Hawaii vs Fiji? | How to Decide Where to Visit

If you’re dreaming of visiting a paradise island or two, you might be weighing up the pros and cons of Hawaii vs Fiji. Both of these destinations are breathtakingly beautiful, with epic beaches, stunning hikes, friendly locals and luxurious resorts to explore. Read on to see our battle of the beauties in this face-off between Hawaii and Fiji, so you can decide where to visit.

While it may seem impossible to choose whether to visit Hawaii or Fiji, there are things that may help you decide.

Should I Visit Hawaii or Fiji?

Hawaii has eight islands which generally have more infrastructure and transport, while Fiji boasts 330 small islands, each connected by boat or prop planes. Hawaii tends to be more luxurious with some epic scenery, while Fiji is more serene and offers a deeper insight into local life.

This article will help you break down the similarities and differences between Hawaii and Fiji so you can try to figure out which of these paradise destinations to add to your bucket list!

Best For a Honeymoon (or Romantic Getaway): Hawaii vs Fiji

romantic getaway in hawaii

Both Hawaii and Fiji are home to some incredible luxury resorts that make them an ideal destination for a honeymoon getaway. Maui is probably the favourite for a Hawaiian honeymoon, with pristine resorts, magnificent landscapes and a range of activities on offer. For a Fijian honeymoon, you’ll want to get off the main island (away from the chain hotels of Nadi and Denarau) so that you can enjoy true island luxury.

Honeymoons in Hawaii feel a little less exotic than those in Fiji, with the remoteness of the smaller Fijian islands allowing you to feel much more far-flung. If you only want to enjoy the beach, water activities and the on-site restaurants then Fiji is a good choice, but if you want a greater variety of activities and dining, then Hawaii may be a better option.

Best Vacation Spot for Serenity?

hammock on the beach

As Fiji is made up of a collection of smaller islands, it is possible to find little slices of serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the main island and cities. While this isn’t necessarily easy (as transport links between islands can be slow, infrequent, unreliable and sometimes very expensive), it does mean you can get a lot further off the beaten track than you can in Hawaii. As Hawaii only comprises of eight islands, many of the beaches, hiking trails and villages have been well and truly discovered which makes it less likely you’ll find a secluded spot for yourself.

Best For A One-Stop Trip: Hawaii or Fiji?

If you only have a few days for your trip to Hawaii or Fiji, you’ll want to know which is best for a one-stop trip. Well, it probably has to be Hawaii. Hawaii’s main island, Oahu, offers a great range of things to see and do, with exceptional beaches and incredible hiking (walking up Diamond Head is a must) as well as cultural activities, nightlife and great bars, shops, restaurants and hotels.

Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, on the other hand, is arguably less spectacular, with Nadi, the main city, being less of an attraction than, say, Waikiki or Honolulu. While you can, of course, find beautiful spots on Viti Levu, the best bits of Fiji mostly lies a boat or plane ride away which can eat into your time away. If you do choose a one-stop trip to Fiji, you might want to choose an all-inclusive resort which offers a good range of food and activities on site.

Best For Island Hopping

Savusavu marina

If you have longer to explore and want to discover more than one island, then both Hawaii and Fiji have great options for you. Island hopping in Hawaii is fairly easy and relatively inexpensive, as there are regular flights and ferries between islands. Of course, this means that it is a popular option, and therefore each easily accessible island will have a certain number of tourists.

Fijian islands, by contrast, are more difficult and more expensive to reach (and will take more time!) but when you get there, you will be able to explore in peace. It, therefore, depends what your priorities are for your island-hopping experience. If you want to tick off lots of places and see a handful of highlights, Hawaii’s the one for you. If you’d rather get off the beaten path and find somewhere remote and unspoilt, then Fiji is your best bet.

Hawaiin Food vs Fijian Food

hawaiian poke bowl
Poke Bowl

Of course, being island destinations, both Hawaii and Fiji offer some spectacular seafood, with fresh dishes being prepared every night. However, Hawaii arguably has much more interesting cuisine than Fiji, with tasty Poke bowls being a must-try. Hawaii also has a strong influence from mainland America, and therefore a greater variety of cuisines are available.

Much of Fiji’s food is imported and thus packaged and less authentic. Kava, the local Fijian drink, however, is authentic as it comes, with the recipe remaining unchanged for generations. The drink is enjoyed during a Kava ceremony, and it may come with a tingling or numbing sensation to the mouth and lips as well as a sense of relaxation!

If You Want an Authentic Local Experience Go to.......

children of Fiji

If you manage to get off the beaten path in Fiji, you are likely to be able to enjoy a truly authentic experience, with locals welcoming you into their village with vast smiles on their faces and amazing hospitality. It is thought that over half of Fiji’s residents are Native Fijians and the country, therefore, retains much more traditional culture.

Hawaii, on the other hand, is thought to have less than 10% Native residents and that, combined with a larger number of tourists, means that authentic local experiences are fewer and farther between. While Hawaii does have the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, which offers an insight into Hawaiian culture, it is more of a tourist attraction than a real authentic experience.

Best For Outdoor Activities: Hawaii vs Fiji

enjoying a Hawaiian view

Both Hawaii and Fiji are an adventure lover’s dream as they offer a spectacular range of activities year-round. From hiking to surfing and scuba diving, you’re in for a real treat when visiting Hawaii and Fiji. Hawaii arguably has a greater range of hikes available, with clearer trails and routes. However, this also means they are more popular. Fiji has less well-known hikes available, but if you speak to your hotel, they should be able to help you organise a fantastic Fijian hike somewhere nearby.

Surfing in Hawaii is renowned the world over with thousands of people flocking to the islands for this activity alone. November to February is surf season in Hawaii, and there are beaches to suit everyone from beginners to experts wanting to catch a break. Fiji is also pretty well known for its surf but the season here runs from April to October. Therefore, if surfing is a priority for your trip, it may well be the time of year that makes your decision for you!

Scuba diving is another activity that is revered by travellers to both Hawaii and Fiji as the reefs offer a magical collection of fish and coral paired with great visibility that makes for an incredible experience. Fiji arguably has the edge on Hawaii though thanks to its status as the ‘soft coral capital of the world’ with vibrant colours making the underwater landscape come alive!

For the Best Public Transport, Go to...

fiji ferry local

Another thing to think about when planning your trip to Hawaii or Fiji is how you will get around on the islands. If you plan on doing a lot of exploring you might want to choose Hawaii as there is a much better public transport system on the main island and the connections between islands are quicker, easier and cheaper. You can also easily hire a car in Hawaii.

Travelling in Fiji tends to be a bit more difficult and more expensive, with fewer buses available and taxis costing quite a lot to get around the island. Travel between islands is also more expensive. If money is of no object to you, then you could catch seaplanes and helicopters between the remote Fijian islands which makes for a truly epic travel experience!

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Best For Nightlife: The Clear Winner is....

playing guitar at the Mai Tai Bar in Honolulu, Hawaii.

If you’re looking for traditional nightlife, then Hawaii wins hands down as it boasts a fantastic range of bars and clubs. Honolulu has a whole host of venues to choose from including Tiki bars and mega clubs so that all styles are catered for. Fiji’s night-time activities are a bit more subdued, with evenings on the beach with a few beers or some Kava being the go-to rather than clubbing.

So, there you have it, the similarities and differences between Hawaii and Fiji. Your experience will, of course, depend when and where you go and what style of trip you are looking for. Both Hawaii and Fiji are paradise islands with so much to see and do that you’re bound to have an amazing trip wherever you go!

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