Fiji is a holiday destination with so much to offer: hiking, nature, fabulous beaches and wonderful local people, that sometimes the quality of its diving can be overlooked. Anyone who has been on a dive holiday here, however, will tell quite a different story. From luxury resorts and remote eco-hideaways to fabulous liveaboards, Fiji scuba diving really does offer something for everyone.
Conditions and underwater sights vary greatly here and while some places are tranquil and great for learning, most sites will enjoy some current, ranging from barely perceptible to very strong. It is this presence of current that makes the diving in the Fijian Islands so rich.
Currents are the lifeblood of Fiji's reefs, kick-starting the food chain by sweeping nutrients to both corals and fish alike. Fiji is known as "The Soft Coral Capital of the World" and when the current flows the corals bloom into fabulous displays of colourful splendour. The currents also affect the water's visibility which can be the best around, with incoming currents bringing clear sea water into the lagoons and outgoing currents removing any cloudy lagoon water.
Lagoons are a feature of the islands and often the water remains shallow until some distance from shore. This means that most of the diving is conducted from boats and also that the shorelines are great for adults and children alike to go snorkelling and swimming.
Whether you are based in a single location, go for a combination booking or Fiji liveaboard, you would be well advised to ensure any trip here includes these excellent areas:
Taveuni and the Koro Sea: The Garden Island past which runs the Somosomo Strait whose soft coral splendour allows Fiji to lay claim to being 'The soft coral capital of the world'. The waters around Taveuni and south into the Koro Sea are rich and nutrient-filled, supporting large marine ecosystems which means lots of great dive sites.
Kadavu - The real Fiji, away from the big resorts where life can go at the pace you want and where the diving feels like the last frontier. Eco-friendly resorts, local culture and plenty of breathtaking sites in and around the well-known Great Astrolabe Reef.
Viti Levu - One of Fiji's best kept secrets is the top quality scuba diving at Rakiraki with colourful pristine reefs and an abundance of fish. Special mention too must go the shark feeding dives conducted in the waters off Pacific Harbour. You can have heart-stopping moments with the bosses of the ocean and just off Fiji's main island. Read about our very own experience here: The Best Shark Dive in the World.
Beqa Lagoon - Just south of Viti Levu lies Beqa Island, one of the most popular Fiji diving destinations for those seeking to avoid a domestic flight. There are a range of good dive spots around the lagoon and the islands that fringe it. You can expect pinnacles, plenty of soft corals and even wrecks.
Geographically there are so many islands that you have to decide whether you wish to travel to experience the best scuba diving Fiji has to offer or you want to stay put in one place and get a taste of that area alone.
If doing the former then there can surely be no substitute for a Fiji liveaboard cruise which will cover more sites than any land-based experience and which will also give you the chance to dive the more remote and less-visited spots.
If you want to stay in 1 place only and dive exclusively in 1 area then your best choice again depends on what exactly you are looking for. Stay on Taveuni to see the soft coral splendour of the Somosomo Strait, and Kadavu Island is the place to go to get away from it all and explore the Great Astrolabe Reef. We include full details of all the resorts in these destinations, suitable for all budgets, in our Fiji dive resorts section.
Since most international flights arrive in Viti Levu no-one should plan a diving holiday here without including the experience of the shark-feeding dives in Viti Levu as a great complement to your liveaboard trip or resort package elsewhere in the Fijian islands.
The dive season is all year round. The winter months of April to October represent the main season for scuba diving in Fiji in terms of visitor numbers, although the visibility tends to peak between the months of July and December when the water is cooler (sometimes, although seldom as cool as 22°C). 25°C is a realistic expectation of water temperatures during this period. It can cool enough in this period to reduce plankton activity sufficiently for the visibility to rise to impressive distances, sometimes exceeding 50m.
November to April are in fact Fiji's summertime and when the seas are at their warmest - around 28 to 30°C. This is also rainy season and December to March carries a greater risk of cyclones. Run-off from the rivers can reduce the otherwise excellent visibility, particularly on dive sites off the coast of Viti Levu.
For comfort and protection, many choose to dive with a 5mm full length wetsuit during winter months from May to October, and a 3mm full length or shortie during summer months from November to April.
The transition months, where the seasons cross-over are often considered ideal times to visit. They are November, April and May. Things also vary from place to place within Fiji. Morning showers in the highlands of Viti Levu are quite common at any time of the year. Bligh Water's excellent visibility is seldom reduced significantly even during wet season. Plankton blooms, particularly in rainy season can attract larger creatures such as plankton-feeding whales and manta rays.
Good for: Large animals, visibility and beginner divers
Not so good for: Wreck dives
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 40m
Currents: None to very strong
Surface conditions: Mostly calm but can be choppy further from shore particularly during July to September
Water temperature: normally 28 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >150
Access: Fiji liveaboards and resorts
Recommended length of stay: 2 - 3 weeks
So where do you want to go? Read more on all these top spots: