Manta rays? Tick. Sharks? Tick. The most incredible coral in the world? Tick. It’s all here in Fiji, one of the most spectacular underwater playgrounds known to divers.

Fiji has long been synonymous with relaxation but there are plenty of activities to get your blood pumping, including, of course, scuba diving. The islands’ colourful sprawling reefs, varied marine life and tropical waters make it a bucket-list destination for experienced and beginner divers of all ages. Read on to find out how to get the most out of your dives in places that are resolutely off the beaten track.

What to know before you go

Balmy oceans and great visibility are just part of the reason why you’ll generate wonderful memories while diving in Fiji. If you don’t already know how to scuba – no worries. There are plenty of resorts that organise their own dive trips and include training before you jump in.

If you want to feed manta rays…

Octopus Resort, Fiji

Octopus Resort, located in the Yasawa Islands, a 25-minute helicopter flight away from Nadi airport, provides a diving training course before your plunge. And it’s well worth it. The magnificent group of islands – which jut out like surreal mountains – and inviting seascapes are home to manta rays. Get up close and feed these incredible creatures while enjoying breathtaking underwater scenes, as the volcanic island formations have effectively created a host of splendid dive sites.

If you want your own private, luxury experience…

Kokomo Island Resort, Fiji

Accessible via chartered seaplane or helicopter, Kokomo Island is around 45 to 60 minutes’ flight from Nadi. This tiny private island is home to the luxurious Kokomo Island Resort which offers scuba diving, (including training) in one of the most secluded – and incredible – underwater locations in Fiji, the Great Astrolabe Reef. Tremendously deep water is channelled through the reef and into the lagoons closer to the island of Kadavu, promising an unforgettable experience. The Naiqoro Passage within the Great Astrolabe Reef is protected from fishing and requires a permit to enter – all the better to light up an astute diver’s sense of discovery.

If you want to see “new” coral…

A two-and-a-half-hour drive north of Nadi, diving off Rakiraki on Fiji’s Suncoast is one of the island’s icons. This pocket of paradise promises pristine reefs and over 50 dive sites in the Bligh Waters and Vatu-i-Ra Passage. The waters off the Suncoast are considered the “new” soft coral capital of Fiji – a maze of barely submerged coral stacks and pinnacles, festooned with soft corals and alive with crowds of brightly coloured reef fish. Black Magic Mountain is a classic Fiji dive site with beautiful healthy coral. It’s best known for schooling fish like bigeye jacks, fusiliers and anthias, as well as several different species of sharks and rays.

If you want to see sharks…

Pacific Harbour, located on the south coast of Viti Levu about 50 kilometres west of Suva is a world-renowned shark dive hotspot, overlooking Beqa Lagoon, brimming with some of Fiji’s original soft coral wonderlands. Usually calm, this shallow lagoon teems with marine life where you can expect pinnacles, wrecks and a plethora of colourful corals. The lagoon can be easily accessed from Viti Levu – particularly from Pacific Harbour, the Coral Coast and offshore Beqa Island. Popular resorts for divers in the area include the Waidroka Bay Resort, which promises a deep-sea tour with up to eight different species of shark, Beqa Lagoon Resort and the Uprising Beach Resort.

If you want to see whales, turtles and even dolphins…

Wakaya Club and Spa, Fiji

The nutrient-rich Bligh Water and Koro Sea around the outer islands attract numerous schools of fish and larger pelagic fish all year round. But if you’re after a sight of the big marine mammals like humpback whales, you can catch them playing in these waters from July to October when they’re breeding and calving. The best way to see these sites are on dive liveaboards – ships that take you on a tour. Because currents are quite strong in these waters, it’s more suitable for intermediate and experienced divers. You also can check out Nai’a Fiji Liveaboards for a glimpse of a dolphin or two and Wakaya Club and Spa, which proudly boasts a marine reserve on its doorstep, complete with turtles and more than 1200 species of fish.

If you want next level diving…

PADI, Fiji

Toberua Island Resort has multiple diving courses from sustainable operator, PADI, including free diving, while offering you a responsible and environmentally friendly, Fiji dive experience.

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SEE ALSO: Read Before You Leave – Fiji

Image credit: Beqa Lagoon Resort, Wakaya Club and Spa, Kokomo Island, Octopus Resort, Toberua Island Resort 

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