As far as tropical islands go, it really doesn’t get much better than Fiji and Hawaii. These paradises are both full of beaches, crystal clear water, amazing traditional food, adrenaline-filled adventures, and surfing. Fiji and Hawaii are both so beautiful that they actually make it difficult for travelers to pick between them.
Although the ideal situation would obviously be visiting both, sometimes we have to weigh up the pros and cons of each location to decide where our holiday priorities truly lie.
For adventure seekers, Fiji and Hawaii both offer amazing opportunities for you to have the vacation of a lifetime. Let’s compare these two fantastic destinations.
Adventuring in Fiji
With a population of 900,000 and receiving over 700,000 visitors every year, Fiji is an adventure-seeking tourists’ dream. Known for its beautiful scenery, genuine people, and scuba diving, there’s plenty to do in Fiji – especially for those traveling with families.
You can stay on the main resort island of Fiji (called Viti Levu), but if you’re wanting a more authentic tropical island experience, you can also stay on one of the many smaller islands that are accessible by prop planes. A ride on one of these has been known to be an adventure in itself!
You can also access certain Fijian islands (like Mamanuca and Yasawa Island) on speedboat or ferry, as well as fly to the larger islands of Vanua Levu, Taveuni, and Kadavu. Or, if you’re really in the spirit for adventure (and have some serious cash to splash), you can catch a seaplane or private helicopter to one of the island resorts!
Fiji specializes in all-inclusive resort-style accommodation, hence the destination is so popular for families. Rates for the resorts vary widely depending on their size, location, quality, and seclusion, so be sure to do your research. Many of the resorts have opportunities for adventure activities like watersports and hiking/trekking
Scuba diving in Fiji
Both Hawaii and Fiji offer amazing opportunities for scuba divers, with great visibility and hundreds of species of fish. Most resorts in Fiji have onsite dive workshops or work closely in partnership with dive operators on the island. Fiji does, however, have a major edge when it comes to diving – it’s known as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ because of its colorful underwater panoramas. For marine life enthusiasts, Fiji’s beautiful reefs are a major draw.
Surfing in Fiji
For surf buffs, Fiji is renowned on the world circuit, serving up wave after wave for surfers of all levels and abilities. Thanks to the beautiful weather all year round, there’s seriously no bad time to surf in Fiji. However, you’ll find the most consistent swells (often coming in as high as eight to ten feet) from April to October.
In terms of the best spots for adventure seekers to head to for awesome surf, ‘Cloudbreak’ is known as one of the world’s most challenging waves. Three miles south of Namotu Island in the stunning Mamanuca Islands, it’s consistently tough, suited only to seriously experienced surfers.
For beginner surfers, Natadola Bay (right near Nadi) is the place to be, with the break located close to the beach. This is an awesome spot for bodysurfers and novices, as the waves come in at a much lower height.
Adventuring in Hawaii
Hawaii is more built-up than Fiji, and on islands like Kauai, you’re able to rent a car and drive around sightseeing different parts of the island or experiencing new food.
In contrast, Fijian islands are small and much more resort-focused, but there are fewer crowds in Fiji. It really all depends on what you’re after from your holiday. Do you enjoy peaceful serenity or a more hustling and bustling surf culture? If it’s the latter, Hawaii may be the place for you!
Surfing in Hawaii
Surfing is a well-loved pastime on the Hawaiian Islands. First documented in 1779 and once only reserved for Hawaiian royalty, everyone’s now free to enjoy the spectacular Hawaiian surf.
From November to February each year, Hawaii’s North Shore gets hit with a massive surfing season, bringing in professional surfers and surfing enthusiasts from around the world.
With beaches to suit all levels of skill, Hawaii is also a great place to learn to surf. Lessons are available every day on each island, where experienced teachers will guide you through some easy techniques and maneuvers.
Trekking in Hawaii
Inter-island flights in Hawaii aren’t expensive, so there’s no excuse for not getting out of Waikiki and adventuring to the other islands. Hawaii has some amazing trekking opportunities for all abilities and fitness levels.
Why not try trekking up the Haleakala Crater in Maui, or up Mount Olamana on Oahu? The locations are stunning, and you’ll be working off some of those amazing burgers and poke bowls you’ve been indulging in!
Choosing your next adventure vacation
When choosing between Fiji and Hawaii for your next adventure, it’s all about considering the kind of experience you’d like to have, as the islands have a very different vibe.
Luke Fitzpatrick is an academic speaker at Sydney University. He enjoys writing about tech, productivity, lifestyle, and is a contributor to Forbes.