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. Use this list of the top attractions to help you find the best Fiji islands for your visit.
1 Blue Lagoon Cruise: Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands
Blue Lagoon Cruise: Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands Roderick Eime / photo modified
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.
Official site: http://www.bluelagooncruises.com/
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Fiji
2 Cloudbreak, Mamanuca Islands
Cloudbreak, Mamanuca Islands AJ Neste / photo modified
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.
3 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 are 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 De Voeux Peak, which offers spectacular views from its 1,195-meter summit.
4 Beqa Lagoon, Viti Levu
Shark in Beqa Lagoon
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.
5 Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu
Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu Arnie Papp / photo modified
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.
6 Navua River, Viti Levu
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.
7 Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Sabeto Hot Sp