WHICH ISLANDS SHOULD I VISIT IN FIJI?
What makes Fiji so special is its diverse beauty, from beaches to rainforest, from sandy uninhabited islands to highlands with villages, rivers and waterfalls to explore. With 333 islands to choose from (only 100 or so are inhabited), every visitor is able to find their own version of paradise, luxury, romance, or adventure. Amazingly, as different as the islands are, they are very accessible and easy to travel to while in Fiji. The main resorts can easily be traveled to via boat, helicopter or seaplane.
The Fiji Destination Specialists at Venture Fiji have taken great care to hand select the resorts that are featured and recommended on our site. We believe these resorts represent the best of the best of not only resorts and accommodations, but also islands to visit.
Fiji has two, larger islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu) and a few others that we will refer to by name. However, for the smaller, outer islands, it is best to think of them as “island groups.” On our site, we only recommend Fiji’s finest luxury and boutique resorts. They are scattered among the various islands and island groups shown below.
Of note, most of the stunning photos that you have seen of Fiji consist of lovely island vistas, stunning sunsets, sandy beaches, and crystal lagoons. Most likely, these pictures were from the outer islands, rather than the main island or the very popular, Denarau Island. If you are a first time visitor to Fiji, we highly recommend getting off the mainland for a portion of your stay and visiting a smaller island resort on one of the islands listed here:
THE MAMANUCA ISLAND GROUP
The Mamanucas (pronounced “mama-new-thas”) are the closest and most accessible islands, in relation to Nadi International Airport. We highly recommend visiting one or more of these islands. Although some are less than a 10 minute helicopter away from Nadi, you will feel like you are on your own remote slice of paradise. The Tom Hanks movie, “Castaway”, was filmed here. For surfers, Cloudbreak is located in the Mamanucas.
THE YASAWA ISLAND GROUP
This group of 20 or so exotic islands begins where the Mamanucas end. They are further from the mainland, but easily accessible by boat, plane or helicopter. Our recommended resorts on these islands will give you a chance to experience some of the clearest waters and finest sands in the world. To help you get a mental picture, think “Blue Lagoon” with Brooke Shields. It was filmed in the Yasawas. It is not as commercial or populated as the Mamanucas and contains beautiful elevation changes of up to 1,800 feet above sea level.
TAVEUNI AND SURROUNDING ISLANDS
Taveuni is beautiful, lush and exotic. It is home to a couple of national parks (the Bouma Waterfalls) as well as the only part of Fiji where its national flower is found, the Tagimoucia. It has high peaks and fertile rainforests. In theory, you can travel through time here as the actual 180th meridian (used as the basis for the International Date Line) passes through Taveuni. However, the Date Line is drawn around Fiji to keep all of its islands on the same day. Nearby Laucala Island is one of the most exclusive private island resorts in the world.
Wakaya Island is home to a very exclusive private resort and is located nearby Ovalua, the home of the original early Fijian capital, now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. We recommend staying on Wakaya Island if you are looking for the ultimate in luxury, seclusion and exclusivity.
DENARAU ISLAND (Viti Levu)
This small island is actually viewed to be part of Viti Levu, the main island. If arriving by air, you will land at Nadi International Airport, which is approximately 15 minutes away from Denarau. Denarau is densely populated with global, five star hotel and resort chains, restaurants and shops. It is very touristy and unless you desire to use a global brand you are comfortable with as your home base, we recommend these hotels for your first few or last nights in Fiji, given the proximity to the airport. Otherwise, the best beaches are found elsewhere.
THE CORAL COAST (Viti Levu)
This section of beautiful, white sandy beaches is on the south side of the main island, Viti Levu. This is an excellent place to begin your Fiji vacation. There are five star resorts, excellent beaches, activities and world-class golf. It is not far from Nadi International (40 – 90 minutes by car) and is a great area to use as a home base for a few days in order to explore the mainland’s excursions, tours and cities. This area extends all the way to Pacific Harbour and makes for a very scenic drive encompassing villages, sugar cane fields, lagoons, and beaches.
PACIFIC HARBOUR (Viti Levu) AND NEARBY ISLANDS
Known as the Adventure Capital of Fiji, there are several island resorts we recommend close to Pacific Harbor that allow you to enjoy the best of game fishing, reef fishing, surfing, white water rafting or 4×4 tours (on the mainland), or feeding the sharks in Beqa Lagoon. This lagoon was named by Jacques Cousteau as the ‘The Soft Coral Capital of the world’. Beqa (pronounced “Ben-gah”) is also home to the legendary “Fire-Walkers.”
THE NORTH COAST (Viti Levu)
This is a very diverse and beautiful part of Fiji. If you are looking for an exclusive experience, we recommend Dolphin Island Resort in this area. The popular Vuda Point Marina is nearby if you are traveling by yacht.
Vanua Levu is the second largest island, just north of Viti Levu and adjacent to Taveuni. This island, and nearby islands, are primarily mountainous with rain forests and fertile farm lands. From Nadi International Airport, you would need to take another plane to get here.
SAVUSAVU AND THE SOUTHERN COAST (Vanua Levu)
This area is known for deep reefs, thermal baths, rainforests, and pearl farms. Above all it is home to some of the best for scuba diving in all of Fiji, which is why Jean-Michel Cousteau has his resort here as well as other boutique, luxury, resorts like Namale Resort and Spa.
For more information about Fiji’s best islands and resorts, please contact a Venture Fiji Destination Specialist for a free consultation.