Best things to do in Fiji from island hopping to swimming with manta rays
From lush beaches and dreamy hostels to sunset swims and traditional ceremonies, there’s loads to do, see and experience in this Pacific paradise. We’re all about those chilled out vibes, but to make sure you really make the most of your island time, here’s our ultimate list of things to do in Fiji.
1.Go island hopping
With 330 islands to choose from, it’d be a crime to stick to just one on your Fiji holiday. There’s an island group perfect for every type of traveller. You can’t go wrong with the classic palm tree-fringed beaches and world-famous surf spots of the Mamanucas, but my favourite hot spot is the Yasawas, where The Blue Lagoon was filmed in the ‘80s. Here you can explore cave systems, visit local villages or swim with manta rays (more on that later). Divers might also want to check out Kadavu and its nearby Great Astrolabe Reef, or if you’re keen to splurge some savings then check out the luxurious Lomaiviti Islands (and take me with you)…
2. Make friends below sea level
Fiji’s natural landscapes are only rivalled by its otherworldly underwater scenes, where the colours are kaleidoscopic and the flora and fauna are abundant, so it’s obvious why diving and snorkelling are two of the most famous things to do in Fiji. Snorkel with sea turtles, swim with dolphins, or dive at some of the most colourful coral reefs in the world. Beqa Lagoon is the place for diving with sharks, the Great White Wall in Taveuni is one of the greatest soft-coral dives on the planet and the Namena Marine Reserve is ideal for spotting over a thousand different types of fish. And on that note…
3. Swim or dive with manta rays
This one deserves a point of its own, because swimming with manta rays is an experience that’s super rare and incredibly special. Between May and October, the mantas call Fijian waters their home, and if you’re in the right place you’ll get the chance to see them feed on plankton as the tides change. The best odds of seeing them are at Mantaray Island and Barefoot Manta, and you can choose to scuba dive or snorkel off the beach. These majestic giants aren’t dangerous (no stinger!) and they’re usually quite curious about swimmers, so don’t freak out if they come close to you.
4. Take part in a kava ceremony
This traditional ceremony is a Fiji must-do when visiting any village, and it involves taking turns sipping kava, then dancing and singing local songs with your new friends. The drink itself is hard to describe but it looks and tastes a bit like muddy water, with a mild narcotic effect that numbs your tongue and chills you out. Sounds strange, but you gotta give it a go! Learn about the process of making kava, understand the etiquette of how to receive and drink it, then try some for yourself and enjoy the relaxation washing over you. You’re guaranteed an amazing sleep that night.
5. Watch the sunset from a tube
By ‘tube’ I don’t mean the central line, I mean a floating rubber ring to sit in as you sip a beer while watching the sky turn from blue to purple, pink and orange. Jump on a boat, head out to the middle of the ocean where nothing can obstruct your view of the horizon and hop into the sea with your drink in hand. Warm water, cold beverages, epic views and travel buddies all around you; the perfect way to end an incredible day of adventuring. The only question is: will you choose Fiji Gold or Fiji Bitter?
6. Beachfront bevvies
Take a cocktail night to the next level with sand between your toes, swim-up bars and tropical classics like pina coladas, mai tais and frozen daiquiris. Anywhere you stay will be sure to have its own beach bar nearby, so get ready to throw on your dancing flip-flops, pick your poison and prepare for a night of beach debauchery.
7. Cloud 9
Like beach bars? Then you’ll LOVE Cloud 9. Although it looks fake, we can confirm that this two-level floating platform in the middle of the bright blue waters of Ro Ro Reef is in fact real. Boasting sick DJ line ups throughout summer, the greatest view of perhaps any bar in the world, and water sports including parasailing and jet ski tours, Cloud 9 is an absolute must-visit for any party-loving Fiji visitors.
On Cloud 9 @synth._
8. Watch a fire dancer
Some Fiji resorts have their own fire dancing performances after the sun goes down, and it’s a crazy thing to watch for us mere mortals. With flaming batons, almost-acrobatic displays, traditional costumes and intense beats, fire dancers take performing to the absolute next level. Some places even let you try it for yourself, one of the most unique things to do in Fiji on your holiday.
9. Buy some local goodies
You wouldn’t think this island destination was huge on the shopping front, but you can’t miss the local handicraft village markets to stock up on souvenirs. From traditional Sulus (sarongs) and woven homewares to locally-designed jewellery and divine Pure Fiji skincare products, you’ll be going home with more than just a tan and an epic Instagram feed.
Suva Roc Market Vijeshwar Datt
10. Treat yo’self to a bit of luxury
While Fiji is full of budget-friendly accommodation and activity options, sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself or a loved one to a bit of indulgence too. Speed demons could jump on a jet ski day trip, photographers might opt for a helicopter flight, or busy bees may benefit from a visit to a lush day spa. My top tip for saving money on splurges is to book as far in advance as possible.
11. Give back to the community and environment
If you want to leave a lasting positive impact from your Fiji trip, why not get involved in a local volunteering project? From teaching English or sports to school kids to marine research and conservation, there are several different Fiji volunteer projects to choose from. Volunteering projects are generally for extended periods of time so not ideal for a short trip, but if you’re keen to get involved in local life then it can be an incredible experience for you that’s super helpful for the community, plus it gives your CV a sweet boost too.
12. Explore the Sawa-I-Lau Caves
This insane limestone cave system is right in the middle of the Yasawa Islands, and you can reach them with transfers from most of the nearby resorts. Learn about the local legends from, well, local legends, then dive through underwater openings to see the magical caves from the inside. This one’s not for the claustrophobics, but it’s worth it for any water babies who want to experience a different type of swim.
13. Go for a hike
Your Fiji trip doesn’t have to be about lazing on the beach all day every day. If you want to get sweaty then there are plenty of hiking trails that will impress even the most well-travelled trekkers. You could climb Fiji’s highest mountain, Mt Tomanivi (1323m), explore Colo-i-Suva Forest Park for swimming holes and wildlife spotting, or stick along the seaside on the Lavena Coastal Walk. And the best part? You won’t be far from the ocean for a celebratory dip after a day of exercise!
14. Monuriki Island (also known as Modriki Island)
Channel your inner Tom Hanks and search for Wilson on the actual island where Cast Away was filmed in in the late ‘90s: Monuriki Island in the Mamanuca Island group. It’s easy to get to from the Fiji mainland by speed boat or a yacht day trip, and you’ll have plenty of chances to jump into the warm tropical waters. The tiny, uninhabited island is only 600m wide, and there’s nothing there except palm trees, volcanic rocks and surrounding coral reefs. It’s literally just you, the island and the ocean – bliss!
15. Learn to cook local cuisine with a cooking class
Did someone say food? We’re in! Search for the best seasonal produce at the morning markets, learn traditional cooking tips and tricks from Fijian chefs, then get involved and create your own authentic local delicacy. You’ll see what types of flavours make up Fijian and Indian-Fijian dishes, you’ll fill up your belly on eight delicious meals and you’ll even get recipes to take home to impress at your next dinner party. Yum!
There you have it, 15 things to do in Fiji if you’re keen to experience more than just stunning golden beaches and flashy resorts. Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments below! And don’t forget to check out our full list of incredible wanderlust-inducing Fiji hostels.
About the author:
Alexx is a Kiwi traveller obsessed with finding the ultimate things to see, do and eat in each place she visits. She’s a cheese addict, loves a travel planning spreadsheet, and is allergic to desk jobs. She’s about to take off on an epic 52-week, 52-country travel project, and you can follow her adventures at @findingalexx.
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