Fiji is a cluster of more than 300 islands and over 500 tiny islets and reefs, where snorkeling can be practiced almost everywhere. It boasts a great variety of sea habitats, including shallow lagoons, barrier reefs, current-swept passages and patch reefs. Strong, nutrient rich waters flow throughout the network of Fiji Islands, attracting manta rays, several species of sharks, sea turtles, dolphins and whales to the area. Known as the “soft coral capital of the world”, Fiji boasts some of the most beautiful shallow reefs and coral gardens, made up from over 390 coral species. Fiji coral reefs support over 1500 tropical fish species, some of them unique to the region. There, you’ll easily spot clownfish, angelfish, sea snakes and butterflyfish just a few steps from the beaches.
On Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu, Natadola Bay, just an hour drive south of Nadi, is considered the best free shore snorkeling option. This public beach, located on the Coral Coast of the island, offers great snorkeling right off the shore. Rakiraki area, on the northern tip of Viti Levu, boasts both decent shore snorkeling and short snorkeling trips to the vibrant nearby reefs. On the south coast, Beqa Lagoon is also a famous snorkeling destination.
The Mamanuca Islands, which lies some 25km west of Nadi, are easily accessed with day trips from Denarau Marina, but you may prefer to spend some days in one of the several resorts (in particular on Malolo Island) to make the most of this fantastic archipelago. Navini Island Resort, surrounded by a pristine reef sanctuary, is a renowned spot for those looking for resort island-based snorkeling.
For travelers looking for the best snorkeling spots in Fiji, don’t miss the Yasawa Chain, a small archipelago of about 20 volcanic islands laying west of Viti Levu. There, almost all islands and resorts have house reefs, but it’s worth paying extra to hop on tour boats to snorkel just offshore, where the reefs are the best preserved. The islands of Waya, Wayasewa, Naviti and Nanuya islands are amongst the best options in the Yasawa Chain. They all give access to fantastic snorkeling spots, where snorkelers can easily encounter sharks (especially at Moyia Reef, off Kuata island) and manta rays (notably in the Manta Ray Passage, between Naviti and Drawaqa islands).
Other exciting snorkeling hotspots in Fiji are the Namena Marine Reserve (which lies between Fiji two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu), Rainbow Reef (a wall of soft corals, located on Vanua Levu south coast), and the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the world’s longest barrier reefs, stretching for over 65km around Kadavu island.
Fiji can be snorkeled all through the year, thanks to a pleasant water temperature around 27°C (81°F). The wet season, from November to March, is characterized by warm temperatures (it can climb to above 30°C/86°F in December and January) and heavy, brief local showers. A dry season, when the underwater visibility is at its best, occurs during the cooler months from May to October, but temperatures remain warm enough to enjoy snorkeling.
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Frequently seen in many spots, for example in Naqalia Lodge.
Common in the Manta Ray Passage, from may to october.
Common in specific spots in the Yasawa Chain.
Frequently seen in most of reef spots.
Shallow channel with reef manta rays
Level: Resort nearby
House reef with coral, reef fish and sea turtles
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