5-star resorts, private beaches, cocktails, and fancy meals is what many people think when they think of Fiji. It’s hard to believe that Fiji can be affordable when you look at the pictures. The truth is though that Fiji IS affordable even for backpackers.
What’s great is that Fiji recognizes backpackers as an industry. There are several activities and accommodations all targeting the backpacker crowd. Brochures advertising hostels and tips on how to stay on a budget. They make it easy.
Here are some tips on how to travel around Fiji on a budget.
Air Pacific (soon to be Fiji Airways) has specials that if you book your plane tickets together with your accommodation, you’ll get some really great deals. The official US Vacations page by Tourism Fiji has a list of packages leaving from LA. You won’t find hostels on there but you will find great deals if you’re looking to just stop by for a few days.
Book with a layover
Air Pacific lets you book your tickets so that you can spend a few days in Fiji before leaving to your final destination. Break up the trip between Australia and/or the US with Air Pacific. It’ll save you money from having to purchase separate tickets and if you weren’t planning on visiting Fiji well now you can. I love it when airlines do this. If it’s on the way anyway, you might as well stop by for a few days.
Many of the resorts offer specials and discounts if you stay a certain amount of days. For example, stay four nights and get one night free. Find out before booking if your resort has any specials.
Stay in Viti Levu (main island)
Budget accommodations are spread out throughout the island. Oddly enough, many high-end resorts offer dorm rooms. At Uprising Beach and Resort, it’s only F$40 ($21 USD) a night for the dorms to stay at their really beautiful resort. I’ve stayed at this resort and loved the atmosphere they had. You get the same high-quality resort at a much lower cost.
Staying in Nadi (where the international airport is) is much cheaper ranging from F$15 to F$30 for dorms and private rooms but you’ll be missing out on the whole beach atmosphere that the coast offers.
Do your shopping on Viti Levu as it’s much cheaper than on the other islands.
Buses in Viti Levu
There are buses that circle the entire island. Most will drop you off anywhere you’d like along the coast. Once you arrive at the airport, it’s fairly easy to catch a bus to where you need to go.
Nadi to Suva takes about 4 1/2 hours. There are several bus companies that can take you to Suva. No more than 20 Fiji Dollars for any of the bus companies. Some are more direct than others.
There’s several taxis but many don’t use the meter so make sure to arrange a price before hand.
Rent a car and drive around Viti Levu
I’m a big fan of road trips and if I had the time, I would have done this. It takes 6 hours to drive the entire coast of Viti Levu without stopping. Personally, I like to stop several times so breaking up the trip in two mights be better. I was quoted $72USD for two days with their compact vehicle. Avis has a location right inside the Nadi International Airport so if you need to get to your resort anyway, you might want to try getting your own vehicle. Drop off rates apply if you want to stay there for awhile longer.
Remember they drive on the left.
Stay or cruise around the Yasawa Islands
Beautiful unspoiled islands located on the west of Viti Levu. The Yasawas are known for their locally owned resorts catering specifically to backpackers.
South Sea Cruises provides day cruises throughout the islands. A day cruise includes lunch and costs $100USD. Unless you’re planning on staying on multiple islands, a day cruise will do just fine. If you’d rather go island hopping, try Yasawa Flyer. You can purchase full packages that include accommodation or 5 day passes or more for unlimited boat access. If you plan on hopping around a few islands and want something dependable then go for Yasawa Flyer. You can get local taxi boats for much cheaper but are not as dependable.
If you’re in a group, it might be better to book a bure rather than a dorm as it might cost the same or a little bit more than staying in a dorm room. Dorms go as high as F$30 and privates depend on the type of room but I’ve seen basic rooms go for only F$60.
Alcohol can get pretty expensive on any of the islands outside of mainland Viti Levu. If you plan on drinking, go prepared with a bottle from Viti Levu supermarket. Many of the resorts in Fiji do not include alcohol. If you’re looking to party hard, you’ll want to check out Beachcombers Resort. I did not stay there but have heard the parties there are good.
Shark diving is one of the most popular activities in Fiji. It’s been claimed as one of the best shark dives in the world. Beqa Adventure Divers is well-known for providing the best shark diving experience you could possibly have in Fiji. I thought it’d be expensive but honestly it was really cheap for the experience (more on this on another article). A one tank dive trip only costs F$185 ($100). That is definitely worth it.
I was amazed to find that so many people and companies find it really important to be eco-friendly in Fiji. They take it serious and with pride. They preserve local culture and love the history and background they have. This made me feel more comfortable as a tourist as I jumped around from island to island to know that so many people were paying attention to the details of preserving their country and heritage.
Have you been to Fiji? What other budget tips do you have?
Thank you South Sea Cruises, Sigatoka River Safari, Beqa, Uprising, Tourism Fiji, and everyone else I may have missed for providing comped tours, activities and accommodations throughout Fiji. I had a fantastic time.