What to do in Fiji: The ultimate checklist

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Fiji: What to Know Before Visiting

Fiji is colourful in numerous ways. There are 322 islands in Fiji, and each one is a little different from the next. Yet at all of these destinations, visitors can expect the friendly, welcoming spirit of the locals, and a terrain accented with rain forests and many beaches. While every island has something distinct, be it a peaceful spa or wild adventure, they’re all visually dazzling. Each is surrounded by stunning blue water, mixed with streaks of white beaches and patches of bright greenery. Here is the ultimate checklist of things to know before going to Fiji.

The beaches

The beaches of Fiji are well-known around the world. The gorgeous climate, sparkling water and soft sand are some of the biggest reasons people travel from other side of earth to this network of islands. If you really want to relax and take in the life, head to a beach. You’re never far from a sandy stretch in your dazzling Fiji hotel room, but the one you choose may depend on what you want. Would you like to play in the water, or relax on the sand? Are you interested in water sports? Would you prefer a calm, serene beach, or a colourful party beach? No matter what your beach style, the islands of Fiji have something right up your alley. Read the list below for some all time favourites.

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: Beaches

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Natadola Beach sits on the mainland of Fiji, the island of Viti Levu. Its lovely white sand stretches for miles, and this particular beach is truly special for swimmers. In some of Fiji’s waters, those who cannot resist the gleaming blue waves may have to hold back when they get too rough, but at Natadola Beach, swimmers can play in the water at all tides. Walk along the water’s end, deeply breathe in the salty air, and explore the tropical flowers that grow near the beach. Surrounded by palm trees and a gentle breeze, Natadola Beach is idyllic for those who seek an island vacation.

The Coral Coast as a whole is often voted one of the most magnificent beaches in Fiji. The sand stretches for miles and the water glimmers out as far as the eye can see. The occasional dolphin is even spotted from the shores. A word to the wise: Pack plenty of water and snacks if you’re only visiting the coast for the day, as civilzation can be scarce outside of hotels and resorts.

These are only a small selection of the countless beaches the lovely islands of Fiji have to offer. Because there are 322 of them, beaches truly are around every turn. You’re never far from the ocean or the sunshine or the beach day of your vacation dreams.

The water

The blue waves that surround the islands of Fiji are like nothing most people have seen before. They glitter, and come in a variety of blues, teals and greens, one colour fading into the next, in what seems to be Mother Nature’s very own painting. For safety reasons, here are some things to know before going to Fiji. Riptides and the coral reef that surround many of the islands are both dangers that all guests and locals should appreciate and watch out for. As long as visitors know which activities to do in which areas, they’re sure to have a magical experience swimming, splashing and playing in waters bluer than any they have ever seen.

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: Surfing, Coral Reefs

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Surfing in Fiji is tricky business. The sharp coral reef that surrounds many of the islands makes it a dangerous place for the sport. The best places to surf in the area are near the southern islands. Mamanuca, Tavarua and Namotu are all famous surfing areas, but these should only be surfed by those with experience. Many surf schools in the area offer lessons, so even beginners can take up the sport under the shining Fiji sun.

Speaking of dangerous water sports, if you’re in for a touch of adventure, try shark diving in Fijian waters. Instructors train tourists to dive, before taking them down to scope out the sharks. Divers can see up to eight different sharks on any given dive, ranging from Silvertips to Massive Bulls.

Savusavu Bay is known for its beautiful pearls. Visitors can purchase them in nearby shops or even take tours of the pearl farms. The tour takes visitors on a cruise to gaze at oysters producing pearls, one of the miracles of nature.

The land

Although most travellers head to the islands of Fiji in search of a beach holiday, the land is just as magnificent as the waters. The tropical landscape offers kilometres of rain forests, complete with trickling streams, fascinating wildlife and crashing waterfalls. Many of the islands have green, rolling hills, small mountains and craters left from ancient volcanoes. While visitors should definitely enjoy the endless beaches, it’s important not to neglect the adventure and beauty within the land itself. Head inland to uncover new treasures and see all of the exotic flora and fauna you can find.

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: The Islands

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Trekking in the islands of Fiji is very popular for many outdoor enthusiasts and even those with a casual interest in nature. The picturesque surroundings make just about any hike breathtaking, a unique treat for anyone new to this part of the world. There are several popular trekking areas. Tavoro Falls on Taveuni, for example, is only a three kilometre walk, and features three waterfalls. Also on the island of Taveuni, Lavena Beach is a coastal trek famous for its shade provided by lines of coconut trees. The Koroyanitu National Park also offers breathtaking hikes through a rain forest that spans 25,000 hectares. Trekkers interested in a drier walk can head to the sand dunes near Kulukulu. It still features a clear view of the coast and green, rolling mountains beyond the dunes.

What better way to see the land than to zip through the air above it? Snap on a helmet, clip in and glide along a zipline to see nature in a furiously fast whirl. Ride through the rain forests, learning about the plants and critters that live in them. Rush over rivers and canyons. This is by far the fastest, and one of the most adventurous ways, to vacation in Fiji.

Take ziplining to a whole new level by rappelling into some of Fiji’s caves. Check out the stalagmites and stalactites in the limestone caves. One of them is an ancient Fiji village, where some of the islands’ first settlers called home.

Orchid lovers absolutely must visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, in the Nausori Highlands. There’s also a lily pond and rain forest nearby that are easily accessible before or after viewing the orchids, which thrive in Fiji’s jungle climate.

While there, it’s also worth it to take a trip to the country’s capital. Suva brings an interesting urban vibe to the island life. Walk through the national stadium or have a picnic along the waterfront. See the guards at Presidential Palace, the government house.

The history

The islands of Fiji hold a rich history that’s worth learning about. It’s a common belief that ancestors of the Polynesians first settled on the land. We do know for sure that traders from the west came to the islands much later. The historic tribes are remembered for war and cannibalism, making for a haunting, yet fascinating history. This mentality of war and strength created many rich traditions and rituals, some of which are still practised today. Visitors who head to the islands are often invited to participate in some of these traditions and explore different aspects of Fijian history.

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: History

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Tourists interested in learning more about the country’s rich history can go to the Fiji Museum. The museum stores artifacts that give visitors a peek into the past of the magnificent islands. From war artifacts to jewellery, much of the important history of Fiji is stored in the walls of this historical building. It’s also surrounded by botanical gardens, for those who wish to walk through the plants and flowers while they’re in the area.

Viseisei Village is said to be the oldest in the country, and it makes for an interesting area to stroll through. Many leaders, including Prince Charles, have also spent time there, so it’s really a little slice of Fijian history. If you’d rather not explore alone, tour guides are nearby to take you around the neighbourhood and help explain its deep history.

Another must-see experience is the Fijian fire walking ceremony. According to Fiji Travel, “Legend has it that over 500 years ago the men of Beqa Island were given the gift of being able to walk on fire by an eel in exchange for its life.” The decedents of the warriors carry on the tradition to gather strength. They sing and chant before vilavilairevo, which is Fijian for “jumping into the oven.” Visitors are invited to come and watch the traditional practice of walking across the fire without suffering or burns.

The food

Health addicts, rejoice! Traditional Fijian food leans heavily toward fruit and vegetables, curry soups and fish. The fresh ingredients pulled from the rain forest and surrounding waters come together to produce a diet we only dream about at home. So if travellers wish to sample some classic island cuisine, they can feel good about doing so, knowing that it’s probably healthy. That said, there are plenty of other options when it comes to restaurants on the islands. Some highlights include:

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: What To Eat

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Taste Fiji Kitchen is popular among visitors. While most of the restaurants on the islands are dominated by hotels and resorts, Taste Fiji Kitchen offers a slightly more authentic option for cuisine. The menu relies heavily on fresh, locally grown ingredients, which results in a menu that changes daily to keep up with the seasonal foods.

Ecocafe is another destination off the beaten path. Located on the main island, the restaurant itself is made out of bamboo. The food combines local Fijian spices and ingredients, and fuses them into traditional Italian food. It’s quite an interesting combination, but one that proves both memorable and delicious.

While you’re there, you should also try the traditional drink of kava, a drink made from an indigenous pepper plant. Some claim it has a euphoric effect, while others go as far as to say it causes hallucinations. Some say it simply causes a tingling, numbing feeling in the mouth.

The relaxation

Relaxing in Fiji doesn’t only have to mean lying on a beach, although that is highly encouraged. Take the extra step beyond the sun and the sand to really treat yourself to something special. Fiji has long been the land of luxury vacation, so why not splurge a little on a spa treatment?

6 Things to Know Before Going to Fiji: Spas and Massages

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Senikai Spas bring an extra touch of luxury to your Fiji visit. Sit back and let the stress of your real life disappear. Sign up for a facial or massage. If you’re visiting the islands with a loved one, sign up for a romantic couples package so that you can relax together. You can even combine some of your massage treatments with a snorkeling and swimming experience so you can soak up the sun, sea and spa all at once. The treatments are meant to leave you feeling refreshed and stabilised, ready to return to your life with a new, fresh start.

Spa Denarau uses traditional ingredients and recipes to give visitors a purely Fijian spa experience. Some of the products’ natural ingredients include raw sugarcane, cold pressed drift nut oils and leaf hydrosols. Combine massage and aromatherapy or go for the warm seashell massage. You can also release tension with a hot stone treatment. There are plenty of wraps and scrubs to choose from, along with facials, manicures, pedicures and more.

Want to go natural? Go trekking and end the tour in the Therapeutic Mudpools & Hotsprings, where visitors relax in a naturally warm spa and cover themselves in a mud wrap straight from the springs. Trekkers pass through waterfalls or gardens on the way and end in the most relaxing spa, the one Mother Nature cooked up herself.

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