Scuba diving in paradise with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. CCCFiji photo.

With its colourful and diverse reef ecosystems, Fiji is truly a world-class dive destination.

Known as ‘The Soft Coral Capital of the World’ and ‘The Best Shark Diving Location in the World’, Fiji appeals to all levels of experience – beginners to veterans, adventurers to families.

Diving is available all year round, but the best diving is from April to October. Prime visibility is during the winter months of July to September when the surface can be a little choppy and potentially as cool as 22°C. During the November to April summer months the water temperature can reach a balmy 30°C.

Here’s a sampling of Fiji’s top diving locations noted by PADI certified (Professional Association of Diving Instructors).

* The Great Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu – World’s 3rd largest barrier reef and the South Pacific’s largest living organism. Manta ray encounters are common and various channels and passages can be explored while viewing pristine coral formations teeming with tropical fish.

* Somosomo Strait, Taveuni – The Rainbow Reef is located in the narrow passage between Vanua Levu and Taveuni and includes the famous Great White Wall. Swim through tunnels and along walls covered in brilliant displays of white, purple and yellow soft corals with colorful sea whips, gorgonian fans, sponges and crinoids. Look for pelagics off the wall and lion fish, octopus and morays in the shallows.

Meet our local ‘Nemo’.
Wananavu Beach Resort photo.

* Suncoast – Between Fiji’s two main islands, including the Vatu-i-Ra Passage, lies some spectacular and exciting diving. A huge array of marine life from tiny fish to large predators. Plenty of beautiful soft and hard corals.

* Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Pacific Harbour – Regarded by some as the best shark dive location in the world. An educational dive where you can see more than eight shark species – bull sharks, tawny nurse sharks, white-tip, black-tip and grey reef sharks, sickle fin lemon sharks, silvertips and the occasional tiger shark. Wrasse, grouper, rays and over 400 species of fish also call the marine reserve home.

* Mamanuca Islands – Popular region west of Nadi offers excellent boat and shore diving from the islands with colorful fish and marine life that surround the hard and soft corals.

* Yasawa Islands – These islands northwest of Nadi offer unique underwater topography, healthy hard corals and plenty of fish life, plus Manta ray and shark encounters.

* Coral Coast – Wide range of diving includes boat dives with stunning hard and soft corals. Turtle encounters are also common on many of the popular sites.

* Beqa Lagoon – Situated off Pacific Harbour, this large lagoon with many dive sites caters to divers of all levels. Colourful reefs alive with tropical fish and multihued soft coral covered pinnacles.

* Namena Marine Protected Reserve, Savusavu – This magnificent barrier reef, the marine reserve is populated by brilliant soft corals, invertebrates and hard corals. It hosts several dive sites with bommies and pinnacles, some sharks and other pelagics, you may spy pigmy sea horses if your eyes are good enough. Venture out from Savusavu to dive with the nearby resident school of scalloped hammerheads.

We also add to this list the Great Sea Reef – the world’s third longest continuous barrier reef system where the reef is so remote, dive enthusiasts find unparalleled opportunities.

Compiled by EXPLORE Fiji with information from PADI.

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