Scattered across the South Pacific, Fiji is a castaway land of laughs, Polynesian traditions and paradise beaches. The beautiful weather is matched by the warmth of the Fijian people, who will greet you with a friendly ‘Bula!’ wherever you go. There’s nothing not to love about Fiji.
Brilliant for couples, families, honeymooners, luxury travellers and backpackers, Fiji is a destination that has something for everyone. However, with a whopping 333 islands, how do you choose the best island in Fiji for you?
Luckily, different islands have very different vibes in Fiji. Some are perfect for thrill-seekers, others are ideal for family travel and others provide romantic privacy for couples. Some travellers spend their whole time on the mainland of Viti Levu, while other visitors use it as a gateway to the smaller satellite island groups. Here's our expert lowdown on where to stay in Fiji.
Better known as Fiji’s ‘mainland’, Viti Levu is the largest island and home to the international airport, as well as 70% of the Fijian population. Far from a stepping stone to the outer islands, it’s a beauty spot in its own right. You could easily spend an entire holiday exploring the mountains, rivers, dunes and beaches of Viti Levu. There are resorts for every kind of traveller here. If you choose your resort wisely, you’ll find the right kind of crowd for you.
Home to the airport, Nadi is excellent as a stopover if you’ve got an early or a late flight scheduled out of Fiji. There are plenty of hotel options to match every sort of budget. However, there’s no other reason to stick around in Nadi, so one night is more than enough.
Petite and packed with glitz, Denarau Island is connected to the mainland by a short causeway, so it doesn’t feel much like an island at all. If you’re looking for some serious pampering, this is your spot. Wealth is EVERYWHERE. Think cocktails, massages, infinity pools and butler services.
Denarau is a playground for sun-seeking Australians and anyone looking for a resort stay in a large, upmarket hotel. You’ll find most of the leading hotels side-by-side along the coastline, including chains such as Hiltons, Intercontinentals, Sheratons and Westins. These usually come with landscaped tropical gardens, large swimming pools and multiple restaurants. Personal? No. Top notch? Yes.
The marina here is home to snazzy restaurants and shopping malls, with an all-singing, all-dancing 18-hole golf course dominating the island interior. The beaches are nothing to write home about, but it’s a great place for in-resort stays.
Most Fiji ferries and cruises leave from Denarau, so you might need to spend a night here before you set sail. If you do, put on something sparkly and treat yourselves to a slap up meal under the stars.
The Coral Coast runs along 80km of the south coast of Viti Levu, from Sigatoka to Pacific Harbour. The whole coast is named after the coral that washes up along the coastline. The secluded beaches and coves here have a real castaway feel to them, with palm trees leaning out to the waves. Just be aware that the sand is not soft. Keep your flip-flops on to save yourself some pain (not to mention embarrassment).
Generally speaking, the Coral Coast is home to resort style accommodation spanning from mid-range to high-end. Travellers staying here mainly eat, stay and play in their hotels. However, the Coral Coast is more down-to-earth than Denarau, and most properties offer a large selection of day trips, from Sigatoka river safaris to traditional village visits. This can be ideal for families who don’t want to head all the way out to an island.
Known as the ‘Adventure Capital of Fiji’, Pacific Harbour is perched on the edge of Beqa Lagoon, famous for its tiger shark diving. This is a great spot for anyone after some action and adventure in Fiji. It’s a thriving hub for snorkelling, diving, jet-boating and may more water-based activities. In addition, there are jungle, waterfall and river trips available in each resort, making it a brilliant base for exploring Viti Levu.
Pacific Harbour itself has a few restaurants and bars to choose from in the evening, and the atmosphere is very laid back. A few hotels, such as the Uprising Resort, also offer nights out in Suva (the capital), dropping you off in the early evening and collecting you later on. Suva is around an hour away, so if you like shopping, you’re in for a treat.
The Mamanuca Islands are located off the western coast of Viti Levu, not too far from the mainland. Romantic and secluded, they are perfect for honeymooners or couples looking for an adults-only escape. They also make a tropical backdrop for a barefoot island wedding. Many of our favourite Fiji resorts are here amongst the dreamy Mamanucas.
Some of the Mamanuca Islands are home to several boutique resorts, while islands have only one resort, such as Matamanoa. The Mamanucas are also great for people on shorter stays as they are closer to Denarau meaning passengers can have the island experience even if they are short on time.
The picturesque Yasawas are located just north of the Mamanucas, with gorgeous white sand beaches and clear blue waves. Once a die-hard backpacker hangout, there are now boutique resorts popping up all over these islands, making them ideal for everyone from young couples to budget honeymooners and families.
More rustic, and generally more sociable than the Mamanucas, the Yasawas are full of Robinson Crusoe feeling. If you get stumped by choosing an island, you can even book a boutique island-hopping cruise, covering all the bases. These cruises leave from Port Denarau and drift between the sun-drenched Yasawas for four or five days, stopping at tiny beaches on the way. What could be better?
Flights to Fiji from the UK take around 25 hours with the key hubs being Seoul, Hong Kong and, now, Singapore - courtesy of Fiji Airways. Fiji is also easily accessible from Australia and New Zealand, making it a perfect add-on to a round the world trip or a multi-centre holiday. We can suggest all kinds of ways to squeeze Fiji into your round the world ticket.
Perhaps the most complex thing to understand about Fiji is how to get from A to B! There are many different transport options available including coach, private car, ferry, speedboat, water taxi, helicopter, seaplane or light aircraft. If you can afford it, helicopters are a fantastic way to travel out to the Yasawas and Mamanucas. Not only is it far quicker, but it doubles up as a scenic flight experience.
How you travel in Fiji will depend largely on your budget. If you use shared or public transport, you will be pinned down to daily bus and ferry schedules, so this may dictate some of your plans. Bear this in mind when you’re arranging your trip.
Here's an idea of average transfer times in Fiji:
We're South Pacific experts and we can put together all kinds of tailor-made Fiji holidays. We can also build a Fiji stopover into round the world trips and multi-stop adventures. No challenge is too big! Take the first step to Fiji by calling us on +44 1273320580 or send us a request by email.
For more Fiji inspiration, take a look at the blogs below, all written by our own team members here at Travel Nation: