Fiji and Vanuatu are the jewels of the South Pacific, but choosing which one is right for you really depends on exactly what you’re after. From white sandy beaches and vibrant coral reefs, to buzzing nightlife, each has its own unique allure.
Here’s our pick of the benefits and beauty of both destinations:
If you’re after pristine beaches with the whitest of sands and bluest of waters, then you should travel to Fiji. With 332 islands to choose from, its tropical waters are dotted with incredible resorts and beach-style accommodation made for island hopping.
Relax on beautiful sandy beaches while warm blue waters lap at the shore, or explore Fiji’s reefs, teeming with marine life. Friendly locals greet you with ‘bula’ and welcome you to island life, where all you have to do is unwind and order another cocktail.
While Vanuatu is not as famous for its beaches (they’re still very beautiful in their own right), it is known for its spectacular lagoons and dramatic waterfalls. Santo, Vanuatu’s largest island, has rustic lagoon-side homestays, and the more remote islands are home to luxurious 5-star private resorts.
Looking for a buzzing food scene and happening nightlife? Head to Vanuatu. The restaurants in Port Vila have a strong French influence and use fresh local produce including seafood, steak, coconut, papaya and banana leaves, to create mouth-watering dishes.
To kick on after dinner, Vanuatu has excellent bars, nightclubs and casinos. Listen to live music and visit the famous kava bars for a taste of the local brew.
Snorkelling and Diving
This is a tough one as both destinations offer incredible underwater experiences.
Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world and offers spectacular reefs, drop offs, walls and channels to impress the most well travelled diver.
Vanuatu’s coral life may not be as abundant as Fiji, however it does have one of the world’s best wrecks for diving. The SS President Coolidge sank during World War II providing amazing dives in its shallow waters.
Looking for adventure? Vanuatu is the place for you. Hike to the world’s most accessible active volcano on the island of Tanna and visit a giant Banyan tree the size of a soccer pitch. You can take a cruise on a tall ship, walk past dramatic cascading waterfalls, and witness amazing cultural ceremonies and dances on its traditional islands. Vanuatu is also home to incredible blue water holes, where fresh water passes through layers of limestone and coral to create intense blue crystal springs.
If catching waves is more your thing, Fiji has become a favourite surfing destination. Its surf breaks are now open to anyone brave enough to tackle the legendary waves of Cloudbreak, Swimming Pools and Frigates.
Both Fiji and Vanuatu are best visited in the dry season from May to October, when there is low rainfall and mild temperatures. For hikers, Vanuatu is best during the cooler months from June to August.
Try to avoid Fiji in the wet season from November to April, when heavy rainfalls and tropical cyclones are prone to drenching its usually sunny shores.