Are you trying to decide between Fiji vs. Maldives for your next tropical getaway? You’re in the right place!
Fiji and the Maldives are both wonderful places to unwind, relax, and get away from it all. Whether you’re visiting for your honeymoon, the vacation of a lifetime, or just to get in a little time at the beach, both of these locations are unforgettable settings.
With pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and coral reefs for snorkeling and exploration, you really can’t go wrong.
However, Fiji is located in the South Pacific, and the Maldives are in the Indian Ocean, so it’s not feasible to visit both of these destinations in one trip. You can also book an unforgettable stay in an overwater bungalow in Fiji or the Maldives.
So, you’ll definitely need to decide if Fiji or the Maldives is the right destination for your tropical getaway. Keep reading for the inside scoop on these incredible tropical paradises so you can choose the right one for your trip.
Fiji vs Maldives: Which One Is Better?
Many people struggle to decide between Fiji and the Maldives for their tropical vacations because both of these destinations are bucket list worthy. The truth is that there’s no one right choice. Each could be perfect for you, depending on the type of trip you’re looking for and your budget.
Fiji is a tropical archipelago in the South Pacific with an incredible collection of over 300 islands. This incredible destination is home to some of the world’s most beautiful coral reefs, lagoons, jungles, and, of course, idyllic beaches.
The Maldives are a collection of 1,192 islands and 26 coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. It is a remote destination that is known for its exclusive, ultra-luxurious resorts, lush green landscapes, and pristine beaches. Many of the resorts are located on private islands, so they’re ultra-exclusive.
Most resorts in Fiji and the Maldives have bungalows and villas that are mere steps from the beach. These destinations have clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches that feel like they’re straight out of a postcard.
You can find wonderful resorts in both Fiji and the Maldives. However, the Fijian resorts will tend to be more affordable, and the Maldivian resorts will tend to be more exclusive.
Key Differences Between Fiji vs. Maldives
The Maldives are especially luxurious and exclusive, while Fiji is a relaxing destination that’s a favorite for adventurous travelers. Both countries are fabulous places to visit for an unforgettable vacation, but there are some key differences to keep in mind.
Costs & Prices
Truthfully, Fiji and the Maldives are both expensive places to visit. Between the two, Fiji is by far the more budget-friendly location. Fiji is located in the South Pacific, near other tourist destinations like Tahiti, which tend to create competition and drive prices down.
The Maldives are known for having high-end luxury resorts. Many of these resorts are set on their own private islands that are primarily accessible by seaplanes, which certainly increases their costs. However, it is possible to visit the Maldives on a budget, especially if you’re willing to carefully plan your trip.
You can save money when visiting both Fiji and the Maldives by traveling during the low season, which is the cheapest time during the year.
The weather is tropical in both Fiji and the Maldives. Both destinations have a dry season and a wet season, which correspond with their high and low seasons for travel. Average temperatures in Fiji range from 77-86 degrees fahrenheit, while the Maldives are a comfortable 83 degrees fahrenheit year round.
The peak of the low season for the Maldives is June, so that’s the best time to book your travel and score a great deal. Remember, it’s the low season for a reason – June is the rainiest time in the Maldives. The Maldives typically see 14 days of rain in June. The dry season in the Maldives runs from November to April.
Fiji’s rainy season lasts from November to April, with February being the wettest month. During February, Fiji typically sees about 15 days of rain. Fiji’s dry season runs from May to September.
Traditional dishes in Fiji include Kokoda, a ceviche-like soup that is prepared by first marinating raw fish in lime and lemon juices. Then, coconut milk, chilies, tomatoes, and onions are added to make a hearty and flavorful dish. Curries and other dishes made with taro, rice, sweet potatoes, and coconuts are also popular.
The food in the Maldives is largely imported, which leads to increased prices at the resorts. However, you can get around this if you’re willing to eat local meals. The islands of Maafushi and Hulhumale are both great for local experiences without the hefty price tags you’ll find elsewhere.
Traditional dishes in the Maldives include fried yams, fish curries, dumplings, and lobster. Similar to Fijian cuisine, you’ll see many dishes that include fish, coconut, chilies, citrus, and local tubers.
Fijians are famous for being friendly, welcoming, and warm. Fiji is a multi-cultural, multi-racial country with a variety of religious groups, which contributes to a high level of tolerance among the local population.
Traditional Fijian cultural ceremonies include the Lovo, a method of cooking large quantities of food under the group. Fijian music and kava ceremonies are also practiced throughout the islands, and sometimes these experiences are open to foreigners.
Culture in the Maldives is influenced by the country’s Islamic roots and proximity to India. Maldivians are expert craftsmen, especially when it comes to wood carving and lacquerwork.
Note that locals in the Maldives dress more conservatively than you’ll see in Fiji, and drinking is not usually allowed outside of the resorts.
Beaches & Landscape
Fiji and the Maldives both have incredible beaches, along with snorkeling and other underwater activities. The lagoons in the Maldives are shallow, with clear water where the sea bottom is often visible. Fiji has a large number of lagoons, barrier reefs, and passages, so there is slightly more diversity for snorkeling.
Although the beaches are very similar, the landscapes are very different. The Maldives are flat, so you won’t find activities like hiking or ATV tours. Fiji, by contrast, is more rugged and has a collection of hills and mountains that you can hike and explore.
Both the Maldives and Fiji are safe places to visit, and most visitors enjoy their vacations without any issues.
However, when compared to the Maldives, Fiji is the slightly safer choice. According to the US State Department, Fiji is a level 1 destination, the safest level on the scale. Travelers are encouraged to exercise all normal precautions, including minding their belongings when out and about.
The Maldives is a level 2 destination, and travelers are encouraged to exercise increased caution due to threats of terrorism. Visitors are encouraged to avoid demonstrations and crowds, monitor local media for updates, and remain aware of their surroundings.
Again, don’t worry too much about these designations – the scale goes to level 4, and most travelers visit both Fiji and the Maldives without any issues.
Fiji vs. Maldives: Which is Better To Visit in 2023?
We’ve shared lots of information about Fiji and the Maldives so far. If you’re still trying to decide between Fiji vs. Maldives, here’s some additional information to help you make the right choice for your dream vacation.
Fiji or Maldives for a Honeymoon
Both Fiji and the Maldives are fabulous honeymoon destinations, albeit at different price points. Fiji is more budget-friendly, while the Maldives offers exclusive, ultra-luxurious resorts that are often located on private islands.
It’s worth noting that the overwater bungalows in Fiji are slightly more spacious than the overwater accommodations you’ll find in the Maldives or other French Polynesian locations.
Is Fiji More Expensive Than Maldives?
In general, the Maldives are a much more expensive destination than Fiji. Some resorts in the Maldives have amenities like a personal butler who is assigned to you for the duration of your stay. Fiji has a variety of resorts and accommodations at different price points, unlike the private island oases in the Maldives.
Which Is Better for Tourists?
Both Fiji and the Maldives are great destinations for tourists. However, most activities in the Maldives are geared towards relaxation, so if your idea of traveling is more adventurous, you’ll definitely want to choose Fiji.
There are a number of exciting and adventurous activities to choose from in Fiji, including diving, cultural tours, and ATV excursions. You can also hike, island hop, and enjoy adventure sports like ziplining and white-water rafting.
Fiji: Best Things To Do
There are plenty of things to do besides hanging out and relaxing in your overwater bungalow. Travelers tend to return to Fiji over and over for the islands’ exciting adventures, like scuba diving, snorkeling, and waterfall trekking.
Accordingly, most popular activities in Fiji take place in and near the water. Most resorts and hotels provide complimentary equipment for snorkeling, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding (SUP).
You can also enjoy cultural events, like visiting a local town or village, attending a kava ceremony, or watching a fire dance. For the chance to see even more of Fiji, you can take an ATV tour and explore the islands on four wheels.
You’d be remiss to visit Fiji and miss out on its incredible diving and snorkeling. Fiji boasts some of the most beautiful diving reefs in the South Pacific. You can swim alongside schools of colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, rays, and other marine life.
Beqa Lagoon is one of the most famous snorkeling spots in Fiji because you can swim with reef sharks. Don’t worry, the sharks are generally very timid and only approach if baited or otherwise encouraged. Many visitors have said that swimming with the sharks has been the highlight of their snorkeling excursion.
Unlike in the Maldives, Fiji is tidal. That means that you can’t always snorkel or swim in Fiji; you’ll need to be mindful of the tides and local conditions when you set out. You can avoid the planning and book a snorkeling tour, which will also offer the best chance at seeing Fiji’s incredible marine life.
Unlike in the Maldives, there are a lot of opportunities for tourists to meet locals. Many resorts and hotels offer cultural tours and experiences, so you can learn about ancient Fijian culture. Not only will it enhance your experience in Fiji, but it’s also a fun way to meet locals and step away from your resort.
You can take a cultural night tour in Fiji, which includes a tour of a local village. You’ll then have the opportunity to join for a traditional kava ceremony, watch a fire dance, and experience a Meke performance. Meke is the traditional Fijian style of dance, where dance is combined with expressive storytelling.
If you don’t have time to take a full tour, be sure to try a traditional kava ceremony.
Fire dances in Fiji combine music, dance, and fire for a spectacular show that is rooted in the history and traditions of the South Pacific. Local Fijians will amaze you with their ability to twirl and dance with batons that are lit on fire on both ends.
The Fijian night is the perfect setting to watch the performance, and you’re sure to be mesmerized by the flames.
One of the best ways to see Fiji’s incredible landscapes is from atop an ATV. You can zip around the island and see some of its most impressive views and vantage points, allowing you to see far more of Fiji than most people get to experience from their resort.
As a bonus, it’s a fun activity that’s perfect for thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies.
Whereas the highest elevation in the Maldives is only about 3 feet above sea level, Fiji tops out at 2,172 feet. So if you have any interest in renting an ATV and exploring a tropical paradise, Fiji is the destination for you.
Kava is the national drink of Fiji. Traditionally, kava was served in order to settle feuds between villagers and encourage an overall sense of harmony.
Many travelers love to experience a traditional Fijian kava ceremony, which is the traditional way to consume the drink. It has a mild sedative and narcotic effect, mostly resulting in a sense of calm and relaxation along with numbness in your mouth and throat.
During the ceremony, you’ll present the leader with a kava root, and they’ll use it to prepare the drink. There are traditional ways to receive and drink the kava. The ceremonies are joyous affairs, full of laughter and smiles.
Maldives: Best Things To Do
Most of the activities in the Maldives are geared towards relaxation, like watching the night sky and trying your hand at sunset fishing.
You can take a full-day snorkeling tour, stargaze on a remote beach, go fishing, or spend some time under the sea.
Spend your day learning about the tropical fish and marine life in the Maldives. On a full-day snorkeling tour, you can see vibrant coral reefs, sea turtles, reef sharks, nurse sharks, and rays. Additionally, you can see marine gardens with corals, sea sponges, and anemones, with the occasional moray eel.
After a full day of snorkeling at all of the best spots, many tours offer a sunset dolphin cruise. You can watch dolphins leap out of the water and sometimes even race the boat as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s the perfect way to end an idyllic day on the water in a tropical paradise.
Remember to take care of and not to touch or disturb the corals when snorkeling. They are essential to the fragile local ecosystems.
✔️ Spend the Night Stargazing
The Maldives are very remote, so they have very little pollution. Accordingly, the islands boast incredible evening skies, full of expansive starscapes.
The best place to stargaze is from an empty beach away from the light pollution of your resort or the city of Male. Many resorts set on private islands have a collection of private beaches where you can stargaze in privacy. A private beach would be the perfect place for your evening of stargazing.
In the idyllic Maldives, where the waters glisten in brilliant shades of turquoise, you’ll want to immortalize your beachside memories. And what better way to do so than with an unforgettable underwater photoshoot experience?
Discover the beauty of the Maldives through the lens of a personal photographer and create memories that will last a lifetime. You can book an underwater photoshoot and receive a treasure trove of high-quality photographs that will transport you back to this paradise for years to come.
Each image preserves the magic of your trip, from the sun-soaked beaches to the vibrant marine world below. You’ll also receive a professionally edited 60-second video which is the perfect addition to your social media feed or a heartfelt gift to family and friends.
✔️ Dine Under the Sea
Underwater dining is one of the most incredible experiences you can have when in the Maldives. There are restaurants built beneath the surface of the water so that you can literally dine under the sea.
One of the most memorable aspects of underwater dining is the mesmerizing marine panorama from your table. You can enjoy an unforgettable meal while you watch colorful tropical fish swim by, and you might even get to see a shark from your dinner table.
The Maldives has several underwater restaurants, but Only BLU is a popular choice that’s not too far from Malé. You can book dinner at Only BLU without staying at the OBLU NATURE resort, but it’s best that you reserve a table as early as possible.
The Maldives offer captivating sunset fishing expeditions, which are the perfect mix of relaxation and thrill for this laid-back destination.
On a sunset fishing tour, you’ll set off in pursuit of the tropical fish around the island of Malé. As you wait for the fish to bite, soak in the breathtaking vistas of the Maldivian coastline and the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean. This activity caters to both seasoned anglers and novices, ensuring an enjoyable experience for all.
Complimentary snacks and beverages are offered on board. If you’d like, you can pre-book a barbecue dinner for an extra fee.
Note that the provided beverages do not include alcoholic options.
The Wrap-Up: Fiji vs Maldives
Both Fiji and the Maldives are incredible tropical vacation destinations, but they cater to different types of visitors. Most people go to the Maldives to relax and get away from it all, so the activities are generally very low-key.
Fiji is an adventurous island destination for thrill seekers and those who love to explore while they’re on vacation.
During a visit to the Maldives, you’re likely to spend most of your trip in your resort. There is a large separation between the tourists and locals in the Maldives, and most visitors only have a few chances to interact with locals during their trip.
Fiji, by contrast, has fewer private islands and more public spaces, making it easier for locals and tourists to interact.
By far, the biggest difference in these destinations is the price tags. The Maldives is a much more luxurious destination, with world-class resorts and amenities and commiserate price tags. Meanwhile, Fiji is comparably more budget-friendly, with many affordable accommodations, activities, and dining options.