Fiji or Hawaii An Honest Guide To Choosing in 2024

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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Fiji and Hawaii are well known for their glorious beaches, rich culture, and diverse landscapes, so it’s understandable that choosing between these tropical destinations can prove challenging. While you certainly won’t regret visiting Fiji or Hawaii, the truth is that depending on what you have in mind for your vacation, one of these islands might be better suited to your needs and expectations.

Suppose you are an adventure seeker who gets excited by otherworldly landscapes, which feature active volcanoes and jungle, not to mention incredible surf beaches. In that case, Hawaii is the one for you. However, if you dream of a beach getaway in a tropical yet affordable destination with a rich culture and heritage, Fiji might be up your street.

In this article, I will share the main differences between these two sought-after destinations so that you can choose the one that will ensure a memorable trip for all. Firstly, here is a quick overview of the key differences between the two islands.

Na-Pali-Coast-On-Kauai-On-Hawaii
Hawaii’s dramatic landscape

A Brief Overview & Comparison: Fiji Vs. Hawaii

So, while you won’t go wrong by choosing Fiji or Hawaii, you might notice that one of these destinations better suits your needs and expectations.

Fiji will allow you to relax, unwind, and discover incredible diving sites and castaway islands. At the same time, Hawaii will allow you to hike active volcanoes or visit places like Pearl Harbor.

Fiji is ideal for couples, friends, or solo travelers, while Hawaii is geared toward adventure seekers and families. In terms of affordability, you might get more bang for your buck in Fiji, allowing you to extend your vacation or enjoy more activities, while Hawaii will take a bit more planning to save money.

Personally, for a wide range of activities, the dramatic landscape, and the chance to experience a real-life ‘luau,’ I would visit Oahu, Hawaii, which is an affordable option with stunning beaches and a fantastic landscape. So, which destination would you choose?

Fiji

  • An affordable beach destination
  • Great for island hopping
  • Calmer and warmer sea than Hawaii
  • Better snorkeling/diving opportunities

Hawaii

  • Ideal for hiking and adventures
  • A top surfing destination
  • Dramatic landscape
  • More westernized than Fiji

As you can tell, there are a few key differences between the dreamy islands of Fiji and Hawaii, and this might have already influenced your choice, but let’s delve deeper. If you are searching for a getaway with many accommodations for all budgets, Fiji is the place to go since Hawaii is renowned for being an expensive destination.

In addition, Fiji has over 300 islands, so you will have your pick of places to stay and can even stay on multiple islands during one vacation, which is exciting.

If culture is your thing, you will undoubtedly get to soak up the rich heritage of Hawaiian culture, but it is notoriously more Westernized than Fiji since it is a U.S. state.

For a more authentic cultural experience, Fiji is probably your best option, and it is also one of the best destinations worldwide for snorkeling and diving.

Houses-Of-Navala-Village-Fiji
Traditional Fijian houses

In contrast, Hawaii is a dream destination for families, couples, and solo travelers who seek adventure. From hiking volcanoes to surfing on the world’s best beaches, there is always something to keep your adrenaline pumping on the island.

However, those looking for a relaxed getaway can also find stunning beach resorts and retreats, making Hawaii an ideal destination for all interests, albeit at a higher price.

Fiji vs. Hawaii: A Quick Guide to Choosing

We know it’s hard to decide between these two islands in the Pacific Ocean, so let us break it down a little further with our Fiji and Hawaii mini guides.

Fiji Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 18,274km2 (about the area of New Jersey)
  • Population – 924,610
  • Rainy Season – November – April
  • High Season – July – September
  • Top Sights – Yasawa Islands, Suva, Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park, Natadola Beach, Robinson Crusoe Island
  • Major Airports – Nadi International Airport

Fiji is known as ‘The Soft Coral Capital of the World’ because of its world-class coral reefs and sensational diving sites, and given that it has many islands to explore, this is a haven for underwater enthusiasts.

Fijis’ smaller islands are much less crowded than those of Hawaii, making it ideal for those who seek a remote island getaway and a sense of tranquility, all paired with raw nature and fascinating culture.

Fijian-Anemonefish-And-Reef
Fiji is well known for its dive sites

Hawaii Mini Guide

  • Location Size – 11,672km2 (about half the area of New Jersey)
  • Population – 442 million
  • Rainy Season – November – March
  • High Season – December – February
  • Top Sights – Waimea Canyon State National Park, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
  • Major Airports – Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu is the central hub

As you might notice, Hawaii is much bigger than Fiji in size and population, meaning there will undoubtedly be more crowds here during the peak season. With that being said, Hawaii is a popular destination for great reasons; just take the incredible hiking opportunities or historic sites.

The Five Key Differences Between Fiji & Hawaii

How do the beaches and the landscape compare?

Fiji: Beaches and landscape

Fiji has world-class beaches and calmer waters than Hawaii, making this a prime destination for a beach holiday. In addition, the underwater world in this location is extraordinary, so divers or those keen on snorkeling will love that they chose Fiji for this reason.

While the landscape is not as dramatic as Hawaii, Fiji is certainly not flat; it features plenty of green rolling hills, and the chance to venture off to your remote castaway island is easily done in Fiji.

Beachside-Villas-In-Fiji
Fiji is the ultimate tropical destination

Hawaii: Beaches and landscape:

Hawaii is world famous for its surf, so as you might guess, the beaches here are more rugged than those of Fiji, yet there are some stunning beaches, especially on the island of Oahu.

Waikiki Beach and its energetic vibe is a top tourist destination, with excellent nightlife and a fun atmosphere, but that’s not to say you won’t find idyllic, tranquil beaches throughout Hawaii – there are lots!

In terms of landscape, Hawaii wins with its incredibly dramatic landscape, which is what attracts tourists worldwide, not to mention its famous landmarks, so if this is something you are excited to explore on vacation, then Hawaii is for you.

Which island is better for activities

Fiji: Activities

Fiji has the perfect mix of relaxation and fun, with plenty of water-based activities to get involved in. You cannot visit Fiji without doing at least one underwater activity, like snorkeling with sharks, but chances are you won’t want to stop. Fiji is also an ideal place to go on sailing cruises and explore a variety of remote islands, which ensure you get away from the crowds, which is not the case in Hawaii, so if you want to enjoy a mix of fun and relaxed activities at your own pace, Fiji is for you.

Hawaii: Activities

Hawaii is much more developed than Fiji because it is a U.S. State, so you will find plenty of jaw-dropping activities and fantastic infrastructure here. The island state is well known for its incredible hikes, surfing opportunities, great underwater adventures, and wide range of family-friendly activities, so if it is more than just a typical beach holiday you want, then you better choose Hawaii over Fiji.

A-Man-Surfing-In-Hawaii
Surfing is a common pastime in Hawaii

Which island is cheaper?

Fiji: Affordability

This is always a common question when planning a trip, especially if you want to eat out, do many activities, stay in friendly hotels, or if you are traveling with your family.

Fiji is undoubtedly much cheaper than Hawaii, but it is not considered a ‘cheap’ destination. While there are plenty of budget accommodations and luxury resorts to choose from, as well as local eateries and tourist restaurants, the truth is that Fiji’s economy relies on tourism. Hence, the prices are higher than the likes of Bali or Thailand, for example, but more affordable than Hawaii.

Hawaii: Affordability

Hawaii is part of the United States, so it is considerably more expensive than Fiji, which you will notice when booking activities, hotels, and eating out.

Oahu is considered the cheapest island in Hawaii, and many budget travelers travel outside of peak season to save money. Hawaii has some of the highest taxes and fees in the U.S., which is worth knowing before you fly there, and it is always worth checking hidden fees, like resort fees, etc., before booking.

The-Famous-Waikiki-Beach-Hawaii
The famous Waikiki Beach, Hawaii

Which island is better for a cultural experience?

Fiji: Culture

This incredibly friendly and warm island nation has a history and culture that goes back centuries, making it a fascinating place to discover. Cultural enthusiasts will have plenty to keep them entertained, like witnessing walking on hot coal ceremonies or the traditional Fijian dance known as meke. While the culture of Hawaii is widely known, the Fijian culture is lesser-known, making this a unique experience for those who want to immerse themselves in a very different way of life and traditions.

Hawaii: Culture

There is no denying that the culture of Hawaii is captivating and heartwarming. The ‘luau,’ the world-famous Hawaiian feast, is something people travel long distances to experience, not to mention the famous Hawaiian ‘hula.’ As well as having various exciting traditional experiences, there are plenty of museums and historic sites all over the state, most notably Pearl Harbor, which will undoubtedly intrigue history buffs.

Volcanoes-National-Park-Hawaii
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must-visit

Which island has the best food?

Fijian Cuisine:

One of the key things when comparing Fiji vs. Hawaii is the cuisine both islands offer; food is an exciting travel element for many of us. Fijian food is an eclectic mix of Indian and indigenous cuisine, consisting of fish curry, raw fish salad, and many delicious coconut-based dishes.

The ‘lovo’ is a Fijian feast comprised of fish and vegetables wrapped in banana leaves and baked underground, which is often prepared on special occasions, and if you get the chance to try this, you must!

Fijian-Kokoda-Food
Kokoda, raw fish salad is a typical dish of Fiji

Hawaiin Cuisine:

The cuisine of Hawaii is an even more eclectic mix of regions than Fiji. It consists of American-style, Polynesian, European, and Japanese food, making it a haven for food lovers. In Hawaii, you will find casual street food options and fine dining options, with plenty of dishes to try, including ‘loco moco’ (a burger steak, fried eggs, and gravy) and kalua pork, typical at a luau.

Three Questions to Help You Decide: Fiji Vs. Hawaii

Honolulu-Hawaii
Honolulu, Hawaii

Beach or adventure?

If you seek a tropical beach holiday, where you can visit a different remote island every day and sip cocktails on the beach between snorkeling sessions, then Fiji is for you. In contrast, Hawaii is ideal if you can be active or laze on the beach; plus, it is better suited to families with many exciting things to do for all ages. Fiji has many fun activities like tubing, zip lining, and quad biking, so you will not be bored here, but if you want more challenging activities, Hawaii might be more suitable.

When are you planning to go?

This is an essential question since Fiji and Hawaii have opposite seasons. If you plan to travel from July to September, Fiji is the better option; however, if you plan to take a trip from December to February, it must be Hawaii. If you are flexible and on a budget, it is best to choose the shoulder season to lower the costs and beat the peak season crowds in both destinations.

Do you want to experience a different culture?

While both islands have a rich and distinct culture, which adds to their charm, Fiji boasts a lesser-known culture that will prove more fascinating to those who want to delve into the world of superstitions, fire walking, and traditional dancing. Hawaii has a fantastic culture, so visiting this state won’t limit your opportunities to experience fun cultural activities. However, since it is a familiar and more Westernized culture, it might not prove as authentic as Fiji.

About The Author

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book ‘The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as ‘The best things to do’ and ‘The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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Picture of Jade Poleon

Jade Poleon

Jade is a seasoned traveller, yoga enthusiast, adventure seeker and travel writer passionate about seeing the world and sharing hidden gems with others. As well as having travelled to 91 countries thus far, she has written for several websites and published her first book ‘The Ultimate Irish Road Trip Guide’. She is a keen writer of satirical articles, as well as ‘The best things to do’ and ‘The best dishes to try’ around the globe. Jade is currently on a campervan adventure around Europe, where she continues to get her travel and food inspiration. She is excited to share what she discovers with her readers.

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