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Suva Cruises

About Suva, Fiji

Alluring sand beaches, magnificent emerald-clad hills and stunning coral reefs comprise the 330 islands of the Fijian archipelago. The nation’s relaxed capital of Suva, set on a hilly peninsula on the picturesque island of Viti Levu, is the largest city in the South Pacific and a thriving center of culture and history. Most of its residents live in coastal cities and towns, as the inland terrain is too mountainous.

Fiji may have been settled as long as 5,000 years ago by Polynesians. Remains of canoes carved from local trees, as well as the discovery of Fijian pots on other islands, reveal that islanders traded with one another. The Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to set foot on these shores, but Westerners did not return until the 19th century. Britain annexed the Fiji Islands in 1874 and moved the capital here, as the steep terrain of the previous capital of Levuka would prevent expansion. Fiji declared its independence from the Crown in 1970, keeping Suva as its capital.

Suva Lifestyle and Culture

The residents of Suva bring a rich diversity to their city that influences cuisine, dress, architecture, arts and music. Fijians, Indo-Fijians, and transplants from Australia, New Zealand and Asia mingle in the busy streets, donning everything from a business suit to a traditional sulu, or sarong. The Fiji Institute of Technology and the University of the South Pacific attract a large student population, giving Suva a youthful and energetic quality. In the bustling downtown and along Cumming Street, an eclectic array of colonial-era buildings, modern shops, inviting eateries and an open park are entwined with narrow lanes that lead to curry houses and sari shops.

The traditional kava ceremony, or yaqona, remains popular in Suva, though it has evolved from its typical role as a courtship ritual into a warm greeting for visitors. The potent beverage is fermented from the peppery kava plant. The drink has a central place during Fiji Week each October, a festival of religion and culture that celebrates the anniversary of the nation’s independence from Britain. Perhaps Fiji’s most mesmerizing cultural phenomenon is vilavilairevo, or fire walking, practiced at the Mariamma Temple and other locations in the city. The Hindu ritual was imported here from South India and is a thrilling highlight of local religious festivals.

Suva Sights and Landmarks

The Thurston Gardens are the pride of the islands, lined with palms, water lilies, ginger trees and other local flora. Within the gardens, alongside the island’s beloved distinctive clock tower, the Fiji Museum hosts the world’s largest collection of Fijian artifacts, including relics dating back up to 3,700 years and the rudder from the HMS Bounty, the British merchant ship whose fate was sealed by a famous mutiny.

The Suva City Library, also called the Carnegie Library, is a notable colonial structure from 1909. The old parliament buildings sit on the site of a former creek. The water was drained and the bed secured to accommodate the structure in the 1930s. Parliament was moved to a more modern site that reflects Fijian values and traditions in 1992. The city’s cream-colored Government House is the official residence of the president. Fijian soldiers in white sarongs and red tunics guard the entrance.

Suva Entertainment and Activities

Fiji’s rich and varied culture is on full display in Suva’s museums and government buildings. For a glimpse of Britain’s most lasting cultural legacy, visit the city’s Roman Catholic cathedral. This grand structure was built from sandstone brought here from Sydney, Australia in 1902. If the great outdoors calls to you, then head to the Colo-i-Suva Forest Reserve, a rainforest paradise of hiking trails, waterfalls, dense birdlife and swimming holes.

Mingle with locals at two local institutions. The Royal Suva Yacht Club attracts both upscale clientele and its fair share of salty dogs eager to share their fish stories. At Traps Bar, settle in to a comfortable atmosphere and perhaps join a game of billiards. You might also stroll the pathways and fields of Albert Park or Sukuna Park.

Suva Restaurants and Shopping

Suva offers freshly grown exotic fruits and vegetables and delicious culinary options. The city has many locally sourced Fijian choices; Chinese, Indian and Italian are other favorites among residents.

Authentic Fijian curry dishes tempt diners at Singh’s Curry House. For delicious Indian cuisine, head to Maya Dhaba. Enjoy one of the island’s sought-after freshly made sandwiches at Palm Court Bistro. Or sample some of the best local bread at Bulaccinos.

At the Suva Municipal Market, browse among a rich and colorful array of fruits and vegetables, from jackfruit to cassava. Fresh pineapple juice here may give you a burst of energy to peruse a while longer. Next door, visit the Handicraft Center, where wood carvings, straw-woven items and other keepsakes are available for purchase.