Best Snorkeling Options in Fiji
Often called the “Soft Coral Capital of the World,” Fiji boasts an enormous number and variety of colorful corals—more than 400 species in total. And the country’s abundant reefs and atolls teem with sea life, including turtles, sharks, dolphins, eels, sea snakes, manta rays, and a staggering array of fish (35 species of angelfish alone). Fiji’s clear tropical waters and balmy weather beckon snorkelers 365 days a year, but the best time to make a splash is mid-summer, when underwater visibility is typically excellent.
Most of the larger resorts offer chartered snorkeling trips and equipment rental on-site. Unlike scuba diving, which requires special permits and expensive gear, snorkeling is simple, and relatively inexpensive. That’s why it remains one of the most popular activities among visitors to this South Pacific paradise.
From the golden-hued coral pinnacles off northern Viti Levu, to Kadavu Island’s Great Astrolabe Reef, where large groups of Pacific manta rays frequently gather, the azure straights and open seas separating Fiji’s islets and islands play host to literally thousands of individual snorkeling sites. But many of Fiji’s most popular reefs can only be safely explored during high tide. When the tide is low, exposed coral can cause cuts and bruises. In general, it’s always a good idea to ask a knowledgeable local where and when it’s safe to dive.
Located between Vanua Levu and the island of Taveuni, the Somosomo Straight is home to the world-renowned Rainbow Reef, consistently rated one of the world’s greatest diving and snorkeling sites. This striking reef is the product of a rare phenomenon: as sea water is forced through the narrow, shallow straight, the pressure creates strong currents teeming with nutrients that support living towers of treelike coral.
Even the heavily visited Mamanuca Islands near Nadi have their share of outstanding sites, including the Pinnacle, a coral head that rises more than sixty feet from the lagoon floor.
In Beqa Lagoon, the corals of the Frigate Passage seem to cascade over one another in a great tangled mass. And the nearby southern coast of Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu, is a popular place to dive with sharks—just make sure you’re with an experienced dive master!