Fiji has long been the best kept secret in the travel world, but now that secret is out. Don’t worry about the islands becoming over run with tourists though, the very geography of the archipelago prevents that. What you can count on is a beautiful vacation in a paradise unlike any other. We compiled a list of the best things to do in Fiji. Don’t try to do them all at once, but use this list as your excuse to return again and again.
Number 11 – The market at Nadi
Located on Nadi, this open air market is one of the best places to sample native cuisine and to find traditional crafts. You can literally spend all day exploring the market, but it serves as an excellent way to begin and end a day spent exploring the nearby temple. Sri Siva Subramaniya is one of the best Hindu temples to see in Fiji. Be mindful that it is also an operating temple and its elaborate paintings form a backdrop to many religious ceremonies. In the evening, visit The Curry House for their traditional buffet. There are also many cultural performances staged at The Curry House so you can really sink into the full experience of the culture and society of Fiji as it was, and as it still is today.
Number 10 – Explore the Mamanucas
If you are on Nadi then you are in close proximity to the Mamanucas islets. They are located above Vitu Levu and you will probably find them to be beautiful – and quite familiar. They were featured in the Tom Hanks’ movie, Castaway. There are two popular ways to experience the Mamanucas. You can opt to take a seaplane to fly over their entire expanse, or you can take a cruise out to explore them closer. There are many ships that over one day or multi-day cruises let you experience the unspoiled splendor of the area.
Number 9 – Spend time at the original Blue Lagoon
Brooke Shields made Turtle Island famous in her movie Blue Lagoon, and Sports Illustrated regularly features this island on their swimsuit editions. It is a couples only private resort that caters to the stars, and to anyone else who makes a reservation. It is beyond beautiful, and the resort has worked hard to incorporate modern amenities with traditional bures and feasts. The resort has also incorporated a sustainability program that has seen more than 30,000 trees planted and 1,000 solar panels installed on the island. The end result is the perfect get away for you and your loved one. Whether you are coming for a retreat, or coming to celebrate your honeymoon, you can make memories that will last a lifetime here.
Number 8 – Vitu Levu
This island needs no introduction. It is the location of Fiji’s capital city, Suva and a major transportation hub for the area. While you would expect that to mean that the island is more built up, Fijians excel at integrating the modern with the traditional. You will find surfing and diving competitions, fishing charters and more here. Vitu Levu is also home to many of the conservation and research agencies in the island. They have preserved much of the natural habitat on the island, and there are even historical gardens from the Victorian era here too. One thing not to miss is the orchard garden. Here they grow and breed orchards the like you have never seen before. This island is the friendliest to those with children who may need a little more to keep then entertained than just the sun and the sea.
Number 7 – Experience Fiji the way Cousteau did
Vanua Levu is best known as the home of the Cousteau conservation resort. This is where the famed naturalist and oceanographic explorer Jean Jacques Cousteau launched many of his expeditions. Located a short plane hop from Nadi there is much to enjoy on this island. While there you should do two things that this island is famous for as well. That is to participate in a gift giving ceremony (sevu-sevu) and to drink kava. Both are a part of the traditional experience of hospitality that defines Fiji culture.
Number 6 – Pearl hunting in Savusavu
You don’t have to dive to the bottom of the Savusavu Bay to find these richly cultivated pearls, but you can arrange to do so if you want the adventure. This is where the world’s leading provider of Fiji pearls is located. The J. Hunter Pearls store is where you can see what they look like when they are cleaned and set, and you can purchase your own souvenir pearl set that will rival anything found the world over. There are also museums and other gift shops to explore that mark this traditional Fiji enterprise in style too.
Number 5 – Discover what O-vulo-vulo means
On Bega you can do many things. There are over a hundred dive sites all within a few minutes of the shore that can let you explore the coral reefs that have made Fiji one of the most sought after diving experiences in the world. There is a rich marine world just 50 feet beneath the sea and exploring it is easy. You can also rest and relax on their pristine white beaches too. At night is when you may hear the cry of “O-vulo-vulo!” in the air. It is the traditional call of the Sawau tribe that is only issued when their warriors walk over burning coals. This is a ceremony you can see while you are here and witness history brought to life.
Number 4 – Explore the Bouma National Heritage Park
On Taveuni island, just off Vauna Levu’s port side, you will find the Bouma National Heritage Park. Almost the entire island has been preserved in its natural state. The famous Tavoro waterfalls are here and the whole park is open to walking and hiking so you can take in what has become known as the Garden of Eden.
Number 3 – Stay on top of a lagoon
Malolo has some of the most beautiful lagoons in the Fiji area. The Likuliku Lagoon Resort offers you a very different way to experience them. While modeled off the traditional bure, this resort features glass floors, walls and counters that let you stay directly on top of the water. The way the blue of the lagoon fills the light and air of your rooms gives you an experience like no other. The resort takes reservations for from one to nine weeks so you can truly get the most out of this experience.
Number 2 – Go crab hunting
On the tiny island of Qemea you can go crab hunting on the beach and in the jungle. This isn’t only fun, but it can be spectacular when it is the full moon winter season between November and January. The land crab species on the island is unique; you won’t find this experience anywhere else.
Number 1 – Stay in houses built on stilts in Horseshoe Bay
If you fell in love with Fiji from National Geographic and other documentaries then you already know about the bure huts on stilts that populate Horseshoe Bay. Located on Matangi island, these are the most traditional of homes available in Fiji that really make you feel like you are getting the true island paradise experience. The local resorts provide endless food, activities and cultural events so you never need to leave to feel like you have done it all. This is our number one recommendation for your first trip to Fiji, and should be on everyone’s list to do even if you are starting somewhere else.