Advice on Choosing a Homestay in Fiji
Staying with the locals in a quaint Fijian village is an enriching experience, not to mention super affordable, but it’s not for everyone. It means forgoing the lavish confines of a resort for the humble quarters of a friendly Fijian family who are eager to share their way of life. Staying with a Fijian family is more than a type of accommodation, it’s an experience in itself. Find out how to choose a homestay in Fiji and if it’s right for you with this guide.
Tips for Staying in a Fijian Homestay
- For staying in a village, bring a sevusevu (gift) and respect village protocol, such as wearing clothing that covers the knees and not wearing a hat – see Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village for advice
- Bring cash for meals and activities
- Meals are usually available to purchase at a Fijian homestay for a cheap price (but just check this with your hosts so you can bring the right cash)
- Be wary of drinking water in Fiji’s villages, which the locals will drink but can cause traveller’s diarrhoea for tourists – see Can You Drink the Water in Fiji? for more advice
- Homestays can be in very basic accommodation, far from the standard of resorts, so make sure a homestay is something you can handle
- See examples of homestays in the 10 Best Homestays in Fiji.
What is a Homestay in Fiji?
Homestays in Fiji are when locals open up their spare rooms for guests to stay and be part of the family. Some homestays, especially in villages, may have separate bures (bungalows) for guests.
Homestays in Fiji typically fall into three categories, village stays, farmstays and town stays. For village stays, you will need to respect the village protocol and likely find yourself being part of the community. Farmstays are typically found inland in Fiji’s larger islands where you’ll stay with a local family on a farm. Homestays in Fiji’s towns are either with Fijian, Indo-Fijian or expat families and are more likely to be shared with other guests, much like a bed & breakfast.
Homestays usually have breakfast included, while meals are likely to be provided for a small fee, especially in remote areas. Fijian homestays also typically offer activities organised by your hosts or with villagers, such as snorkelling trips, cooking and crafting lessons, fishing and more.
Location, What is Nearby and How to Get There?
Homestays in Fiji can be found across the islands with more and more being listed every month. The largest abundance of homestays, however, is in the Yasawa Islands, Nadi, Suva and Taveuni. Learn more about these island groups/destinations and decide whether they are right for you by checking out the following guides:
- The Complete Guide to Nadi
- The Complete Guide to Suva
- The Complete Guide to the Yasawa Islands
- The Complete Guide to Taveuni.
Once you have decided which island group or destination to visit, you’re going to need to figure out how to get to your chosen homestay. Some homestays are located on the outer islands of Fiji, which requires overwater travel, which is time-consuming and can be pricey. Learn about travelling to Fiji’s outer islands in The Guide to Travelling in Fiji by Ferry and The Complete Guide to Flights in Fiji.
When it comes to nearby attractions and shops, only homestays in Fiji’s towns will have these things available. Many of Fiji’s homestays are remote where your only source of food and entertainment is provided by your host family – consider a homestay in a town if you want more independence.
What Facilities to Expect at a Homestay
At a homestay in Fiji, it’s best to come with little expectations and just going with the flow. Don’t expect WiFi, don’t expect an ensuite bathroom… You shouldn’t even expect hot water! You will be experiencing the real island life, which isn’t full of the luxuries that many of us take for granted.
Some (but not all) facilities and services you can expect in Fijian homestays include:
- Private bedroom
- Shared bathroom
- Lifts to town (could be for a fee)
- Lunch and dinner (likely for an additional fee)
- Communal kitchen
- Complimentary activities
- Paid activities (snorkelling trips, fishing, cooking lessons, etc.)
- Gardens, beach, farm landscape, etc.
- Car parking
For any additional activities or meals that the host might offer, make sure you have some cash handy so that you can pay your way.