Ten Delicious Places to Dip into Diving

The conditions that make for great diving—warm, translucent water, good weather, and tropical locales—also make for a terrific getaway vacation. You'll find great bargains at the big Carribean resorts, while exotic destinations such as Borneo and Micronesia promise true underwater adventure.

Fiji: South Pacific Paradise
Ask divers who have sampled most of the world's leading dive spots where they would go for a perfect dive vacation, and more often than not, Fiji is the answer. Topside, Fiji is Polynesia at its best—unspoiled and uncrowded. The water is warm and clear, and there is every imaginable shape and variety of coral in all colors of the rainbow. The variety of dive sites is staggering—from the air, Fiji appears as a vast patchwork of coral, covering hundreds of square miles.
Fiji is one destination where there is no clear choice between live-aboard and land-based options. Both offer advantages and disadvantages. On a live-aboard you will be able to explore the more remote dive sites, and log the most dives per day. On the other hand, you will miss the experience of living on a tropical island, which is one of the best reasons to visit Fiji in the first place. The outer islands are quiet, idyllic retreats where civilization truly slips from your consciousness. The Fijians are a wonderful people, fun-loving and warm-hearted.

Practically Speaking
The hotbed of Fijian diving is the northern group of islands including Vanua Levu, Matagi, and Taveuni. The Fijian dive resort of choice and the best for experienced divers is Dive Taveuni. The diving is among the best in Fiji (though currents can be strong), and the lodge has been recently upgraded. If you want a little more luxury, you should consider the Namale Plantation, a perfect honeymoon getaway spot. It is a good all-around resort. The Kontiki resort is more rustic, but offers plenty of topside activities, and is one of the few Fijian resorts offering three-tank boat dives. Marlin Bay is the destination of choice for the Beqa Lagoon. The two leading live-aboard boats are the 85-foot Matagi Princess II and the 120-foot Nai'a. The Nai'a is based in Suva, but it sails a diverse route visiting good dive sites from Beqa all the way north to Taveuni and beyond. The Nai'a is probably the best choice overall for a Fiji live-aboard holiday. It boasts the best on-board facilities and ventures to the least-crowded dive sites. The Matagi Princess II, based in Matagi Island, visits only the northern islands, including the Somosomo Straits. It does offer combined land and live-aboard vacations however.

Those with limited time may wish to dive the main island of Viti Levu. Despite strong currents, the Beqa Lagoon is easily the best dive area on Viti Levu, boasting fascinating cuts, passages and overhangs, and vividly colored soft coral walls. Lagoon dive trips can be arranged upon arrival.


Paul McMenamin is the author, editor, and photo director of the original Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook.

Published: 31 Jan 2001 | Last Updated: 14 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

Best Hotels in Fiji

$85
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Novotel Suva Lami Bay
$250
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Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa
$147-$322
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Radisson Blu Resort Fiji Denarau Island
$424
Average/night*
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Westin Denarau Island Resort and Spa

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