Fiji is one of the largest Melanesian and South Pacific Island nations. It is formed by an archipelago of many islands of which the two largest islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Fiji is located close to the equator north of New Zealand and northeast of Australia. These volcanic islands are large enough to offer tropical rainforests, waterfalls, and other landscapes away from the coast. Today the country is a melting pot of native Fijians and Fijians of Indian descent who came to work on the sugar plantations on the islands in the colonial era. The country is safe and is welcoming to tourists from around the world and there are direct flights to Fiji from Hawaii and Los Angles.

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Fiji: The Facts

  • Capital And Largest City: Suva
  • Population: Over 900,000
  • Official Languages: Fijian, English, Fijian Hindi
  • Currency: Fijian Dollar
  • Independence: 1970 (From The United Kingdom)

What To See, Do And Eat In Fiji

The main attractions to Fiji are the golden beaches, coconut trees, sea caves, beach resorts, snorkeling, and scuba diving, and dining out on the sea. Additionally, Fiji has some stunning inland attractions with tropical forests, waterfalls, and volcanic landscapes to explore.

  • Visa: Visa-Free For Four Months

Fiji is made up of some 300 islands and some of these are stunning getaways with nothing but a resort or two on them. The tropical islands also make it perfect for a stunning tropical cruise around the islands.

Fijian Cuisine

Fijian cuisine is famous for its seafood - understandable, seeing how the are islands in the middle of the Pacific! Traditional Fijian food is considered to be very healthy and starchy and dependent on the sea and whatever is in season. One example of traditional Fijian food is Kokoda which is made with raw fish mixed with coconut milk, spices, and citrus.

Native Fijian Food: Heavily Influenced By The Sea

Food In Fiji: Mix Of Native Fijian, Indian and Chinese

With the arrival of the Indians in Fiji in the 1800s, the food in Fiji became much more diverse. So now you can also enjoy a lot of southern Indian food (though Indian food here normally excludes beef and pork which are not eaten by Hindus and Muslims respectively). Fijian Indian food is often spicy and made of curry with rice, roti, and dhal.

There is also a Chinese culinary influence on the islands. Chinese food here tends to be takeaway (or takeout) much like in some Western countries. Typical takeaway Chinese food includes noodle soup, chop suey, stir-fries, and fried rice.

Related: These Traditional Foods Perfectly Combine The Flavor And Culture Of India

Colo-i-Suva Forest Park

For a chance to get away from the tropical beaches and see something a little different. Consider visiting the lush tropical rainforest of Colo-i-Suva. Here you can discover many kinds of steaming tropical plants and scores of exotic birds (there are 14 different species of birds - including the oddly named barking pigeons). There are around 4 miles of hiking trails and one of the fun things to do is to plunge in the Waimanu River's many swimming holes along the track.

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  • Guided Walking Tour Of The Park: $30 (For Two Hours)
  • Taxi Cost: $15 (From The Capital Suva)

Cruises Around The Islands

There are many scenic cruises around the islands to pick from. Some will take you to very secluded and remote islands and others will take you to remote resorts for dinner or lunch. One of the most renowned cruising companies is the company Blue Lagoon Cruises.

Blue Lagoon Cruises have cruise boats with a capacity for 68 passengers. They offer a choice of cruises to some of the archipelago's most stunning islands (including the Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands). They offer a range of day and multi-day cruises for you to choose from. Activities on these cruises include diving, snorkeling, visiting local villages and different attractions, picnics on remote uninhabited islands, and fishing.

Related: These Are The Most Unique Islands In The World, And You Can Visit Them

The multi-night packages include:

  • Seven Nights: "Escape To Paradise Cruise" From $2,580
  • Four Nights: "Wonderer Cruise" From $1,610
  • Three Nights: "Explorer Cruise" From $1,160

Thermal Pools

There are even thermal pools on the islands. In the Sabeto Valley is the stunning and refreshing Hot Springs Thermal Mud Pool which offers therapeutic mud that you should cake yourself in. Then you dip in the hot springs and feel how it rejuvenates your skin, muscles, and joints. Tours that take you here also drop by the Indian Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple and the Nadi markets along the way to make for a full day's outing.

Great Astrolabe Reef

The Great Astrolabe Reef is one of Fiji's greatest national treasures and is around 100 kilometers or 60 miles long. It is the fourth largest barrier reef in the world (the largest being of course the Great Barrier Reef in northern Australia). Here you can come and dive into a whole alien world and see the many tropical fish, manta rays, various corals, and other animals that call this their home.

  • Great Astrolabe Reef: Fourth Largest Barrier Reef
  • Length: 60 Miles

The Great Astrolabe Reef is easily accessed by boat from the island of Kadavu and the visibility underwater ranges from 10 to 40 meters. There are diving tours for everyone from the beginner through to the advanced.

In short, there is no shortage of things to see and do in these tropical island paradises. If you want to just relax on the beach at a resort, you can do that. If you would like to explore the volcanic hinterland and explore the local cultures and food, you can certainly do that too.

Next: A Travel Guide To Fiji: 11 Things To Know While Planning Your Trip