Located on Fiji’s largest island, Nadi (pronounced Nandi) is the main cruise port for the South Pacific nation. While there are a few things to see and do here — namely, shopping at a handicrafts market and admiring the colorful Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu temple (Fiji’s population is split between indigenous Melanesians and Indians who arrived in the 19th century) — Nadi is also the gateway to nearby islands and their underwater treasures.
What We Love
The Fijians: Get ready to hear the effusive local greeting, “Bula!” over and over as you encounter some of the South Pacific’s most gregarious people. And their singing voices are incredible — if you visit on a Sunday, try to stop into a church.
Access to the Yasawas: To see what all the fuss is about, take a day trip from Nadi to one of the Yasawa Islands nearby, where you can experience local village life (including meeting the chief) or relax on pristine beaches that feel a thousand miles away from any ounce of civilization.
Handicrafts Market: The Fijians — once fierce warriors who practiced cannibalism — are now peace-loving, but replicas of ancient tools such as tanoa bowls, war clubs, and cannibal forks make fun souvenirs.
Best Known For
Traditional Ceremonies: Drinking kava (made by crushing the root of a native pepper plant) is an important ritual in Fiji — and you can try the mouth-numbing intoxicant on certain tours. Fire walking is a talent of Fijians from the outlying Beqa island, but it’s not something that visitors should attempt on their own!
Diving: Fiji is the soft-coral capital of the South Pacific, so if scuba is a passion, this is the place to indulge.
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Who It's Best For
Culture Lovers: Fiji's intriguing history and population mix make the island a compelling stop for the culturally curious.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Nadi's Beaches Are Disappointing: You won’t really find those perfect sugary-sand beaches here. Even at the city’s main resort area, Denarau Island, the sand is a paper-bag brown that's not great for photos.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.