Because all but a few islands in Fiji are surrounded by coral reefs, it has no real surf beaches like those so common in, say, Hawaii and Florida. Most islands (and all but a few resorts) have bathtublike lagoons lapping on coral sands draped by coconut palms. Unfortunately, most lagoons in Fiji are shallow at low tide, thus limiting watersports for half the day. This is especially true on the Coral Coast. Fortunately for the environmentalists among us, some of the most spectacular beaches are on remote islands and are protected from development by the islanders' devotion to their cultures and villages' land rights. Needless to say, resort developers have placed their establishments on most of the best. These stand out from the many.

  • Qalito (Castaway) Island (the Mamanucas): Better known as the home of Castaway Island Resort, hilly Qalito Island ends at a point flanked on both sides by beaches of deep white sand, which helps make Castaway one of Fiji's most popular resorts.

  • Malolo Island (the Mamanucas): The beach fronting Malolo Island Fiji resort has deep sand, and the lagoon here is deep enough for swimming and snorkeling at most tides. The resort has one of Fiji's best beach bars.

  • Mana Island (the Mamanucas): Mana Island has beaches on both its sides, but the one on the south coast is worth writing home about. It's so long that it's shared by both Mana Island Resort and bottom-end backpacker hostels.

  • Matamanoa Island (the Mamanucas): Just enough room exists between Matamanoa's rocky central hill and its beach to shoe-horn in Matamanoa Island Resort. Both the sands and the lagoon here are deep enough to enjoy all the time.

  • Malololailai Island (the Mamanucas): Connected to the larger Malolo Island by a marshy isthmus, Malololailai is home to three resorts: Musket Cove Island Resort, Lomani Island Resort, and Plantation Island Resort. Although the lagoon is shallow, the beach in front of Lomani and Plantation Island resorts is one of Fiji's most picturesque, with coconut palms hanging over it in places.

  • Yasawa Island (the Yasawas): Several of Fiji's best beaches are on Yasawa, the northernmost island in the Yasawa chain. One long stretch of sand near the north end is divided by big black rocks flanked by two Fijian villages. Another in front of Yasawa Island Resort and Spa also has rocks plus waves, a rarity among Fijian beaches.

  • Nanuyalailai Island (the Yasawas): About midway along the Yasawa chain, Nanuya is skirted on its south side by a long beach that wraps around a coconut palm-studded peninsula and keeps on going. Nanuya Island Resort sits on the western end, while Blue Lagoon Cruises uses the sands on the other side of the peninsula.

  • Nacula Island (the Yasawas): The inexpensive Oarsmans Bay Lodge, on Nacula Island, sits beside one of the top beaches in Fiji, a glorious strip of sand emptying into a lagoon that is deep at all tides.

  • Natadola Beach (the Coral Coast): Fiji's main island of Viti Levu doesn't have the high-quality beaches found on the country's small islands, but Natadola is the exception. Until recently this long stretch was spared development, but a big resort is coming.

  • Vatulele Island Resort (Vatulele): The luxury resort on Vatulele Island has new owners and has been undergoing significant changes, but the 1km (1/2 mile) of sand in front of it remains one of the most brilliantly white beaches in Fiji.

  • Long Beach (Kadavu): Fiji's longest beach runs for several kilometers along the north shore of Kadavu Island, where one resort is under development. In the meantime, visitors have it all to themselves but will have to stay at nearby Papageno Resort or Dive Kadavu/Matana Beach Resort.

  • Matana Beach (Kadavu): Also on Kadavu's north shore, Matana Beach combines deep white sand with a deep lagoon. Bordered by a Fijian village and Dive Kadavu/Matana Beach Resort, Matana has a fine view westward along Kadavu's shore.

  • Volivoli Beach (Rakiraki): At the very northern tip of Viti Levu a few kilometers from Rakiraki, lovely Volivoli also has soft white sand, a deep lagoon, and a spectacular view southwestward toward Viti Levu's mountains. You don't have to pay a fortune either, with inexpensive Volivoli Beach Resort just around the corner.

  • Namenalala Island (off Savusavu): The main beach at the remote little resort known as Moody's Namena is one of the finest I've seen in Fiji, but owners Tom and Joan Moody have marked four other private beaches with OCCUPIED/UNOCCUPIED signs.

  • Prince Charles Beach (Taveuni): The northern coast of Taveuni has three great beaches within walking distance of each other, the best being Prince Charles Beach, so named because said prince once took a dip in its warm lagoon.

  • Horseshoe Bay (Matagi Island): Matagi is an extinct volcano whose crater fell away on one side and formed picturesque Horseshoe Bay. The half-moon-shape beach at its head is one of the finest in the islands, but you have to be on a yacht or a guest at Matangi Island Resort to enjoy it.

  • Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.