Fiji is a collection of volcanic islands spanning 1,600 kilometers in the South Pacific Ocean. There are two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and nearly 900 smaller islands and inlets. If you’re looking for privacy, chances are you’re sure to find a secluded spot somewhere in the country.
While Fiji Water may be expensive, a vacation here doesn’t need to break the bank. Yes, there are pricey resorts but there are also budget guesthouses. Inexpensive accommodation and food, combined with the fact most Pacific flights include a stopover here, makes the islands an affordable and easy place to visit. I found my trip to Fiji way more affordable than I thought. If you’re looking for paradise on a budget, Fiji is it! It’s got everything you could want without the prices of Tahiti or the Cook Islands!
This guide to Fiji can help you plan your trip so you don’t skip it like most people do. Fiji is the best budget choice in the Pacific!
Table of Contents
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Top 5 Things to See and Do in Fiji
1. Explore the Mamanucas
2. Visit Suva
3. See the Fiji Museum
4. Explore the Yasawas Islands
5. Go diving
Other Things to See and Do
1. Explore Bouma National Heritage Park
This national park is among the top attractions in the country and is located on the north of Taveuni Island. The area is covered in waterfalls plunging into deep pools perfect for swimming, and coastal forest trails ideal for hiking. The Tavoro Waterfalls are near the visitor center, but if you want to do more strenuous trekking, hit the Vidawa Rainforest Trail. It’s a half-day guided hike (you have to take the tour) that ends at the waterfalls. It’s led by shamans who have a deep connection to the park. It’s $130 FJD ($60 USD) for the tour, but if you want to visit just the park, there’s a $9 FJD ($4 USD) entrance fee.
2. Visit Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
This is another wonderful place for hiking past waterfalls and through forest trails. You can climb up Castle Rock for a bird’s eye view over the Mamanucas and Yasawas Islands (but note that it’s a challenging four-hour hike one way). There’s another two-hour hike that will take you past a giant waterfall and to the Navuratu village. There are actually six villages inside the park, and the locals maintain the trails and the landscape. Admission to the park is $11 FJD ($5 USD).
3. Go whitewater rafting
For an adrenaline-packed day, choose one of the many whitewater rafting tours available. The Upper Navua River winds through the highlands of Viti Levu, creating waterfalls and all grades of rapids that are perfect for either beginners or seasoned pros. Many people combine whitewater rafting with kayaking along the rivers and mangroves. This trip is expensive at around 520 FJD ($239 USD) per person.
4. Visit the old capital of Levuka
Fiji’s original capital, Levuka (1874-1883), is on the island of Ovalau. The town has largely escaped the influx of tourism, and it’s great to spend a relaxing afternoon here taking in the British colonial architecture and the brightly colored main street. There’s a small community museum, but other than that, there’s not much to do other than enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the surrounding scenic mountains.
5. Go surfing
Fiji offers some of the world’s best surfing with countless famous sites like Cloudbreak and Lighthouse Rights. The breaks here aren’t ideal for beginners, but there are calmer waters at Sigatoka. Head to the Mamanuca islands to try out windsurfing and kitesurfing as a bonus. Expect to pay about $200 FJD ($92 USD) for a full day of surf lessons.
6. Visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Originally the garden of actor Raymond Burr, the Sleeping Giant covers over 50 acres of land and is filled with native orchids, exotic plants, and tropical flowers. A jungle walk will take you past a huge lily pond and through native forest. Admission is $18 FJD ($8 USD), and you’re free to wander for as long as you like.
7. Drink kava
Kava, which is made from a root with the same name, is the drink of choice in Fiji. It causes a numbing sensation on the lips and mouth and relaxes you. Make sure you go “high tide,” and get the big cup! One of the best ways to experience kava is to participate in a village ceremony (it involves sitting on the floor and following some rituals as you drink). Some tours will include this, but they’re usually full-day village tours starting from about $370 FJD ($170 USD). Best to just find some locals and do it with them! It’s cheaper and more authentic.
8. Hike Colo-i-Suva Forest Park
This rainforest park is brimming with exotic birds and tropical plants. There are about 4 miles (7 kilometers) of hiking trails leading to several natural pools on Waisila Creek that make refreshing swimming holes. It’s a pretty small park, but it makes for a quiet retreat from Suva. The entry is $11 FJD ($5 USD) per person.
9. Visit Sri Siva Subbramaniya Swami Temple
This Hindu temple is at the base of Main Street in Nadi. You’ll see traditional Dravidian architecture here, with wooden carvings of deities from India as well as incredibly colorful ceiling paintings. Behind it lies a dramatic mountain backdrop, which allows for great photo opportunities. Cover your knees and shoulders, and leave your shoes at the door.
Fiji Travel Costs
Hostel prices – During peak season, a bed in a four-six bed room will cost between $35-55 FJD ($16-25 USD). For a room with eight beds or more, expect to pay from around $22 FJD ($10 USD), but some beds are up to $48 FJD ($22 USD). Prices are pretty consistent in the off-season.
A standard single private room with a shared bathroom costs from $197 FJD ($90 USD) per night during peak season. Prices are about the same in the off-season.
Budget hotel prices – Nightly rates for a budget two-star or three-star hotel room start at about $175 FJD ($80 USD) in peak season. In the off-season, budget rooms start from $142 FJD ($65 USD).
There are lots of Airbnb options around Fiji. A shared room (like a bed in a dorm) averages about $52 FJD ($24 USD) per night, while a private room is about $116 FJD ($53 USD) per night. A full apartment averages about $328 FJD ($150 USD) per night.
Food – There are lots of roadside food stands on the main, more populated around that feature local Fijian curries and stews for between $2-4 FJD ($1-2 USD). In just about any town, you’ll be able to get big plates of dhal, roti, and chutney for about $7 FJD ($3 USD).
A mid-range restaurant will cost you about $30 FJD ($14 USD) for veggie or meat dishes. On most islands, your accommodation will include three meals per day so you won’t get much choice, especially on islands that only have a resort on them. The food is pretty good though.
Buffets are also popular options but usually cost about $85 FJD ($40 USD) for dinner. Domestic beer at the bar will cost around $6.50 FJD ($3 USD).
Since Fiji is a popular vacation spot, there are lots of high-end dining options (usually in resorts or hotels). Four-course meals will cost you about $200 FJD ($92 USD), or $289 FJD ($133 USD) with wine pairing. Individual plates will cost about $65 FJD ($30 USD) for a seafood main, like lobster or crab.
If you plan on cooking your own meals, a week’s worth of groceries will cost between $65-109 FJD ($30-50 USD) depending on your diet. Just keep in mind that many markets won’t let you buy items like tomatoes or onions separately, you’ll have to purchase them in a bundle. It’s only worth buying groceries on the larger islands where food isn’t included in your accommodation.
Backpacking Fiji Suggested Budgets
If you’re backpacking Fiji, expect to spend about $109 FJD ($50 USD) per day. This budget will cover a hostel dorm, using public transportation, street food, and about one park or museum admission per day.
A mid-range budget of about $345 FJD ($158 USD) per day will cover staying in a private Airbnb room, eating out for all of your meals, a few attractions per day, and public transportation.
On a luxury budget of about $840 FJD ($385 USD) or more per day, you can get a four-star resort hotel, any meal you want, drinks, lots of tours, and some flights around the island.
You should expect about a 10-20% price increase on hotel accommodations during peak season. If you’re traveling away from the main islands, like into the Yasawa Islands, you can expect to pay nearly double these prices.
You can use the chart below to get some idea of how much you need to budget daily, depending on your travel style. Keep in mind these are daily averages – some days you’ll spend more, some days you’ll spend less (you might spend less every day). We just want to give you a general idea of how to make your budget. Prices are in USD.
Fiji Travel Guide: Money Saving Tips
If you stick to the free and cheap things to do in Fiji (like hiking and going to the beach), you can actually stick visit here for very little money without missing out on much stuff. Here are some ways to stay on a budget in Fiji:
- Use “share taxis” – As the name suggests, these taxis will pick up as many passengers as possible and charge usually the same as a bus fare, which is a good option for longer journeys.
- Snack stands – The cheapest food in Fiji is found on the snack stands dotting the roads. You can pick up curry or fish and chips for as little as $2 FJD ($1 USD).
- BYO Everything – If you are going to the outer islands, bring as much as possible. Things are about 50% cheaper on the main island so save money and buy water, snacks, and alcohol ahead of time!
- Book a driver – If you can round up a few people, hire a driver for a full day. It should cost you about $100 FJD ($46 USD) if you haggle properly, and it’s a LOT cheaper than taking taxis everywhere or getting a rental car (if you’re short on time and not wanting to use public transportation everywhere).
- Pack a water bottle – A water bottle with a purifier will help you save money and thousands of plastic bottles by purifying the tap water for you. My preferred bottle is LifeStraw ($49.99).
Where To Stay in Fiji
There are lots of budget accommodations in Fiji. All the islands are different and there’s so many islands that I can’t list everything here. But, as long as you don’t stay at the resorts, you’ll find something affordable! Here are my recommended places to stay in Fiji:
How to Get Around Fiji
Flying – To get between islands, the easiest way to get around is to fly. Flights are surprisingly cheap too. A 30-minute flight between Nadi and Suva is $66 FJD ($30 USD). Suva to Koro Island is about $142 FJD ($65 USD) and takes 35 minutes. Nadi to Cicia Island is about $284 FJD ($130 USD) and takes nearly four hours.
Ferry — Ferries run between the islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, Ovalau and Kadavu, and Vanua Levu and Tavaeuni. Each island has many different routes, often with multiple journeys each day. Fares start from about $16 FJD ($7 USD).
Some of the main ferries are:
- Bligh Water Shipping
- Goundar Shipping
- Patterson Brothers Shipping
You can also use Rome2Rio to plot your ferry routes.
Not many services go to the Outer Islands, and the boats that do are slow and unreliable. Some islands only receive a ferry arrival once a month! Goundar Shipping visits Vanuabalavu, Cicia, and Rotuma, but you’ll have to call ahead to check the schedule.
Additionally, you can get an inter-island ferry pass for the Yasawa Islands that costs from $475 FJD ($218 USD) for five days. Longer passes are also available:
- 7 days for $282 FJD ($127 USD)
- 9 days for $331 FJD ($150 USD)
- 11 days for $368 FJD ($166 USD)
- 13 days for $390 FJD ($176 USD)
- 15 days for $414 FJD ($187 USD)
Bus – Buses are efficient and inexpensive in Fiji, with bus services provided by Coral Sun, Sunbeam, and Pacific Transport. The 4-hour journey from Suva to Nadi on the main island will cost between $7-20 FJD ($3-9 USD), depending on the date and time. A bus between Suva and Naviti will cost about the same.
On the smaller islands, you can show up at a bus stop and flag down a bus. Any journey shouldn’t cost more than a few dollars. Mini-buses and converted trucks are abundant!
Taxis – A taxi around Suva will cost no more than $10 FJD ($5 USD). Outside of Suva, taxis tend to be unmetered, and you should negotiate your fare before you get in.
When to Go to Fiji
Fiji actually has more than one peak season. December and January are very busy as Australians and Kiwis flock to the islands during their school holidays. July is another popular time to visit for great temperatures, but expect higher prices for accommodations. In December, the average max daily temperature is 88°F (31°C), while it’s 82°F (28°C) in July.
The low season is in November and then February to April. Both periods occur during Fiji’s wet season, with lots of rain and high humidity. It can be uncomfortable, but prices tend to be lower.
I recommend hitting up Fiji during the shoulder season, from May to June or August to October, for high temperatures, less rainfall, and a low risk of cyclones. It’s still hot during this time, with the average daily temperature in May being 48°F (29°C)!
How to Stay Safe in Fiji
Fiji is very safe. This is a relaxed island nation, and you’ll have very little to worry about while you’re here. Like any destination, your biggest concern is a petty crime like pickpocketing. Leave your valuables at home and keep an eye on your belongings at all times, especially while at the beach.
Men are often approached by locals trying to sell prostitutes or marijuana. Both are illegal, so politely decline and walk away.
Cyclone season in Fiji runs from November to April, so keep an eye on the forecast and make alternative travel plans if necessary.
Worried about travel scams? Read about these 14 major travel scams to avoid. There aren’t many here in the states though.
Always trust your gut instinct. If a taxi driver seems shady, stop the cab and get out. If your hotel is seedier than you thought, get out of there. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and ID. Forward your itinerary along to loved ones, so they’ll know where you are.
If you don’t do it at home, don’t do it when you’re in Fiji. Follow that rule and you’ll be fine.
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to purchase good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. You can use the widget below to find the policy right for you:
Fiji Travel Guide: The Best Booking Resources
Below are my favorite companies to use when I travel around Fiji. They are included here because they consistently turn up the best deals, offer world-class customer service and great value, and overall, are better than their competitors.
- Momondo – This is my favorite flight search engine because they search such a wide variety of sites and airlines. I never book a flight without checking here first.
- Skyscanner – Skyscanner is another great flight search engline which searches a lot of different airlines, including many of the budget carriers that larger sites miss. While I always start with Momondo, I use this site too as a way to compare prices.
- Airbnb – Airbnb is a great accommodation alternative for connecting with homeowners who rent out their homes or apartments. The big cities have tons of listings!
- Hostelworld – This is the best hostel accommodation site out there, with the largest inventory, best search interface, and widest availability.
- Priceline – I like this website because it allows you to bid on hotels and save a lot more money than by booking directly. When used in conjunction with the bidding site Better Bidding, you can substantially lower the cost of your hotels — by as much as 60%.
- Intrepid Travel – If you want to do a group tour around the United States, go with Intrepid Travel. They offer good small group tours that use local operators and leave a small environmental footprint. If you go on a tour with anyone, go with them. And, as a reader of this site, you’ll get a discount when you click the link!
- World Nomads – I buy all my travel insurance from World Nomads. They have great customer service, competitive prices, and in-depth coverage. I’ve been using them since I started traveling in 2003. Don’t leave home without it!
Fiji Gear and Packing Guide
If you’re heading on the road and need some gear suggestions, here are my tips for the best travel backpack and for what to pack!
The Best Backpack for Travelers
Straps: Thick and cushy with compression technology that pulls the pack’s load up and inwards so it doesn’t feel as heavy.
Features: Removable top lid, large pocket at the front, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
If you want something different, refer to my article on how to choose the best travel backpack for tips on picking a pack and other backpack suggestions.
What to Pack for Your Trip
- 1 pair of jeans (heavy and not easily dried, but I like them; a good alternative is khaki pants)
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 bathing suit
- 5 T-shirts
- 1 long-sleeved T-shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of sneakers
- 6 pairs of socks (I always end up losing half)
- 5 pairs of boxer shorts (I’m not a briefs guy!)
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle of shower gel
- 1 towel
Small Medical Kit (safety is important!!!)
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Antibacterial cream
- Hand sanitizer (germs = sick = bad holiday)
- A key or combination lock (safety first)
- Zip-lock bags (keeps things from leaking or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for laundry)
- Universal charger/adaptor (this applies to everyone)
- LifeStraw (A water bottle with a purifier)
Female Travel Packing List
I’m not a woman, so I don’t know what a woman wears, but Kristin Addis, our solo female travel guru, wrote this list as an addition to the basics above:
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 sarong
- 1 pair of stretchy jeans (they wash and dry easily)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 long-sleeve tops
- 2-3 T-shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 dry shampoo spray & talc powder (keeps long hair grease-free in between washes)
- 1 hairbrush
- Makeup you use
- Hair bands & hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products (you can opt to buy there too, but I prefer not to count on it, and most people have their preferred products)
For more on packing, check out these posts:
Fiji Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
Getting Stoned with Savages, by J. Maarten Troost
In this follow-up to The Sex Lives of Cannibals, Troost finds himself back in the South Pacific, living in Vanuatu and Fiji. Though they spent two years in Washington, DC, after returning from living in Kiribati, he and his wife move back to the South Pacific after she gets a job, he gets fired, and they decide it’s a better place to start a family. Falling into one amusing misadventure after another, Troost struggles against typhoons, earthquakes, and giant centipedes and soon finds himself swept up in the laid-back, clothing-optional lifestyle of the islanders. The book is as self-deprecating, funny, vivid, and interesting as all his others, and cements Troost as one of my favorite modern travel writers.
Kava in the Blood: A Personal & Political Memoir from the Heart of Fiji, by Peter Thomson
This is a beautifully written peace of literature about the author’s experiences during the 1987 coups. It’s not as political as you might think, and the dramatic backdrop of the Fiji Islands setting will get you excited about your trip. Other than copious kava consumption, this book covers everything from hurricanes to haunted houses and vibrant Fijian cultures.
A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise, by Alex Sheshunoff
I picked up this book because the author sent a coconut with it and the title and cover art caught my eye. This book follows Alex as he quits his job in NYC at the end of the tech boom, moves to the South Pacific in search of the perfect life, and lugs a suitcase full of books with him to pass the time. He roams from island to island trying to find that “paradise” that we so crave until one day he ends up on Palau, meets a woman, and decides to stay for a bit. Along the way, they build a house, adopt a monkey, learn the culture, and figure out life. It’s a funny memoir that I couldn’t put down. It’s not Fijian, but it’s set in the South Pacific, and serves as a wonderful insight into the region!
Fiji Travel Guide: Related Articles
Want more info? Check out all the articles I’ve written on United States travel and continue planning your trip: