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Ocean explorer Jacque Cousteau deemed Fiji as being the Soft Coral Capital of the World. But scuba diving in Fiji offers even more than vibrant soft (and hard) coral reefs cloaking the ocean floor. If you’re a numbers type of person, consider the stats. Fiji has over 10,000 km of coral reefs with over 460 species of mollusks, 300 species of hard coral, and over 1,000 species of reef fish. If you’re not a numbers person, there’s essentially a lot to see. You can relax over a calm coral reef during one dive and admire tens of sharks the next.
A little yin, a little yang. Fiji keeps it interesting like that. In this guide, we’ll tell you when to go diving in Fiji, reveal our top spots, and recommend a handful of resorts to check into during your trip.
Why go diving in Fiji?
If you’ve yet to become a certified scuba diver, Fiji is a top destination to learn. There are tens of dive resorts with calm and capable instructors throughout the islands. Plus, you’ll be diving right into some of the best scuba diving that the South Pacific has to offer.
If you’re already clutching a certification card, scuba diving in Fiji is a place where you can swim through a reef encrusted with corals on one dive and be in the blue surrounded by a school of fish the next. Sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays are frequently spotted if you’re after the ocean’s big marine critters. If you’d rather squint at the small stuff, you’ll find macro life hiding among the giant clams and carpet-like anemones on the reef.
Because there are hundreds of dive sites to choose from—usually tens around an island alone—you won’t be bored. Drift dives, swim throughs, deep dives, and shallow dives await you when scuba diving in Fiji.
The best time to go scuba diving in Fiji
Fiji is a scuba diving destination all year long, with water temperatures rarely dropping between 27 C no matter what island you’re on. However, the best time to go scuba diving in Fiji is from July to December, when visibility tends to be best. The months of November to April see Fiji’s cyclone season, when tropical storms can cause dive trip delays and stir up sediment in the water. Still, it’s better to go on a dive trip to Fiji than give it a pass, even if your trip falls within these cyclone season months.
The best scuba diving in Fiji
A smaller list would be to name the places that aren’t great dive sites in Fiji. This island nation has no shortage of places worthy of blowing bubbles. Here are some dives that belong on your scuba diving bucket list.
Shark Reef Marine Reserve
Location: Shark Reef Marine Reserve. Dives leave from Pacific Harbor on Viti Levu or from Beqa Island.
No cage, no worries! Well, we certainly won’t judge you if you worry a little. The Fiji Shark Dive is a must-do when you’re in Fiji. Divers descend to the ocean floor and tuck behind a short wall. Look up, and you’re in an arena of tends of sharks circling overhead, hoping for a tuna head. While a delicious snack, these tuna heads do not make up a substantial portion of the sharks’ diet.
The Shark Reef Marine Park is an eco-tourism led conservation site where local communities are compensated for guarding the reef against fishermen. Some proceeds from the Fiji Shark Dive go to the community directly.
It’s common to see bull sharks, white and black tip reef sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, grey sharks, and even tiger sharks during the dive.
Location: Between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu; Dives depart from Savusavu (Vanua Levu) or Rakiraki (Viti Levu)
A prime spot for liveaboard diving, the Bligh Waters are idyllic for scuba divers who love to go wherever the water takes them. Drift dives are a given here, and you’ll spot hundreds of reef fish, vibrant hard and soft corals, and sea turtles. The strong current at the Bligh Waters carries nutrients to the reefs, making the sea critters who reside here resilient and healthy. Whispers of humpback whales migrating through these waters have circulated, but we have yet to spot them ourselves.
The Somosomo Strait
Location: Dives depart from Taveuni
The Somosomo Strait will have you saying “let me spend Somosomo time in Fiji, please!” This delightful dive area is found between the islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu, two of the best islands in Fiji. During the changing of tides, nutrient-dense water funnels into the strait, feeding reef life with nutrients.
One of the most impeccable sites in the Somosomo Strait is the Great White Wall, a reef cloaked in white soft corals (Dendronephthya). At first glance, it nearly looks like snow. This site is part of the Rainbow Reef, a reef so colorful its name needs no further explanation. During your trip, spend time at Purple Wall, a dive site with purple corals and the Fish Factory, a site famous for its many species of juvenile reef fish. Taveuni Dive Resort has an immense write-up of some of the best sites around.
The Great Astrolabe Reef
Location: Dives depart from Kadavu region (typically private island resorts)
Sprawling out from the island of Kadavu is the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world and an iconic site if you prefer to go diving among pristine corals. Because of its remote location, just about every dive site is bound to be uncrowded. Keep an eye out into the blue for barracuda, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, bull sharks, and other great pelagic fish. Enjoy the colors of over 300 species of corals documented throughout the Great Astrolabe Reef, with many being endemic to the region. There are so many manta rays in the area, Kokomo Private Island Resort has set up a manta ray monitoring program!
The Yasawa Islands
Location: Dives leave from the Yasawa Island chain
The lonely Yasawa Islands are the islands you might think of when you hear the word “Fiji.” Sandy beaches, friendly Fijians, and a remote location set the scene when it comes to scuba diving. Here, you can expect colorful reefs with cabbage-like pinnacles, coral bommies, and plenty of places to go on a casual drift dive. Keep your eye out for pygmy sea horses, eels, octopus, and other creatures hiding in the crevices of the reef. The passages in between the islands can be quite nutrient dense, attracting large pelagic fish and manta rays.
Liveaboard trips in Fiji
With so many dive sites to discover, one of the best ways to enjoy Fiji is on a liveaboard trip. Liveaboard trips tend to go to many regions throughout the archipelago, and occasionally have visits to villages where you can participate in a kava ceremony.
The Nai’a is one of the best liveaboards in Fiji, a trip that embarks on seven to 10-day scuba diving trips around Fiji and Tonga. Enjoy up to four dives per day in the Koro Sea and sites as remote as the Lau Group in Fiji. The liveaboard can host up to 18 guests in its nine cabins, each with a private bathroom.
Compare Liveaboard Trips in Fiji: Liveaboard | PADI Travel