Budget Activities on the Suncoast, Fiji
If you want to experience culture and nature in Fiji, then set your sights on the Suncoast. The main island of Fiji, Viti Levu’s, sunny side is located on the northern reaches of the island, boasting authentic Fijian villages, historical sites and breathtaking natural attractions. Independent travellers on a budget can visit vast limestone caves to a feared cannibal’s grave along the Kings Road, stopping a night or two on the affordable island of Nananu-I-Ra or a Fijian village homestay in Rakiraki. Check out some of our top recommendations in this list of free and cheap things to do on the Suncoast of Fiji.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to the Suncoast on a Budget.
1. Explore the Towns of Lautoka and Rakiraki
Rakiraki is the mid-way point on the Kings Road and the main hub of the Suncoast, while Lautoka is a large town marking the beginning/end of the Kings Road on the west side of Viti Levu, 30 minutes drive from Nadi. Both towns offer vibrant Indo-Fijian shopping, eateries (more on that below), but most importantly, great produce markets. Visiting a Fijian produce market is a must-do in any Fiji town where locals are happy to mingle and share recipe ideas. Not to mention, the array of colourful tropical fruit and vegetables is always an impressive sight.
Location: Lautoka & Rakiraki
2. Go on a Snorkelling Trip to the Outer Reefs
Thankfully, one of the must-do activities in Fiji is extremely affordable. While snorkelling along the coast from your chosen budget accommodation is a free experience revealing a few underwater creatures, nothing beats a snorkelling trip to the outer reefs of the Suncoast. Dive shops based at the Volivoli Beach Resort and the Wananavu Beach Resort are open to casual visitors offering fantastic boat trips to the coral gardens of the outer reefs. Snorkel gear and boat transport will be provided costing a total of FJ$40-$50.
Location: Volivoli Beach Resort and Wananavu Beach Resort, Volivoli, 10km (6 miles) east of Rakiraki
3. Have a Cultural Experience in a Fijian Village
There are a number of inexpensive ways to enjoy the warm hospitality and cultural immersion of the Suncoast villages. Take a taxi, 4WD car or a local bus from Ba to visit the picturesque village of Navala with traditionally thatched bures set among the Nausori Highlands. Once you arrive, present your sevusevu (gift) to the village chief – see Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village – and pay a fee of around FJ$30 each to enter the village and hire a village guide. Alternatively, experience a homestay in a Fijian village with Jioji & Alisi on Airbnb, which promises to be both authentic and affordable. See 10 Authentic Village Stays in Fiji for more information. Don’t forget to get your FREE FJ$50 Airbnb credit on us!
Location: Navala – 25km (15.5 miles) inland from Ba
4. Visit the Church of the Black Christ
One of the many sightseeing locations of the Suncoast, the Church of St Francis Xavier, also known as the Naiserelagi Catholic Mission, is well worth visiting. The church is locally known as the Church of the Black Christ due to its mural of a Fijian-inspired Christ painted by French artist Jean Charlot. Visitors are welcome but a small donation is appreciated.
Location: near Nanukuloa Village, 25km (15.5 miles) southeast of Rakiraki. Buses to the church are available from Vaileka – look for the Flying Prince Bus
5. Check out the Tomb of Udre Udre
On the way into Rakiraki, take a quick pitstop at this fascinating historical site. Udre Udre was once the most feared cannibal in Fiji, now laid to rest at this tomb surrounded by 872 stones – a stone for each of his victims.
Location: Just off the Kings Road, 100m west of the Vaileka turn-off
6. Visit a Cave Known as the Home of the Snake God
Delve into the labyrinth of the Wailotua Snake God Cave, one of the real hidden gems of the Suncoast. The cave was once where villagers sought shelter in times of war, sharing the chamber with bats and six sparkling stalactites in the shape of snakes’ heads. The cave is accessed through the village of Wailotua, where you just need to inquire with one of the villagers about the cave and you’ll be guided to the cave. Admission is around FJ$2.
Location: Wailotua Village (the westernmost village of the two with the same name), 23km (14 miles) from Korovou
7. Hike in the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
Accessed from the town of Lautoka, Koroyanitu National Heritage Park is a place of rugged inland natural beauty and cultural preservation in Viti Levu. Walking trails begin from Abaca Village where one of the locals will find you for you to pay a small fee – around FJ$15 for a map and FJ$25 for a guide. Then you can enjoy one of the amazing walks that this stunning national park has to offer. There’s a 1h30min loop walk to a stunning waterfall and swimming hole. For something a bit longer, hike up Mt Koroyanitu (Mt Evans) and Fiji’s fourth-highest peak taking around 4 hours to complete. Mt Batliamu is also another option, which is a 3-5 hour hike. Find out more about these hikes in 5 Incredible Hikes & Walks in Nadi.
Location: Tavakuva Road, 15km (9.3 miles) inland from Lautoka
8. Kayak and Wander Around Nananu-I-Ra Island
An island paradise for budget travellers, Nananu-I-Ra is a hilly 3.5km2 (3.8ft2) island with white sand beaches, mangroves and simple budget accommodation. The island is good for trekking offering amazing views of the mainland and the Nakauvadra Ranges. At low tide, it’s possible to walk around the perimeter of the island in about 4-5 hours. Kayaking is also another free and popular activity here where accommodation like McDonald’s Nananu Beach Cottages offer complimentary use of their kayaks. Snorkelling can also be enjoyed in the marine sanctuary just off the beach and jetty.
Location: Boat transfers depart from Ellington Wharf, 11km (6.8 miles) east of Rakiraki. Organise transport with your chosen accommodation, costing FJ$20-$60 return
9. Take a Picture of Navatu Rock
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but at least it doesn’t cost a thousand dollars to take one. Snap up a photo of the large and impressive outcrop known as Navatu Rock, which one of the oldest known human settlements in Fiji. Navutu Rock used to hold a fortified village where it was believed that spirits departed from here to the afterlife. Artefacts from the village have been found here dating back to 1,000BC. That’s worth a photo, right?
Location: near Vitawa Village, 10km (6 miles) west of Rakiraki
10. Scout Out the Cheap Local Cuisine
Food is kind of an event here in Fiji, whether it’s indulging in Fijian cuisine at a village homestay or trying some flavoursome Indo-Fijian delights in town. What’s more, you don’t have to break the bank to eat well on the Suncoast with the towns from Lautoka through to Rakiraki all offering incredibly affordable food. Check out the details in our Top Cheap Eats on the Suncoast!