Vanuatu vs. Fiji

Picking between Vanuatu and Fiji can feel like trying to decide which tropical fruit is the juiciest. These island paradises both beckon with their azure waters and lush landscapes, but each has its own unique flavor. Dive into this article as we explore the nooks and crannies of Vanuatu and Fiji, and help you make that tough decision. So, are you ready to find your dream island escape?
Vanuatu vs. Fiji

Table of Contents

Hey there, island-hopper! We know you’re craving some sun, sand, and ocean vibes, but choosing between Vanuatu and Fiji might have you feeling a bit puzzled. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading, and we’ll break down the highlights of each destination so you can plan the perfect getaway. Let’s get started, shall we?

History & Culture

Before diving into the crystal-clear waters, let’s immerse ourselves in the history and culture of Vanuatu and Fiji. Both island nations have rich pasts and vibrant cultures just waiting to be explored.

Vanuatu’s history is as layered as the volcanic soil on its islands. It’s believed that the first settlers arrived around 3,000 years ago. Over time, a unique Ni-Vanuatu culture developed, with customs and traditions shaped by the diverse landscapes and 80+ islands. Today, Vanuatu is a melting pot of people and languages, with over 100 indigenous languages spoken.

Fiji, on the other hand, has its own fascinating tale. Its history stretches back 3,500 years, with Fijians descended from Melanesian and Polynesian settlers. European explorers and traders added to the mix, and now Fiji is a blend of cultures, including Fijian, Indian, and European influences. The result is a warm, welcoming atmosphere where traditions, like the kava ceremony, are still cherished.

When it comes to culture, Vanuatu and Fiji both shine. Vanuatu is known for its customary dances and artistic expressions, such as sand drawing and wood carving. The locals are warm and eager to share their traditions, making it easy to connect with the authentic culture.

Fiji, too, has a vibrant cultural scene. The friendly Fijian people are always ready to greet you with a warm “Bula!” Music and dance play a big role in Fijian culture, and you might find yourself swaying to the rhythm of meke performances or joining in the beat during a traditional lovo feast.

So, whether you’re captivated by the unique cultural tapestry of Vanuatu or the welcoming spirit of Fiji, both destinations offer unforgettable cultural experiences. In the end, it’s all about what speaks to your soul and sparks your curiosity.

Attractions & Activities

Enough about the past, let’s talk about the present-day fun! Vanuatu and Fiji are brimming with attractions and activities that’ll keep your adrenaline pumping and your wanderlust satisfied. Let’s take a peek at what each destination has to offer.

Vanuatu is an adventurer’s paradise. The island nation is a volcanic playground, with active volcanoes like Mt. Yasur and Ambrym offering thrilling hikes and spectacular views. If you’re a scuba diver, you won’t want to miss the SS President Coolidge, one of the world’s most famous wreck dives. For a more relaxed activity, consider visiting traditional villages or taking a leisurely stroll through the stunning Mele Cascades.

Fiji, on the other hand, is famous for its soft coral diving. With over 300 islands to explore, there’s no shortage of dive sites, such as the Great White Wall and the Beqa Lagoon. If you prefer to stay on land, you can trek through the lush rainforests, discover hidden waterfalls, or explore ancient villages like Navala. For an authentic cultural experience, join a Fijian village tour and participate in a traditional kava ceremony.

When it comes to exploring the great outdoors, both Vanuatu and Fiji serve up a generous helping of natural beauty. In Vanuatu, take a scenic flight over the islands and volcanoes or go horseback riding through verdant landscapes. You can also take a guided tour through the Millennium Cave, an adventure that includes caving, canyoning, and trekking.

Fiji has its own set of unique outdoor experiences. Try your hand at river rafting on the Upper Navua River or zip-lining through the rainforest canopy. You can even embark on a shark dive (if you dare!) and get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures.

So, whether you’re drawn to the volcanic allure of Vanuatu or the coral gardens of Fiji, both destinations promise a treasure trove of attractions and activities. It’s up to you to decide which adventure suits your style and which island paradise will leave you craving more.


Okay, let’s talk about the real stars of the show: the beaches! After all, what’s a tropical vacation without some quality beach time, right? Both Vanuatu and Fiji are home to some of the most stunning stretches of sand you’ll ever lay your eyes on. So let’s dive in and see how they stack up.

Vanuatu’s beaches are the epitome of paradise, with soft white sands and crystal-clear waters. Take a trip to Champagne Beach on Espiritu Santo Island, where you’ll find a postcard-worthy shoreline that stretches for about 0.6 miles (1 km). For a more secluded experience, head to Eton Beach on Efate Island, where you can relax in a serene cove surrounded by lush vegetation.

Fiji’s beaches, on the other hand, are just as breathtaking. You’ll be spoiled for choice with options like Natadola Beach on Viti Levu, which spans about 1.2 miles (2 km) of pristine sand and turquoise waters. Or check out the Mamanuca Islands, where you can find gems like Tokoriki Island and its gorgeous beaches – the perfect spot for a romantic getaway.

When it comes to beach variety, Fiji might have the edge, with over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of coastline to explore. Vanuatu, though smaller in comparison, still boasts a solid 500 miles (800 km) of coastline, offering plenty of beachcombing opportunities.

Whether you’re after a lively beach scene or a tranquil hideaway, both Vanuatu and Fiji have you covered. So grab your favorite beach towel, slap on some sunscreen, and prepare to sink your toes into the sands of these island paradises.

Eating, Drinking & Nightlife

Now, let’s shift our focus to something equally important: food, drinks, and nightlife! After all, who doesn’t want to unwind after a long day of beach bumming and exploring? So let’s see how Vanuatu and Fiji compare when it comes to satisfying your taste buds and keeping you entertained after dark.

Vanuatu has a unique culinary scene that combines traditional Melanesian flavors with French influences. From gourmet restaurants in Port Vila to local markets offering delicious island treats, you’ll find a variety of dining options.

Fiji, on the other hand, is a food lover’s paradise, with a fusion of Indian, Chinese, and indigenous Fijian cuisines. No matter where you go, you’re bound to find something scrumptious to sink your teeth into.

When it comes to drinks, Vanuatu is known for its locally produced kava – a traditional beverage with a unique earthy taste that’ll leave you feeling relaxed. Fiji has its own version of kava too, but if you’re after something a bit stronger, you can always try their popular Fiji Bitter beer.

As for nightlife, Vanuatu keeps things relatively low-key. Port Vila offers a handful of bars and clubs where you can enjoy live music, DJ sets, and even some traditional dancing. If you’re looking for a more laid-back atmosphere, head to one of the local kava bars to mingle with the locals.

Fiji, on the other hand, offers a livelier scene. The bustling town of Nadi and the Denarau Island resort area are your go-to spots for bars, clubs, and live entertainment. Whether you’re keen on dancing the night away or sipping cocktails by the beach, Fiji has plenty of options to keep you entertained.

So there you have it – from mouthwatering meals to vibrant nightlife, both Vanuatu and Fiji have a lot to offer. The choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences and how you like to spend your evenings.


Alright, let’s talk shopping! Both Vanuatu and Fiji offer unique shopping experiences, but what sets them apart? Let’s dive in and compare the retail therapy options these two island nations have in store for you.

In Vanuatu, you’ll find a charming mix of local markets and boutique shops. Port Vila, the capital city, is your best bet for some retail indulgence. Make sure to visit the colorful markets, where you’ll find handmade crafts, souvenirs, and the famous Vanuatu coffee. Don’t forget to haggle – it’s part of the experience!

Fiji, on the other hand, offers a wider range of shopping options. Nadi and Suva are the main shopping hubs, with everything from modern shopping malls to bustling local markets. Be sure to pick up some traditional Fijian handicrafts, such as woven mats, wooden carvings, and the famous “tapa” cloth made from pounded tree bark.

If you’re after something uniquely Fijian, check out the bustling Nadi handicraft market or the Suva Municipal Market for a more authentic shopping experience. There’s also the famous Jack’s of Fiji, a popular retail chain selling traditional handicrafts, clothing, and souvenirs.

When comparing the shopping scenes in Vanuatu and Fiji, it ultimately comes down to what you’re after. If you prefer a more intimate, local experience, Vanuatu is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a broader selection and more variety, Fiji’s got you covered.

So, whether you’re a shopaholic or just looking for a few souvenirs to take home, both Vanuatu and Fiji offer something special to suit your retail needs.


Now, let’s talk about where you’ll be laying your head after a day of island adventures. Comparing accommodation options in Vanuatu and Fiji, let’s see which destination has got your back (and bed!).

In Vanuatu, you’ll find a range of accommodation options from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts. Port Vila is the hot spot for variety, but you’ll also find hidden gems on the smaller islands. Eco-resorts and intimate bungalows are a popular choice for those seeking a more authentic island experience.

Fiji, being a more popular tourist destination, boasts a wider array of accommodation types. From backpacker hostels to five-star luxury resorts, you’ll find something for every budget and taste. The Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands are particularly famous for their stunning overwater bungalows – perfect for honeymooners and luxury-seekers.

So, what’s the verdict? If you’re looking for a more intimate, off-the-beaten-path experience, Vanuatu’s accommodation options might be more up your alley. However, if you prefer a broader selection catering to different budgets and preferences, Fiji’s extensive accommodation choices won’t disappoint.

No matter which island paradise you choose, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to rest and recharge.

Family-Friendliness & Children’s Activities

Alright, let’s dive into the fun part – which island paradise is the ultimate choice for families with kiddos? We’re comparing Vanuatu and Fiji on family-friendliness and children’s activities, so buckle up!

Vanuatu offers a laid-back atmosphere, ideal for families seeking a relaxed and easy-going vacation. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities to keep the kids entertained, like snorkeling, beachcombing, and exploring lush jungles. There are also cultural experiences like visiting local villages, where children can learn about traditional customs and interact with locals.

On the other hand, Fiji is known for its family-oriented resorts that offer a variety of amenities and activities tailored specifically for kids.

Many resorts feature kids’ clubs, where little ones can enjoy supervised play, arts and crafts, and educational activities. Parents can relax knowing their children are well taken care of, and the whole family can enjoy activities like snorkeling, island-hopping, and visiting local cultural centers.

Both Vanuatu and Fiji have plenty of options for families seeking water-based fun. From gentle lagoon swims to more adventurous outings like jet-skiing or banana boat rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

When it comes to dining, both destinations offer kid-friendly options. Many Fijian resorts have dedicated kids’ menus, while Vanuatu’s local eateries are generally welcoming to families.

In conclusion, Fiji is a top choice for families seeking an all-inclusive resort experience with tailored kids’ activities and amenities. But if you’re looking for a more authentic, low-key island vibe where children can immerse themselves in nature and local culture, Vanuatu is a fantastic option.

Both destinations offer a memorable family vacation, so pick your preference and let the island fun begin!

Getting There & Getting Around

Alright, now that we’ve covered the fun stuff, let’s talk logistics. How easy is it to get to Vanuatu and Fiji, and how’s the transportation situation once you’re there? Let’s break it down!

To reach Vanuatu, most international flights connect through Australia, New Zealand, or Fiji. Flights typically arrive in Port Vila, the capital city, at Bauerfield International Airport (VLI). From the US, the journey is a bit of a trek, but hey, paradise awaits!

In comparison, Fiji is a more popular destination with more direct flight options. Nadi International Airport (NAN) is the main hub, and you can find direct flights from the US, Australia, New Zealand, and other Pacific countries. Plus, who doesn’t love a good in-flight movie or two?

Now, let’s talk about getting around these island paradises. In Vanuatu, you’ll find local buses, called “bislamas,” that can take you around the main islands. Renting a car is also an option if you prefer more independence. Keep in mind, though, that driving is on the right side of the road, and some routes can be a bit rough.

Fiji offers a variety of transportation options, including buses, taxis, and rental cars. If you’re staying at a resort, they might even provide a shuttle service. To explore the outer islands, you can hop on ferries or catamarans, or even take a domestic flight. Just be prepared for some island time – schedules can be a bit, well, flexible.

For both destinations, don’t forget that traveling between islands may require a short domestic flight or a ferry ride. So factor in some extra time for island-hopping!

In summary, Fiji has more direct flight options and a wider range of transportation choices once you’re there. Vanuatu is a bit more off the beaten path but offers a unique and less crowded experience. So, choose your adventure and start packing!


Let’s chat about the weather, because who doesn’t love a good climate convo? Vanuatu and Fiji both have tropical climates, but there are some differences that could sway your decision on which destination to choose. So let’s dive in!

Vanuatu’s climate is pretty much what you’d expect from a South Pacific paradise. The temperature stays fairly consistent throughout the year, ranging from 72°F (22°C) to 82°F (28°C). The wet season runs from November to April, with February and March being the wettest months. If you prefer drier conditions, May to October is your best bet.

Fiji, on the other hand, is also blessed with a tropical climate, but with a touch more humidity. Average temperatures range from 68°F (20°C) to 88°F (31°C). The wet season in Fiji is similar to Vanuatu, lasting from November to April, with the highest rainfall between December and February. The dry season, from May to October, offers more sunshine and less humidity – perfect for beach days!

In conclusion, both Vanuatu and Fiji have warm tropical climates, with wet and dry seasons to consider. Vanuatu tends to be slightly cooler, while Fiji can be a bit more humid. So, grab your sunscreen and pick the paradise that suits your weather preferences best!


Now, let’s chat about safety, because feeling secure on vacation is super important! Vanuatu and Fiji both have their pros and cons when it comes to safety, so let’s see how they stack up against each other.

Vanuatu is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. Like anywhere, petty theft can happen, so it’s always wise to keep your belongings secure and be aware of your surroundings. Natural disasters, such as cyclones and earthquakes, can pose risks, but these events are relatively rare. When they do happen, local authorities and resorts are well-prepared to handle such situations.

Fiji, too, is mostly a safe place for travelers. Petty crime can occur, so be cautious with your belongings, especially in busy areas. Tap water in some regions might not be safe to drink, so sticking to bottled water is a good idea. As for natural disasters, Fiji can experience cyclones during the wet season, but again, this is rare, and local authorities are prepared to handle any emergencies.

In terms of health, both Vanuatu and Fiji have decent healthcare facilities in the main urban centers. It’s essential to have travel insurance and ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date before traveling. Also, be mindful of sun exposure, and always wear sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.

To sum it up, both Vanuatu and Fiji are relatively safe destinations for travelers. Petty crime and natural disasters can happen, but by taking the necessary precautions and staying informed, you’ll enjoy a stress-free vacation in these beautiful island paradises.


Everybody loves a good deal, right? So let’s talk money and see how Vanuatu and Fiji compare when it comes to the cost of vacationing. We’ll look at everything from accommodation to activities and food.

In Vanuatu, you’ll find a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets. On average, you can expect to pay around 7,500 Vatu (around 70 USD) per night for a mid-range hotel. Dining out can be relatively affordable, with a meal at a local restaurant costing about 2,500 Vatu (roughly 23 USD).

Fiji, on the other hand, can be a bit pricier when it comes to accommodation. A night at a mid-range hotel will likely set you back around 250 FJD (approximately 115 USD). Eating out is also a bit more expensive, with an average meal at a local restaurant costing around 35 FJD (about 16 USD).

Activities and attractions in both destinations can vary in price, but you’ll find a good mix of free and paid options. Keep in mind that excursions and water-based activities tend to cost more, but unforgettable experiences are often worth the extra bucks.

In a nutshell, Vanuatu tends to be a more budget-friendly destination compared to Fiji. However, both places offer a variety of options to suit different budgets, ensuring that you can have a fantastic island getaway without breaking the bank.

Which Is Better – Vanuatu or Fiji?

We’ve covered a lot of ground comparing Vanuatu and Fiji, and now it’s time to decide which destination is best for your dream vacation. Each island nation has its own unique allure, so let’s break down their strengths and figure out which one suits your preferences.

Vanuatu shines when it comes to history and culture, offering a rich tapestry of stories and traditions. Fiji, on the other hand, has a more laid-back vibe, making it a great choice if relaxation is high on your agenda.

If attractions and activities are your top priority, both destinations deliver. Vanuatu boasts a diverse range of experiences, from witnessing active volcanoes to diving in pristine waters. Fiji, while offering similar activities, stands out for its luxurious resorts and world-class spas.

Beach lovers can’t go wrong with either choice, but Fiji’s soft white sand and crystal-clear waters give it a slight edge. Vanuatu’s beaches have their own unique charm, though, with black sand and lush vegetation surrounding them.

Foodies and night owls will find a good variety of dining and nightlife options in both places. Fiji might have a bit more to offer in this department, with a larger selection of international cuisine and a slightly more vibrant nightlife scene.

Shoppers might find more satisfaction in Fiji, thanks to its more extensive range of shopping options. Vanuatu has its share of markets and shops, but Fiji’s retail scene is a bit more diverse.

When it comes to accommodation, both destinations cater to different budgets. However, Vanuatu generally offers more affordable options, making it a better choice for travelers on a tighter budget.

Family-friendliness is strong in both destinations, with plenty of activities and attractions suitable for kids. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the type of vacation you’re looking for.

In terms of getting there and getting around, both Vanuatu and Fiji have their pros and cons. Fiji is slightly more accessible, while Vanuatu offers a more adventurous experience navigating the islands.

Weather-wise, both destinations have a tropical climate, but Fiji has a longer dry season, making it a better choice for those who prefer more predictable weather.

Safety and cost are important factors to consider, and Vanuatu comes out ahead in both categories. It tends to be more budget-friendly and offers a unique safety aspect with its friendly, welcoming locals.

So, which is better – Vanuatu or Fiji? It depends on your priorities and what you’re looking for in a vacation. If you want a more budget-friendly, culturally rich experience with a strong focus on safety, Vanuatu is your go-to destination. However, if you’re seeking pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and a more vibrant nightlife, Fiji is the place for you.

No matter where you choose to go, you’re bound to create unforgettable memories in these South Pacific paradises.