Spread out far and wide across the South Pacific Ocean, Fiji is an archipelago of 333 islands and islets. While most of them are uninhabitable, those that can be experienced are as close to heaven on earth as we may ever find. But with so many islands and so little time, it can be hard to know where to start.
We suggest focusing on Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island and home to many of the best experiences the country has to offer. High-end resorts, traditional villages, water sports, white sands and the capital city are all within easy reach.
What you choose to do when you are there is up to you, and the options are endless. Here are 7 experiences you should consider:
1. Live in luxury
While your accommodation options within Fiji are almost endless, Denarau Island is the perfect base for several reasons: It's close to the main airport and to the unmissable Mamanuca Islands.
For those seeking indulgence, it offers pure pampering and a full battery recharge. From spectacular seafront villas and heavenly spa treatments to world-class dining and an 18-hole championship golf course, it would be easy to spend your entire vacation without leaving the islands.
2. Take a dive
Known as the "Soft Coral Capital of the World" and home to some 1,000 species of weird and wonderful fish, Fiji is a paradise for divers of every standard. With more than 4,000 square miles of coral reef, world-class diving is hard to miss, but Viti Levu’s Rakiraki district—on the northern coast—is worthy of special mention.
A combination of kaleidoscopic coral reefs and unique fish, it’s one of Fiji’s best kept secrets.
3. Feel your heart race
Down on the southern side of Viti Levu sits Pacific Harbour, Fiji’s adventure capital. This is where the thrill-seekers head to surf, jet ski, take 4x4 tours of the island, and generally just attempt to get their adrenaline racing. If you're brave, you can even swim with sharks.
Hop from Pacific Harbour to the Beqa Lagoon Resort and you’ll find what many consider to be the best shark dive experience in the world. Dive down to the reef passages and you’ll come face to face with Sea Tiger sharks, the biggest predator of the tropical seas.
4. Step back in time
To experience true Fijian culture, you will need to step away from your chaise lounge and head away from Viti Levu, south to Kadavu, a beautiful island that time forgot.
Despite being the fourth largest island in Fiji, Kadavu boasts just a single town, Vunisea, and very few roads. Completely unspoiled by progress or tourism, rainforests, birdwatching, sea-kayaking and an altogether different pace of life await you here. It’s also home to the Great Astrolabe Reef and some of the world’s best diving opportunities.
5. Feast like a Fijian
If you only devour one Fijian specialty, make it a traditional "lovo," a feast cooked underground. Available across the islands, but for a good example head to Robinson Crusoe Island (just off the west coast of Viti Levu) and watch as your hosts dig a hole in the earth, line it with coconut husks, set those husks alight and cover them with stones.
Various meats, fish and vegetables are then wrapped in banana leaves and placed on top of the stones, then covered with damp sacks and soil to trap in the heat. Three hours later the meat is mouth-wateringly tender—and that's the sound of your stomach rumbling.
6. Island hop
The Mamanuca Islands are a collection of 20 stunning, palm-fringed islands a short boat hop from Denarau Island, home to some of Fiji’s most luxurious resorts. Here you can engage in all manner of active pursuits, including water sports, surfing, diving and dolphin watching—or simply lie back on a beautiful beach or luxury spa as you congratulate yourself on a very wise decision.
You can also live a celebrity lifestyle—Monuriki is where Tom Hanks starred in Cast Away. And if you want to make a new base camp on one of the 20 islands, head for Tokoriki Island, where white sandy beaches and lush tropical gardens await you.
7. Get back to nature
Despite the best—and often destructive—efforts of centuries of human intervention, vast swathes of Fiji’s islands remain covered in tropical forests ripe for exploration. On Viti Levu, the Namosi Highlands and Colo-i-Suva Forest Park offer dramatic rolling hills and valleys, rivers and waterfalls, and wildlife on a scale rarely seen.
Further afield, Taveuni is renowned as being Fiji’s Garden Island, a paradise of rainforest, rivers, flora and fauna. It’s an hour’s flight north-west of Viti Levu, but well worth the effort.
Fiji is home to four Starwood Hotels, each located within easy reach of many of the islands’ key attractions. For full details and to book, visit www.starwoodhotels.com