THE ONLY HOTEL
There is no better colonial hotel in the entire Pacific. Built in 1914, the Grand Pacific Hotel overlooks Suva Harbour. Built right in front of the Fiji parliament building, it is where prime ministers, as well as royalty, stay. In fact, Queen Elizabeth has stayed here four times and you can stay in her favorite suite, with its wide veranda overlooking Albert Park. See grandpacifichotel.com.fj
THE ONLY RESTAURANT
Run by one of Fiji’s most acclaimed chefs and housed in the old Governor’s Building in the middle of Suva, you’ll find some of the best experimental food in the country here. Chef Lance Seeto takes traditional Fijian and Fijian-Indian dishes and adds his own modern twist. Come eat with the who’s who of Suva. See kanufiji.com
THE ONLY PARK
Take a 10-minute taxi ride out of Suva and hike through the rainforest in the national heritage park, Colo-I-Suva Forest Park. There are two waterfalls for cooling off and seven kilometers of hiking trails where you can see 14 different species of birds. It’s higher than Suva, so it’s a good place to cool off, especially in the cold waters of Waisila Falls. See visitfiji.com
THE UNIQUE MUSEUM
See the largest collection of Fijian artefacts at the Fiji Museum, including archaeological collections dating back nearly 4,000 years from evacuations organized by the museum. The centerpiece is a traditional double-hulled canoe (drua) 13 meters long, Ratu Finau. You can also see the rudder of HMS Bounty, the ship involved in the most famous mutiny. See fiji.travel
THE SINGLE MARKET
It is Fiji’s most important market. The Suva Municipal Market is the beating heart of the city and is right in the center. It’s loud and festive, and you’ll find every tropical fruit or vegetable ever grown in the Pacific. Buy a fresh pineapple juice and take home some kava roots to impress your friends. They are open until 6 p.m. Warning: do not haggle, the price is the price.
THE ONLY FLOATING RESTAURANT
It’s actually… the only… floating restaurant. Once the port of Suva was home to a fleet of floating restaurants, now it’s Tikos Seafood Restaurant. But you won’t find fresher seafood in Fiji. Climb aboard in time for a sunset over the bay, you’ll sway to the rhythm of passing boats while sampling local treats like fresh mud crab with coconut cream. The menu depends on what was caught that day. See experiencesuva.com
THE SINGLE VISIT
Discover the best of Suva on a day trip. Take a walking tour of the Fijian Parliament, where debate takes place in an open chamber, guarded by guards in traditional dress. Then stroll through the English-style gardens of Thurston where Suva comes for craft markets and music festivals and to spend the weekends seeing Suva’s bustling port and more in a day. See kayservices.org
THE UNIQUE COFFEE
Sample Fiji’s finest coffee and some of the country’s most innovative specialties at Bulaccino. Most ingredients are sourced directly from the owner’s organic farm – check out gluten-free breadfruit flour and South Pacific superfoods, Nglai nuts, and drink gourmet coffee made from beans harvested in Vanuatu. Be sure to try the kava-infused coffee and the Niuccino, a coffee made from local coconut milk. See bulaccino.com
THE SINGLE GARDEN
Built on the site of the old town of Suva which was burnt down in 1843, the people of Suva come to Thurston Gardens to enjoy their city. Stroll along its avenues through some of the South Pacific’s most exotic endemic species, from critically endangered Fijian palms to floating water lily gardens and vegetable gardens, all showcasing Fiji’s rich plant biodiversity . See suvacity.org
ONE MORE THING
Suva is one of the most cosmopolitan centers in the South Pacific. Home to nearly a third of Fiji’s population, this is where you will experience Fiji’s unique Melanesian-Indian fused culture up close. Wander the streets of curry houses and sari shops, watch Bollywood films at the local cinema and discover striking Hindu temples where you can attend fire-walking festivals (at Mariamma Temple in July and August ).
The writer was a guest of Fiji Tourism.