How to Visit Nadi on a Budget
You don’t have to travel far from the airport to get a true Fiji experience. In fact, if you’re in Fiji on a very tight budget or with very limited time, we don’t recommend leaving the Nadi area at all! (Well, except for if you want to do an island day trip excursion, but Nadi would be a great base to do that). Fiji’s third-largest city and international travel hub is a mecca for travellers looking to get some good weather, see some cultural sights, eat some good food and even see some stunning natural attractions. The possibilities are endless in Nadi, which is well facilitated with accommodation for the budget traveller. In this guide to Nadi on a budget, we talk through some of the main areas to explore in Nadi and some of their most affordable attractions. But remember, there are still some pricier attractions worth saving for, from ziplining through the rainforest canopy to scuba diving in tropical waters. Check out 12 Awesome Things to Do in Nadi for more activities beyond the typical “budget” ones.
5 Tips for Visiting Nadi on a Budget
- Nadi is one of the best places you can stay for free activity transfers in Fiji! Activity providers are likely to pick you up for free to even as far as the Coral Coast.
- Save money on food by eating in the main town centres along the Queens Road, rather than in your resort restaurant
- There’s an incredible amount of free activities in Nadi. Just take a look at 10 Free & Cheap Things to do in Nadi
- Always check if your Nadi accommodation does free airport transfers before getting a taxi!
- For more ways to save money, head to 17 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Fiji
Getting Around Nadi on a Budget
Nadi is a city that is spread far and wide, from the beaches of Wailoaloa and New Town to the inland Main St running from the Nadi River to the further inland villages and Sebato Hills. Getting around on foot is not going to cut it. Luckily, public transport in Nadi is extremely cheap, which involves buses, taxis and private drivers.
Getting Around Nadi by Bus
Public buses are plentiful in the Nadi area, where you’ll get all the information you’ll need about where to take buses and their timetables from information centres at the airport, in Nadi and from the travel desk in your chosen accommodation. Trips around Nadi are usually less than FJ$2 and are paid with tickets, rather than with cash. Find out how to pay for Nadi buses in Where to Book Bus Transport in Fiji?
Taxis in Nadi
Taxis are a quick and convenient way to get around Nadi. By law, taxis in Nadi need to have a fare meter within Nadi. Taxis will be branded with a “Taxi” sign and “LT” at the beginning of their number plates. Getting around Nadi by taxi is still reasonably cheap, costing around FJ$10 to get between the airport and Main St.
Hiring a Driver
Instead of hiring a car for exploring Nadi, which doesn’t offer great value for money, hiring a driver is your best option if you want the convenience of your own car without the driving and the high rental rates. Drivers can often be organised with your accommodation. Prices, however, need to be agreed on beforehand, as they do not use fare meters like a taxi. Expect to pay FJ$90-140 a day for a driver.
Shuttle to Your Accommodation
On one last note about transport, most Nadi resorts and accommodations offer free airport transfers so always inquire first before booking a taxi or taking the bus!
Central Nadi, otherwise known as Downtown Nadi, is considered the area around Main St which runs between the Nadi River and the Nadi Back Road. This is your bustling centre where you’ll find shops, cafes and services from currency exchange bureaus to the post office. On top of that, there are also some great tourist attractions to check out without breaking the bank.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
Just outside of the hustle and bustle of Main St, the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple is a gloriously colourful structure definitely worth adding to your sightseeing itinerary. Admission is around FJ$5 where you will be given a sarong (sulu) to cover your legs, remove your shoes and explore the carvings and paintings of Hindu deities around the temple. While it’s acceptable to take photos outside of the temple, you are asked not to take photos inside.
Shopping in Central Nadi
Nadi’s shopping scene is where you’ll find the melting pot of cultures in Fiji the most evident. Fijian crafts, Indian fashion, polished Western-style souvenir shops and more can be found all along Nadi’s Main St. Needless to say, souvenir shopping is made pretty easy here, with the option of large souvenir outlets like Jack’s and Tappoo selling mass-produced souvenirs to the alternative shopping experience of the Nadi Handicraft Market. We recommend shopping around first, as many souvenir stores will sell the same items at different prices. Finally, the Nadi Market is where you’ll find fresh produce and get to mingle with the locals! Buy some tropical fruit and vegetables and ask the stall owners how to prepare them.
Eating in Central Nadi
Eating the local cuisine is all part of the cultural experience of visiting Nadi. What’s more, it’s especially easy to eat on a budget in Nadi. For Western-style food, pick up a refreshing smoothie, coffee or baked good from the Zigzag Cafe for around FJ$5, or a ridiculously cheap and delicious curry from one of the many curry houses, like Tata’s, for around FJ$4 a main meal. Mama’s Pizza is also worth trying for their wood-fired delights under FJ$20. Check out more Cheap Eats in Nadi.
Inland from Nadi is a whole other Fiji experience on the Sabeto Foothills. The rolling countryside and views of the Sebeto Mountains hide a multitude of natural attractions, adventure activities and isolated accommodation.
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Visit Fiji’s largest collection of orchids and walk among the lush tropical forests of the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. Entry remains under FJ$20 to explore this little piece of tropical paradise before sitting down to a refreshing fruit drink at the end of your visit.
Sabeto Mud Pools
At around FJ$30 per adult, the Sabeto Mud Pools are a great way to experience real “Fiji time” pampering on a budget. Lather yourself in thick mud, let it dry on the skin, then bathe in numerous natural hot pools around the complex. This tourist attraction is organised by the local village, often with food, massages and souvenirs to purchase too.
A quick pitstop for a great view overlooking Nadi Bay is the Lomolomo WWII battery at the foot of the Sabeto Mountains.
Wailoaloa & New Town Beach
Wailoaloa Beach and New Town Beach are less than 10-minutes drive from Nadi’s Main St, a short drive from the Queens Road down Wailoaloa Road.
Although it’s not the perfect white sand beaches Fiji’s outer islands are known for, Wailoaloa and New Town Beach are Nadi’s version of beach time in Fiji. Both areas are packed with resorts, most of which are budget resorts but are well worth considering as a base for exploring the Mamanuca Islands and the surrounding Nadi area. Boat excursions, particularly with the Mana Flyer, depart from the resorts at Wailoaloa Beach, giving you the opportunity to visit some of Fiji’s paradise islands without paying luxury prices. Check out 5 Ways to Get to the Mamanuca Islands for more information.
The resorts here are affordable with their own pool, have their own restaurants and nightly entertainment. Don’t be fooled by the name of some of the resorts, as a “beach” resort doesn’t necessarily mean it’s on the beach. Smugglers Cove, Aquarius on the Beach, Tropic of Capricorn and Travellers Beach Resort are your closest resorts to the beachfront.
Martintar & Namaka
Conveniently located on the Queens Road, in between Nadi Airport, Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi Central and the Sebato Foothills, Martintar is another excellent place to base yourself if you want to save money on transportation to the nearby attractions. The suburb of Nadi also has its own offerings of shops and eateries, but most famously, it’s where Nadi’s best nightlife scene is.
Head to The Ultimate Guide to the Fiji Nightlife for recommendations on bars and nightclubs in Martintar.
Further up the Queens Road is Namaka, the Nadi suburb where Nadi International Airport is located. Again, there are many shops and conveniences in the area. However, we recommend the Namaka Produce Market to talk to the locals and sample some of the sweetest pineapples and flavoursome bananas!
Best of the Rest
Nearby to Nadi, but not technically in the city, are a few other areas definitely worth visiting while staying in Nadi.
Built on reclaimed mangrove land, Denarau Island is a fascinating jaunt worth taking. The island looks and feels a world away from Nadi, with its polished landscape lined with luxury 5-star resorts. While we don’t recommend staying at the resorts if you are sticking to a tight budget, we do recommend doing some resort-hopping to check out the pools and restaurants, or doing a bit of shopping at the Denarau Marina. Check out 12 Amazing Things to Do in Denarau Island.
Home to a couple of affordable waterfront resorts and villas, Vuda Point could be another option worth considering if you want to experience a peaceful resort away from Nadi. The area is thought to be where the first Melanesians arrived in Fiji around the 1500s.