Seeking an island getaway? Consider a sojourn in Fiji, the jewel of the South Pacific.
An archipelago of more than 300 islands, Fiji is home to crystal-clear lagoons teeming with marine life, as well as craggy landscapes that are perfect for exploration.
If you’re setting foot in the country for the first time, here are four to-dos to help you discover the archipelago’s natural wonders.
1. Island hopping
Blessed with a warm tropical climate, Fiji offers great beach holidays all year round. Travelers seeking a respite from their frenzied city life will enjoy the pristine beaches, soft sand, and towering palm trees that frame blue waters across Fiji’s multitude of islands.
Consider relaxing by the beach with your favorite book or embarking on an island cruise to navigate the turquoise blue waters in style. Located just a 20-minute drive from Nadi International Airport on the western coast of Viti Levu, Denarau Island is home to international resorts and family-friendly restaurants serving a variety of global cuisines.
Meanwhile, nature lovers ought to visit Taveuni, Fiji’s “Garden Island” with its lush jungles, gorgeous beaches, secluded waterfalls, and abundant wildlife.
Sun-worshippers should make a beeline for Malamala Beach Club—the world’s first island beach club located on the island of its own namesake. Surrounded by white-sand beaches, a resort-style infinity pool, and a sweeping view of the Mamanuca Islands, the beach club is located just a 25-minute drive from Port Denarau and offers a slice of relaxing island life, along with great food and cocktails.
2. Explore what’s underneath the waves
While Fiji’s beaches are stunning, it’s no secret that even greater natural beauty can be found under the sea. Often referred to as the soft coral capital of the world, the waters around Fiji are filled with tapestries of corals, shoals of multihued fishes, and majestic sea creatures such manta rays and reef sharks. Divers and snorkelers will be delighted by over 1,000 species of fish, as well as several hundred types of coral and sponges nestled in its blue waters.
Nukubati Island is a must-visit for the quality of snorkeling in its shallow bays. Travelers can take a short boat ride out to the Great Sea Reef where they can peer at a kaleidoscope of corals and vivid marine life. Corals sit just below the surface within arm’s reach, letting one see just below the surface.
3. Learn about local culture
Aside from hanging out by the sea, make time to visit a traditional Fijian village or two. Be it in the heartlands of the main island of Viti Levu, or far out across the sea on another remote island, a village visit hosted by Fijians should not be missed. Local traditions such as the Kava Ceremony—meant to welcome an esteemed guest to the village, can be experienced.
Take it a step further with a stay at the picturesque village of Navala, nestled deep into the grassy mountains next to the Ba river and far away from the bustle of the main town. Here, residents of the quaint village live in bures (traditional Fijian cottages with a steep thatched roof) built with bamboo and timber. Travelers can take in the sights surrounding the village and enjoy a more secluded experience mingling with the Fijians while taking part in activities like cooking or even coconut tree climbing.
4. Get off the beaten track
Enjoy a change of scenery by delving deeper into Fiji’s remote islands. Escape modern life with a trip to the island of Kadavu, which is well-known for being largely isolated. One of the least developed islands in the archipelago, it boasts unspoiled beauty in every nook and cranny. With just one town and very few roads, Kadavu is the perfect island for travelers to reconnect with nature by going on rain forest treks and sea-kayaking.
Another famous spot is the Nausori Highlands, which offers a glimpse of Fiji’s rugged landscapes. Located deep in the heart of Fiji’s main island Viti Levu, the area offers mountainous views, complete with cascading waterfalls and sweeping views of the rugged scenery to make one’s Fijian adventure even more unforgettable.