One glance at a map of Fiji can have your head spinning–it looks like someone tossed sand and coconuts like glitter across the South Pacific.
Meanwhile, Kiribati is like “hold my beer…“
Fortunately, we’ve taken on the arduous task of wandering around this island paradise to find the best islands in Fiji for you.
The 10 Best Islands in Fiji
Island hopping in Fiji is like dating. Well, if every prospective lover was charming, attractive, and amazing spend time with.
So, not really like dating at all.
From large and sprawling to tiny and charming, each island has its own eccentricities. You can’t really go wrong when choosing the best island to visit in Fiji but it’s worth visiting a few to explore your options.
If island hopping in Fiji really was like dating, we’d probably all be polyamorous by now.
You’ll love Viti Levu if you love adventure, culture, and day-to-day Fijian living.
Viti Levu is the most populated island in Fiji. Suva, the capital city of Fiji, is found on the island’s southeastern point. Nadi (pronounced “Nan-di”), where most international travelers arrive and depart, is located in the west. There’s a good chance you’ll touch down on Viti Levu if you’re visiting Fiji.
Viti Levu is the island to hang out on if you’re indecisive and want a full Fijian experience. Big town life? Go to Suva or Nadi. Top-tier scuba diving? Find it on the coral coast. Is hiking up your alley? Head to the interior. You’ll also find seaside living in Rakiraki. Avoid the commercialized cesspool of Denarau Island–you’ll only find chain hotels and beaches that can’t compare with elsewhere on Viti Levu. (Denarau defenders, please share this article far and wide to let everyone know how wrong we are.)
You’ll love Taveuni if you love waterfalls, tropical forests, and scuba diving.
Taveuni has earned the nickname of being Fiji’s garden island because of its lush landscape. While you won’t find the white sand beaches that other islands in Fiji have to offer, the coastal walks, hiking trails, and dive sites more than make up for it. For some added thrill, pack your bathers and head to the rock slides. The resorts on Taveuni range from ultra-luxury to backpacker friendly, and every major site can be visited within a few days.
Nerds might also like that Taveuni was once split by the international date line. Apparently the New Year’s Eve parties at the dateline used to be quite the rage.
You’ll love Kadavu if you love off-grid locations, bird watching, and thriving coral reefs.
A view of Kadavu from above will have you humming, “It’s Electric” with its neon hues. South of Suva, the Kadavu Island Group is rugged with minor roads and no major electricity grid. Resorts on and around Kadavu are self-sufficient.
Divers and snorkelers exploring the Astrolabe Reef of Kadavu might be lucky enough to spot schooling manta rays. Sea turtles, sharks, and hundreds of reef fish also call this gargantuan reef system their home.
For a rugged experience, book a private boat charter to Kadavu. Otherwise, luxury retreats like Kokomo Private Island beckon those with big budgets.
You’ll love Matuku if you love authentic island living, friendly faces, and surfing.
The journey to Matuku is an adventure in itself. Found in the remote Lau Island Group in Fiji, Matuku requires a long boat ride (or sea plane charter) to reach. For comfort and convenience, charter a boat.
The color of the water surrounding the island of Matuku is bright aqua–something you have to see to believe. Locals are famous for their hospitality, often welcoming respectful outsiders to enjoy the island as if it were their home. During your visit, enjoy surfing, snorkeling, and freediving along the island’s interesting reef. If you have extra fuel and cash on hand, you can hire a local boat to show you the best spots.
You’ll love Beqa if you love cultural activities, short escapes, surfing, and sharks.
David Attenborough wowed the world in 1960 after filming the firewalkers of Beqa. Firewalking is an ancient ritual where men of Beqa walk on scorching-hot stones in traditional attire. The ritual is followed by a feast, called a lovo. Firewalking on Beqa takes place to day and no, it’s not a gimmick. We’ve seen pompous tourists put their baby-soft feet on those stones and hobble off the island with a bruised ego and blistered feet.
Beqa is also famous for its thriving shark population that resides in the waters between Beqa and Viti Levu, and certified scuba divers can get to know them up close and without a cage on a Beqa Shark Dive. If you’re a surfer, pretend you didn’t read those few sentences and head out to Frigates to surf one of the archipelago’s best lefts.
You’ll love Yasawa Island if you love beaches without footprints and rugged-meets-luxury living.
You need to sit on a window seat when flying to Yasawa Island, the furthest island from Viti Levu on the Yasawa Island chain. This thin and arid island is home to tens of beaches and is just a short boat ride away from Brooke Sheild’s iconic cave depicted in Blue Lagoon.
Yasawa Island has just one accommodation option, Yasawa Island Resort and Spa, a luxurious yet rustic all-inclusive resort. Nearby islands like Nacula, Matacala Levu, and other islands in the Yasawa Island Chain are worth exploring as well. Consider chartering a sailboat for this trip.
You’ll love Rotuma if you love great music, and seeing a side of Fiji that few others do.
Search for Fiji on a map and then scroll north. Keep scrolling. Keep scrolling… got it? This volcanic island is quite remote compared to the rest of Fiji, but it’s worth visiting. Because tourism has yet to make a boom in Rotuma, you’ll experience an authentic way of living that’s yet to be wholly influenced my tourism. One of the best music and dance troupes in Fiji, Rako Pasefika, hails from these faraway islands.
You’ll love Ovalau if you love history, slow living, and culture.
The little island of Ovalau is home to Levuka, the former capital of Fiji. One main road loops around the island, passing through colorful villages and settlements. It’s easy to spend a few days relaxing on Ovalau’s coastline and wandering from shop to shop at Levuka.
You’ll love Vanua Levu if you love scuba diving, small towns, and beautiful beaches.
Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second largest island in Fiji after Viti Levu. The word “levu” means “big” in Fijian. On Vanua Levu, scuba diving and freediving centers cluster around the town of Savusavu. Labasa, the island’s main town, is also worth a peek around. You’ll want plenty of time to experience the best of Vanua Levu, taking full advantage of the many waterfalls, treks, and water activities to do.
Vanua Levu has vibrant dive sites at the Bligh Waters, the passage dividing Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Get your certification at one of the many dive resorts here if you haven’t gotten it already.
You’ll love Waya Island if you love snorkeling and a double up of sunrise and sunset views.
Waya Island is one of the prettiest islands in Fiji–and we’re not just saying that because of its curves. Climb to the hilltop for sunrise to watch the sky turn every shade of bubblegum pink before fading into blue. At sunset, the best place to be is at the beach with your toes in the sand and a cocktail in hand.
Waya Island is probably the type of place you think of when you first hear the word “Fiji.” We’re happy to report that this association does not disappoint.
What do you think is the best island in Fiji? Let’s hear it!