If you’re going on your honeymoon or that trip of a lifetime to the South Pacific islands, then both Fiji and Tahiti are probably at the top of your list. These islands are absolutely stunning tropical environments with luscious tropical rain forests, seas as blue and clear as you might ever see, and of course some amazing underwater life too.
Remember, one doesn’t just pop over to both Tahiti and Fiji in the South Pacific. It’s quite a long flight and not a budget holiday in any way. So, we want to make sure you pick the right destination for your holiday.
When it comes to Fiji vs Tahiti, the islands are quite similar and quite different at the same time, and one is likely to suit you a little better. Join me as we take a deeper look into Fiji vs Tahiti so you can pick the right South Pacific island for your next dream getaway.
Fiji is made up of over 300 different islands and is home to warm azure blue seas, soft white sand beaches, as well as a lot of inland beauty and culture that are also worth taking a look at while you’re there.
With so many islands, Fiji is the perfect place to go island hopping. And, if that is your kind of thing, then a trip to the outer islands to the west of Fiji, the Yasawa and Mamanuca islands is a must. These outer islands are famed for being some of the most beautiful of the 300 Fiji has to offer.
Fiji is also full of stunning natural life both under the water and on land. The marine life is astonishing with everything from turtles to dolphins, sharks, manta rays, coral reefs, and lots more. If you’re into diving and/or snorkeling then Fiji is going to blow you away.
On the land, you have tropical jungles with a mix of coconut palm trees and bamboo which within lives stunning parrots, iguanas, and lots more.
Fiji isn’t lacking culturally either and the locals are warm and welcoming. You can visit their villages, partake in a Fijian feast, see tribal performances, and more while you’re there.
Tahiti is the main island of French Polynesia and it sits about 3,500 kilometers west of Fiji. French Polynesia is made up of around 118 hundred islands and is known as the gateway to the stunning Society Islands which includes Moorea and Bora Bora, this makes Tahiti a great base to go island hopping from too.
Fiji is made up of smaller volcanoes whereas Tahiti is a single volcanic island with huge peaks, which means it has everything from stunning beaches and tropical blues waters to jungle-covered mountain peaks, rivers, and waterfalls that are great for exploring. Nature lovers will be astounded by the range of tropical plants, birds, and other species in these jungles.
The marine life in Tahiti is just as fantastic as that of Fiji with countless opportunities to swim with dolphins, manta rays, sharks, and see the amazing coral reefs that surround it.
Another thing Tahiti is quite famous for is its overwater bungalows, which are similar to that of the Maldives. Staying over crystal bluer waters and seeing the marine life from your bedroom’s verandah is one thing, now add a breakfast snorkel into the daily mix and you really are on a trip of a lifetime.
Like Fiji, Tahiti is also home to wonder locals whose warm culture welcomes everyone from around the world who makes it to this island paradise. You can watch locals walk across fires and see the local dance rituals taking place too.
As you are probably starting to see, making a choice between Fiji vs Tahiti isn’t that easy and they are both truly paradise islands with everything to offer. The main difference between them is their landscapes. Since Tahiti is volcanic you have a huge volcano pretty much falling into the sea, whereas Fiji was made from smaller volcanoes and is thus less mountainous.
Something you might be doing every day while in Fiji or Tahiti is spending time hanging out on the beach, in fact, you might be doing this all day, every day if that’s what you love about going to a tropical island. The beaches are where Fiji & Tahiti differ the most, so I thought it was important to cover this section in detail.
The beaches of Fiji are what you imagine when you think of a paradise beach. The sand is white, soft, and looks a bit like flour. It’s the kind of sand that is so white you’ll be a little blinded without sunglasses and when you walk on it, it squeaks.
When you combine this with the crystal clear blue waters that flow onto it from the South Pacific ocean and the backing of palm trees and endemic forest, you will really struggle to find a prettier beach on the planet than those that exist in Fiji.
The beaches in Tahiti are a little different as they are black sand beaches and this is due to the island being volcanic. If you have seen pictures of Tahiti with white sand beaches, you are most likely looking at the beaches of the other islands of French Polynesia like Bora Bora.
I personally have to issue with black sand beaches, you just have to wear some shoes on the first stretch next to the trees as they get very hot from the sun, but once you’re near to the sea, the sand is cool again and you can go barefoot as one should on the beach.
You can do everything you might want on a black sand beach that you can on a white sand beach, but I didn’t want you to book a holiday to Tahiti except the tropical white sand beaches that paradise islands are synonymous with, as they just aren’t there.
The beaches of Tahiti are still stunningly beautiful and lined with crystal blue waters, lush forests, and the backdrop of the volcanic peaks is to die for.
When it comes to beaches and Fiji vs Tahiti, it’s all about personal preference. I can see beauty in both white and black sand beaches but perhaps others prefer the classic iconic image of a white sand beach when they are flying around the world to be one, and fair enough.
That being said, I wouldn’t make your decision on the beaches alone as we have a lot more to cover before it’s decision time between Fiji vs Tahiti.
If you plan to island-hop around Fiji, which is highly recommended, then two of the islands you should head to, as mentioned before are the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa islands which sit on the western outer edge of the Fijian island chains.
You can access these islands from the island of Nandi, and the Mamanuca Islands can even be visited on a day trip. If you’re a surfer, you’ll have these islands on your to surf list as they are home to the world-famous surf breaks of Restaurants and Cloudbreak of Tavarua island.
The Yasawa Islands are not so easy to get to as they are a bit further out than the Mamanuca Islands but you can easily get there on a boat or by seaplane. The Yasawa Islands are known to be some of the most remote and naturally untouched of the Fijian island and are great if you want to get off the beaten track.
Also check out Turtle Island Resort if you want something a little bit special for your upcoming Fiji honeymoon!
Scuba diving and snorkeling in Fiji are immensely popular and this is thanks to the crystal clear warm waters and the immaculate state of the marine habitat. Fiji is regarded as the ‘Soft Coral Capital of the World’ and is home to over a thousand different species of fish and hundreds of species of sponges and corals. This means when you look underwater, you’re going to see a world in technicolor from the reef to the tropical fish.
Fiji is also known as the ‘The Best Shark Diving Location in the World’ and it doesn’t disappoint when it comes to large pelagics and rays either. The deep waters that come so close to the edge of the reefs bring manta rays, whale sharks, and you can even dive with bull sharks, wahoo, tuna, and more pelagics while there.
The diversity of the dive sites is excellent too with wall dives, swim-throughs, caverns, canyons, and awesome blue water too. Fiji is the perfect place to learn how to dive or do an extra Padi course to top up your diving skills.
If you’re not a diver but solve to snorkel, don’t worry, you can still have most of these experiences too but you’ll be a little higher on the surface.
Fiji is home to some amazing surf breaks and this is thanks to the outer reefs that pick up swell and create stunning mechanical breaks that seem to go on forever. Two of the most famous surf breaks, restaurants, and cloudbreak are in Fjij but there are lots more to explore too.
If you love surfing, then Fiji is an awesome destination to head to.
If the diving is good, then you know the fishing is going to be great too. The offshore fishing in Fiji is excellent and you’ll be able to target species such as blue marlin, black marlin, sailfish, wahoo, tuna, and dorado, the diversity is endless. You can also go fly fishing for GT’s small jacks, barracuda, and lots more.
Inland on the main island of Fiji is where you’ll find tropical forests filled with stunning plants and wildlife, a lot of which you can see anywhere else. Taking a day off from the ocean and hiking in the forests is a must while you’re there.
To make your time inland a little more exciting, you can also hop on a zip line that will have you swinging across the mountain canopy like Tarzan or abseil down into some of Fiji’s huge caves and explore the underground world too.
Skydiving is also an option in Fiji, and there isn’t a better way of seeing this island paradise than with a birds-eye few while you’re adrenaline is rushing hard as you dive down from thousands of feet up in the air.
The island hopping opportunities in Tahiti are quite amazing and it’s well worth doing a little bit of it while you’re there to see the diversity of what French Polynesia has to offer.
There is just one island, Moorea, which you can reach via a daily ferry from Tahiti which takes under an hour while the other outer island such as Bora Bora and the others in the Archipelago require a short flight from Tahiti after which you can use boats to hop between them.
You can even get to the more remote Mangareva in the Gambier Islands with a short flight, and some of these islands are made up just of coral and lagoons with a tiny spec of forest and beach surrounding them. If you’re really into exploring marine life, you should consider going to some of these further fetched islands as they offer something different to the main island of Tahiti.
There is no shortage of Suba Diving and Snorkeling on Tahiti as the coral reefs, lagoons, and steep drop-offs provide an incredibly healthy marine habitat, and whilst there you can swim with manta rays, sharks, and see the abundance of the coral and tropical fish that live on the reefs encircling every island.
There are Padi dive centers on Tahiti and 10 of the other islands of French Polynesia too, meaning you’ll be able to take the tumble with experts and learn new skills or how to dive whilst you’re there.
The diversity doesn’t stop there either as you can dive with whales, tiger sharks, on wrecks, at night, and with whitetip reef sharks, Blacktip reef sharks, and Lemon sharks.
You can also book snorkeling with all of these dive centers too, so if you don’t dive, you can still experience the amazing marine life that’s on offer.
Like Fiji, Tahiti is also famous for one of the world’s best surf breaks, Teahupoo. Teahupoo is known as one of the most dangerous waves in the world as it receives huge swells that pound onto an unforgiving and shallow coral reef but it doesn’t have to be surfed with a 3o ft swell, a 5ft swell works too.
There are lots of other surf breaks around Tahiti too which are much better for intermediate surfers, and one could even find some beginner waves with a surf guide too.
The fishing in Tahiti is excellent and is equal to Fiji when it comes to offshore fishing. Huge blue and black marlin patrol these waters as well as sailfish, tuna, dorado, wahoo, and GTs. You’ll also find the fly fishing is pretty fantastic too with GTs on the flats along with bonefish and lots more.
The inland activities on Tahiti are also excellent as the inner island is made up of volcanic peaks and lush rainforests. Hiking in the forest is a must while you’re in Tahiti and you can go up the Aorai Mountain to the second highest peak for stunning views across the islands and the Pacific ocean.
You can also hike around the mountains to see the stunning waterfalls, plants, and endemic wildlife. There is no better way to spend a day on dry land away from the beach than in the beautiful forests of Tahiti.
Tahiti is also home to the Huahine Natural Aquarium on the northern islands where a stunning array of marine life lives in shallow waters, and you can snorkel in there too, with sharks!
Other great things to see and do include heading to the Papeete Market to engage and trade with the local Tahitians where you can pick up some souvenirs, and have a tour around the Botanical Gardens which are full of magical plants that are not so easy to find in other parts of the world.
As you can see, there is no shortage of things to do on these islands and when it comes to picking between Fiji vs Tahiti based on this, it’s not so easy. They are pretty much equal in every way though I would say that island hopping in Tahiti would be more interesting as the landscapes are very diverse.
Most people don’t travel on a low budget to these islands as they are quite expensive that being said, Fiji hotels are way more budget-friendly compared to Tahiti. So, if you are on a tight purse string, then Fiji will be a lot more manageable.
It’s not an easy choice to make, but at least you can rest assured that no matter which one you choose from both Fiji and Tahiti, your vacation is going to be mind-blowing.
Fiji has the advantage of white sand beaches and more budget-friendly options while Tahiti’s overwater bungalows, diversity and scale of landscapes are a little more mindblowing than Fiji’s.
Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!