Bula! The islands of the South Pacific boast some of the world’s most perfect climates, with sunny days and cool breezes off the ocean essentially delivering an endless summer. The most popular destination in the South Pacific, Fiji draws more than 600,000 visitors each year. Maybe that's because this string of 333 islands combines a reasonable price tag with a wide array of sights, flavors, and experiences for every travel personality whether you're looking for a romantic honeymoon spot or your next family vacation. Psst! If romance is your priority, consider that Fiji's tourism board says there are 600 proposals there in a typical year—oh, and 600 of them end in a yes!
Pick a beach, any beach
If beaches are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Fiji, you're not alone. Don't miss a legendary sunset at Natadola Beach on Viti Levu, considered by locals to be the best spot on the island to bid the day adieu. If you're in the mood to party with your fellow travelers in style, check out Beachcomber Island, where you can dance the night away and stay on the island at the Beachcomber Island Resort (private rooms from $115 per night). Feel like unleashing your inner Brooke Shields? Head to the Blue Lagoon (same one from the 80's movie!) on Nacula Island to enjoy enough swaying palm trees, crystal blue waters, and coral reefs to make you want to stay forever. For family-friendly fun, you won't want to miss Treasure Island Resort's natural marine reserve, perfect for aspiring snorkelers of all ages (rates from $389 per night for an island bure).
Feeling adventurous? Try one of these tours
TerraTrek offers a number of guided self-drive dune buggy tours around the mountains and beaches at Pacific Harbour. Their Waterfall Tour is an epic 4-5 hour trip that includes a guided ride to the falls, lunch, and plenty of time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor (from $160 per person). Up the ante by signing up for Terratrek's Combo Tour, a guided snorkel trip around Beqa Lagoon followed by a self-driven dune buggy ride through the highlands above Pacific Harbour (from $139 per person). Looking for something more low-key? Opt for a scenic tour, designed with photographers in mind, and spend an hour driving through the hillside enjoying the view (from $106 per person). For a beautiful break from the action, stop by the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, located on Wailoko Road about four miles north of Nadi Airport, home to one of the world's largest Asian orchid collections.
Get to know local Fijian culture and heritage
Fiji's people are known for being warm and welcoming, often going out of their way to make sure you're having a wonderful time visiting their country. Spend a full day exploring Nadi's Coral Coast with this guided trip by Fiji Eco Tours that includes complimentary pick-up and drop-off from your Nadi area hotel, a 30-minute trek along the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, a National Archaeological Heritage Site, the Nakabuta Pottery Village, Sigatoka Town, and Natadola Beach. Fiji Eco Tours also offers a full day tour of the Nalesutale Highlands, where you can learn about Fijian herbal medicines, visit Nalesutale Village, trek to a nearby waterfall, and enjoy a Fijian-style lunch before a therapeutic stop at a nearby mud pool (both tours are from $82 per adult, $41 per child ages 6-12).
Explore Fiji's underwater wonders
Our favorite thing about Fiji: there's just as much natural beauty under the water as there is above it. In Taveuni, Rainbow Reef's Great White Wall of luminescent coral is a knockout for scuba divers, as the Somosomo (Fijian for "good water") Strait is home to one of the most diverse eco-systems on earth. Try a guided dive or snorkel trip from Taveuni Dive to one of 25 popular reef sites. Adrenaline junkies can try shark diving (gulp!) on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. from the Coralview Island Resort (from $100 per person through Dive Yasawa Lagoon), where you can swim among nine species of sharks native to the area.
Tee off in paradise
You may not think of the South Pacific as a golf destination, but with warm sun and cool breezes, Fiji supplies some of the world’s most beautiful courses, including four championship courses in Viti Levu—Denarau, Pacific Harbour, Suva, and Natadola, where the Fiji Golf International takes place this October.
Stay at these BT-approved hotels & resorts
So where should you stay? How about these affordable island retreats: Crusoe's Retreat bills itself as "Fiji's best-kept secret" and lives up to its name with affordable beachfront bures from $87 per night. Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island is an everything-you-could-want property on the beach with rates starting at $235 per night. For a real treat, splurge for a few nights of swanky Fijian luxury at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Fiji Sonaisali Island, re-opening in July 2016 with rates from $285 per night.
Having a great time? Just stay longer!
One of the things we love about a Fiji getaway is the option to extend your trip: Fiji Airways, awarded “Best Airline in the South Pacific” by Global Traveler for the past two years, flies nonstop from L.A. and Honolulu to Fiji, Australia (just 4 hours from Fiji), and New Zealand (ony 3 hours from Fiji!), not to mention other islands such as Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, and Christmas Island. Translation? A Fiji vacation can include stops in a beautiful array of South Pacific destinations. Not only that, on Fiji Airways your South Pacific experience begin the minute you board the plane—you can even enjoy a taste of the islands before you get there thanks to traditional Fijian meals, regional wine and beer, and a signature drink onboard.