Tips for Using Taxis and Private Drivers in Fiji
For an affordable and convenient way to get around, hiring a driver or taking a taxi in Fiji is a great a way to go! Yes, and you read that right. Private drivers are a common service found in Fiji and make for a similar experience to getting a taxi. For this reason, we decided to couple taxi drivers and private drivers together, giving you tips on things you need to know about taking a taxi in Fiji!
Taxis in Fiji can typically fit three passengers, as well as luggage for each passenger – four passengers is doable, but usually pretty tight. For larger tribes, vans are also available. Find out more about taking taxis in Fiji with our Guide to Taxis in Fiji, as well as Hiring a Driver in Fiji.
1. Taxi Drivers Don’t Often Use Their Meter
Although it is the law in Fiji to have a meter in use and visible at all times, it is often common to simply agree on a price for your destination prior to departure from the airport or from your accommodation. It’s a great way not to be driven around too much, as is the case in many large touristic cities around the world. When the price is set and agreed on, it is in the best interest of the driver to get you to your destination as fast as possible!
2. You Can Negotiate Your Fare
Since it is common to agree on a price prior to departure, it is totally acceptable to negotiate prices with drivers in Fiji. Taxi drivers are used to a bit of haggling and will let you know if what you are offering is way too low. So be ready to negotiate and you may save enough to treat yourself to an extra cocktail or two. Check out more money-saving tips at 17 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Fiji.
3. Be Aware! There are Registered and Non-registered Options
Taxi drivers need to be registered with the Fijian government and display their license like in most countries. This ensures that they comply with current laws and abide by the legal safety standards. Many unregistered local carriers, although cheaper, simply have a bench at the back of a truck to carry people around. It is also worth noting that most travel insurances will not cover you if you use a non-registered taxi driver.
4. You Can Hire Taxis and Drivers for a Whole Day
Another great option to travel around Fiji is to hire a driver for the whole day or even the week. You’ll get your local guide and will only have to agree on one price. It’s the ultimate peace-of-mind option for sticking to a budget, helping you save a lot of money on your trip compared to getting a different taxi to each spot you plan to visit – see below. Find out more about hiring drivers in our Hiring a Driver in Fiji.
5. Private Drivers are Actually Quite Cheap to Hire
Speaking of prices, you will quickly find out that hiring a driver for the day can save you plenty. First up, what a time-saver not to have to find and haggle with a driver for each drive you have to take. Second, by hiring a driver for a day or a week, you will be able to get a much cheaper price altogether than for each trip one-by-one. It’s an option well worth considering.
6. Taxis and Drivers Run on Fiji Time
Ah Fiji time… once you learn about it, you get used to it. Our tip: when deciding a time to get picked up by a driver, make it 30 minutes earlier so you’ll be on time for your activity. It is not uncommon to have drivers showing up 30 minutes to 1 hour late to pick up tourists for their trip of the day. That’s Fiji time for you!
7. You Can Take Taxis Even for Longer Distances
In Fiji, it is not uncommon to use taxis for longer trips like Nadi to Suva. This is a great option to add to your comparison, as well as taking a flight, a bus, taking a tour or hiring a car! You will be able to agree on a price before departure avoiding any bad surprises on arrival. Keep that in mind when planning your Fiji itinerary.
8. If Your Driver Suggests an Accommodation, He is Probably on the Take
Many drivers work for resorts and accommodation on top of their driving jobs, so it is important to take their recommendation with a grain of salt. Do not expect a fully-guided tour of the area with each of your drives, they do not know much aside from the few main tourist spots but are lovely to talk to if you want to learn more about the local culture and their everyday lives. As a side note, most drivers are Indo-Fijian, so you will learn more about the Indo-Fijian culture than native Fijians. It is rare to have a Fijian driver.
9. The Roads are a Bit Different in Fiji
In Fiji, speed limits are lower, drivers are not used to cyclists so may wave off to the side at the last minute, people literally walk and hang out on the road in villages especially in the evening, many roads around Fiji are not sealed, some intersections in cities are craaaaaaazy… That’s only a few of the differences between Fijian roads and other countries. So hang on, you’re in for a treat!
10. There’s No Uber in Fiji
Nowadays, Uber and taxis go hand-in-hand when comparing your options. Uber does not have a license to operate in Fiji at the moment so this option is simply not available. In fact, it is quite important to use a registered taxi driver in Fiji for safety reasons – see above.