If you enjoy travel to Hawaii, you are going to love visiting Fiji. We found the two destinations to be very similar. Both are island chains located in the Pacific Ocean, both have a Polynesian feel, and both have rainforest canopies and long sandy beaches to die for. We have shared the best adventures in Maui on Expedia Viewfinder in the past, and since Fiji is so similar and equally wonderful, we thought you might enjoy a look at some of our favorite things to do in Fiji.

Kava ceremony

When visiting a village in Fiji, it is customary for travelers to bring a gift of kava root to present to the head of the village. After you present the kava to the village chief, villagers grind the root to strain through a cloth to make tea. And after the head of your party and the village chief take a sip of this tea, the bamboo cup is passed around for everyone else to drink. Once you drink the kava, clap your hands and yell, “Bula!” which is Fijian for “hello” or “welcome”. Be prepared for your tongue and lips to go numb as kava is a slight narcotic, but don’t worry, the root is perfectly safe and once the formalities are over, the festivities begin. Every kava ceremony we attended always ended with a lot of food, dancing, and music.

Forest canopy tour

The Pacific Coast of Viti Levu, Fiji’s main island, is known as the adventure capital of Fiji. Here you can soar over the jungle canopy on eight different zip lines at Zip Fiji. Not only are the lines a thrilling adventure, but they are eco-friendly; instead of using hammers and nails to puncture trees, ropes and harnesses are used to attach cables and platforms, a strategy that causes very little impact to the environment. Armed with a leather glove (for braking) and a bit of courage, you’ll have a blast jumping and soaring from platform to platform on zip lines up to 500 feet long and five stories high.

Jet boat safari

The Sigatoka River Safari in Fiji is one of the most unique jet boating trips we’ve ever taken. It had all the thrills and spills that one comes to expect when riding a jet boat. We did 360 degree spins. We did steep banking turns. We took on a lot of water in the process. But there also was another side to our tour. As we sped down the river, we made our way to a local village where all of the members of the community waited to greet us with their welcoming smiles. The experience was a great opportunity to see how local villagers live, and it afforded us a chance to talk with everyone. Fijians are very friendly; if you have the opportunity to take this tour, don’t be shy and ask questions.. Village visits always turn into a celebration with plenty of food, music, and dancing that will lift your spirits and bring everyone together. Make sure to dance with everyone once the festivities begin

Viewfinder Tip: When visiting villages dress modestly. Always carry a sarong to cover shoulders and legs.

Whitewater rafting 

Whitewater rafting in Fiji was a little bit different from other whitewater trips we’ve done. While the Upper Navua River is fun and exciting, you will remember the extraordinary beauty of the region more than anything else. Cliffs reaching 120 feet high surround you as you float down a 16-mile gorge. Lush jungle vines and trees frame the scene. Countless waterfalls stream over the ledges. All the guides of Rivers Fiji are from neighboring villages, and the owner/operator was careful to seek permission from the village chiefs to run a river safari on the Upper Navua. This company works in harmony with the community and you can tell everyone is happy. The guides clearly love what they do!

Oho ancestral cave

Fiji has a history that involves cannibalism. When you visit, you will hear countless stories of this not-so-distant. Missionaries in the 1800s turned warring tribes toward Christianity, and the last cannibalized human in Fiji was in 1867. There are many places to learn about Fiji’s history, but our favorite stop was the Oho ancestral cave and Tau village, where descendants of the Navatua tribe still live today. Here, Navatua guides take you to the ancient cave where their ancestors lived and conquered neighboring tribes. The cave is the largest cave in the entire South Pacific. It also is where the Navatua brought prisoners from battles to be cooked and eaten over an open fire! More than a century ago, this tribe was known as the fiercest in the land, but today the Navatua are no longer at war and are happy to welcome tourists.

Fiji is a special place to visit. You sense a joy among locals, and it is contagious. Everyone will greet you with a hearty smile and a hearty, “Bula!” The same locals will sing a song when you leave; a song that will stay in your head long after your flight home.

Where is your favorite island destination and why?