12 Reasons to Make Fiji Your Happy Place
It's closer than you think
Fiji puts all the blissful benefits of an exotic South Pacific getaway—secluded palm-lined beaches; luxurious private islands, spas, and resorts; sparkling water as far as the eye can see—all within easy reach. The largest of Fiji's 333 islands, Viti Levu, is located only ten hours by air from both Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Hop on a direct, overnight flight via Fiji Airways, Fiji’s national airline, to Viti Levu’s Nadi International Airport and dive right into all the Fijian archipelago has to offer. If you stay on the big island, you’re a quick drive from the resorts of the Coral Coast and the rural villages and world-class dive sites on the Suncoast. Or, make Viti Levu a brief stop before heading off to a resort in the Mamanuca or Yasawa Islands, accessible by ferry in as fast as 45 minutes or by seaplane in only 15 minutes. Nadi is also the gateway to the exotic northern islands of Vanua Levu and Tavenui, both easily reached via scenic flights on Fiji Link, Fiji Airway’s domestic airline.
THE “BULA” SPIRIT MAKES EVERYTHING SEEM BETTER
Fiji’s world-famous “Bula” is more than a greeting. It’s the genuine friendliness, kindness, and joyful spirit permeating every aspect of Fijian life. Arrive as a visitor and leave as family by experiencing the Bula spirit firsthand through cultural heritage activities, such as village visits and daily interactions with locals.
Be welcomed “home” as family to an authentic Fijian village on a Sigatoka River Safari. The half-day excursion begins with a jet boat ride up Fiji’s largest river into Viti Levu's remote interior, and includes a Fijian lunch prepared by and shared with locals, plus traditional singing and dancing. Designed for minimal impact on village life, the sustainable tours help support local education, health, and infrastructure projects. Or, hike through the rainforest with a village guide on the Coastal Waterfall Tour to see how Fijians use jungle plants for food and medicine, and to soak up the laid-back Bula spirit by cooling off in the waterfall lagoon.
Families feel at home
Fijian life revolves around the family. So, it’s no wonder that Fiji is exceptionally family friendly. Throughout the archipelago, family resorts—such as Castaway Island in the Mamanucas, Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort on the Coral Coast, VOMO Private Island in the Yasawas, and Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Savusavu—offer amenities designed to help parents and kids enjoy quality island time together and apart.
Complimentary perks for families commonly include one-on-one nanny services for infants and toddlers, and "Bula Buddies" and supervised kids clubs for children ages four to 12. Teens typically can choose from a daily slate of guided activities, such as kayaking, snorkeling, and hiking. Keeping kids active, entertained, and safe during the day, gives parents the peace of mind to relax by the pool, indulge in a spa treatment, or go on excursions. At the end of the day, families can gather for meals, swim time in the family pool, and evening activities, such as Fijian dance performances.
It's Not your parents' tropical paradise
Sure, Fiji ticks all the right tropical paradise boxes. But, there’s so much more to the idyllic archipelago than typical island getaways have to offer. First, Fiji isn’t overly developed. Wherever you choose to go in the islands, it’s easy to spend your days immersed in nature—blissfully free from traffic, telephones, televisions, and tourist attractions. Second, Fiji still retains much of its traditional culture, offering a more authentic look at Pacific Island life.
Experience the islands’ pristine surroundings and local culture on only-in-Fiji excursions like the Fiji Eco Zipline tour. The day-long excursion into Viti Levu’s Sabeto Valley begins with a traditional Fijian friendship ceremony. Sip kava (Fiji’s national drink made from dried kava plant roots and rainwater) from a coconut shell and see a Fijian cooking demonstration (and feast on the results for lunch) in Nalesutale (“Welcome Back”) Village. From there, head into the forest to soar through the treetops, slather on silky-smooth mud (and wash it off in the mud pool), and soak in natural hot springs.
EVEN YOU’LL BE JEALOUS OF YOUR INSTAGRAM
In a place filled with postcard-perfect backdrops, it’s tough to take a bad photo. Treat your followers to a daily dose of Fiji’s naturally scenic land and water locations. Capture vibrant images of 30 to 40 varieties of Asian orchids and Cattleya hybrids on a walk through the resplendent Garden of the Sleeping Giant, a leafy-cool oasis once owned by legendary actor Raymond Burr. Go live on a sea-kayaking tour around the coral lagoons and calm waters of the remote and sparsely populated islands of Kadavu.
In addition to the ubiquitous natural beauty, wherever you choose to travel in the islands you’ll encounter an only-in-Fiji scene worth sharing. Make the quick hop south of Viti Levu to post mesmerizing images of Fiji’s legendary Beqa Island Firewalkers. On the eastern side of wildly green Taveuni, aptly named the Garden Island, fill your feed with shots of the three Tavoro Waterfalls. Located in lushly forested Bouma National Heritage Park, the cascades are visual stunners and have natural volcanic pools where you can simultaneously soak and share a to-die-for Instagram story.
IT'S EASY TO DIAL UP THE ADVENTURE LEVEL
Fiji is filled with adrenaline-pumping adventure experiences. Tackle Class II and III rapids on a wild whitewater rafting trip through the narrow canyons and lush rainforest of the Upper Navua River gorge. Dozens of waterfalls line the route, which cuts through Viti Levu’s unspoiled wilderness interior. Or, explore the island’s interior by land on The Full Monty, a five-day, village-to-village hike led by sustainable tour outfitter Talanoa Treks. The rugged excursion includes summitting Mt. Tomanivi, Fiji’s highest peak at 4,340 feet.
On Viti Levu’s Coral Coast, adventurers of all ages and fitness levels can explore pristine forests and beaches with EcoTrax Fiji. Makers of the world’s only Velocipedes—electric-assisted bicycle frames mounted on an old sugar cane rail line—EcoTrax makes adventure more accessible. For off-the-beaten-path adventure, head to Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island, and hike through the unspoiled rainforest of Wasali Nature Reserve. To elevate ordinary kiteboarding into an extraordinary thrill ride, board a private yacht for an exclusive kiting safari off the windswept west coast of Tavenui.
THERE’S AN OTHERWORLDLY UNDERSIDE
Called the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” by legendary undersea explorer and conservationist Jacques Cousteau, Fiji is brimming with dazzling diving and snorkeling sites. Go underwater to explore shallow lagoons teeming with marine life, mysterious caves and canyons, and cool coral-covered walls. Among the archipelago’s most famous world-class dive destinations are the Great Astrolabe Reef surrounding Kadavu, the Outer Navula Barrier Reef, and the Namena Marine Reserve. To explore some of Fiji’s most remote dive sites, book a multi-night, liveaboard expedition.
Idyllic weather, clear waters, and wealth of expert instructors also make Fiji an ideal place to learn how to dive, particularly as a family. Children as young as 10 can earn PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, permitting them to dive with a PADI professional or certified parent or guardian. Scuba Bula, a PADI 5-star dive center and World Wildlife Fund partner on the west coast of Viti Levu, offers a wide variety of basic-to-expert diving courses, such as underwater photography, night diver, and underwater naturalist.
YOU CAN FEEL THE THRILL OF SWIMMING WITH MANTA RAYS
No diving is required to experience one Fiji’s most amazing underwater experiences: snorkeling among wild manta rays. Boasting impressive wing spans reaching 12 to 23 feet, mantas are graceful giants of the sea known for their underwater acrobatics. Although the colossal fish are distant cousins of sharks, manta rays are toothless, harmless, and comfortable around people—making up-close encounters safe and awe-inspiring.
May to October, large numbers of gentle manta rays converge on the Yasawa Islands to feed on plankton in the nutrient-rich channel between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa islands. Mantaray Island Resort is among the sustainable tourism outfitters offering daily snorkeling excursions to swim among the charismatic creatures. To help protect Fiji’s manta rays and their habitat, snorkelers are instructed to remain calm and quiet, and to observe the colossal creatures from a respectful distance—no closer than 10 feet.
Every day’s a beach day
Fiji isn’t all about the beach, unless you want it to be. With miles of secluded beaches and water temperatures in the mid 80s year round, you could find a new favorite stretch of sand and surf every day. The Yasawa Islands and Mamanuca Islands are renowned for their long, white sand beaches. The Coral Coast, on the southern shores of Viti Levu, is home to one of Fiji's best natural sand beaches, Natadola, which lines the shores of a serene, ocean-facing lagoon. On the island’s northern tip, sink into the soft white sand and savor the mountain views at Volivoli Beach.
To channel your inner castaway on a remote beach, retreat to one of Fiji’s legendary private island resorts. Home to only seven villas, 52-acre Savasi Island resort off the coast of Vanua Levu offers plenty of room to happily get lost. For the ultimate beach escape, reserve an entire resort like exclusive Dolphin Island, a 14-acre paradise accommodating up to eight guests (in one group) at a time.
There’s something for everyone
Fiji has more than 300 islands and atolls, meaning you can make your Fiji experience whatever you want it to be. Dream of living the ultra-lux life in a posh beachfront or over-water villa? Fiji’s got you covered in places like Kokomo Private Island Fiji, located in Kadavu, Fiji’s remote southern island group, or the eco-friendly Likuliku Lagoon Resort in the Mamanuca Islands. Or, follow in the royal footsteps of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who vacationed at the exclusive Vatuvara Private Islands Resort in the isolated and mostly untouched Lau Islands.
If no-frills island-living is more your style, bunk on or near the beach in a hostel or budget-friendly treehouse bure (bungalow) in the Yasawa Islands. Long-time favorites of backpackers, the islands are accessible from the Port Denarau Marina (20 minutes from Nadi International Airport) via catamaran and other high-speed vessels. Buy a 5- to 13-day Bula Pass to hop (one transfer per day) between the remote islands with Aweseome Adventures Fiji.
YOUR TASTE BUDS WILL THANK YOU
Fijian cuisine is a delectable fusion that’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before. Recipes regularly incorporate locally sourced ingredients like mud crabs, crunchy sea grapes (called nama), cassava (a fibrous root vegetable), and freshly caught fish. Indian curries are restaurant staples and are infused with homegrown Fiji flavors, such as coconut milk, plantains, and tomatoes.
Shop for fresh ingredients in local markets and learn how to prepare a homestyle Fijian meal at the Flavours of Fiji Cooking School in Denarau, Nadi's tourist hub. No cooking expertise is required to participate in the half-day classes (with or without market tours), which include a tasty history of Fiji’s cultural influences told through food. Extend your deep-dive into Fijian cuisine by sharing in a Lovo (earth oven) feast, a traditional meal slow-cooked underground over heated stones and under banana stalks and palm fronds. Many resorts and restaurants offer special Lovo nights, where guests can dine on steaming meats, fish, and root vegetables freshly dug out of the subterranean oven.
Relaxation is an art form
There’s always time and room to chill in Fiji. Unplug, leave the Apple watch at home, and experience the sheer bliss of doing nothing except floating in a serene lagoon or napping in a palm-shaded hammock. Many resorts offer relaxation options with a Fijian twist, such as massages on the beach and private picnics on secluded beaches or sandbars. Adults-only island enclaves like Tokoriki (only 15 minutes by air from Nadi International Airport) and the remote Royal Davui Island in Beqa Lagoon offer a relaxation trifecta: peace, quiet, and total privacy.
To add a daily dose of pampering to your relaxation regimen, unwind at one of Fiji’s world-famous spas. Typical rejuvenating options include traditional Fijian Bobo massages and skin treatments incorporating sugar cane, honey, banana leaves, and other Fiji-sourced ingredients. At exclusive properties, such as the celebrity-favorite Namale Resort & Spa on Vanua Levu and the intimate Qamea Resort and Spa off the coast of Taveuni, guests can indulge in more exotic offerings like mind-calming YameYame “Fire” balancing treatments.