Can You Hire a Private Driver in Fiji?
Yes, you can and it’s very common to hire a driver in Fiji. Hiring a driver for a couple of hours to even a few days can be a cost-effective way to see the sights in Fiji. It often works out the same or a little more expensive than hiring a car, making it a good alternative to renting a car without the stress of having to drive in a foreign country yourself. Private drivers will take you where you ask them to go, giving you full flexibility to explore Fiji at your own pace. However, private drivers aren’t exactly easy to find until you arrive in Fiji. We’ll explain further in this guide on how to hire a driver in Fiji.
The Difference Between a Taxi Driver and a Private Driver
For hiring a driver in Fiji, you have two options: hiring a taxi driver or hiring a, what we like to call, “tours & transfers” driver.
A licensed taxi in Fiji has “LT” at the start of their registration number, as well as a “Taxi” sign on the roof. Licensed taxis must use taxi meters in Fiji’s town areas, but some licensed taxi drivers also offer fixed rates for out-of-town sightseeing.
Private drivers or “tours & transfers” drivers typically drive a branded vehicle (usually saying “tours & transfers” hence our silly name for them) with a license plate starting in “LH”, which means they are licensed to offer transfers or driver hire.
Where to Hire a Driver in Fiji
Not all of Fiji’s 333 islands have roads or a large enough tourist industry to warrant a need for private drivers. So where can you hire a driver in Fiji?
Viti Levu is the most populated island in Fiji where most tourists travel to, so there is an abundance of drivers to hire. Drivers can also be hired from Savusavu and Labasa in Vanua Levu and there is a limited number of drivers in Taveuni.
The Ways to Hire a Driver
Now that you know “where”, the next question is “how do you hire a driver in Fiji?” There are a few different ways to find and hire a driver in Fiji and, no, they’re not easy to find with a quick Google search!
Hiring a Taxi Driver
Taxi drivers in Fiji, i.e. a driver who drives a licensed taxi with the “LT” number plate, sometimes offer their services for day hires or sightseeing outside of town areas. While this is an option, hiring a licensed taxi driver for the day or a few hours is typically more expensive than hiring a “private driver”. There are a few exceptions to the rule, particularly in Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Hiring a taxi driver is simply a case of asking taxi drivers if they offer day rates or sightseeing tours, which you can either do at taxi stands in Fiji’s towns, at the airport or while taking a taxi from the airport to your accommodation. Why not? There is no central number to call for taxis in Fiji, so ask for a taxi driver’s driver card for their contact details if you like their service.
Learn more about taxis in The Guide to Taxis in Fiji.
Booking a Private Driver Through Your Accommodation
One of the best ways to book a private driver in Fiji is through your accommodation – they all have driver’s who they are working with! If you want to have a driver booked before you arrive in Fiji, perhaps to pick you up from the airport, then email your chosen accommodation and ask for a private driver or if they can put you in touch with one. Alternatively, you can always ask to hire a driver at your accommodation’s reception or travel desk once you are in Fiji.
Booking a Private Driver Through a Tour & Transfer Operator
Many of the private drivers can be found through the ground transfers companies in Fiji, i.e. the ones that we call “tours & transfers” drivers at the beginning of this article. Companies like Fiji Transfers connects visitors with independent private drivers, while companies like Local Transfers & Tours and Tourist Transport Fiji have private drivers as part of their transport services. You can even book one of the airport transfer services, such as the ones listed in the 10 Best Airport Transfers in Fiji, and inquire about private drivers as you are transported to your accommodation.
The Cost of Private Drivers in Fiji
Private drivers play by their own rules when it comes to pricing, so it all comes down to negotiation when hiring a driver in Fiji.
In Viti Levu, private driver rates can range from FJ$160-$480 for one-off day hires, but the FJ$200 mark is probably when your driver hire stops being a good deal. The price can be bumped down to FJ$100-$160 a day for multi-day hires, so negotiate for this if you require a driver for more than one day.
Private driver rates are typically lower in Fiji’s other islands, like Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Some taxi drivers in Labasa have been known to charge around FJ$20 an hour for sightseeing in the countryside while hiring a taxi for one day of sightseeing in Taveuni will be around FJ$140-$170.
Compare this to the cost of car rental in How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Fiji?