The islands and islets of Fiji—632 in total—lie approximately halfway between Australia to the west, and the Hawaiian Islands to northeast. Formed 150 million years ago by undersea eruptions, Fiji’s Mamanuca and Yasawa islands have enchanted visitors for more than 400 years. And thanks to the influence of Hollywood films such as Cast Away, The Blue Lagoon, and Shipwrecked, Fiji’s verdant peaks, sugar-white beaches, and turquoise bays have become famous and beloved around the world.
Every year, half a million visitors arrive with visions of alabaster beaches, spectacular scenery, and cloudless skies, and they are seldom disappointed. As your plane descends on Viti Levu, the forested summit of Mount Tamanivi, Fiji’s tallest mountain, seems to rise to meet you, a reflection of the extraordinary hospitality of the Fijian nation and its people. Fijians are curious, warm, and generous, and as you stroll the streets of Suva, Nadi, and Nausori, you are likely to be greeted with heartfelt calls of “Bula” (health).
In the capital city of Suva, home to about half of Fiji’s population, make sure to visit the Fiji Museum. There, you’ll find an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the country through ancient tools, musical instruments, and photographs. If you are looking for parks and gardens, cinemas, and nightlife, then you might want to linger for a day or two in Suva, but the majority of visitors will want to push on in search of sun, fun, and adventure.
Fiji is a land of plenty, and among the hundreds of resorts, hostels, rental homes, and bungalows, there is something for every budget. The wide variety of accommodations ranges from deluxe suites nestled in tropical gardens, to cut-rate rooms in divers’ hostels, far off the beaten path. With more than 100 islands boasting accessible accommodations, Fiji easily has the greatest diversity of picturesque resorts and Robinson Crusoe-like lodgings of any tropical destination.
The Yasawa group is a chain of pristine, mountainous islands that stretches to the northwest of Fiji’s second largest city, Lautoka. Here, travelers will find islands that are blessed with what may be the best beaches in Fiji. A high-speed ferry from Nadi shuttles sun-seekers to the Yasawas daily. But if you’re looking for peace and quiet, then you might want to explore the lesser-known Mamanucas, a group of flat atolls and grassy, almost Caribbean islands conveniently located just a few miles from Nadi. The Mamanucas have something for everyone, from hard-partying backpackers, to couples and families looking to get away from the bustle of the bigger islands.