Post by CEO Amalie M
When going to a new country, a basic language guide always comes in handy.
Below you can learn your basic Fijian:
What to do in Fiji?
Fiji is a true tropical paradise and there is so much to do in Fiji. As a group of more than 300 islands, Fiji is, of course, great for water sports and activities besides spending a day on a paradise island, a white sandy beach, and slurping drinks under a palm tree.
Many people come to Fiji to go snorkeling or diving. Fiji has some of the most pristine coral reefs and the most amazing wildlife underwater. Not many land-living creatures have managed to come to the islands all the way out in the Pacific Ocean, but their underwater world has it all.
What can you see when diving in Fiji?
Fiji has so many species of sharks, Fiji has schooling Hammerhead and during whale season humpback whales can be spotted, you can see fish in lush colors from small to large, all year round. I have about 100 dives in Southern Fiji where I saw Bull Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Silvertips, White Tip Reef Sharks, Leopard Sharks (Zebra shark), 3 different sea turtles, Bottlenose Dolphins, Goliath Groupers and so many other snappers, groupers and so much more. I have to this date, never been diving a place as beautiful as Fiji. Here are my diving recommendations:
Beqa Lagoon, Pacific Harbour, Viti Levu (Main Island)
Level: Easy to Advanced
Beqa Adventure Divers are known for their "Shark Dives". This is a must-do dive even though it can seem a bit pricey compared to dives in other parts of Fiji but I promise that this will probably be one of the most amazing dives of your life. The dive is known for its many species of sharks in one place and you get the chance to dive with as many as over 100 sharks at once.
You are guaranteed to see: Bull sharks, White Tip Reef Sharks, Black Tip Reef Sharks, and Grey Reef Sharks. Sometimes you are lucky to also see: A Tiger Shark, Tawny Nurse Sharks, Silvertips, Sea turtles, Goliath Groupers the size of the biggest sharks and perhaps the biggest moray eel in the world. It is a three-level dive down to 30 meters, so it is recommended to be an advanced diver, but you can possibly do the dive as an open water diver if you have some experience. It is an easy dive since you basically just descend to the three levels and at each level, there is a rope that you can hang on to or a platform you can lie on. Around you are 3-5 divemasters making sure that the sharks won't come too close, so don't worry you are in the best hands possible.
Beqa Adventure divers also offer other dive destinations in Beqa lagoon that are just as amazing. Here are some other recommended dive sites:
Outer wall off Bega Island
In these dive sites I have seen: a school of 1200 Barracudas, Leopard sharks, countless numbers of turtles, and much more.
Savu Savu Island
Off the coast of Savu Savu you can find one of the few places in this world where Hammerheads are schooling. This is another once in a lifetime dive where you can get to experience hundreds of hammerheads just turn out of the blue. This is an advanced dive and dive experience is a must. You are hanging in the open water column quite deep and you are not handed a dive computer from the more lasse fair dive organizations on the island. It is recommended to bring your own dive computer and you have to check yourself that you are not going too deep or staying too long. There is no guarantee to see the Hammerheads so it is quite a boring dive if you aren't lucky that day. It is recommended to plan to stay for a few days to increase the chance to see the schooling hammerheads.
There are plenty more amazing dive sites in Fiji to explore, but these are the absolute highlights.
There are countless places to snorkel in Fiji, basically, you can snorkel almost anywhere around the many reefs. I have though here highlighted some of my favorite spots.
On Barefoot Island, there is only a small resort called Barefoot Island Resort, funnily enough. The island has a sunset and sunrise side and you can enter the most amazing snorkeling from both sides. The island is situated next to a passage between barefoot Island and the neighboring island where manta rays often stop by. When Manta rays are spotted in the lagoon a bell on the islands ring and then it is just grabbing your fins and snorkel gear and entering the water. The sunrise side is a little deeper than the sunset side and there you can find the most beautiful sandy bottom with coral walls scattered around.
Generally, there is great snorkeling in The Yasawas and Mamanucas.
Island Hopping at The Yasawas and Mamanucas
This is a must-do when visiting Fiji. There are many young backpackers on these trips, so if you are traveling with your family you might want to book your own vila and stay off the known "party islands". Even though there can be a festive vibe on some of the islands in the evening it is not totally crazy, it is more decent and fun and everyone can join for Fiji rum cocktails and fun activities in the lounge area and you can bring kids if you want to, to most islands.
The prices vary a lot since you book your own trip. It is way cheaper to book directly on your own or at a tourist office in Fiji than to do it through an external booking company in your home country. You can check it out here.
You can plan how many islands you want to go to, how long you want to stay, and if you want to live in dorms or your own villa. There is a specific pickup time every day as two ferries go from north to south and the other way around, so you will get a pickup time the day of departure from your island and you can hop on to the next, the system works very well. When starting your island-hopping adventure you depart from Port Denarau in Nadi. It is very recommended to take the Islands located north first since these are the most primitive and it is easy to get comfortable on the first islands that are more luxurious. If starting on the northern islands, your trips just get more and more comfortable. In the northern islands, you can visit the blue lagoon, caves you can swim in, and much more. I went to Manta Ray Island Resort, Barefoot & Safe Landing, and stayed in each place for 2 days. I will say that the first two stops are a must-visit and you could easily stay another day in each place if you love water activities.
Tip: Bring your own mask, snorkel, and fins. If there are manta rays in the lagoon or you just want to go snorkeling you are ready. All the gear on the island might be rented out or there might be a queue to your size, so it's way better to bring your own gear so that you are ready to go in the water when you want to.
Other things to do:
Waterfall trip near Pacific Harbour "The Strip"
Ask a driver to drop you off at "The Strip" just outside Pacific Harbour (taxies are very cheap) and say that you want to visit the waterfalls. There is one road that split into three roads to three different waterfalls, I have gone to each of them and they are all worth a visit. You don't need a guide as you can't really miss the road. You have to walk through small puddles, so bring shoes that can get dirty and wet. I really recommend these walks since it is just you and the jungle, you probably won't meet other tourists here, you just have this beautiful nature just for you. Don't worry about toxic animals as there are no toxic spiders or snakes on land on the main island.
Cloud 9 off the coast of Nadi
In the middle of the ocean, you can find the perfect hangout spot, a floating stone oven pizza restaurant that serves cocktails all day. Spend the day in the azure blue water around the restaurant, when you are tired of snorkeling or kayaking in the crystal clear water, take a nap in a hammock and wake up to pizzas and cocktails.
Where to live in Fiji?
The Capital Suva (East Coast Viti Levu)
Even though this is the capital of Fiji, this is not worth going to unless you stay for many months as I did. For your vacation, there are so many other places to visit first.
Nadi (West Coast Viti Levu - airport)
Nadi is where you land when arriving at the airport. Nadi is located on the west coast of the main island Viti Levu. Here you can find the prettiest and cheapest hostel street full of beautiful hostels, you can find all the luxury resorts and you can find the ferry that will take you island hopping. You can also find busses that will take you to Pacific Harbour where you can do the famous shark dive amongst many other diving experiences.
Bamboo Hostel (4-8$ dorm)
This is such a nice hostel. It has the coolest vibe and the dorms are perfectly fine. The dorms are quite large, but you can order a private room as well. The hostel is located at the end of a street that is filled with affordable hostels. We only had awesome experiences at those hostels from the dorm to the beautiful beach it is located on.
At this hostel I met Kelly Slater and had a chat with one of the best surfers in the world without knowing who he was, everyone here is so chill and friendly and most have a really cool relaxed vibe about them, there is always someone who would love to teach you to surf, play the guitar or tell some of their crazy travel stories from around the world. This is a magical place when traveling alone. I have stayed here alone a few times and every time, someone has come up to me to ask if they could join what I was doing, or invited me to their table, so if you like the company of others this is a great place to find travel companions.
Recommendation: Just off the coast of Bamboo Hostel is the famous surfer wave Cloudbreak. This wave is only for well-experienced surfers, but it is still worth a visit from the boat. I went to the reception and asked if it was possible to go by boat just to see the wave. The next morning we were picked up from the shore and went to Cloudbreak and then to a smaller surf spot called swimming pool, we got the chance to see Kelly Slater surf amongst other really good surfers including a 10-year-old boy who was just rocking the waves like a pro, really impressive. A lot of pro surfers come here to train so even though you are not surfing it is a really great trip, just to see the impressive waves, the surfers, and get a great tan from the boat.
If you want to learn to surf for the first time I can recommend to ask for Gottfried, he lives close to the hostel street and is normally hanging out in the area, he is known by most people in the area. He took me and my friends on a surf trip to Natandola beach, a really beautiful beach with a sandy bottom and a really good place to try surfing out. If you have done surfing before this surf spot is too easy, but Gottfried will know where to go then.
Just next to Bamboo you can find plenty of other hostels if Bamboo is fully booked. I have also stayed at Blue Water Lodge, Aquarius On The Beach, and Tropic of Capricorn which is okay and will do, but the vibe is not as good as Bamboo. Even though you are staying in one hostel, you are always welcome to go from hostel to hostel to hang out. All the hostels have pools.
Denarau port in Nadi
Denarau port is where many of the luxury resorts are located and you can shop in known shops like rip curl and go eat at hard rock café Fiji, so if you need a western break from slow island life you can go here. It is also in Denarau port that you take the ferry to go island hopping on the west and northwestern islands.
In Port Denarau, I stayed at the Hiltons hotel and I must say that this was one of the best Hilton hotels I have stayed in. The beach is not so good, but the area is very beautiful and the little streets in the resort are so nice. They have the best pastry in Fiji and the best ice cream shop.
Viti Levu South Coast
Queens Road (2 hours from Nadi and 1 hour from Pacific Harbour)
Queens road runs from Nadi to Suva along the southern coast of the main island Viti Levu and runs through Pacific Harbour which is a must-visit for divers. Fiji Beachouse was featured in an old version of the British reality show Love Island and is known for being an absolute paradise. This is the most beautiful hostel I have ever been to (see pictures above). Beds are only 5$/night in a dorm and the bed is very comfy. The beach is an absolute paradise.
Here you will also meet a lot of cool vibe ocean lovers. In the evening there is chill live music and people get together for a bonfire on the beach or at the deck. They have a lot of nice activities here like massages, surfing at frigates passage, hiking in the jungle, kava ceremony, kayaking at sunset, and more. If going to dive in Pacific Harbour it is recommended to stay here and drive the 1 hour for diving.
Uprising, Pacific Harbour
If having a very early dive it is also recommended to stay at Uprising Beach Resort. I lived just next to this resort and went here a lot to hang out. It is located on the beach and it hosts the Uprising Beach festival which is really recommended to go to if you visit Fiji in November. You can experience a Kava session, fire dancers, and much more all year around.
What to wear in Fiji:
Summed up to do:
Taste Kava, drink from fermented roots
Taste Lovo Fijian BBQ cooked in an underground oven
Greed the locals
Snorkel in crystal clear water
Remember the reef-safe sunscreen
Remember the mosquito spray
Get a nice tan
Enjoy beautiful Fiji
I hope you enjoyed this Fiji guide if I missed something add a comment to this post for more Fiji recommendations!
I love, love, love these tips! Without a doubt something I will keep in mind, when going on my next trip!