Budget Tips for Travelling Taveuni
With such an array of land and water attractions on one compact island, Taveuni is a backpacker’s paradise. The island begs to be explored on the cheap, with affordable experiences (see our 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Taveuni), budget lodges and homestays, as well as a ridiculously cheap bus network. As long as you’ve got the time to embrace the nature, culture and “Fiji time” of this island, you’ll have no trouble saving a few cents. Check out our tips for visiting Taveuni on a budget.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Guide to Taveuni on a Budget.
1. The Cheapest Way to Get to Taveuni is by Ferry, Although…
It’s true that the cheapest way to get to Taveuni is by taking the ferry with Goundar Shipping from Suva (Viti Levu). However, with a 16-hour journey that is infamous for not sticking to a schedule, it’s often easy to justify forking out extra for a domestic flight from Viti Levu to Taveuni. The best price on flights to Taveuni can be found if booked far in advance and during the low seasons – January-May and October-November.
2. Eat at Independent Restaurants
While most resorts offer their own on-site restaurant, prices are notorious for not being budget-friendly. There are restaurants found in the main towns of Taveuni, with the most choice being in Matei. While the restaurant scene changes too often on the island to list any recommendations here, there are cheap curry houses and pizza places coming and going all of the time. When you arrive at Matei, ask around for affordable eateries – the locals will certainly know!
3. Stay in Budget Accommodation
Yes, there are more options on Taveuni than staying in a resort. There are some incredibly cheap lodges, motels and campgrounds scattered across the island, offering everything from tent sites to dorm rooms to private rooms. Even if you don’t have your own tent, tent hire is almost always available, only costing an extra FJ$5. Check out some of our top recommendations in 7 Best Budget Accommodation on Taveuni.
4. Use the Kitchen Facilities in Your Accommodation
Speaking of accommodation, quite a few of Taveuni’s budget accommodations and villas on Taveuni have kitchen facilities. With supermarkets in Matei, Naqara and Somosomo, you can save a killing on food just by cooking up some of your own meals.
5. Do a Homestay
Homestays are an affordable way to immerse in the Fijian culture. Not only do you get to experience the real Fiji, but your accommodation is also included in the price (of which is only FJ$30-$100 per night). Dining with the family is also part of the experience, where meals are an average of FJ$15 per person per day. Check out the Taveuni homestays on Airbnb (and don’t forget your FREE $50 Airbnb credit on us). Plus, find more homestays around the country with our 10 Authentic Village Stays in Fiji.
6. Remember the Free Stuff
One last thing about accommodation, don’t just see resorts as somewhere to rest your head for the night when looking at prices. Most resorts around Taveuni and Fiji offer a range of complementary activities that are sure to keep you entertained during your stay. Complimentary use of non-motorised watersports equipment is a staple, where you can kayak, snorkel and stand-up paddleboard for free. Cultural activities are also often included in the rate, such as “meke” dance nights, coconut husking, weaving and more. That’s something to think about!
7. Buses are a Cheap Way to Get Around the Island
While there are a few ways to get around Taveuni, which we dive into in our 7 Ways to Get to Taveuni (& Get Around Taveuni), nothing comes anywhere near as cheap as the local buses. Pacific Transport run buses around the coastal roads of Taveuni, where most trips cost as little as FJ$5. The downside is that the bus service is infrequent, running about three times a day, mostly in conjunction with the school run.
8. Hiring a Driver is Cheaper than Hiring a Car
If you’re looking for a little more convenience for getting around Taveuni, your next most affordable option is hiring a driver. Many taxi drivers on Taveuni are happy to be hired for the day, costing around FJ$140 for the day in comparison to renting a vehicle which is FJ$15-$200 a day. The best way to organise a driver is by asking at Matei Airport when you arrive or organising one with your chosen resort or other accommodation.
9. Have Cash Handy for the National Park
Taveuni’s most mesmerising attraction, the Bouma National Heritage Park, is a must for any traveller visiting the island. However, just be aware that each attraction in the park, whether it’s snorkelling at the Waitabu Marine Park, walking to Bouma Falls or hiking the Lavena Coastal Trail, has a fee to be paid to the visitor centre in each attraction’s closest village. Attractions cost between FJ$15-$80 per person so have the cash handy.
10. Pick The Right Times to Walk
Particularly on the west coast of Taveuni, many of the attractions, such as the International Dateline Sign, the Waitavala Waterslide and De Voeux Peak, all make a great outing on foot (which is free to walk). However, due to the high temperature during the afternoon, it’s safer and more comfortable to start these adventures in the early morning.