Fiji is a collection of volcanic islands spanning 1,600 kilometers in the South Pacific Ocean. The country is viewed as a far off and exotic getaway, and rightly so. 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. Contrary to popular belief, 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. This guide 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!
Accommodation – Hostels begin at 15 Fijian dollars per night for dorms, though many are closer to 30 Fijian dollars per night. For a private room, expect to pay around 100 Fijian dollars per night. Camping is possible, though most campgrounds are run by backpacker hostels and will cost the same as a dorm room. Budget hotels start at 60 Fijian dollars per night for a twin or double room. Brand-name resorts start at 250 Fijian dollars per night. Airbnb is available throughout the islands, with shared accommodation starting around 40 Fijian dollars per night. For an entire home or apartment, expect to pay around 100 Fijian dollars (though prices average closer to 400 Fijian dollars per night). Generally, prices will be higher the further you get from the main island.
Food – You can find a cheap meal for just about 4 Fijian dollars, but the average cost in a casual restaurant is 10 Fijian. For a meal at a mid-range restaurant, expect to pay around 30 Fijian dollars. On most islands, your accommodation includes three meals per day, so take advantage of this. Domestic beer at the bar will cost around 5 Fijian dollars. If you plan on cooking your own meals, a week’s worth of groceries will cost between 35-50 Fijian dollars depending on your diet.
Places to see
As Fiji’s capital, Suva is a must see. Situated on the major island of Viti Levu, the city has colonial architecture, plenty of nightspots, and restaurants as well as beautiful temples and mosques. Head to the municipal market on a Saturday morning for a taste of Fijian life. This is a great place to pick up souvenirs and inexpensive food.
Also known as “Sugar City”, Lautoka is Fiji’s second largest city and boasts the largest sugar mill in the southern hemisphere. Visit Koroyanitu National Heritage Park for an excellent day of hiking past waterfalls and through forests, or explore the city’s mosques and Botanical Garden.
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 500 Fijian dollars.
Fiji offers some of the world’s best surfing with countless famous sites like Cloudbreak, Lighthouse Rights, and restaurants. 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 an extra bonus. Expect to pay around 50 Fijian dollars for an hour of surf lessons.
Most people who visit Fiji will spend at least one-day snorkeling or diving its warm waters. The visibility is fantastic here, with depths of up to 40 meters and there is an abundance of coral to explore. World famous dive spots include Astrolabe Reef, Beqa Lagoon, and Rainbow Reef. Expect to pay around 700 Fijian dollars for your Open Water certification.