Suva is the capital of Fiji. It is situated on the southeast coast of the island of Viti Levu and backed by jungle-clad mountains. Although most visitors come to Fiji for its islands and beaches, many also visit Suva because of its interesting museums and mix of cultures.
Suva offers an introduction to Chinese, European, Indian and Polynesian traditions, cuisines and religions. To learn more about this mix of cultures and the indigenous history, visit the Fiji Museum. See simple musical instruments, weaponry, cooking utensils and jewelry from various islands in the archipelago. Check out the Indo-Fijian Gallery, which exhibits works by notable Fijian artists. Then enter the Thurston Gardens, a botanical display of native flora mixed with spacious green lawns dotted with large fig trees.
Stroll along Victoria Parade and see colonial buildings such as the Old Town Hall, the Grand Pacific Hotel and government buildings from the 1930s. For mountain and ocean views, continue to Sukuna Park, which is named after Ratu Sir Lala Sukuna, the founder of independent Fiji. For a souvenir from the “Cannibal Isles,” buy a set of wooden cutlery at the handicrafts market just north of the park.
The twisting streets on either side of Nabukalou Creek are Suva’s commercial heart and are packed with bars and restaurants, malls, churches and temples. Enjoy discovering new tropical fruits, vegetables and spices at Suva Municipal Market. Admire the colorful Shree Laxminarayan Temple, or visit the old cathedral.
When it is time to cool off, visit Colo-i-Suva Forest Park, where walking trails lead through a rainforest to waterfalls and swimming holes.
Suva can experience heavy downpours, but the rain is often a welcome respite from the heat. It is less than a 3-hour drive to Nadi by the coastal Queens Road, and buses regularly run between the two cities. Suva has a cruise terminal, and many people visit the city for just a few hours on a stopover.
Despite Fiji having a safe and welcoming reputation, poverty and crime have caused Suva in particular to become less safe than it used to be. Stick to the main tourist areas, and don’t wander around at night.