Though it may be hard to believe, Fiji is more than just stunning beaches and clear water and colorful fish. When you get tired of the swim-up bar at your hotel pool (one of my favorite features of any vacation, if I’m being honest), check out this must-do list of things to do in Fiji.
Relax on Fiji’s Beaches
Most of Fiji’s islands are surrounded by coral reefs, making their palm-fringed beaches the perfect spot for relaxing with a tropical drink in hand or swimming in calm lagoons. If you can see yourself on a white-sand beach staring hypnotically at the turquoise water, you’re going to love Fiji. It will come as no surprise that multiple reality shows, including Survivor and The Bachelorette, have been filmed on these beaches.
Most of Fiji’s best beaches are found on the outer islands, especially in the Mamanuca and Yasawa island chains. Liku Beach, Yasawa Island, Castaway Island, Vomo Island Beach, Horseshoe Bay and Blue Lagoon Beach are just a few of the tropical delights that await you if you are willing to take the boat or plane ride required to reach them. The main island of Viti Levu is not known for beautiful beaches, but there are a few exceptions, most notably the pure-white sand of Natadola Beach.
Many resorts will offer boat trips with stops at particularly spectacular and remote beaches as part of a snorkeling or diving package, so don’t despair if your hotel beachfront isn’t one of Fiji’s best beaches.
Learn to Snorkel or Dive
If you dive, I’ve heard from many people that Fiji has some of the most impressive and affordable diving in the world. If you don’t, there are plenty of dive schools here, and there’s no time like the present!
I am not about to start scuba diving in my old age, with small children at home that need a mother, but I am all over snorkeling. And YOU MUST SNORKEL IN FIJI. Fiji’s coral reefs are some of the most beautiful and untouched in the world. You will feel like you landed in Finding Nemo. Only better.
Experience a Kava Ceremony
Looking to have a cultural experience in Fiji? You must try kava, the peppery, traditional, (unofficial) national drink.
Kava is said to have mild sedative and euphoric effects. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t know as I didn’t manage to stay in Fiji long enough to do this one thing that I really wanted to do, because a pandemic broke out.
However, YOU should make sure to experience a kava ceremony. If you visit a local village (these visits must be prearranged, as just popping in is frowned upon), you will likely get the chance to drink kava. Many resorts also offer kava ceremony experiences as part of their cultural offerings.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
I insisted on stopping at Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple on our way to the airport (much to the chagrin of both my husband and our driver), and my only regret is that I didn’t get longer to explore. This colorful Hindu temple is one of the few examples of Dravidian architecture outside of India, and you may indeed feel as though you have traveled to yet another country when you step through the gates.
The temple exterior is easily visible from outside the gates, and it’s on a main road in Nadi.
To go inside the gates, you’ll need to be modestly dressed, remove your shoes, and pay a small entrance fee. A guide will then accompany you through the gates to visit the temple.
Hike to a Waterfall
Fiji’s tropical delights include waterfalls in the jungle as well as beaches, so if you tire of relaxing in the sun, consider a hike. Most of the waterfalls are on the larger main island of Viti Levu; if you are staying on a remote, tiny island it will be less likely to have waterfalls. If waterfalls are your thing, check out this guide to Fiji’s best waterfalls.
Play at the Sleeping Giant
The Sleeping Giant mountain is not far from Nadi International Airport, so if you’re looking for fun things to do on your way in or out of the country, look no further.
The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is considered one of the top attractions on the mainland. It boasts more than 2,000 varieties of orchids in a gorgeous botanical garden, but also features tropical rain forest and manicured lawns to romp through.
Nearby is the Sleeping Giant Zip Line Fiji, where you can take jungle tours and hikes, too, as well as zip line through the trees.
Okay, okay. I don’t usually put shopping on a “things to do” list. I definitely don’t if we are talking high-end shopping. But I regretted not leaving time, space, and budget to purchase more souvenirs when I found out that Fiji is filled to the brim with local artisans and amazing, natural coconut-based body products (I’m a sucker for coconut).
If you have some time to kill, check out Baravi Handicrafts in Vatukarasa or Lawai Pottery Village in Sigatoka on Viti Levu. We did our souvenir shopping at Baravi Handicrafts and were pleased to support a local community organization. Plus, the prices were much better than the airport. However, if all else fails, Nadi International Airport has killer shops, too — especially if you are looking for body products like soaps and lotions.
Visit Fiji Museum
I didn’t go all the way to Fiji to visit a museum, but I certainly won’t judge if that’s your thing. After all, Fiji has a fascinating history. In the 19th century, Fiji was colonized by the British, who brought Indians to Fiji as indentured servants to work the sugarcane fields. Their descendants heavily influenced Fijian culture, including language, religion, and food, and over a third of Fijians are Indo-Fijian.
The Fiji Museum boasts a collection that includes archeological material dating back 3,700 years, as well as objects related to the cultures of both the indigenous inhabitants as well as more recent arrivals.
The skill of fire walking is native only to the tiny island of Beqa, but many resorts in Fiji offer fire walking shows. If yours doesn’t, make sure to check the Arts Village in Pacific Harbour, which has many cultural displays, including shows featuring firewalkers from Beqa.
I am not just putting this out here because I am married to a man for whom “go fishing” is his main activity on any trip.
I am telling you to go fishing in Fiji because it has phenomenal fishing (just ask my husband, who took me all the way there just so he could catch a giant trevally) AND it’s fishing anyone can enjoy. Even me! I caught my first tuna here. It was more fun than I expected.
So what are you waiting for? Start perusing those gorgeous resorts in Fiji!