We frequently get asked the question: Which is a better holiday spot, Fiji or Vanuatu? When comparing the glorious natural eye candy, it’s really coconuts for coconuts, but delve a bit deeper and you realise that not all tropical paradises are created equal. Luckily they come with their own unique set of dreamy pros. So we’ve compiled a brief summary of these two amazing destinations to make planning your next island holiday a breeze!
Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 coral fringed islands, which makes it a haven for divers. The people are a blend of Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian with Indian, Chinese and European influences. They are undoubtedly some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet in your travels.
Fiji is a good year-round destination. Even in the coolest months – July and August – the average temperature is 26ºC. Go in April/May for a true taste of tropical paradise. Rainy season is over, the heat and humidity won’t kill you, and the water is bath temperature.
Denarau Island is a short drive from Nadi airport. It is home to several premier resorts, world class golfing facilities and Marina. The Marina houses the largest shopping and restaurant complex in the area and is the major departure point for day cruises around other Fiji islands. The Coral Coast is an area stretching the southern shores of the main island of Viti Levu. The coastline is a combination of bays, beaches, rocky outcrops and mangrove forests. The pristine waters and reefs create an underwater paradise for snorkelling and diving. The 13 islands of the Mamanucas lie a short distance from Viti Levu. This is the type of place you dream about – pristine white beaches, gently swaying palm trees, aquamarine waters and cooling trade winds at night. Think watersports, fishing trips, boat excursions and some serious relaxation.
Vanuatu is actually a chain of 83 islands with a semi-tropical climate. It’s hot, wet and humid from November to March with the heaviest rains in January. It’s best to go between April to October in the dry season with the temperature averaging 23°C.
Port Vila is the capital, on the main island of Efate. There are beach and island resorts, mineral hot springs, cascading waterfalls, golf and horse-riding all within an hour’s drive. Tanna Island is popular for its active volcano, gigantic Banyan Tree and wild horses. Rainforest hikes, birdwatching and diving are best on Espiritu Santo.
A melting pot of Polynesian, Anglo-French and Asian influences, this is the perfect place for a leisurely round of golf, long lunch and potter around the markets. However, once you venture out of town things can get quite excitable. Pentecost Island, for example, is the spiritual birthplace of bungy jumping (naghol or land diving). Every Saturday between April and June, the local men jump off wooden towers with tree vines wrapped around their ankles to prove their masculinity. Yikes!
Fiji vs Vanuatu
There’s no doubt you get more bang for your buck in Fiji. The beaches are better and the locals are super friendly (and SO good with kids). Fiji is best for: Families & Divers
Vanuatu, especially Port Vila, has a big country town feel with a thriving café culture. Vanuatu also gets a big tick for its variety of things to see and do. Vanuatu is best for: Foodies & Romantics
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