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Best places to stay in Fiji

Best places to stay in Fiji 2018 [best island for couples or families]

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Finally the ticket is booked for this amazing and idyllic destination. Now the next question comes: where to stay in Fiji? Or even better what is the best island in Fiji?

Let me say that the answer is not that easy and it mostly depends on the activities you are planning to do.

So, why finding an accommodation in Fiji can stress you out?

Because Fiji is not just one island. It’s actually an archipelago of islands, quite widespread too.

In some cases you may need an airplane from the main airport, in Nadi, to your resort, or maybe just a boat will do the job.

Sometime flights come as part of the full package deal, which may save you some bucks however you may be limited with the days you can fly.

And obviously Fiji is one of the most agonised destinations for a honeymoon, and for a good reason, spectacular sunsets, amazing beaches and unreal blue water.

But let me tell you that it’s not always like that, in fact the majority of the resorts have not actually a great beach, and you may end up disappointed

Before travelling to FIji I suggest to also give a look to the free newspaper The Fiji Times. You can read through the trending stories on the right side and read more about the local lifestyle and the special events.

Let’s now have a look on how the archipelago could be subdivided.

Best islands in Fiji to stay

You will most likely arrive to the Nadi airport, on the west coast of the main island called Viti Levu.

Nadi has the biggest international airport however it is not the capital of the island.

If you are unsure on whether or not to visit Nadi then I may suggest to skip it all together and certainly it is not the best place to stay in Fiji πŸ™‚

Why?

Because it is a town that grew up in the last few years without a real soul, just thanks to the main growing airport. You can drive it through without even paying attention to it.  Just few shops and eateries.

I have organised the map below with the best islands to stay in Fiji grouped in 7 areas.

This is not to say that these are the only amazing ones in the archipelago.

I see it as a starting point. If you plan to spend many weeks, or a full season, then I suggest to explore the more remote islands and corners of this unique country.

Best islands to stay in Fiji

  • Yasawa Islandsremote and unique beaches. You may recognize a few of them as they have been used for many film sets (“The blue lagoon”, probably one of the most famous movies, was filmed in Nanuya Lailai, Nanuya Levu, and Yasawa Island). Access is by sea plane (quicker) or boat
  • Mamuca Islands: closer to the main island and a short boat trip from Denarau. These islands, being closer to Nadi, are more touristic than the Yasawa Islands. Still beautiful beaches and turquoise water
  • Denarau island: a man made island with some major resorts (Sheraton, Radisson, Hilton etc) and facilities. It is a becoming a popular destination as the location is minutes from the Nadi airport. From here you can also catch the ferry to the Yasawa and Mamuca islands. Unfortunately you will not find here the postcard’s beaches
  • Viti Levu South-West: the great advantage of this area is that it is quite close to the airport however far enough to avoid the noise and pollution of it. I found here one of favorite Fiji beaches located in Sanasana. However the rest of the coast is not as amazing
  • Viti Levu South-East: I would not personally suggest this part of the island for the beaches. It’s more for activities, adrenaline addicted and nature lovers (waterfalls and trekking). Suva, the capital of Fiji, is not a must-visit destination however few hours can be interesting. It tends to rain more on this part of the island.
  • Taveuni Island: very remote, reachable with a 1 hour flight from Nadi. It is the green hub of Fiji. Think marvelous trekking in the jungle, unique waterfalls and pristine beaches too. Surely not a place to get bored.
  • Vanua Levu, second biggest island after Viti Levu. A good destination if you are after the local Fiji lifestyle, very relaxed. It is one hour flight from Nadi and it is suggested for a second or third trip to Fiji, in case you are looking for new unexplored parts of Fiji

The macro areas above cover only a part of Fiji. There are so many islands that would require months of exploration.

Yasawa islands, resorts and transfers

Here you can find some of the most spectacular beaches of the Fiji, and probably the world. Think white sand and blue turquoise water.

The Yasawa are a volcanic archipelago of around 20 islands of which 12 are occupied by 25-30 resorts. You have a vast choice that goes from secluded accommodation to a bed in a dorm room.

Most of the Yasawa islands resorts are dedicated to backpackers and flashpackers . However new luxurious accommodations are coming up with bungalows that can cost as much as $2000/night.

Activities are pretty limited and, as you may expect, sun bathing is the most popular one. However you can also get busy with some snorkeling or scuba diving. The price of a PADI Open Water is actually cheaper than in most Western countries.

Every island has also some trekking to offer, usually a small climb to the top of the hill (up to 600m high), nothing really demanding however it usually gives a great lookout point to the Yasawa islands.

The Sawa-i-lau caves are one of the major attractions. Part of the movie “The blue lagoon” was filmed here. It’s a good half day excursion.

If you are after some surfing then you probably need to think about another destination (Tavarua in the Mamanuca islands is the closest spot)

Transportation to the Yasawa islands can be booked through the resort or on your own. The small direct internal sea planes and the helicopters are the quickest option, however also the most expensive one. You can check the Pacific Island Air for more information on cost and time

Amazing reef off the Fiji islands

Amazing reef off the Fiji islands

The alternative, and equally scenic, is the Yasawa flyer, a ferry that leaves Denarau harbour at 8:30am and navigates through the archipelago. The trip can take from 2 to 6 hours, based on which island of the archipelago you book your resort.

The great thing of the ferry is that you will see all of the islands, beaches and small harbors around. I like to call it an “open mouth” experience. The Yasawa island are so beautiful that it’s hard not to get impressed.

The ticket price is not cheap however if you plan to visit 2 or more islands (aren’t you πŸ˜‰ ) then the Bula Pass, valid from 5 to 15 days, is an economical alternative to the single ticket.

When you book your accommodation keep in mind that some of the resorts offer an all inclusive package meanwhile others don’t (as in most of Fiji). There are no restaurants as such on the Yasawa islands, if not just the ones of the resorts. It is therefore usually more convenient to buy the all inclusive package than every single meal.

The great advantage of the Yasawa islands is the remoteness. Much less tourism than in most of Fiji. Perfect if you are planning one or two weeks in islands hopping.

The Yasawa Island resort & spa has been up and running for almost 30 years. It’s located in one of the remotest islands in Fiji and it’s adults only. It’s the perfect location for couples looking for privacy and/or honeymooners. The flight with the sea plane offers an amazing view. You can also arrive by boat however budget in a 6 hours trip. Just imagine yourself in your room in a private bungalows facing the beautiful beach

Check availability at the Yasawa Island

The Mantaray Island Resort is more of a backpacker, or flashpacker, experience. The reef is to die for and the accommodation price can be really on the cheap side, if you want (a bed in a dormitory room). Food could be improved though. In saying that the reef around the island is unreal, think of an aquarium. 

Check the great price at Mantaray

Mamanuca Islands, the cast away experience

Being so close to Nadi (through the Denarau harbour), the Mamuca Islands are a great destination for a multi day stay as well as for a single day one.

The close vicinity to Viti Levu is surely part of its touristic success however it has to be said that the Mamanuca islands are truly beautiful. Expect blue water, palms and a volcanic scenery.

The Monuriki island was used for several months to film the famous movie “Cast Away” starring Tom Hanks. Other islands are regularly used by the American Edition of the Survivor TV show.

Expect more tourism than in the Yasawa islands however do not think it will be crowded, just you will not be alone at the beach πŸ˜‰

Attractions are similar to the Yasawa islands, from trekking to snorkeling, from scuba diving to sun bathing.

There is however a big plus of these islands, if you are into surfing. It’s called Cloudbreak and it is rated as one of the best ten surfing spots in the world, located just off Namotu Island, a tiny island quite close to Viti Levu, just 15 minutes by long boat

South Sea Cruises can quickly take you from the Denarau marina to any of the islands you want, even for a day trip. You can check the timetable here.  It is a quick trip, usually one hour or so.

The great advantage of the Mamanuca islands is the easy and quick access. This makes it a perfect destination if you have only 2-3 spare days to visit a small island and you do not want to waste time in the trip to Yasawa

The Malolo Island Resort is a perfect solution for everyone, from couples to families. It has multiple swimming pool and restaurants, including a adults only option. It has a fabulous private white beach and if you are traveling with small children then the kids club may give you a nice break. All these reasons make this resort very popular.

Check availability at the Malolo

Denarau island, hotels and things to do

Denarau island is not actually……an island, as such. You do not need a boat to access it. It’s a short 10 minutes drive from the Nadi Airport through a causeway.

It’s a man made island with an 18-hole championship golf course right in the center and a plethora of resorts around.

Now the bad news, you do not come here for the beaches, which are average. It’s more for the provided facilities, as amazing pools, great restaurants and the access to so many activities that you can do every day something different.

From the Denarau Marina you can easily visit any of the Mamanuca islands on a day trip beside taking a 4 hours or full day fishing charter.

The Tivua full day sailing trip is one of the most popular activity as well as the sunset cruise, also leaving from the Denarau Marina.

Other things to do include

  • skydiving
  • snorkelling
  • scuba diving
  • cooking school
  • visits to local villages
  • SPA time
  • kitesurfing and surfing daily trips
  • zip line (across the jungle over Nadi)
  • expos and festivals
  • clubbing at the Hard Rock Cafe

just to mention the most famous attractions.

The great advantage of the Denarau island is the vicinity to the airport (just 10 minutes drive), access to some of the best resorts and restaurants in Fiji, with all the connected facilities as swimming pools and golf course. Unfortunately you will not find the beaches you may have dreamed of.

Viti Levu South-West and the secret bay

Once you leave the Nadi airport and you drive south you will see on your way a multitude of resorts.

They all offer a different kind of service, mostly based on how much you pay. However they all have one thing in common, the average beach,

When I say average do not think a bad beach. It’s more of a normal beach that you can find anywhere in the world. It’s not the beach you are used to dream about Fiji.

Like in Denarau islands all these resort have access to similar activities, although you need to budget in the short trip to the Denarau harbour.

If staying in this area, plan a walk in the never ending Sigatoka Sand Dunes and a visit to the Sigatoka local market, the most important one in Fiji.

In my last trip I found a bay in Sanasana that is quite amazing; in fact the beach, called Natadola, is rated as one of the best in the world, and for a good reason.

Natadola beach offers all you need in meters

  • great easy surfing 20 meters from the beach
  • snorkeling a stone away
  • scuba diving in 5 minutes by boat
  • a beautiful and easy beach with turquoise water
  • an easy to access reef with plenty of clown fish

basically a micro cosmos, an oasis.

I so loved my time there.

The great advantage of the south-west part of Viti Levu is the easy access, unfortunately the beaches are not to die for unless you stay in Natadola beach, a small heaven on the coast.

Here I suggest the amazing InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, most definitely one of my favorite resorts in all of Fiji. Located in the main island with an easy access from/to the airport, the InterContinental offers all you search for in Fiji. Amazing beach, great snorkeling, scuba diving 5 minutes by boat, easy surfing break 2 minutes from the resort, pools for kids and adults only. Multiple great food options and a friendly service. Great resort for both couples and families.

Check availability at InterContinental

Viti Levu South-East and the capital Suva

This side of Viti Levu is a great area to stay if you are a bit of adrenaline and nature addicted. Unfortunately the beach is not to call home about.

I stayed in Pacific Harbour and I had a great time there. Renting a car makes the life so much easier though.

The most famous attraction is probably the dive with the shark, just off Beqa Island, almost in front of Pacific Harbour.

White-water rafting is also a popular activity which becomes really wild and challenging at the end of the raining season, around April.

You can join trips to waterfalls (around $60-100) or organise your owns. One of my favorites is Solo-I-Suva (the actual location is on Princess Road, see link here, and not where it is originally suggested by Google Map). Admission is $2.50 and should be paid at the Park office, 200 meters from the entrance. Head to the bottom waterfall, the most spectacular one where you swing with ropes.

The Zip-Line half day tour is also very popular. This is a park in a canyon where you can “fly” between trees and mountains, 20 meters in the air, using giant zip-lines.

A visit to Suva, Fiji capital, is not mandatory. It’s a nice town however I felt it was missing a bit of character. To be organised on a morning when you have nothing else to do. Thurston Garden should be in your bucket list once there. I would not personally book an hotel in Suva, unless you are there for business.

The great advantage of the south-east part of Viti Levu is the easy access to arguably some of the most exciting activities in Fiji. The beach however is not the main attraction.

Suva city

Taveuni island, the garden of Fiji

Taveuni island is the eco-destination of Fiji. Hotels are rare and it’s more of an adventure in a jungle with beautiful beaches than a resort experience.

This island has some of the most exciting trekking of Fiji, in the lush jungle and between waterfalls where you can have a swim and relax.

Not to mention the abundant wildlife scene which makes Taveuni the place to be for bird watching.

The beach side is magnificent too, with fabulous snorkeling and top notch diving, as in Eel Reef and the Great White Wall.

Lake Tagimaucia is one of the most popular tourist destination. Why? Well, where can you find a lake in a volcanic crater at 800 meters of altitude? Unique

The Tavoro Falls on the east coast are as easy to reach as beautiful to enjoy. The first fall is minutes away from the parking area. For the other two you need some trekking (do not give up as they are both spectacular). Swimming in them is paramount. There is an entrance fee of around $25.

The Bouma National Heritage Park has plenty of trekking opportunities as the walk to the Wanibau Falls, around 2 hours.

The great advantage of Taveuni Island is the isolation, nature and great diving. You have however to budget in an extra hour flight from Nadi. The island tends to get more rain than the rest of the region.

Waterfalls fun

Vanua Levu, back to the old traditions

Vanua Levu is the second biggest island in Fiji. It’s not as touristic as Viti Levu and this is probably the main attraction and reason to visit it. It’s Fiji 70 years ago with not as many hotels and still living of agriculture.

The main centre for travelers is Savusavu and from there it is possible to move around and/or plan local excursions. The SavuSavu bay is already by itself so beautiful, as well as the natural hot spring scattered all around the town (free to access, they are everywhere, you may check this one).

Rent a car and have a drive on the Hibiscus Highway, between the beautiful green-turquoise sea and the lush plantations of coconuts. This is another spectacular and unique road in the world.

You can organise, through your resort, trekking and hikes to some amazing waterfalls through the deep jungle.

Food is mostly Indian. The anomaly is Savusavu Wok, more Chinese style and great flavors

The great advantage of Valua Levu is the remoteness and laid-back way of living. It’s only one hour flight from Nadi however it’s like travelling in a Fiji time machine. Friendly and relaxed people always ready to help out. The drawback is the lack of a tourism infrastructure, in case you are looking for it πŸ˜‰

Just be aware that the room availability may be scarce, especially in high season. Book well in advance

Moving around Fiji

Nadi airport is the main gateway into the country. Almost all of the international flights arrive here.

If you have already booked your resort, you have been probably already offered the local transportation from/to the resort as part of the package. I would personally suggest to take it before you arrive. Just so much easier in that way.

If you plan to visit Viti Levu than you have two possibilities:

  • rent a car
  • use public transportation, buses

View to the green Fiji from the top

I personally prefer to rent a car and move around at my own pace. Hotels can be far away from the main attractions and honestly the roads in Viti Levu are absolutely fine. Few bumps here and there but nothing dramatic. Just follow the speed limit and pay attention to the road, as you would do in any other country.

Local people drive very careful too. I have never seen any crazy driving around (maybe I was just lucky LOL)

There are few local operators where you can book a car. I have been using CarRentals.com for a few years now. This is an Expedia owned website that compares prices from over 30 rental companies. I always had better deals this way.

Fiji Airways is the best bet to fly between the main islands. Nadi is currently connected to both Savusavu and Labasa in the Vanua Levu island, and to Taveuni Island too. Northern Air is the alternative however the flights tend to be much smaller.

Sea planes are available to access other small islands as the Yasawa. Turtle Airways and Pacific Island Airways cover these areas.

Buy a Bula Pass if you are planning to go islands hopping, so much cheaper than buying single tickets

Best time to visit Fiji

The raining season is usually between October/November to April/May while the dry season is between May and October.

I guess the main issue with the raining season are the cyclones. I just got stranded in March with a category 1 which lasted only 3 days but it was almost never ending heavy rain and wind.

May and June are probably the best months as tourism is not at its peak, temperature is pleasant and waterfalls are still fully loaded.

July and August tend to be the busiest months. This is not to say they should be avoided. Just book well in advance to avoid surprises.

Best island in Fiji for couples

It is really hard to suggest a single one as it really depends on what you are looking for.

In this respect, let me give you 3 suggestion for the best islands in Fiji for couples based on activities and lifestyle

  • if you are after some beach time as well as activities like jungle trekking, walking to waterfalls, snorkeling and possibly some diving then I feel like the best place to stay in Fiji for couples is Taveuni Island. It has the lot, really. Plan at least a 5 days stay, possibly even 7. That will give you enough time to explore the beautiful island and enjoy the amazing beaches
  • if you are after a romantic stay to enjoy the beach, the sunsets and possibly some fine dinning then the Yasawa islands are the best bet. You have a wide choice of resorts too, from flashpacker style to luxurious one. Buy a Bula Pass and visit 2 or 3 islands.
  • if you are looking for a resort lifestyle with some nightlife too then Denarau Island. There are so many facilities here, including some famous bars as the Hard Rock Cafe. Fine dining and easy access to the Mamanuca islands

If you have still a question on where to stay in Fiji for couples which I was not able to cover, please feel free to add a comment below. I usually answer within a day (if I am not travelling myself in areas not covered by internet)

Best place to stay in Fiji for families

I came to learn myself how traveling with family and kids is a different thing all together LOL

My choice for the best island in Fiji for families goes to:

  • Mamanuca islands if you are looking for a great beach and beautiful sea. You just want to pass sometime playing with the kids in the sand. And if kids are a bit older there is always the surfing options (although quite a challenging one). Access is easy too, 1-2 hours of navigation from the Denarau Marina
  • Viti Levu if you are more after a resort experience, especially with small kids and babies. Easy shallow swimming pool and possibly kids clubs to have some time off. Here I suggest to stay in Natadola beach because it has also a great beach for postcards, with turquoise water and some very easy surfing (long boards and beginners) to entertain the all family even with grown up kids

On either Mamanuca or Viti Levu you will will most likely find the place to stay in Fiji with family, an experience to remember for a long while


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Stefano Ferro
Photographer
Stefano is a cycling, movie and life style photographer with a big love for landscape & travel photography. When in Melbourne, his hometown, you will see him cycling around at sunset or sunrise looking for the best spot for a photo of this beautiful city. It is quite amazing how much photography gear he can pack on his bike :o
    • Great Fiji places. Thanks
    • June 7, 2018
    Reply

    Wooow, what a beautiful place for honeymoon trip, i never know about this such a wonderful places if i have not seen your post.

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