Fiji’s clear tropical waters, along with its wide variety of marine life and colorful coral reefs, make these islands the perfect spot for snorkeling. The underwater visibility is excellent at over 30 meters (98 ft), with May through October being the best time to go snorkeling.
Fiji is also known as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World,” with three types of coral residing below sea level off these islands: fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls. In total, there are over 400 species of coral that can be found here.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular as well as one of the most memorable activities among visitors to Fiji, largely due to the islands’ beautiful underwater environment.
Snorkeling Locations in Fiji
There are many areas in Fiji that are great for snorkeling, though a lot of places can only be snorkeled at when it is high tide. This is because the coral can become too shallow at a lower tide, and its razor sharp edges can cause serious cuts to skin that could become infected. You should also watch out for the currents, which may be strong in certain areas.
On the main island of Viti Levu, some of the best areas for snorkeling can be found along the Coral Coast between Nadi and Suva, as well as in other locations, such as Nananu-i-Ra, Natadola Beach and the Pacific Harbor, where you can snorkel and dive in an extinct volcano crater known as the Beqa Lagoon.
Other good snorkeling sites include areas near Mumu’s Resort on Vanua Levu, Vuna Reef on Taveuni, Caqelai and Leleuvia in the Lomaiviti island group and several sites on the Kadavu Islands, such as Solo, Tavuki, Astrolabe and the Namalata Reefs. There are also excellent places to snorkel at on the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands.
The Somosomo Strait, located between Vanua Levu and Taveuni, is home to the world-renowned Rainbow Reef and the Great White Wall, which is enveloped in coral with a lovely light hue of lavender, along with a surreal white glow radiating from its entire surface. The feathery-textured polyp tentacles, as well as other various forms of marine life, also reside in these areas.
Other areas no snorkeler should miss out on include Rainbows End, which is filled with a variety of miles-long brilliant-colored corals, the Ledge, which is a coral pinnacle that has a straight-down vertical drop and the Fish Factory (the name is pretty self-explanatory). The Koro Sun Resort also has popular snorkeling sites, including the Purple Garden, Pyramids and Dreamhouse, as does the Kulu Bay Resort, which is located near the Beqa Barrier Reefs.
Renting Snorkeling Equipment
You can usually rent great snorkeling gear from most local dive shops, resorts, hotels, or from tour operators, though you should always check each piece out to make sure it is in good condition before paying for the gear. However, you may want to bring your own to ensure you do not receive gear that is in poor condition or if you do not feel comfortable placing your mouth where someone else’s has been.
There are also a number of dive operators that offer various snorkeling packagers that you can choose from.
Snorkeling Safety Tips
For the best snorkeling experience possible, it is important that you know of and abide by the following safety precautions and warnings:
Wear a T-shirt and apply plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun while in the water.
Watch out for reef sharks, which you may see while underwater. If you do see one, do not panic, as it may cause the animal to feel threatened.
Do not touch or hold coral or any other form of marine life. This helps preserve Fiji’s underwater ecosystem, and you also may not know if something is poisonous.
Snorkeling at night can be a unique experience as well, but if you do plan on doing that make sure you are going with an experienced and reputable dive operator.