Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Surfers associate the southern coast of Viti Levu, Fiji's largest island, with Frigate Passage, one of the best left breaks in the South Pacific. But the coast is also home to the 150-square-mile Beqa Lagoon, one of the best "muck-diving" reefs in the world. Divers dig around the bottom of the 30-foot-deep soft-coral reef, searching for the harlequin ghost pipefish and juvenile sea horses that feed on the nutrient-rich silty runoff from the Navua River. For a laugh, head to Frigate Passage. "You can dive below the break and watch sharks watching the surfers," says Jayne Carlson, owner of the Lalati Resort and Spa, on Beqa Island.
STAY: Forty minutes from the mainland on Beqa Island, at the Lalati Resort and Spa, an eco-resort and dive outfitter located between the rainforest and the beach. Guests stay in private, two-room beachfront villas; the owners are avid divers who lead free shore dives from the resort's pier. Villas, $310, including meals; boat dives, $110 per person for two dives, plus $25 gear rental; lalati-fiji.com