Fiji is a Pacific archipelago famed for its mountainous and rugged landscape. Filled with crystal clear lagoons, white sand beaches, and huge number of eco-adventure activities from scuba diving among corals to mountain climbing, it’s no wonder Fiji quickly climbs to the top of every adventurer’s bucket list. There are only two significantly populated islands (Viti Levu and Vanua Levu), leaving the rest of the 300+ Fijian islands open for real adventures. Set your watch on island time and throw that carefully planned itinerary out the window; say goodbye to the ordinary and "Bula!" to world class surfin’, loungin’, and hikin’ that defines any adventure in Fiji.
While Fiji is made up of hundreds of islands, there are only a couple of main ones where travelers usually go. Lucky for you, fresh mango and coconut are easy to come by no matter where you stick your umbrella in the sand!
Viti Levu is the home of the two largest cities in Fiji, Suva, and Ba, and is also the largest island in Fiji. The highest mountain in Fiji, Mt. Tomanivi, is located on the eastern coast and is an extinct volcano; bet you’ve never attempted to hike that one! Mud baths, rugby matches, and parasailing are excellent options for a more chilled-out escapade. However, you can have an adventure of the mind by exploring the Sri Siva Subramaniya temple, then gear up and get pumped for jet-setting (literally) to the other islands.
Formerly known as Sandalwood Island, Vanua Levu is one of the region’s best kept secrets, with its largest city being a little more than one street with a bunch of shops. In the south at Savusavu, lagoons and clear waters call to the traveler looking for a tropical playground, complete with scuba diving and snorkeling. Within Vanua Levu or “Big Island,” there are tiny hideaway villages just waiting for the adventurous soul to explore, mountains to be climbed with streams flowing down them, and what seems like endless swaths of pure green forests.
Called the Garden Island of Fiji, Taveuni is the third largest island in Fiji and one of the few landmasses in the world located on the 180th meridian. It is also one of the few islands where the mongoose was never released; Taveuni is still 80 percent rainforest and full of the natural birdlife that used to inhabit the main islands. It is also home to world-class diving, a great array native fauna and flora, and hundreds of dangerous rushing waterfalls. Dare to take a dip?
Adventure Travel in Fiji
Due to its prominence as a tropical getaway, Fiji’s speciality are the two main type of adventure programs: diving and hiking. However, because a lot of its population is still impoverished and it has some endangered environments, a lot of adventure travel in Fiji has a volunteer aspect to it.
The main activity that attracts most foreign visitors to adventure in Fiji is scuba diving. With pristine corals and an abundance of sea life around every island, the opportunities for diving are endless. Even for beginner divers without PADI certification, most places in Fiji will offer certification before giving newbies the chance to go out on the deeper, more difficult dives. The volunteer aspect to this has a lot to do with conservation.
Due to its rugged landscape and mountainous islands, Fiji is an excellent place for hiking. Full of extinct volcanoes and pristine rainforests, hikes take travelers through canopied forests to mountains stream flowing into waterfalls and up to mountain peaks where they can see all the island and ocean around them. These hikes lead up to rivers where white water rafting will take you through gorges and over small waterfalls.
Care to take in the view from above? Tap into your inner bird of paradise and try ziplining through the islands. With hundreds of unexplored lagoons, a prime rainforest, and abundant wildlife both on land and sea, travelers can do (and see!) a lot from the comfort of a seat dangling hundreds of feet in the air. Now how’s that for an adventure in Fiji!
Costs & Affordability
As a popular honeymoon destination with a bunch of high end resorts, Fiji can be a very expensive place to travel to and within. However, there are plenty of adventure options in Fiji for the grungy backpacker type (you know, the kind that splurge on adventures instead of a spa).
The main cost of adventures in Fiji will be the flight there and the flights in between islands. Besides that, rental of scuba gear, organizing hikes, ziplining, and rainforest tours are the next biggest costs. If you choose to do a volunteer or eco-adventure program, all these features will be included as participants will usually pay one program fee that even includes housing.
The currency of Fiji is the Fijian Dollar, but travelers can also bring U.S. dollars with them, since U.S. dollars are also freely interchangeable in most places. Hostels, hotels, and resorts are pretty expensive compared with other countries; a dorm room can cost up to $40 a night. Then, there are the high end resorts and bungalows that can be up to $3,000 a night. Budget adventure travelers should stay away from very touristy places and look for any kind of hotel or hostel that has the word “budget” written all over it.
Accommodation & Visas
Beachside bungalows, resorts, hostels, and huts are the sort of accommodation awaiting adventure travelers headed to Fiji. Whether it’s a resort and spa experience or mountainside hut after an eight hour hike, Fiji is home to both extremes. The one thing to expect though is the lack of air conditioning, unless you’re paying top dollar. It might also be prudent to bring your own mosquito net, as you never know how reliable they will be on site until you arrive
Entrance and visas to Fiji are very straightforward and easy. As long as you have a blank passport page on a passport that is valid for at least three months longer than your intended stay, a four month tourist visa will be granted upon arrival. There’s no visa costs for citizens of more than 100 countries who are granted this privilege. For more information make sure to visit GoAbroad’s Fijian Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
No matter how much Fiji fits the imagination as a perfect paradise, every adventure is fraught with obstacles to overcome. In the end, an adventure in Fiji wouldn’t really be an adventure if there wasn’t anything to conquer, right?
The first challenge that a lot of travelers have a problem with after staying in Fiji for an extended amount of time is getting island fever. The Fijian archipelago is an incredibly remote place and the only thing as far as the eye can see is ocean. This can cause a sense of claustrophobia or being trapped, but travelers should embrace this experience of remoteness. When will be the next time that you’re truly disconnected from life back home? Take this time to reboot, decompress, and relax.
Another challenge that a lot of people deal with in Fiji is the climate. The stifling heat slaps you in the face as you get off the plane and kicks you in the as as you board the plane leaving. This climate also breeds tons of mosquitos and other bugs. Just remember this is a part of the price paid to be in paradise. Do research on what accommodation you’ll be staying in and whether it has air conditioning or not, and bring a bunch of bug repellent and mosquito nets, and you’ll be fine. You’ll forget the heat as soon as you dive into and kick back in those lazy blue lagoons.
Take your definition of “adventure” to a new level. Seek the unknown through an adventure in Fiji. Explore the backcountry, swim with the fishies, and delight in life’s joys. We dare you!