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Planning your Fiji Vacation

How do you plan your Fiji Vacation?

Let’s begin by asking one logical question:  What are your interests?  Starting from this point, here are some FAQs that may be helpful on your Fiji Vacation.

What’s the best time of year to go to Fiji? Is there a particular season you recommend?

Answer:  There are several answers to this question, which is probably the most asked over the years. If you’re talking weather, the wet and warmer time of the year is between November and April. The drier and cooler season is between May and October. Average temperature ranges are from 20 to 26 degrees Celsius (68 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit) in August to 23 to 30 degrees Celsius (73 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit) in February. In terms of “fun” the Christmas Holidays are always a blast. People are in a festive mood and that can’t help but rub off on vulagi (visitors).

Then there’s price, if that’s an issue:

  • High-season travel to Fiji is between April and October, as well as Christmas and the New Year’s holidays.
  • Fares peak between April and June, and in December and January.
  • Fiji is a popular destination for Australians and New Zealanders during their respective school holidays in these countries. These are high travel periods in Fiji.
Yasawa Islands
Yasawa Islands

Can you recommend a remote getaway with great beaches, snorkeling and cheap to moderate accommodations? I want something off the beaten track.

Answer:  Consider the Yasawa Group or Kadavu. The Yasawas are northeast of Nadi, and it will take you a half day by boat to get to.  Kadavu is a short plane ride south of Viti Levu.  (Nananu-I-Ra on Viti Levu is also an option for backpackers).

I only have a few days in Fiji. Where can I go close by the airport in Nadi and find a decent beach resort?

Answer: Check out the Mamanuca Group. It’s not exactly off the beaten track but it’s easy to get to if you don’t have a lot of time. These islands are located right off the West Coast of Viti Levu. Resorts here range from backpacker dives to 5 star properties. The main advantage of the Mamanucas are their proximity to Nadi and generally good weather. Travel time to get there is a an hour boat ride or less boat ride from Port Denarau.

Being near the beach would be nice but I want to explore Fiji. Where can I go and be near the ocean but take some excursions or rent a car and see a variety  of scenery, national parks, rain forests and have access to good restaurants?

Answer:  If you stay at a property near Natadola Beach, you won’t miss out on the beach and can still explore the Coral Coast on Viti Levu. There are properties large and small (backpacker to upscale). Consider renting a car to see everything and give yourself at least 3 days.

The Nausori Highlands, not far from Nadi, are stunningly beautiful. You can get tours or better yet, rent a car. (photo courtesy of Rob Rickman via Talanoa Tours)

I’m very interested in Fiji’s culture and history. I can do without a beach. Where do I go?

Answer:  See Suva, Fiji’s capital and check out the museum, the public market, the restaurants, and night clubs.  Then to really understand Fiji’s early history, jump on a ferry or a 10 minute plane ride  and visit Levuka, Fiji’s old capital, on the Island of Ovalau.

I’m a serious diver, where are the best places to go?

Answer: Fiji’s best dive properties are on Kadavu, Taveuni, Vanua Levu or Beqa. The first three islands will entail air travel, so tack on another US$400. Beqa is much easier to access and if you don’t have the time or budget to take a plane, it’s a great option. You’ll need to get to  to Pacific Harbour (by bus or taxi) and then jump a boat for the 30 minutes ride to Beqa.

Where’s Fiji’s best snorkeling found?

Answer:  There are good places almost everywhere–the Yasawa Group, Mamanuca Islands, Viti Levu, Kadavu and of course Vanua Levu and Taveuni.

There’s great snorkeling in most of Fiji. (courtesy Beqa Resort)

I’m young and I’m in the mood to party. Where do I go?

Answer: Smuggler’s Cove on Wailoaloa Beach outside of Nadi seems to be a pretty hot spot if you’re young, hip and have some loose change in your pocket. Other places to check on the Coral Coast are the Beach House and Mango Bay.  Beachcomber Island is a perennial favorite in the Mamanuca Group. You should also consider some of the many inexpensive resorts in the Yasawa Group, such as Mantaray.

Isn’t Fiji well known for eco-tourism? Can you recommend an eco-resort?

Answer: Fiji is definitely an eco-tourism destination. There are properties in the Yasawa Group, Taveuni, Viti Levu, Kadavu and Vanua Levu.  A couple to consider are:  Matava, an eco-dive resort (Kadavu), Matanivusi, a family surf resort (Viti Levu), Nakia, an eco-tourism resort (Taveuni) and Palmlea, Fiji’s budget gourmet property (Vanua Levu).

I’m with my significant other and we’re serious foodies. Where do you suggest we go?

Answer: Any of the boutique resorts such as Namale, Six Senses, Tadrai, Taveuni Island Resort, Yasawa Island Resort, etc, would work in the food department. On the other hand if you don’t have the budget for a boutique property, give serious consideration to Palmlea, the property I mentioned earlier in Vanua Levu. Great food, comfortable rooms and nice management. Terrific value.

Yasawa Island Resort has wonderful food and so do plenty of other venues.

On arrival and departure from Fiji, I’m looking for an inexpensive place to stay near Nadi Airport, preferably near a beach. Any ideas?

Answer: I’d consider the resorts near Wailoaloa Beach.  Wailoloa Beach Resort, Smuggler’s Cove or Club Fiji are good places to start. Beach Resort, Smuggler’s Cove or Club Fiji. They are a short taxi ride from restaurants and not too far from town. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to the Denarau properties.

Where do I go for over-the-water bungalows like they have in Bora Bora?

Likuliku has some pretty cool over the water bungalowsAnswer: You’ll find them at Likuliku Resort, Koro Sun and the Fiji Marriott Resort on Momi Bay.

What about staying at a hotel on Denarau?

Answer: Denarau has some very nice properties, a golf course and a dark sand beach not unlike Wailoaloa. It’s a self-contained tourist complex. The best part of Denarau is Port Denarau, the wharf area adjacent to the hotels. It has an attractive mall-like complex with a plethora of shops and some good restaurants like Bonefish. You’ll want to rent a car or hire a taxi for the day to take you some of the attractions outside the property.

How do I start researching my Fiji Vacation?

Answer:  Tourism Fiji, the government tourism office has a very comprehensive website that has just about every tourism-related entity in the Fiji Islands. This includes Accommodation, Activities, Weather, regular blog posts and any number of other factoids.

They have tourism offices in  Auckland, SydneyLos AngelesLondon, and China plus representatives in India and Singapore.

Mamanuca Islands - Fiji Vacation

Suggested Itineraries

Mamanuca Group: Pick a resort that fits your budget. You won’t go wrong with Likuliku, Malolo Island, Lomani, Plantation Island, Tadrai or Musket Cove.

Coral Coast: Bedarra or Matanivusi are good bets for midrange. Beach House and Mango Bay will work for budget. On the high end try Vatulele.

Yasawa Group: For a pure beach excursion the Yasawas is a winner. Try Blue Lagoon Resort, Nanuya Island Resort for budget or Navutu Stars or Yasawa Island Resort for high end.

Beqa: If you’re a diver head over to Beqa. Any of the three resorts on that island are good. If you’re on a budget for Beqa Lagoon Resort. Lalati (higher end) is better if your partner is a non-divers and I’ve also heard good things about Lawaki Beach House.

Viti Levu and Ovalau: Rent a car and do a round the island tour. Stay overnight on the Coral Coast at Bedarra or Matanivusi (if you’re into water sports), the Rakiraki Hotel or Wananavu Beach Resort up north and the Holiday Inn in Suva.  Drop the car off in Suva and take the ferry to Ovalau and spend a few days in the old capital of Levuka at Homestay Suva or the Royal.

Vanua Levu: Fly up to Savusavu and rent a car. There are a number of decent properties nearby (ie Daku, Namale, Jean Michel Cousteau, Koro Sun, etc) or head up to Labasa and stay at Palmlea.

Taveuni: Any of these properties (or a combination thereof) would be fun: Makaira, Nakia, Aroha, Taveuni Paradise, Taveuni Island Resort or on the high end, Taveuni Palms.

Two-Island peripatetic tour: Three days on the Coral Coast (Bedarra or Matanivusi), two days in Suva at the Holiday Inn, three days in Levuka at Levuka Homestay or the Royal Hotel. Fly to Taveuni and spend the of your trip at one of the following: Makaira, Nakia, Aroha, Taveuni Paradise, Taveuni Island Resort or on the high end, Taveuni Palms.

For second island option, instead of Taveuni, fly to Savusavu and spend half of your outer island time at a Savusavu area property (Hotsprings, Daku, Namale, Jean Michel Cousteau, Koro Sun, etc) and the other at Palmlea.

Photo at the top of the page courtesy of Yasawa Island Resort and Spa

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