How to Choose the Best Backpacker Resort For You
After exploring the popular backpacker jaunts of Australia, New Zealand or South East Asia, backpacking in Fiji feels more like a backpacker holiday away from, well, backpacking! Backpacker hostels are more like resorts at backpacker prices, so get ready to have more of an island holiday experience with your fellow travellers! So how do you choose the right backpacker hostel in Fiji? Because Fiji is more about relaxing and “Fiji time“, your main criteria should be location, food and activities.
5 Things You Need to Know About Staying in a Backpacker Hostel in Fiji
- Backpacker accommodation in Fiji are more like budget resorts than hostels, so you’ll be sharing the experience with a range of budget travellers from honeymooners to solo backpackers
- Sometimes the only option for food is the resort restaurant, so add that to your food budget
- You have the widest choice of backpacker accommodation in Nadi, the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands
- If you want to stay on a paradise island, add the boat transfer to your itinerary and budget
- Many of the Fiji backpacker resorts offer similar experiences, so consider booking yourself into one accommodation for a few days to make the most of it, instead of being on the move too often.
Location & How to Get There
Fiji covers 333 islands, so getting around Fiji isn’t as easy as just hopping on a bus. On the upside, Fiji’s main backpacker resorts are limited to the islands of Viti Levu (the mainland), the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands, so at least that narrows it down. Now all you need to do is pick a backpacker hostel (or several) that you can get to.
Hostels on Viti Levu
Viti Levu is the main island of Fiji and where most people land when travelling by plane. Viti Levu’s main backpacker hostel scene is at Wailoaloa Beach, which is a 10-minute drive from Nadi International Airport. Needless to say, it’s the easiest and cheapest backpacker destination to get to in Fiji, where some hostels will even offer free airport transfers. Alternatively, take a taxi for around FJ$10 or a public bus for under FJ$5.
While the grey-sand beach of Wailoaloa isn’t exactly your “paradise” beach found in the Mamanucas or Yasawas, the good vibes at the backpacker resorts more than make up for it. Plus, those paradise islands are just a short boat excursion away, with some island trips leaving straight from the beach! We’ve picked some of the best in 7 Best Backpacker Resorts in Nadi.
More backpacker hostel options await along the Coral Coast, Pacific Harbour and Suva on the south coast. Express buses provide a cheap A to B option to travel along the Queens Road, while Feejee Experience offers backpacker bus tours to affordable resorts, getting you around Viti Levu in four days. Check out Where to Book Bus Transport in Fiji? as well as the 10 Best Budget Accommodation on the Coral Coast.
Hostels in the Mamanuca Islands
The Mamanuca Islands are the closest island group to Nadi International Airport, making them the easiest islands to get to from Nadi. However, scheduled boat transfers from Wailoaloa, Fantasy Island or Denarau still take a bit of time, so expect to lose half a day getting to your chosen Mamanuca Island hostel. Once you reach the powdery white sands and clear waters of the Mamanucas though, you’ll undoubtedly think it’s worth it. Check out the 5 Ways to Get to the Mamanuca Islands and also inquire with your chosen resort for private transfers. Consider your options from our 6 Best Budget Accommodation on the Mamanuca Islands.
Hostels in the Yasawas
Stretching north of the Mamanuca Islands are the Yasawa Islands. The Yasawas have earned their reputation of being a backpackers’ paradise thanks to the abundance of budget resorts and the ability to go from one resort to the other via the Yasawa Flyer. The high-speed catamaran departs from Denarau Marina (airport transfers are available) and takes two hours to reach the southernmost resort and five hours to reach the northernmost resort, before returning to Denarau stopping at resorts on the way back. While the location feels like the “real Fiji”, the option is best taken if you have the time for the boat transfer. Otherwise, check out more options in our 5 Ways to Get to the Yasawa Islands and 10 Best Budget Resorts in the Yasawa Islands.
Food Options & Prices
Another deciding factor for choosing a hostel in Fiji is where to eat. Although there are plenty of food options on the mainland, your only option is your resort’s restaurant on the outer islands (unless you’re really good at getting coconuts).
Note that unlike in other country’s, Fiji’s backpacker accommodations are unlikely to have kitchen facilities. Less and less backpacker accommodations are providing barbecues, so it’s best to not rely on using one. If you are set on making you’re own food, it might be better for you to book yourself into a self-contained apartment, which are usually much pricier than a backpacker dorm. Otherwise, plan your food budget to always be eating out.
Food Options on Viti Levu
If you’re backpacking on Viti Levu, then you have many opportunities to grab some cheap eats. Just head into any of the towns on the Queens Road (the main road between Nadi and Suva running along the south coast) and you’ll find cheap curry houses and snack bars offering generous main meals for under FJ$8. Check out some of our top picks in our list of Cheap Eats in Nadi and Cheap Eats in Suva.
Because of the competition from town eateries, as well as other budget resorts in the area, the backpacker resorts on Viti Levu offer affordable menus at competitive prices. A mix of both eating in the towns and from your resort restaurant is going to keep the food costs lower than on the outer islands. A couple of affordable accommodations worth mentioning with kitchen facilities include Club Oceanus Resort on the Pacific Harbour and The Casablanca Hotel on the Coral Coast.
Food Options on the Outer Islands
On the remote outer islands of Fiji, it’s no surprise that you can’t just pick up something cheap from the supermarket or shop around for the cheapest restaurant. More often than not, the resort restaurant is your only option, so if your food budget needs to be tight, choose a resort with either affordable restaurant meals or a cheap meal plan price. As an example, restaurant main meals range from FJ$20 to $60 off the menu and meal plans range from FJ$50 to $80 per day in budget resorts.
What is There to Do at the Hostel?
What makes Fiji’s backpacker resorts stand out from other hostels around the world is that there’s always something to do! They’re resorts after all, rather than being just a bed for the night. Fiji’s backpacker resorts have an array of activities from free (or very cheap) kayak, SUP and snorkel hire to nightly entertainment with cultural shows or crab racing. So if your plan is to just go with the flow, then you’re bound to have a good time at any of Fiji’s backpacker hostels.
If you have a specific activity on your bucket list though, that’s when your hostel’s activities become a deciding factor. Check out these lists of resorts (don’t worry, there are some budget options there), that excel in specific activities: