Ocean lovers will revel in all the water sports offered in this South Pacific island chain, but Fiji has activities for any interest from traditional cooking, hiking in the rainforest, relaxing on warm sandy beaches to surfing and whitewater rafting.
Fiji is an enchanting island paradise renowned for its crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and vibrant marine life. With an abundance of water activities to indulge in, Fiji offers an unforgettable aquatic experience for water-lovers. But, aside from watersports, this country — boasting of more than 330 islands — is filled with countless opportunities for adventure, culture, and relaxation.
If you are planning your perfect Fijian vacation, here are the seven best things to do.
1. Snorkel Among The Manta Rays
Snorkeling is one of the top water activities on Fiji, as the archipelago boasts some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs. Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands are particularly popular for snorkeling, with shallow reefs and clear waters.
I’m not PADI-certified yet, so having the beautiful reefs and coral at the Wakaya Marine Reserve was a real treat — especially when I spotted sea turtles, small sharks, and dozens of rainbow-colored fish nestled among bright purple and pink coral.
2. World-Class Diving
Fiji is also renowned for its scuba diving, especially with numerous dive sites suitable for beginners and seasoned divers. The most popular world-class sites are the Great Astrolabe Reef and its marlin and manta rays, as well as the Beqa Lagoon for thrilling shark dives. Wakaya Resort & Spa also has opportunities to dive with manta rays through its partnership with The Manta Trust.
Pro Tip: If you are like me and want to trade in your snorkels for a tank in the soft coral capital of the world, Fiji offers numerous ways to become PADI-certified.
3. Surfing The Waves
Hang Ten on Fiji is a favorite surfing location in the South Pacific thanks to its world-class breaks. Tavarua Island’s Cloudbreak is one of the world’s most iconic surf spots, catering to surfers of all skill levels, but the island has numerous breaks ranging from easy to challenging.
Pro Tip: Most of Fiji’s surf spots are geared towards experienced or intermediate surfers, but if you’re just starting out, surf schools like Fiji Surf Co in Nadi or Endless Summer on the Coral Coast are great for beginners.
If conquering the waves or diving among sharks aren’t on your agenda, then a kayaking journey through mangroves, a paddleboard glide through lush greenery to see exotic birdlife, and sailing and fishing excursions are all offered at Fiji’s numerous resorts and hotels.
Heart-pounding adventure doesn’t just exist on Fiji’s oceans. Thrill-seekers can get a true adrenaline rush with whitewater rafting in the untamed highlands of Viti Levu’s Upper Navua River with such operators as Rivers Fiji. Or, opt for a more relaxing voyage down the river with River Tubing Fiji.
4. A Cultural Experience
Fiji may be famous for its turquoise waters and white sand beaches, but it offers an astonishing variety of enriching cultural experiences that immerse travelers in the island nation’s unique heritage and traditions.
Here are some captivating cultural experiences to explore while on Fiji:
Kava Ceremonies are a common and cultural practice found in most places on Fiji, and at Wakaya Club & Spa, we watched as a local Fijian chief mixed the traditional and slightly narcotic kava drink. Most resorts and islands on Fiji offer a kava ceremony, a symbolic ritual where locals share this ancient custom that has deep spiritual significance for Fijians.
Every night at our resort on Wakaya, we were treated to cultural performances and activities. One of those was a mesmerizing meke performance, where dancers showcased their talents through rhythmic movements, chants, and colorful costumes. Meke displays often depict tales of ancient legends and historical events, which was a fantastic way to connect with Fiji’s folklore.
5. Meet The Locals
You can also embark on a village tour to learn about the traditional lifestyle and customs of Fijian communities. Watch artistic Fijians collect banana fronds to weave a basket, witness the preparation of a lovo (underground oven) feast, and engage in handicraft sessions with local artisans.
Fijian dishes — including kokoda (marinated raw fish), palusami (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream), and the traditional art of lovo — reflect the island’s rich culinary heritage. Many islands and resorts offer hands-on cooking classes to participate in.
Firewalking is a fascinating display practiced only by the descendants of the Sawau tribe of Beqa Island. Watch this mind-blowing activitiy at resorts on Beqa Island, around Pacific Harbour, and in some parts of the Coral Coast.
6. Go For A Hike
The Sun was about to peek up over the horizon when we made our light trek to a cliffside viewpoint called Chieftain’s Leap — an intimidating and beautiful scenic spot commemorating the sacrifice of a Wakayan chief for the land and his people. The short trek up to the cliff was rocky and slick in places, but not overly difficult.
As we learned about the tragic history of the Wakayan village of Korolevu, which was invaded by villagers on the neighboring island of Ovalau, our guide also pointed out the lush fauna. We spotted the little Wakayan deer, which was a real treat since Wakaya is the only island in all of Fiji with a population of deer.
Fiji’s diverse landscape boasts lush rainforests, rugged mountains, and cascading waterfalls, providing hikers with a rich tapestry of natural wonders to explore. One of the most enticing hiking destinations on Fiji is the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park, located on the island of Viti Levu. With a variety of trails suitable for all levels of hikers, this park is filled with vibrant tropical flowers, majestic mahogany trees, and colorful parrots soaring overhead. The iconic Sleeping Giant Mountain is another sought-after hiking spot, offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and the vast Pacific Ocean.
For those seeking a more challenging trek, Taveuni Island beckons with its rugged terrains and dense rainforests. The Lavena Coastal Walk is a 6-mile round-trip path through ancient forests and traditional Fijian villages to the spectacular Wainibau Falls.
Pro Tip: While hiking, respect the environment and local customs. Be mindful of cultural sensitivities. The best way to really get the most out of your hike is with a local tour operator or guide who can also provide valuable insights, ensure your safety, and support the local communities.
7. Immerse Yourself In Volunteer Programs
One of the best ways to get to know the “real” Fiji is through volunteering. Whether you are helping clean up your favorite beach, teaching children, or diving to protect Fiji’s gorgeous reefs, giving of your time and effort can benefit the local community.
From education and medical care to building necessary infrastructure in local villages and environmental conservation, you’ll be sure to find programs that speak to your altruistic nature.
To learn more about volunteer opportunities on Fiji, click here.