit a village. Two islands begging for exploration are Taveuni – known as the Garden Island because of its abundant tropical growth and beautifully weathered mountains – and further south, Kadavu. Life here revolves around the church, the village, the rugby field and the garden. Explorers in these parts are rewarded with meeting some of the warmest and most hospitable people in the Pacific.
Best places to stay in Fiji
Fiji travel guide
Bula! Alabaster beaches, clear waters, shy smiles and swaying palms – this tiny nation may be a mere speck on the map, but it packs a powerful punch.
Fiji for first-timers: how to choose an island
Fiji is blessed with so much turquoise water, white sand beaches, jungle rivers and authentic culture that it almost seems unfair. Whether you're looking for a decadent resort, family getaway or backpacker adventure, these islands have it all. Wherever you go, expect the warmest welcomes the world has to offer...
Honeymoon and luxury resorts in Fiji
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Fiji - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Fiji starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go and when, how much to budget, plus indepth info on choosing which island is best for you.
Nadi Tivua Island Cruise
Set sail by tall ship to pristine Tivua Island, offering all the attractions of a small Fijian tropical island. This 7-hour cruise includes hotel pick up and drop off from Nadi, a guided snorkeling tour, glass-bottom boat tour, use of canoes, Kava ceremony, volleyball, morning and afternoon tea, music and entertainment and a tropical buffet luncheon.
Vuda Lookout, Sabeto Valley and Garden of the Sleeping Giant Tour
Travel through the beautiful Sabeto Valley to the Gardens of the Sleeping Giant, where you will discover the largest orchid collection in Fiji. Enjoy a 360 degree view of the island from Vuda Lookout, and enjoy a tropical fruit juice and seasonal fruits from the orchard as you relax in a Fijian Bure.
Update for travellers: post-earthquake Japan
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Fiji - Vanua Levu & Taveuni (Chapter)
Vanua Levu and Taveuni look like a surreal artist’s rendition of paradise: mountainous, waterfall-lush rainforest lined with cerulean coasts. Everyone, from the locals to the numerous expats, smile and act as if they’ve just awoken from a long...