Fiji: Soft Coral Capital of the World


You’ve definitely seen breath-taking photos of Fiji if you’ve ever picked up a travel magazine or hit a website.

Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific that offers natural beauty, stunning beaches, crystalline water, and friendly and fun locals within its archipelago of more than 300 islands. The main islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It’s also one of the easiest Pacific island destinations to reach from the U.S. with daily nonstop flights.

Sharks, Sharks, Sharks.

Sharks are plentiful in Fiji and Fijian folklore even includes the story of Dakuwaqa, a god who took the form of a shark and protected fisherman from dangers in the sea. Folklore aside, Fiji is also known for thrilling shark dives. In addition to sharks, other big animals such as manta rays, turtles, titan triggerfish, and humpback whales call these azure waters home.

The diving conditions and underwater sights vary greatly. While calm and tranquil diving spots can be found, the current greatly influences the diving in Fiji. The reefs are alive with color and the strong currents make for outstanding visibility and healthy corals. The lagoons in Fiji remain shallow for quite a distance from the shore, providing great snorkeling opportunities.

The Diving

With its islands and atolls interconnected by the reef, Fiji offers a host of diving opportunities from novice to advanced skill levels. Diving can include caves, pinnacles, walls and wrecks, both ship and airplane, and of course, diving with sharks.

You have to decide if you want to travel to multiple areas or choose one spot and explore it in depth.

Liveaboards offer the best opportunity to see the most sites, as well as the least-visited.

Taveuni, the Garden Island, features dive sites such as Eel Reef and the Great White Wall, an amazing drop-off covered in white soft coral. The reef around Taveuni is teeming with fish and coral. The rich, nutrient-filled waters in the Somosomo Strait and into the Koro Sea support large marine ecosystems and big pelagics.

Kadavu is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest barrier reefs in the world. Largely unspoiled, the reef offers a wide range of diving experiences. You can swim with manta rays, float through coral gardens or dive wrecks on Kadavu.

Viti Levu offers world class diving at Rakiraki with its colorful, pristine reefs and abundance of marine life. Not to be missed are the shark encounter dives conducted in the waters off Pacific Harbor. You can have adrenaline pumping moments with these creatures of the sea, just a few yards off Fiji’s main island.

Beqa Lagoon is one of Fiji’s most popular diving destinations since it is close to Fiji’s main island and does not requires significant domestic travel. There are a number of outstanding dive sites around the lagoon and the islands fringing it. You can dive pinnacles, encounter a plethora of soft coral and even wreck dive.

Getting to Know Fiji

Fiji offers a host of accommodation options from remote eco-friendly hideaways to luxury resorts. If you really want to dive your heart out, consider a liveaboard. If you want to take in the spectacular beaches and some land-based activities, then a resort will be your better option.  Dive and accommodation packages can be custom designed to meet the wants and needs of every level of diver.

Fiji is legendary for its welcoming culture and opportunities to take part in a kava-drinking ceremony and see traditional Fijian dances. Hiking and eco-tourism are popular in Fiji with its many unspoiled rainforest areas to explore. The rivers in Fiji also provide abundant water activity. Some fun things to try include a fishing charter, a 4 WD or ATV tour through the jungle, a zip line through the rainforest, or visit to a pearl farm.

Getting There and Getting Around

Direct flights to Nadi International Airport, on the main island of Veti Levu, fly from Los Angeles and Honolulu. You can arrange connecting flights from cities in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Fiji has a network of taxis, buses, trucks and ferries for traveling within the main islands. Renting a car is a good option for exploring the two largest islands. You can take a boat or small plane to travel between islands. Fiji has two domestic airlines that operate between many of the islands; services to the outer islands are not are regular. Yachting and cruising are also options for exploring the islands.

Quick Facts

When to Go: You can dive year-round in Fiji. The main diving season is from April to October. Visibility is best between July and December. The rainy season is from November to April so river runoff can reduce visibility.

Average Surface Water Temps: 82-86°F

Average Visibility: 80’-100+’ depending on the location and season.

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