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Vanuatu Vs Fiji? Which South Pacific Destination Should You Travel To?

ARE YOU DECIDING BETWEEN VANUATU VS FIJI?

If you’re looking for a South Pacific island getaway, you may be weighing up Vanuatu vs Fiji.

Both countries offer stunning natural beauty, rich cultural experiences, and a range of activities and attractions to suit any traveler.

That being said, there are some key differences between the two destinations that I will highlight in this Vanuatu vs Fiji comparison guide.

We’ll explore the main differences between Vanuatu and Fiji, including culture, language, and attractions, to help you decide which destination is right for your next adventure.

Whether you’re seeking pristine beaches, world-class diving, unique cultural experiences, or just a chance to relax and unwind, both Vanuatu and Fiji offer a wealth of experiences for all travelers.

Below is just my opinion based on my own travels and personal preferences, you may have a different opinion when it comes to defining the perfect holiday destination and that is absolutely ok!

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Vanuatu vs Fiji: Should you visit both?

Both Vanuatu and Fiji offer unique travel experiences and are beautiful destinations to visit in the South Pacific.

In my opinion, they are both worth visiting as they offer different attractions to see, cultures to explore, and stunning landscapes to visit. 

Vanuatu is known for its stunning natural beauty, diverse culture, and adventure activities such as diving, snorkeling, and hiking. You simply can’t go past the rich history, with ancient cultural customs and traditions still a huge part of everyday life today.

Vanuatu is a fabulous destination for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience and to immerse themselves in a unique culture.

Fiji, on the other hand, is known for its gorgeous beaches, clear waters, and luxurious resorts. It is a popular destination for those looking to relax and unwind in paradise not too far from home.

Fiji also offers plenty of cultural experiences, including traditional Fijian village visits and cultural shows.

If you have the annual leave and budget, visiting both Vanuatu and Fiji can provide a well-rounded South Pacific experience.

Whilst you’re at it, have you considered stopping in at New Caledonia? A neighboring South Pacific Island that will offer an entirely different experience again!

Ultimately, both destinations have a lot to offer, and either one you choose I’m sure you’ll have a blast!

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Attractions and Things to Do: Vanuatu or Fiji

I often find the best way to pick a destination to travel to is by researching the top attractions, anyone else?! 

Let’s compare the top 5 attractions in Vanuatu and Fiji!

Best Things to Do in Vanuatu

Let’s start off with the top things to do in Vanuatu to uncover if it is a good holiday destination for you. 

Tanna’s Blue Cave

which is better vanuatu or new caledonia

Starting off with my personal favorite attraction in Vanuatu! The Blue Cave on Tanna Island is a natural wonder that will leave you in awe. Sunlight filtering through the cave’s entrance illuminates the crystal-clear water, creating a brilliant blue glow. Join a guided tour with Whitegrass Resort for an unforgettable experience.

The Blue Holes of Santo

The blue holes of vanuatu are one of the best attractions in Vanuatu

A close second on the list of favorite things to explore in Vanuatu are the Blue Holes on Santo. The deep freshwater Blue Holes are a must-see attraction. The clear dark blue water is nothing short of spectacular. Swim, snorkel, and take gorgeous photos at one of the blue holes, my personal favorite is Nanda Blue Hole.

Champagne Beach and Port Orly

Champagne Beach on Santo is in the top 5 best attractions in vanuatu

Champagne Beach is one of Vanuatu’s most stunning beaches, boasting pristine white sand and bright blue waters comparable to those found in the Maldives. However, the equally stunning Port Orly, which is free to access and offers excellent dining options should also not be missed.

✔️ Book a Full Day Santo Blue Hole, Champagne Beach, Million Dollar Point & Port Olry Tour

Yasur Volcano

Yasur Volcano on Tanna Island is one of the most active and accessible volcanoes in the world. Viator and Whitegrass Resort organizes guided tours that include hiking up to the crater, where you can witness the red glow of lava contrasting against the night sky as the sun sets.

✔️ Book Now! Mt Yasur Volcano Tour ✔️

Discovering Local Culture

vanuatu culture is incredibly rich and unique
Port Vila Markets

Vanuatu is renowned for its well-preserved rich culture, and exploring the traditional customs and practices of the island is an opportunity not to be missed. From attending a local dance performance to visiting a village, there are plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the unique culture of Vanuatu.

✔️Book Now! Vanuatu Full-Day Culture Tour ✔️

Best Things to Do in Fiji

Fiji is a beautiful spot, which makes narrowing it down to the top 5 attractions nearly impossible! I did my best, here are five of the top attractions in Fiji in no particular order!

Explore Yasawa Islands

Yasawa Islands in fiji is one of the best attractions

The Yasawa Islands are a group of 20 islands located northwest of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. The islands are home to stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and fantastic snorkeling and diving. The Yasawa Islands have several luxury resorts and backpacker accommodations, making it an ideal sport for travelers of all budgets.

Check out a 4-Night Yasawa Islands Cruise 4.5/5 ⭐ (34 reviews)

Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park

Fiji sand dunes are a must visit

Located on Viti Levu, Sigatoka Sand Dunes is a protected area that is home to archaeological sites. Explore the sand dunes, learn about the area’s history, and enjoy the stunning views of the coastline.

✔️ Book the Sigatoka Sand Dunes and Local Village Tour

Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool 

The Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool is located on the outskirts of Nadi and is a wonderful way to relax on your trip to Fiji. The natural hot springs and mud pool are said to have healing properties, so you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the warm waters and therapeutic mud. Sound heavenly? 

Tubing the Navua River

The Navua River is located on Viti Levu and offers a scenic adventure through Fiji’s rainforest. Get your adrenaline-pumping river tubing or even white-water rafting down the river, passing through stunning scenery and traditional Fijian villages.

✔️ Secure your spot River Tubing Fiji! 5/5⭐ (290 reviews)

Soak in a Fijian sunset

fiji or vanuatu for couples? You simply cannot beat the epic Fijian sunsets

Fijian sunsets are truly breathtaking. Watch as the sky transforms into shades of pink, orange, and purple as the sun dips below the horizon. One of the best places to experience a Fijian sunset is on one of the many beautiful beaches scattered throughout the islands. Truly magical. 

These are just a few of the many attractions that Fiji has to offer, and there are plenty more to discover.

Overall, I have to give the crown to Vanuatu due to the unbeatable attractions and one-of-a-kind experiences on offer. It’s pretty rare to peer into an active volcano or swim in a gorgeous blue hole as stunning as the ones on Santo.

Things To Do: Winner

Vanuatu

Which is More Expensive: Vanuatu vs Fiji?

First up, we have a comparison of the cost to travel to Vanuatu and Fiji.

Vanuatu and Fiji can both be visited on a budget, although the cost of your trip will depend on the time of year you travel, the type of accommodation you choose, and your activities and dining choices.

Generally speaking though, Vanuatu tends to be slightly more expensive than Fiji, especially when it comes to accommodation and food. However, there are a few budget-friendly options available in Vanuatu, such as guesthouses, hostels, and budget hotels, you just have to make sure you book in advance before they sell out!

Fiji, on the other hand, has a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets, including luxury resorts, budget hotels, and hostels. Food and drink prices can vary depending on where you are in Fiji, but overall, it is possible to eat and drink cheaply by sticking to local markets and street food vendors.

When it comes to activities, both Vanuatu and Fiji offer a range of budget options, such as hiking, snorkeling, and visiting local villages. But some of the more popular tourist activities, such as scuba diving and island-hopping tours, can be more expensive.

Generally speaking, I found the prices in Vanuatu, and even Fiji to be pretty similar to prices in Australia as a reference.

Overall, both Vanuatu and Fiji can be visited on a budget, although Vanuatu may be slightly more expensive. By planning ahead it’s possible to have a great time in either destination without breaking the bank.

Budget: Winner

Fiji

Which South Pacific Island Offers a Better Cultural Experience 

vanuatu cultural tour

Vanuatu and Fiji have distinct cultures, which are rooted in their indigenous traditions and influenced by modern global influences.

In Vanuatu, the indigenous Ni-Vanuatu culture is still strong and plays a significant role in daily life. Practices such as kava ceremonies, custom dances, and traditional storytelling are still an important part of the culture today. I recommend experiencing traditional village life on your trip by participating in cultural activities such as traditional crafts, music, and dance.

Fijian culture is also still strong and is heavily influenced by its Melanesian and Polynesian roots. Experience traditional Fijian culture through village visits, where you can participate in traditional ceremonies and activities such as meke dances, lovo feasts, and kava ceremonies. Fijian culture also has Indian and European influences, particularly in its food, music, and architecture.

I found both Vanuatu and Fiji to have a strong sense of community and hospitality, they welcome visitors with open arms.

However, it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Make sure to seek permission before taking photos or participating in traditional activities.

Either way, you’re in for a new cultural experience. However, Vanuatu just comes out on top due to the preservation and diverse culture that differs on each island.

Winner

Vanuatu

Which Has Better Beaches: Vanuatu or Fiji

fiji vs vanuatu vs new caledonia. Fiji offers the best beaches out of the destinations

Both Vanuatu and Fiji have stunning beaches with unbeatable waters and beautiful coral reefs, perfect for beach lovers. 

In Vanuatu, there are a variety of beaches from white-sand beaches to black-sand beaches. Vanuatu beaches are known for their secluded nature, with many of the best beaches located on the outer islands.

Popular beaches in Vanuatu include Champagne Beach on Santo Island, Port Olry Beach on the north coast of Santo Island, and Honeymoon Beach on Hideaway Island. Many of the beaches offer easy access to spectacular coral reefs, perfect for snorkeling without a tour.

In Fiji, the beaches are known for their white sands, turquoise waters, and palm-fringed shores. Some of the most popular beaches in Fiji include Natadola Beach on Viti Levu Island, Yasawa Island Beach on the Yasawa Islands, and Naviti Island Beach on the Mamanuca Islands.

Same with Vanuatu you can snorkel and dive from straight off the beach. 

Overall, both Vanuatu and Fiji offer breathtaking beaches perfect for relaxing or enjoying some snorkeling.

While Vanuatu’s beaches are known for their secluded nature and pristine beauty, Fiji’s beaches only just beat Vanuatu due to their stunning turquoise waters, soft white sand, and cool palm trees. 

Beaches: Winner

Fiji

Which has Better Diving and Snorkeling?

Vanuatu vs fiji snorkeling and diving is tough. Vanuatu just comes out on top due to it's world class dive side SS President coolidge wreck

Speaking of beaches, let’s compare Fiji and Vanuatu’s diving and snorkeling.

Fiji and Vanuatu have excellent spots for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts, offering loads of marine life and spectacular underwater scenery you can explore.

In Fiji, you can discover colorful coral reefs and encounter reef sharks, manta rays, and tropical fish. Some of the best dive sites in Fiji include the Rainbow Reef in the Somosomo Strait, the Great Astrolabe Reef off Kadavu Island, and the Beqa Lagoon, known for its shark diving experiences. 

Snorkeling in Fiji is also wonderful, with many of the beaches offering access to abundant marine life in shallow waters.

Moving on to Vanuatu!

Vanuatu is home to some of the world’s best wreck diving sites, including the SS President Coolidge, a World War II ship that sank off Santo Island. 

Popular snorkeling spots in Vanuatu include the Hideaway Island snorkeling experience where there is an underwater post office. Yes, you read that right – a post office underwater! This is the only underwater post office in the world, where you can literally mail a letter to any destination!

On Santo, you can also snorkel in the famous blue holes, Million Dollar Point or even at the gorgeous Champagne Beach. 

Overall, both Fiji and Vanuatu offer world-class diving and snorkeling experiences, with abundant marine life, colorful coral reefs, and spectacular underwater scenery.

But Vanuatu tops Fiji due to the quirky underwater post office, blue holes, and SS President Coolidge off Million Dollar Point. 

Diving and Snorkelling: Winner

Vanuatu

Accommodation: Vanuatu vs Fiji

Breakas resort port vila vanuatu is a stunning place to stay

Both Vanuatu and Fiji offer a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and travel styles. Let’s unpack both destinations to see which one comes out on top for the best accommodation.

In Fiji, you can find everything from luxury resorts and private villas to budget-friendly backpacker accommodations and homestays.

The major resort areas are located on the main island of Viti Levu and the Mamanuca and Yasawa islands. Most Fijian resorts offer a range of facilities and activities, including pools, restaurants, spas, and water sports.

Best budget option Fiji: Mantaray Island Resort 8.6/10 ⭐

Best luxury option Fiji: Toberua Island Resort 9.4/10 ⭐

Jetting over to Vanuatu, you can find a mix of international chain hotels and smaller, locally owned properties. The most popular resort areas in Vanuatu are located in Port Vila on Efate Island and the outer islands of Santo and Tanna.

In Vanuatu, you can find a range of options, including resorts, hotels, guesthouses, and bungalows. Vanuatu is known for its eco-tourism, and many of the accommodations are designed to be environmentally friendly.

It’s important to note, Vanuatu doesn’t have the greatest supply of accommodations, particularly on the islands. Make sure to book well in advance.

Best mid-range option Vanuatu: Breakas Beach Resort 8.2/10 ⭐

Best luxury option Vanuatu: Eratap Beach Resort 9.6/10 ⭐

Overall, I found Fiji to have more options, better amenities, and more comfortable rooms, in comparison to Vanuatu. Fiji takes the prize for accommodation.

Check out my Vanuatu travel guide if you’re interested in finding out where I stayed in Port Vila, Santo and Tanna.

Accommodation: Winner

Fiji

Which Has Better Food?

breakfast at turtle bay lodge in Vanuatu

Next up we have Vanuatu vs Fiji cuisine.

In Fiji, traditional cuisine includes dishes such as kokoda (a raw fish salad marinated in lime and coconut cream), lovo (a meal cooked in an underground oven), and rourou (a dish made with taro leaves and coconut milk).

And you can’t go past its fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and spicy curries. Many resorts in Fiji offer a range of options, from casual beachside cafes to fine dining restaurants serving a mix of local and international dishes.

In Vanuatu, traditional cuisine includes dishes such as lap lap (a meal made with taro or yam, coconut milk, and meat or fish, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven), and coconut crab.

Vanuatu is also known for its fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and French-influenced cuisine. Many restaurants in Vanuatu offer a mix of local and international cuisine, with a focus on fresh ingredients.

Overall, both Fiji and Vanuatu offer unique dishes, with a mix of traditional and international cuisine options.

Just to note though, if you are a foodie, Vanuatu and Fiji are likely not on the top of your list. They aren’t really places that you go to for the food, but nonetheless, you can still indulge in quality meals.

It really comes down to personal taste and preference when it comes to deciding which destination has better food so this one is a draw!

Food: Winner

Draw!

Vanuatu vs Fiji: the winner is…

vanuatu vs fiji

After all that it’s a draw!

In my personal opinion, Vanuatu offers more opportunities for adventure and exploration of natural attractions that you simply can’t find at many other places around the world.

But Fiji offers loads of gorgeous beaches, unbeatable sunsets, and fantastic resorts that make for an incredible holiday.

Here is a summary of the scores:

  • Attractions: Vanuatu
  • Budget: Fiji
  • Culture: Vanuatu
  • Beaches: Fiji
  • Snorkeling and Diving: Vanuatu
  • Accommodation: Fiji
  • Food: Draw

At the end of the day to decide whether Vanuatu or Fiji is better, you need to determine what kind of trip you want.

If are after a romantic, slow-paced, or relaxing holiday in a beautiful spot at a reasonable price, Fiji is for you.

But if you are keen on an off-the-beaten-path, adventure-packed, and culturally rich trip, Vanuatu should be right up your alley.

No matter what you pick, I guarantee you will have a blast! I wouldn’t be surprised if you return to the South Pacific to visit the other spot!

FAQS

By now you should have a good idea of which destination out of Fiji and Vanuatu is your personal pick, but you may have a few questions that you still want answered.

Below are my answers to some commonly asked questions.

Feel free to ask any additional questions in the comment section!

Where are Vanuatu and Fiji?

Vanuatu and Fiji are both island nations located in the South Pacific Ocean.

Vanuatu is east of northern Australia and northeast of New Caledonia. It consists of over 80 islands with the three biggest being Efate, Espiritu Santo, and Malakula.

A direct flight from Brisbane to Port Vila, Vanuatu is just under 3 hours. 

Fiji is located about northeast of New Zealand and north of New South Wales, Australia. It consists of over 330 islands, with the two largest islands being Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

A direct flight from Sydney to Nadi, Fiji is just under 4 hours.

Both Vanuatu and Fiji are popular travel destinations known for their stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm hospitality.

Particularly with Australians and New Zealand due to their close proximity. 

Is Vanuatu more expensive than Fiji?

The cost of living and travel expenses in Fiji and Vanuatu can vary depending on the specific location and activities you choose. Generally speaking though, Vanuatu is considered to be slightly more expensive than Fiji in terms of accommodation, food, and transport.

It is estimated that Port Vila, Vanuatu is around 20-30% more expensive than Nadi, Fiji. 

This includes higher prices for groceries, restaurant meals, and transport. 

Ultimately though the cost of your trip to Vanuatu or Fiji will depend on your travel style, the activities you want to do, and the type of accommodation you choose. 

Is Vanuatu a good place to go?

Heck yes, Vanuatu is a good place to go!

Vanuatu is a beautiful and unique travel destination that is definitely worth the trip. 

Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage, Vanuatu should be on your travel bucket list. 

There are plenty of things to see and do in Vanuatu. These include exploring the local markets, standing on the edge of Mt Yasur volcano, swimming in the blue holes, relaxing on the stunning Champagne beach, snorkeling or scuba diving to see the colorful coral reefs, and immersing yourself in the traditional customs and way of life of the ni-Vanuatu people.

Overall, Vanuatu offers a unique and memorable travel experience with something for everyone. From adventurous travelers to those looking for a relaxing getaway in a beautiful island paradise.

Is Vanuatu like Bali?

Vanuatu and Bali are both popular travel destinations in Asia and the South Pacific, but they are quite different in terms of culture, landscape, and overall travel experience.

Bali is known for its stunning beaches, affordable travel, gorgeous villas, and Hindu culture. It has a bustling tourist industry and is home to a range of resorts, restaurants, and nightclubs. 

In contrast, Vanuatu is more laid-back and fantastic for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. It has a rich Melanesian culture and is home to a diverse range of indigenous languages and customs. Vanuatu is known to be a rather expensive tourist destination for a less developed country. 

While both destinations offer beautiful landscapes and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, they have distinct cultural differences that make them unique from one another.

What is Vanuatu best known for?

Vanuatu is best known for its stunning natural beauty and unique culture. Here are some of the things that make Vanuatu stand out as a travel destination.

  • Culture: Vanuatu has a rich Melanesian culture, with over 100 indigenous languages and a unique traditional way of life.

  • Beaches: Vanuatu has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear waters and soft white sand.

  • Volcanoes: Vanuatu is home to several active volcanoes, including the famous Mount Yasur, which is one of the most accessible active volcanoes in the world.

  • Diving and snorkeling: Vanuatu is known for its spectacular underwater world, with colorful coral reefs, abundant marine life, and several sunken WWII wrecks.

  • Adventure: Vanuatu offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, kayaking, spear fishing, and zip-lining, making it perfect for adventure seekers.

Overall, Vanuatu is a unique and beautiful travel destination that offers a blend of stunning natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, and exciting outdoor activities.

Which coast of Fiji is the best?

Fiji is made up of over 330 islands, so you may be left wondering, what Island is best to visit? Here are some of the best coasts to visit in Fiji.

  • Coral Coast: The Coral Coast is located on the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island. It is known for its beautiful beaches, coral reefs, and clear waters.

  • Yasawa Islands: The Yasawa Islands are located northwest of Viti Levu and are known for their stunning beaches, turquoise waters, and excellent snorkeling and diving. The Yasawa Islands are also home to several luxury resorts and backpacker accommodations so you can spend a few nights on the islands.

  • Mamanuca Islands: The Mamanuca Islands are a group of 20 islands located off the west coast of Viti Levu. Home to several luxury resorts and popular tourist attractions, such as the Cloud 9 floating bar and the Modriki Island, which was featured in the movie “Cast Away”.

  • Vanua Levu: Vanua Levu is Fiji’s second-largest island and is located northeast of Viti Levu. It is known for its pristine rainforests, secluded beaches, and excellent diving and snorkeling. It is an ideal destination for travelers looking for a more remote and authentic Fiji experience.

Overall, Fiji is a stunning travel destination with many beautiful coasts to explore, each offering its own unique charms and attractions.

What language do they speak in Vanuatu?

In Vanuatu, there are over 100 indigenous languages spoken, making it one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world. The official languages of Vanuatu are Bislama, English, and French, with Bislama being the most widely spoken. 

What language do they speak in Fiji?

In Fiji, the official languages are Fijian, English, and Fiji Hindi. Fiji Hindi is a dialect of Hindi that developed among Indian immigrants to Fiji, who make up a significant minority of the population.

English is widely spoken in both Vanuatu and Fiji, especially in tourist destinations. As a traveler to both countries, you likely won’t encounter too many language barriers.

The Wrap-Up: Vanuatu vs Fiji

And there you have it! The ultimate comparison guide for Vanuatu Vs Fiji!

Who wins in your eyes? Let me know in the comments Vanuatu or Fiji?!

Up next, check out my comparison guide of Vanuatu vs New Caledonia for another battle of the Pacific Islands!

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