Everything You Need to Know About Scuba Diving Viti Levu
Water bures extend off the shore of Viti Levu.
Fiji is a diver’s dream destination. The archipelagic country in the South Pacific is made up of more than 300 islands and boasts thousands of dive sites. Its dazzling array of reefs and soft coral walls offer endless opportunities for beginners and experts alike. The main island, Viti Levu, has two major diving regions: the Coral Coast, which spans the southern coastline from Sigatoka to Suva, and the Sun Coast on the northern end of the island.
Nonstop flights from San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) to Nadi (NAN) are offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once you’re on the ground, you can either take a bus, rent a car, or hire a transfer service. Many hotels offer airport transfers. Taking the bus from the airport to your destination on the Sun Coast or Coral Coast will cost you $FJ20 ($9 US). Rosie Holidays offers private transfers around the island and can be hired for multi-day tours.
Pacific Harbor is the Coral Coast’s most popular diving town, located about an hour west of Suva. Make this your base for close access to Beqa Lagoon and the Shark Reef Marine Reserve Park.
Characterized by one of the world’s largest barrier reefs in the world, Beqa Lagoon has nearly 200 miles of coral with more than 100 dive sites. You’ll find plenty of hard and soft coral off the coast, as well as wrecks and lots of pelagic fish. Water temperatures hover around 75 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit and most divers are outfitted in 5 mm wetsuits.
The two-tank Fjij Shark Dive to the Shark Marine Reserve is offered five days a week and costs FJ $350 (currently US $158). Dive equipment is available for rent. Beqa Adventure Divers has exclusive access to this marine sanctuary where 450 species of fish and eight types of sharks, including whitetip reef, blacktip reef, tawny nurse, gray reef, sicklefin lemon, silvertip, bull, and tiger inhabit the area. On good days, the visibility is hundreds of feet and you’ll see 50 to 80 sharks.
The Arena dive site sits at 100 feet below the surface and takes just 15 minutes to get to by boat from the dive shop in Pacific Harbour. Your chances of seeing tiger sharks are best from June to August, but they are known to make cameos every now and then during the rest of the year. Bull shark season is May through September. The dive is suitable for all levels and there are no special certifications required. Booking well in advance is recommended since it's the most popular dive in the region.
Should you get your fill of toothy local celebrities, you can also opt for coral or wreck diving in Beqa Lagoon. You can see anemones, pinnacles, coral bommies and channels teaming with trumpet fish, eels, clams, turtles, barracudas, batfish, giant cod, lionfish, damselfish, angelfish, breams and more. The Tasu II and Rusi’s Pinnace wreck dives are also both worth a visit. The Tasu II is an old 100-foot fishing vessel that was purposefully sunk in the late 90s and sits at 90 feet. It rests beside the Seven Sisters coral pinnacles and is frequented by zebra sharks and butterfly fish. Rusi’s Pinnacle, a 140-foot fishing vessel that was scuttled in 2000, lies upright at 110 feet and is the largest of the wrecks in Beqa Lagoon. It’s home to giant frogfish, scorpion fish, stonefish, and moray eels.
Whitewater Rafting on the Upper Navua River. Class II and III rapids along the 12-mile journey will bring you through the island’s tropical interior and you’ll pass an astounding number of cascading waterfalls. Rivers Fiji charges Fj$526 for per adult FJ$526 (currently US $239) for the day.
Where to Stay
Beqa Lagoon Resort is located on Beqa Island and is a 45-minute boat ride from Pacific Harbour. This posh resort has a spa and 25 private thatched roof villas with air conditioning and private plunge pools.
A bull shark in Beqa Lagoon.
The Pearl Resort in Pacific Harbour is a modern beachfront resort with an 18-hole golf course, an outdoor pool with a swim-up bar, and an on-site restaurant. The exceptionally friendly staff will make your stay even more memorable.
Nanuku Resort is a 5-star all-inclusive beachfront resort with an outstanding spa, delicious cuisine, and elegantly appointed private villas that include luxuries like full kitchens, private pools, outdoor showers, and exclusive beach access.
Find local dive operators with PADI’s Dive Shop Locator.
The northern coast, often referred to as the Sun Coast, boasts more than 50 dive sites within a 20-minute boat ride. Beachfront resorts full of divers line the shore and it’s not uncommon to see liveaboards in these waters.
Visibility tends to be better during the dry season between May and October, stretching to 150 feet on the best days. Water temperatures range from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so most divers wear 3 to 5 mm wetsuits. A two-tank dive usually costs between $FJ405 to $FJ658 (currently US $184 to $299). You can rent a dive computer and other dive equipment on site.
A diver swims toward a Gorgonian sea fan off the southern coast of Viti Levu.
The area is well known to seasoned divers who come for its proximity to the vibrant soft coral gardens and diverse marine life of the Bligh Waters. Dive sites like Mellow Yellow and Golden Dream exemplify its reputation for dramatic underwater scenery with wavy rainbow corals, sponges, invertebrates, colorful reef fish, and the occasional ray or turtle. The currents tend to be stronger here so it's better suited to more advanced divers, though it depends on the day.
Vaileka also known as Rakiraki town is the closest thing the area has to a town, but shopping and dining are extremely limited so plan to bring everything you need with you, including swimmer’s ear drops and mask defogger. There is an ATM here, but it’s easier to withdraw the cash you’ll need for your trip expenses at the airport or in larger towns on the way to VoliVoli, like Lautoka or Suva.
Where to Stay
Volivoli Beach Resort has three house reefs and can accommodate large group dive trips. There are 33 well-appointed guest villas with laundry units. Guests can combine stay and play packages that include dives and meal plans. The on-site Nuku Bar and Grill has an impressively large menu with international fare and plenty of vegetarian options.
Dua Dua Beach Resort sits on the northeastern bay of Volivoli and has traditional hotel rooms as well as private beachfront villas. All accommodations have air conditioning and include WiFi and continental breakfast. There’s a restaurant, outdoor pool, bar, and spa on the property and guests have free use of kayaks and volleyball courts.
You can book a dolphin encounter through the Volivoli Resort’s Ra Dive Shop for $FJ220 ($99 US) per adult and $FJ99 ($45 US) per child under 12. The boat tour will take you to a little-known spinner dolphin habitat where you’ll get to see 30 to 50 dolphins playing in the water and they like to swim along with the front of the boat. You are not allowed to get in the water with them but you’ll be able to take plenty of great photos and videos. This is a great option for those who are waiting out the dive-to-flight time and are looking for a great way to cap their Fiji vacation. Book in advance in order to ensure a spot on the boat.
Find local dive operators with PADI’s Dive Shop Locator.