Vanua Levu Travel Guide

Discover the best things to do in Vanua Levu, Fiji's second-largest island. Plan your trip with our comprehensive travel guide featuring must-see attractions, hiking and biking routes, food and drink scene, where to stay, and more.

Looking for an off-the-beaten-path island paradise in Fiji? Look no further than Vanua Levu, the country’s second-largest island, located in Melanesia, in Oceania. Known for its natural beauty, friendly locals, and rich cultural heritage, Vanua Levu offers a wide range of activities and attractions for travelers seeking an authentic island experience. In this ultimate travel guide to Vanua Levu, we’ll cover everything you need to know to plan your trip to this tropical paradise.

Introduction to Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu is the second-largest island in Fiji, covering an area of 5,587 square kilometers. It is located to the north of the main island, Viti Levu, and is known for its rugged interior, pristine beaches, and coral reefs. The island is home to a diverse population, including indigenous Fijians, Indo-Fijians, and European expats. Traditional culture and customs are still very much alive in Vanua Levu, making it a unique destination for travelers looking for an authentic island experience.

List of Places to Visit in Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu has something for everyone, from pristine beaches to dense rainforests and traditional villages. Here are some of the top places to visit on the island:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Savusavu Cultural Centre: Learn about the history and culture of Vanua Levu at this museum located in the town of Savusavu.

  • Bouma National Heritage Park: Explore the lush rainforests and ancient ruins of the Bouma National Heritage Park, located on the eastern side of the island.

  • Labasa Museum: Discover the history of the region at this small museum located in the town of Labasa.

Natural Attractions of Vanua Levu: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Waisali Rainforest Reserve: Experience the beauty of Vanua Levu’s rainforests at the Waisali Rainforest Reserve, located near Labasa in the island’s north.

  • Koroyanitu National Heritage Park: Hike to scenic waterfalls and enjoy panoramic views of the island from the top of Mount Batilamu in this beautiful park located on the nearby island of Viti Levu.

  • Savusavu Hot Springs: Relax in the natural hot springs in the town of Savusavu, known for their healing properties.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu offers some excellent hiking and biking routes for travelers looking to explore the island’s natural beauty. Here are some of the top routes:

  • Wailevu East Coast Road: This scenic route runs along the eastern coast of the island and offers stunning views of the ocean.

  • Savusavu Waterfall Hike: This moderate hike takes you through the rainforest to a beautiful waterfall where you can swim.

  • Natewa Peninsula Track: This challenging hike runs along the rugged Natewa Peninsula, offering breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding islands.

Best Things to Do in Vanua Levu: Activities and Tours

Vanua Levu offers a wealth of activities and tours for travelers of all ages and interests. Here are some of the top things to do on the island:

  • Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Explore the colorful coral reefs and abundant marine life surrounding the island. Some of the top dive sites include Namena Marine Reserve and Rainbow Reef.

  • Beach Hopping: Vanua Levu has some of the most pristine beaches in Fiji, including Nukubalavu Beach, Savusavu Beach, and Naqelelevu Beach.

  • Fishing: The waters around Vanua Levu are home to a variety of fish, including marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, and wahoo. Book a fishing charter for a chance to catch your own dinner.

Week-Long Itinerary for Vanua Levu

If you’re planning a week-long trip to Vanua Levu, here’s a sample itinerary to help you make the most of your time on the island:

Day Activity
1 Arrive in Labasa, explore the town and visit the Labasa Museum
2 Hike to the waterfalls in Waisali Rainforest Reserve
3 Relax at Savusavu Hot Springs and explore the town of Savusavu
4 Scuba dive or snorkel at Namena Marine Reserve
5 Take a day trip to Taveuni Island and hike in Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
6 Beach hop along the island’s north coast and enjoy a fishing charter
7 Depart from Labasa

Food and Drink Scene of Vanua Levu

Vanua Levu is known for its fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional Fijian cuisine. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  • Kokoda: A traditional Fijian dish made with raw fish marinated in coconut cream and lime juice.

  • Lovo: A feast cooked in an underground oven, featuring meat, fish, and vegetables wrapped in taro leaves.

  • Duruka: A type of edible fern that is often served with fish or meat.

Local Beverages

  • Kava: A traditional Fijian drink made from the roots of the kava plant. It has a mild sedative effect and is often drunk at social gatherings.

  • Coconut Water: A refreshing drink made from the water inside young coconuts.

Where to Stay in Vanua Levu: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Vanua Levu has a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and preferences. Some of the top places to stay include:

  • Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort: A luxury eco-resort located on the island’s north coast, offering villas and bungalows with ocean views.

  • Koro Sun Resort and Rainforest Spa: A boutique resort located near Savusavu, offering villas and bures with private plunge pools and rainforest views.

  • Labasa Hotel: A budget-friendly hotel located in the town of Labasa, offering basic rooms and a restaurant serving Fijian cuisine.

What to Buy in Vanua Levu: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Looking for the perfect souvenir or gift to bring back home? Here are some of the top local products to buy in Vanua Levu:

  • Tapa Cloth: A traditional cloth made from bark that is often decorated with intricate designs.

  • Fijian Pearls: Cultured pearls that are unique to Fiji and are available in various colors and sizes.

  • Coconut Oil: Produced locally, coconut oil is used in cooking and as a beauty product.

Local Culture and Customs of Vanua Levu

Fijian culture is rich and diverse, with traditions that are still very much a part of daily life. Here are some customs and practices to keep in mind when visiting Vanua Levu:

  • Dress Modestly: When visiting villages or attending Fijian ceremonies, it is important to dress modestly and avoid showing too much skin.

  • Remove Your Shoes: When entering a Fijian home or a sacred space, it is customary to remove your shoes.

  • Respect Elders: Elders are highly respected in Fijian culture, so be sure to show them proper deference and respect.

Best Time to Visit Vanua Levu

The best time to visit Vanua Levu is between May and October, when the weather is dry and sunny. The peak tourist season runs from July to September, so expect higher prices and larger crowds during this time.

Do’s and Don’ts of Vanua Levu

When traveling to Vanua Levu, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


  • Respect Local Customs: Learn about local customs and follow them when visiting villages or attending ceremonies.

  • Try Fijian Cuisine: Sample the delicious local cuisine, including fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional dishes.

  • Bring Mosquito Repellent: Vanua Levu is home to mosquitoes, so be sure to bring insect repellent to avoid bites.


  • Touch Sulu: Sulu is the Fijian word for the traditional skirt worn by men and women. Touching someone else’s sulu is considered disrespectful.

  • Wear Your Shoes Indoors: Remove your shoes before entering a Fijian home or a sacred space.

  • Give Money Directly to Children: Instead, donate to local schools or community projects through reputable organizations.

Safety and Health

Vanua Levu is a relatively safe destination for travelers. However, it’s important to take precautions to ensure a safe and healthy trip.

Safety in Vanua Levu

  • Avoid Drinking Tap Water: Stick to bottled water or boiled water to avoid getting sick.

  • Protect Yourself from Mosquito Bites: Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus, so be sure to use insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.

  • Be Safe on the Roads: If you’re driving, be aware of the narrow and winding roads on the island, and be sure to use caution when passing other vehicles.

Health in Vanua Levu

  • Get Vaccinated: Be sure to get up-to-date on your routine vaccines, as well as any recommended vaccines for Fiji.

  • Take Precautions to Avoid Dengue Fever and Zika Virus: This includes using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and staying in air-conditioned or screened accommodations.

  • Pack a First Aid Kit: Bring supplies such as bandages, antiseptic, and medication for common travel ailments.

Getting to Vanua Levu: Transportation Options and Logistics

Vanua Levu is accessible by plane and ferry. Here are some transportation options to help you plan your trip:

Airports Near Vanua Levu

  • Savusavu Airport: Located near the town of Savusavu, this airport offers international and domestic flights.

  • Labasa Airport: Located in the town of Labasa, this airport offers domestic flights to and from Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu.

Ferries to Vanua Levu

  • Taveuni Ferry: A passenger ferry that runs between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, with stops in the towns of Nabouwalu and Waiyevo.

  • Goundar Shipping: A cargo ferry that also offers passenger services between Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and the nearby islands.

Other Options

  • Private Charter: If you’re looking for a more luxurious way to travel, consider hiring a private charter plane or yacht to access the island.

  • Local Transport: Once on the island, you can get around by bus, taxi, or rental car.

How to Get Around in Vanua Levu

Getting around Vanua Levu is relatively easy. Here are some options for transportation on the island:

  • Bus: Local buses run regularly between the major towns on the island.

  • Taxi: Taxis are available in the major towns, and can be hired for private tours and transportation.

  • Rental Car: If you’re looking for more flexibility, you can rent a car from one of the major rental companies on the island.

Where to Go Next from Vanua Levu: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

If you have time to explore more of Fiji, here are some nearby destinations and excursions to consider:

  • Taveuni Island: Known as the “Garden Island” of Fiji, Taveuni is home to lush rainforests, pristine beaches, and world-class diving.

  • Lomaiviti Islands: This group of islands in central Fiji is home to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites in the country.

  • Yasawa Islands: A remote chain of islands located northwest of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. Known for their stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters.


Vanua Levu is a tropical paradise that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, traditional culture, and adventure. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine beaches, hike through rainforests, or immerse yourself in Fijian culture, Vanua Levu has something for everyone. Use this comprehensive travel guide to plan your dream trip to this Pacific island gem.