With more than 1100km (68 miles) of coastline in Fiji, it’s no surprise that there are plenty of paradisiacal beaches to throw down your towel.
Though the country’s larger islands have fewer tourist-friendly beaches due to mangroves and urban development, Fiji’s smaller atolls are often outlined by a ring of white sand. When it’s time to cool off, coral reefs teeming with sea turtles, rays, reef sharks, eels, starfish and anemonefish are only a short swim away.
So whether you're visiting Fiji's beaches to relax with a cocktail, or plan to use them as a launchpad for further ocean adventures, there’s a stretch of sand for you. Here are the nine best beaches in Fiji.
1. Natadola Beach, Viti Levu
The best beach on Viti Levu – Fiji’s largest and most populous island – is this crescent of cookie-crumb sand on its southwestern tip. During the peak season, women set up shaded tables near the waterfront and offer traditional four-hand massages. Horse owners also parade their whinnying steeds along the sand and sell rides to families with kids. Both resort bars on the beach sell cocktails and cold beers. You can also grab warm coconuts from sellers in the parking lot. If the sea is calm, strap on a snorkel and explore the waters towards the southern end of the beach.
If you’re keen to catch a wave, the surf spot in front of the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa is great for beginners. The hotel rents out foam surfboards by the hour. For more experienced surfers with their own board, there’s a more advanced break near the channel.
Local tip: Day passes for the resorts on Natadola Beach are pricey. Save yourself FJ$40 by entering via the public parking for free.
2. Monuriki Beach, Monuriki
In the 2001 movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks’ character Chuck Noland finds himself stranded on this spit of soft white sand at the eastern end of uninhabited Monuriki following a plane crash. At the end of the reef edge here, a tiny rock islet lingers like the dot of an exclamation mark with blacktip sharks frequenting the waters.
While there’s no way to spend the night here (Noland’s shack disappeared long ago), almost all major resorts in the Mamanucas and lower Yasawa Islands offer day trips to Monuriki (also known as Modriki). It's tempting to miss deliberately your boat back.
3. Sigatoka Sand Dunes, Viti Levu
Unlike any other beach in Fiji, the rolling dunes that define the coast at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park give way to a choppy ocean break. Locals catch waves here, but trek to the crest of the vegetation-cloaked dunes and you'll get panoramic views of an endless cobalt sea and the snaking Sigatoka River, plus a glimpse of Fiji’s lush interior.
It's not only somewhere to lay your towel, either. In the 1940s, archeologists unearthed a mass burial site from Fiji’s first inhabitants, the Lapita people, thought to have arrived on the island some 2600 years ago. Lapita pottery, tools and weapons are regularly uncovered here. Some of the artifacts found are now on display at the Fiji Museum in Suva.
Planning tip: Due to the proximity of the river mouth, this beach isn’t great for swimming. Conditions are better an hour south at the Fiji Beachouse Resort. Day visitors are welcome. It’s polite to buy food and drinks.
4. Blue Lagoon, Nanuya Lailai
The Blue Lagoon is a thin slither of soft sand, clear turquoise water and leaning palms that takes its name from a 1980 film starring Brooke Shields. It’s probably what comes to mind when you think of beaches in Fiji. Despite its fame, the beach is rarely crowded. Its lounge areas beckon you to linger but when it’s time to stretch, stroll towards the Boathouse at Nanuya for tranquil views and a cold drink.
Detour: For another filming location featured in the Blue Lagoon, venture by boat to Sawa-i-Lau Caves, north of Nanuya Lailai. Speed boats leave from Lautoka and a number of Yasawa islands.
5. The beaches of Fulaga
With no airport or formal accommodations, the remote archipelago of Lau and one of the least-visited parts of Fiji. It also happens to host some of the most beautiful beaches in the South Pacific.
Fulaga is a haven for swimming, paddling, snorkeling and daydreaming. The large horseshoe island surrounds several smaller ones, gathering them in for a hug. With coconut trees, wisps of white sand and nobody else in sight, you might wonder if its electric-blue lagoons and surrounding limestone islets are actually real. But believe us, they are.
Local tip: Fulaga is virtually impossible to reach without your own yacht but it is on a Captain Cook Cruise to Lau.
6. Malolo Sandbar, Malolo
A dollop of white sand in the middle of the sea, Malolo Sandbar is a charming place to visit at low tide and one of the best places to don your snorkel gear in Fiji.
Circumnavigating the fringing reef doesn’t take long here, leaving time to admire the emerald hues of Malolo Island and watch yachts sail in through the nearby channel.
Detour: Malolo Sandbar is a great charter boat spot. Surf spots like Restaurants, Namotu, Swimming Pools and Wilkes are all a short boat ride away.
7. Yawini Beach, Yasawa
Fiji's most romantic beach is this thin isthmus of white sand that connects two Yasawa islands. Bring a bottle of champagne. The shallow water and sandy bottom that surround the beach create a turquoise hue. Gaze into the water long enough and you’re likely to spot the silhouette of a ray, sea turtle or reef shark swimming by. It's hard not to fall in love.
8. Papageno Beach, Kadavu
Situated on the island of Kadavu, Papageno Beach is a quiet stretch of sand near Papageno Resort. Here, you’ll hear nothing but waves lapping on the shoreline, hermit crabs scurrying on the sand and the occasional thud of a coconut. The other selling point? It sits on the edges of the Great Astrolabe Reef – the third-largest barrier reef in the world – making it an idyllic spot to snorkel, scuba dive and paddle. Manta rays are known to cruise through from June to October.
9. Malamala Island
If you’re short on time or just want to experience the side of Fiji printed on postcards, venture on a day trip to Malamala Island, a tiny dot of land with white sand beaches surrounded by coral reef. A day pass here includes transport from Denarau Marina and the use of kayaks, standup paddleboards, snorkeling gear and access to their beachfront infinity pool. Ice-cold coconuts, beers, cocktails and snacks are on offer too.
Local tip: If you have a late departure flight and are wondering how to fill your last day in Fiji without access to your hotel, a day trip to Malamala is a great option. Arrive early, spend a day in the sea and sun, then make use of their hot water showers before your ferry back to Viti Levu departs.