Why These Beautiful Islands Should Be On Any Reality-Tv Lover's Bucket List

A dreamy pocket in the middle of the South Pacific, Fiji's far-flung set of islands is home to crystal clear waters, fringing reefs, and sparkling lagoons. Its over 300 islands dusted with coats of golden sand, make it a prime location not only for a picturesque getaway but a Hollywood-worthy backdrop. Dry grasslands, dense forests, and mangrove swamps feed the environment, allowing a unique collection of tropical fruits and wildlife to flourish. Located 1,300 miles off the coast of Auckland, New Zealand, this remote archipelago is a top filming location for some of the most iconic reality TV shows.

Several reality shows and a handful of high-performing films, including "Cast Away and Adrift," owe their idyllic backdrops and natural beauty to Fiji's sun-soaked landscape. The climate in Fiji makes even Californians jealous, with temperatures rarely reaching above or below 80 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Before its coconut palm-lined banks were uncovered by filming producers, Fiji relied heavily on its tourist industry. 

Catering to globetrotters, nomads, and the quintessential holiday couple eager to shake their hands of urban city life, Fiji's shores are home to an impressive set of five-star luxury hotels and world-class surf breaks. Whether you're a zealot for the steamy drama that characterizes modern reality shows or just looking for a peaceful beach retreat to rest your head for the week, Fiji's white-sand shores are a nonnegotiable when comparing the world's best tropical destinations.

Fiji's shores are an iconic stage for Hollywood drama

If Fiji's breezy coconut palms and pristine golden shorelines don't set the stage for a picturesque filming spot, what does? Jeff Probst, the host and producer of the reality television show "Survivor," certainly thought the same thing. Competing tropical destinations, including Panama, French Polynesia, and Samoa, weren't able to hold the attention of the show's crew after discovering the hidden gem of Fiji. Every episode of "Survivor" following Season 33 has been filmed on Fiji's Mamanuca Islands. And Survivor isn't the only show whose producers have been captivated by the island's tranquil bliss and beauty. "Celebrity Love Island" and the Season 7 finale of "The Bachelorette" also claimed the idyllic shores for their backdrops.

Putting aside Fiji's reputation as an undeniable tropical oasis, it's reasonable enough to ask the question, "Why Fiji?" given its remote position in the Pacific. With several direct flights departing daily from LAX, transporting filming equipment along with cast and crew members to the island's shores is a breeze. Government officials are also in favor of featuring the island on Hollywood's drama-infused shows as a way to gain extra revenue for its small market economy that relies heavily on tourism and agriculture. According to ABC News, even during the thick of COVID, production of Survivor still continued, facilitated by the Ministry of Economy. With most of the country's funding supplied through tourism, the influx of cash gained through filming the show helped bridge this financial gap. During filming production in 2021, 400 Fijans were able to secure employment, providing stability to hundreds of residents.

A pocket of luxury and prime surf conditions

Before Fiji's shores became a stage overrun by camera crews and stage producers, the islands had already garnered a respectable reputation as a luxurious tropical hideaway nestled in the turquoise waters of the South Pacific. Over-the-water bungalows and thatched roof cottages floating above the water's surface are the typical forms of accommodation in this archipelago. Its collection of five-star resorts has no shortage of wellness spas and private dipping pools on the ocean's edge, causing even the most elite Hollywood stars to open their eyes just a little bit wider. Six Senses Fiji and Nanuku Resort are just two in a long line of luxurious beach resorts that skirt the perimeters of each island's white-sand shores.

Luxury and aesthetics are matched by adventure for the desperados who flock to Fiji for a taste of reckless exhilaration from mother nature. Prime surf conditions draw in some of the world's top surf competitors, including Bethany Hamilton and Jack Robinson. Namotu Island is one of Fiji's best islands for chasing mavericks, located just three miles from Cloudbreak, a surf break that's garnered a spot as one of the world's top ten surf breaks. The waves at this point barrel over the shallow reef, making it a challenging break to surf. Between the sand and surf, visitors to these tropical islands won't be disappointed by all that Fiji has to share with the rest of the world.