Can You Do Fiji on a Budget?
You’d think with its beautiful white sand beaches, private islands surrounded by crystal clear waters, and hundreds of resorts, Fiji was an island destination reserved for the wealthy. Honestly, that’s just not true, as Fiji also has an awesome array of budget resorts that happen to be in five-star locations. Yes, you can get your island resort fix in Fiji while still being on a budget, but you can also enjoy a real backpacking experience travelling through the Fijian villages and Indo-Fijian towns of the main island and island-hopping the coral atolls and volcanic shores of the outer islands.
So get your trip to Fiji started with the help of this complete travel guide to Fiji on a budget!
An Intro to Fiji
Location: Fiji is located in the South Pacific in the continent of Oceania. Fiji sits in the centre of Tonga, Wallis and Futuna, Vanuatu and New Caledonia and is about two-thirds of the way between Hawaii and New Zealand.
Land size: 18,274 km2 (7,056 mi2)
Climate: Daily average temperature – 25.5°C/77.9°F, average rainfall 1,826mm/71.9″ – 3,065mm/120.7″. Find out more in What is the Weather Like in Fiji?
Time zone: FJT / GMT+12/+13. Find out more in What is the Fiji Time Zone?
Languages: English, Fijian and Hindi. Find out more in What is the Fiji Language?
How to Get to Fiji
First things first, you’ll need to see if you are actually able to travel to Fiji due to restrictions put in place at the borders after the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit Tourism Fiji‘s website for the latest travel information.
Next, what is the best way to get to Fiji? Fiji can be accessed by flight, cruise ship or private sailing yachts. The most popular way to get to Fiji is by international flight, so let’s start with that.
Flying to Fiji
Direct international flights come from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Nauru, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Wallis & Futuna, the US and South Korea. If you are coming from further afield, then you will need to make a connecting flight most likely in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Hawaii. See How Long Does it Take to Fly to Fiji? for more information.
Although Fiji has two international airports, around 97% of visitors to Fiji come via Nadi International Airport on the island of Viti Levu (Fiji’s main island). Learn more in our guide, Which Airport to Arrive in Fiji. Plus, head to How to Book a Cheap Flight to Fiji for even more money-saving tips!
Cruises to Fiji
Fiji is on the itinerary of several South Pacific cruises from Australia, New Zealand and French Polynesia. There are five ports of call in Fiji, the main ones being Suva, Lautoka and Port Denarau. Find out about which cruiseliners have Fiji on their itinerary, as well as what to do at each port of call in The Guide to Taking a Cruise to Fiji. Plus, that’s right, we have more money-saving tips in the 12 Ways to Save Money on a Cruise to Fiji.
Sailing to Fiji
Fiji is conveniently located at the centre of the Transpacific journey between the US and New Zealand. The yachting season is between May and October. Learn about the sailing formalities and the ports of entry in The Sailing Guide to Fiji.
A Note on Customs Declarations
Fiji has strict biosecurity measures at the border to stop unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country. Therefore, anyone arriving in Fiji has to declare any “risk items” they have packed in their luggage – even common items like food and sports gear. Be sure to read up on Everything You Need to Know About Arriving in Fiji so you are prepared.
Check out our complete guide on How to Get to Fiji for more advice on making your way to the islands of Fiji.
When to Visit Fiji
Fiji is a tropical country and experiences warm temperatures throughout the year. It has two distinct seasons, a dry season which is drier and cooler, and a wet season which is hotter and humid (but cheaper to travel). Learn more about the climate in What is the Weather Like in Fiji?
Dry Season (May to November)
The dry season is also known as the winter season in Fiji, although many would not describe it as winter with temperatures around 19-29°C (66-84°F). The rainfall per month is an average of 70-150mm (2.8-6″). The dry season is also the time for swimming with manta rays, surfing big waves, clearer scuba diving conditions and catching sailfish, skipjack tuna and wahoo.
Wet Season (December to April)
The wet season is hotter and more humid, with temperatures around 22-33°C (72-91°F) and an average monthly rainfall of 180-310mm (2.8-6″). This is also Fiji’s cyclone season, which means there’s a risk of cyclones (but only a risk, which you can learn more about in How to Prepare for a Cyclone in Fiji). The wet season is also the best time for catching Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna and Mahimahi, as well as avoiding other tourists and finding better deals on flights and accommodation.
Still can’t decide when the best time is to travel to Fiji? Check out our complete guide, The Best Time to Visit Fiji, which dives much deeper into the subject.
Fiji Packing List
The main thing you need to keep in mind when packing for Fiji is having a tropical wardrobe that includes some more modest items of clothing for visiting Fijian villages. A packing list for Fiji might look a little something like this:
- Shorts/Skirts/Dresses some below the knee for village visits
- Light shirts/T-shirts to cover the shoulders for village visits
- Light cotton shirt to cover arms for sun protection
- Sarong (Sulu) to cover your legs on village visits
- Light sleepwear
- Light jacket/Cardigan/Pashmina for cooler evenings
- One-piece swimsuit for watersports/village stay for women
- Rash vest for sun and surf protection
- Light rain jacket if visiting in the wet season
- Reef shoes
- Walking shoes/sandals
And that’s just clothes! For a full packing list of everything to take, including accessories and toiletries, check out The Complete Packing List for Fiji.
Although the water in towns is generally safe to drink, there is questionable drinking water in Fiji’s villages and more remote islands – see Can You Drink the Water in Fiji? That coupled with high UV levels and the presence of mosquitos means that certain health products are essential to take to Fiji.
Fiji also has a fragile marine ecosystem so natural sunscreens and mosquito repellents are a must, while water purification bottles/tablets are preferable to buying bottled water for obvious environmental reasons. See our health essentials packing list in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Fiji.
The currency in Fiji is Fijian Dollars. While credit/debit cards are accepted in major resorts and businesses in Fiji’s towns, you should have cash available for taxis and visiting villages. If you need more information, just head to What is the Currency in Fiji?
How Long Should You Visit Fiji For
Admittedly, Fiji makes an idyllic getaway for just staying in the same resort for a few days to a week – and that’s fine; we all need some R&R from time to time. More intrepid travellers, however, will find that Fiji is an excellent country not only for island-hopping but road tripping around Viti Levu.
For those of you who want to explore, here’s what you can achieve in certain timeframes… (And don’t worry, we’ll get onto the destinations in the next few sections).
3 Days / A Long Weekend in Fiji
Over a long weekend, you will have enough time to explore Nadi, Denarau and the Coral Coast or perhaps take a quick trip to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. See an example itinerary in Fiji Budget Itinerary: 3 Days.
5 Days in Fiji
Five days is enough time for a quick island-hopping itinerary in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands or check out Fiji’s landscape of resorts and adventure activities along the Coral Coast and Pacific Harbour. Check out Fiji Budget Itinerary: 5 Days for inspiration.
7 Days / One Week in Fiji
A week in Fiji gives you time to relax in any one of the island groups, but for those who want to move around, you could take a road trip around Viti Levu or do some island-hopping in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands. Alternatively, you could explore between the two less-visited islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni. See Fiji Budget Itinerary: 7 Days for a trip idea.
14 Days / Two Weeks in Fiji
14 days allows you to extend itineraries suggested for a week. It will also give you time to explore a mix of Viti Levu and the Mamanuca/Yasawa Islands or Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni, or a week in Kadavu and a week in Viti Levu… Check out our recommendation in Fiji Budget Itinerary: 14 Days.
Where to Visit: Budget Travel in Viti Levu
All adventures in Fiji start in Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island and home to Nadi International Airport. For travellers on a budget, it’s also an amazing island to explore presenting many surprises that outsiders don’t realise Fiji has, from inland white water rafting to spectacular waterfall hikes.
Staying on the mainland also allows travellers to keep transport costs low, especially with bus transport being so cheap in Fiji. There are many spectacular regions to explore across Viti Levu, which can be enjoyed through road tripping or simply staying put in a relaxing resort.
Nadi, Denarau and the Coral Coast
Nadi, Denarau and the Coral Coast are the closest regions to Nadi International Airport, making them a great option to visit if you’re on limited time in Fiji. Nadi presents many exciting attractions to visit between orchid gardens, hot springs, Hindu temples and the bustling markets. Check out The Guide to Nadi on a Budget to learn more about visiting.
Denarau is a little expensive, being home to only five-star resorts and luxury apartments, but it’s worth a day trip to check out the resorts, the small town there and/or hop on one of the many island cruises. See The Guide to Denarau Island on a Budget to learn more.
The Coral Coast, on the other hand, has several affordable resorts and accommodations lining the beaches and reefs of Viti Levu’s southern coast. Learn more in The Guide to the Coral Coast on a Budget.
Pacific Harbour, Suva and the Suncoast
These regions make up the northern and eastern sides of Viti Levu, which are less-visited by tourists but no less awesome. The Pacific Harbour is dubbed the “adventure capital of Fiji” thanks to its river jet boat rides, white water rafting, scuba diving with sharks, jet ski safaris and more. While they are more of your big-ticket items, check out The Guide to Beqa & Pacific Harbour on a Budget for some of the cheaper experiences there.
Suva is the capital of Fiji, where sightseeing in the colonial-style town is free to enjoy. The Colo-i-Suva Forest Park just inland from the town is also worth discovering with its amazing waterfalls and swimming holes. See The Guide to Suva on a Budget for more ideas.
Finally, the Suncoast is the northern region of Fiji, which is where you can get well of the tourist trail, stay at a budget lodge on Nananu-i-Ra Island and visit picturesque Fijian villages. Learn more in The Guide to the Suncoast on a Budget.
Where to Visit: Budget Travel in the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands
If you’re coming to Fiji with the idea of staying on a small tropical island with swaying palm trees and sandy beaches, then set your sights on the Mamanuca and the Yasawa Islands. Being the closest island groups to Nadi International Airport, overwater travel is less expensive than flying to some of the other outer islands.
The Mamanuca Islands has a great selection of budget resorts just a 30 minute to 1-hour ferry journey from the mainland. The resorts here keep your budget holiday simple, providing free access to all their watersports equipment, as well as other complimentary activities like cultural shows, kava ceremonies, crafting lessons, swimming pools, cocktail mixing lessons and more. Check out The Guide to the Mamanuca Islands on a Budget for more information.
The Yasawa Islands are a popular island-hopping backpacker destination thanks to the array of budget resorts with dorm rooms combined with a hop-on hop-off ferry in the region. Alternatively, the Yasawa Islands makes a good destination for remote village homestays. See The Guide to the Yasawa Islands on a Budget to help plan your trip.
Where to Visit: Budget Travel in Vanua Levu and Taveuni
If you have the budget to fly (or ferry) to Fiji’s lesser-visited islands, then it’s absolutely worth doing. Vanua Levu and Taveuni are the northern islands of Fiji, famous for their pristine jungle landscapes and amazing coral reefs. What’s more, the two islands are connected by a cheap ferry so there’s no excuse not to visit both!
Fiji’s second-largest island promises a more off-the-beaten-track experience than its sister island, Viti Levu. With sensational snorkelling locations, easy ways to immerse in the Fijian culture and bustling towns with plenty of free or cheap attractions, you’ll find plenty to do on the island of Vanua Levu. See The Guide to Vanua Levu on a Budget for more information.
Discover some of the best eco experiences Fiji has to offer in Taveuni. What’s more, it is an extremely affordable island to explore, as the main attractions will only gently chip away at your budget. The attractions include hikes in the Bouma National Heritage Park, visiting stunning waterfalls, snorkelling in marine reserves, visiting pearl farms, seeing awesome blowholes and more. Check out The Guide to Taveuni on a Budget to learn more.
Where to Visit: Budget Travel in Kadavu, the Lomaiviti and Lau Islands
And for the real adventurous backpackers, see a side of Fiji that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years in Kadavu, the Lomaiviti Islands and the Lau Islands.
This remote island about 100km (62 miles) from Viti Levu is certainly an off-the-beaten-track destination in Fiji. While Kadavu provides few budget accommodations due to its remoteness, you might just think of the exceptional Great Astrolabe Reef with amazing underwater wildlife (including manta rays), the myriad of hiking trails in forests where there are birds you’ll only see on this island, and the 75 coastal villages with some unique traditions are worth paying the extra dough. Learn more about this southern island group in The Guide to Kadavu on a Budget.
In the Lomaiviti Islands, it’s almost impossible NOT to travel on a budget! Most accommodations are very affordable and whatever is not free is extremely cheap thanks to the real local guides who are more passionate about sharing their island than milking tourists. There’s oh-so-much to explore in between the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Levuka, the dramatic volcanic crater village of Lovoni, the colourful underwater seascape, and the exciting islands to explore by kayak… Check out The Guide to the Lomaiviti Islands on a Budget to learn more.
The final frontier in Fiji is the Lau Islands, a sparse scattering of around 60 islands on the eastern side of the Fiji archipelago. The way to explore these islands on a budget would be to hop on one of the cargo ships making the rounds from Suva. A couple of the islands have guesthouse accommodations. Learn more in The Complete Guide to the Lau Islands.
How to Get Around Fiji on a Budget
Yes, after seeing the number of island groups in Fiji, let alone the different islands and some of the larger islands to explore, you’re probably wondering: how do I get around all of these islands?
Transport differs between island groups. More touristic islands, such as the Mamanucas and Yasawas are well serviced with ferries, seaplanes and water taxis, while the lesser-visited islands may only have transport that is provided by your chosen resort. The main ways to get around Fiji on a budget include:
Fiji Domestic Flights + Prices
There are two scheduled domestic carriers in Fiji, both offering regular flights between Fiji’s most populated islands. Learn more about these flights in The Complete Guide to Flights in Fiji.
To give you an idea of domestic flight prices in Fiji, here are a few examples of popular routes and how much they typically cost. The following prices are for return flights.
- Nadi to Suva – FJ$220-$250/adult, FJ$160-$180/child
- Nadi to Savusavu – FJ$450-$500/adult, FJ$340-$400/child
- Nadi to Taveuni – FJ$550-$600/adult, FJ$420-$500/child
- Nadi to Kadavu – FJ$400-$450/adult, FJ$300-$350/child
- Suva to Lakeba – FJ$540-$600/adult, FJ$400-$450/child
Check out our guide, How Much Does it Cost to Fly in Fiji? for more prices.
Fiji Ferries + Prices
High-speed catamaran ferries service the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands from Port Denarau in Viti Levu, while the slower passenger, vehicle and cargo ferries run from Suva in Viti Levu to the Lomaiviti Islands, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu. Find out more in The Guide to Travelling in Fiji by Ferry.
Typical ferry prices are in the ballpark of the following:
- Denarau to the Mamanuca/Yasawa Islands (one way) – FJ$80-$135
- Suva to Savusavu (Vanua Levu) – Adult FJ$56 / Child FJ$35
- Suva to Taveuni – Adult FJ$70 / Child FJ$45
- Suva to Kadavu – Adult FJ$50 / Child FJ$20
- Suva to Ovalau (Lomaiviti Islands) – Adult FJ$29.40 / Child FJ$18
For more ferry prices, head to our guide, How Much Do Water Taxis & Ferries Cost in Fiji?
Fiji Car Rental + Prices
Rental cars are available in Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. Learn more about hiring a car in The Guide to Renting a Car in Fiji. Costs to be aware of for a small budget car rental include:
- Small car rental rate/day – FJ$65-$170
- Insurance/day – FJ$15-$35
- Petrol/litre – FJ$2.19
For more budgeting tips, check out How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Fiji?
Fiji Buses + Prices
Public buses are the cheapest type of transport available in Fiji. They are available in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Ovalau. Find out more in How to Travel Around Fiji by Bus.
Note that you need to purchase e-tickets to pay for the bus, which you can find out more about in Where to Book Bus Transport in Fiji? As for typical costs:
- Nadi Airport to Nadi Town – FJ$1.30-$2
- Nadi to Denarau – FJ$1-2
- Inner-city Suva – FJ$1
- Savusavu to Nabuka (Vanua Levu) – FJ$6.65-7.50
- Wairiki to Bouma (Taveuni) FJ$4-$6
- Nadi to Sigatoka (Coral Coast) – FJ$6-$10
- Nadi to Pacific Harbour – FJ$12-$15
- Nadi to Suva (via Queens Road) – FJ$16-$22
Fiji Taxis + Prices
Taxis in Fiji can be identified by their “Taxi” signs and “LT” at the beginning of the registration plate. They offer affordable metered fares within towns, while fares for sightseeing or going between towns can be negotiated. Find out more in The Guide to Taxis in Fiji.
Typical taxi fares include:
- Nadi Airport to Nadi town: FJ$10-$20
- Nausori Airport to Suva city centre: FJ$30-$50
- Suva to the Pacific Harbour: FJ$40-$60
- Crossing Suva city: FJ$4-$8
- Suva to Colo-i-Suva Forest Park: FJ$15-$25
Again, many more examples of taxi prices, including for Taveuni and Vanua Levu, can be found in Taxi Prices in Fiji: The Costs You Need to Know.
There are a lot more ways to travel around Fiji so be sure to browse our Fiji Transport Guide: 16 Best Ways to Get Around Fiji for more advice.
Cheap Accommodation in Fiji
First and foremost, Fiji is a country of resorts but not all of these are expensive five-star resorts! You’ll find budget and backpacker resorts across the beaches and islands of Fiji, while budget hotels can be found in Fiji’s larger towns.
In most cases, resorts handle everything: accommodation, entertainment, tours and sometimes even transport. For these reasons, one of the most important decisions you can make for a trip to Fiji is where you are going to stay.
Fiji Budget Resorts
The most abundant accommodation type in Fiji, resorts are typically complexes with hotel-style rooms or freestanding bure (bungalows) and facilities such as a restaurant, watersports equipment hire and sometimes a swimming pool. Many resorts across Fiji, especially on remote islands, offer an entertainment schedule with free activities, as well as optional paid tours, such as scuba diving, fishing, massages and more.
Fiji Budget Hotels
Budget hotels can be found across Fiji’s towns on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, such as in Nadi, Lautoka, Suva and Savusavu. Rooms are simple yet functional, while facilities are usually limited to just a restaurant (if even). Learn more in How to Pick the Best Hotel in Fiji for You. Plus, browse our 10 Best Cheap Hotels in Fiji.
Fiji Holiday Homes
Cost-effective for those who are travelling as a group, holiday homes offer a more intimate style of accommodation in Fiji. Note that these are some of the very few self-catering accommodations available in Fiji and can usually only be found on Fiji’s larger islands, like Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Becoming more and more abundant in Fiji with the popularity of booking websites like Airbnb, Booking.com and Expedia, homestays are where locals open up their spare room to visitors. With many homestays available in Fijian villages, this can be a truly authentic way to experience the Fijian culture. What’s more, some homestays are among some of the cheapest accommodations in Fiji. Note, however, that this is not an appropriate accommodation choice for travellers who like their luxuries and modern comforts.
Free and Cheap Things to Do in Fiji
Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to do in Fiji than drink cocktails and sit by the pool. Fiji exceeds at adventure, relaxation and culture. There’s so much to do that we could hardly fit it all into our 101 Things to Do in Fiji: The Ultimate List.
When it comes to free experiences, you won’t be hardpressed to enjoy priceless ways to fill your time in Fiji. Be on the lookout for budget resorts that offer some or all of the following experiences:
- Snorkel! Snorkel until your heart’s content!
- Experience a kava ceremony
- Hit the hiking trails of Fiji’s national parks
- Get out on the water in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard
- Wander through The Garden of the Sleeping Giant
- Experience a local church service
- Take part in a Fijian cooking class
- Visit a Fijian village
- Explore Fiji’s historical sites
- Visit Fiji’s amazing waterfalls.
For more suggestions and information on each activity, check out the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Fiji.
Food and Dining on a Budget
While food is often where budget travellers can save big, this can be a little bit tricky in Fiji. Travellers staying on an island resort will find that they have no access to food other than their resort’s restaurant, which can get pretty pricey with resort mains costing anywhere between FJ$25 and $70. Enjoying a large lunch or bringing some snacks to the island to see you through until dinner, for example, are ways to cut the costs of food, which you can learn more about in the 17 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Fiji.
In addition, be aware of some resorts having compulsory meal plans that you will have to pay to stay there. Find out more in Is it Worth Buying a Resort Meal Plan in Fiji?
Those staying on more populated islands like Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni can find more affordable restaurants in the towns, as well as supermarkets and produce markets for self-catering. Find out more about shopping for groceries in our Guide to Food Shopping in Fiji.
A wide range of international cuisine is represented in Fiji. We highly recommend the Indo-Fijian cuisine served in ultra-affordable curry houses. See more of our cheap restaurant recommendations in the following guides:
- The Top Cheap Eats in Nadi
- The Top Cheap Eats in Denarau
- The Top Cheap Eats in Suva
- The Top Cheap Eats on the Coral Coast
- The Top Cheap Eats on the Pacific Harbour
- The Top Cheap Eats on the Suncoast
- The Top Cheap Eats in Vanua Levu
Food Health and Safety
There are no major health concerns to be worried about when it comes to food in Fiji. Resort restaurants have a high standard. However, one should be a little wary when it comes to street food – it’s best to try food that is cooked and to avoid drinking tap water (or treat it) if you’re unsure of the quality.
Vegetarian options are widely available in Fiji, but those with other dietary requirements should contact their resorts prior to arrival. Although most resorts can cater to just about any dietary need, they tend to need notice in order to prepare.
For more food-related advice, check out The Complete Guide to Food in Fiji.
Typical Costs and Travel Budget: How Much Should You Budget For Fiji?
We all travel very differently. Therefore, making a precise budget for everyone is a, quite frankly, impossible task. Nevertheless, you can work out your own needs, thus budget, by simply looking at the typical prices listed below or in Fiji Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Fiji Cost?
The Cost of Accommodation
- Dorm bed/night – FJ$40-$100
- Homestay private room/night – FJ$30-$100
- Budget double private ensuite room/night – FJ$86-$200
- Family rooms/night – FJ$140-$1,000
The Cost of Food
- Indian & Chinese restaurant mains – FJ$6-$15
- Restaurant mains – FJ$20-$30
- Restaurant breakfast meals – FJ$6-$15
- Resort breakfasts – Free
- Resort lunch meals – FJ$16-$25
- Resort restaurant mains – FJ$25-$70
- Resort meal plans/day – FJ$58-$250
- Bottle of water – FJ$1.60-$4
- Bottle of wine – FJ$15-$30
- Pint of beer – FJ$4-$8
- Cocktail – FJ$10.50-$30
Grocery prices for self-catering can be found in What is the Cost of Food in Fiji?
The Cost of Tours and Activities
- Day cruise – FJ$150-$250
- Swim with sharks – FJ$200-250
- Shared half-day fishing charter – FJ$360-$500
- Snorkel tour – FJ$70-$120
- Two tank scuba dive – FJ$280-$320
- River tubing – FJ$190
- Cultural night tour – FJ$160
- Beach horse riding – FJ$190
- Half-day zipline tour (transfer included) – FJ$260
- Jet boat safari – FJ$280
- Skydive – FJ$850
- Kula Eco Park admission – FJ$50
- 45min helicopter scenic flight – FJ$580
- Massage – FJ$80-$190
See the cost of transport in the “How to Get Around Fiji on a Budget” section above.
Again, check out our guide, Fiji Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Fiji Cost? for more budget tips and costs.
More About Visiting Fiji on a Budget
That’s it for our complete travel guide to Fiji on a budget but by no means the end of our vacation advice. Check out the following guides for more essential tips:
- 10 Best Budget Resorts in Fiji
- How to Pick the Best Budget Accommodation in Fiji for You
- 10 Tips for Travelling Fiji on a Budget
- Fiji Budget Itinerary: 7 Days
- 10 Tips for Saving Money on a Flight to Fiji
Finally, head to The Complete Travel Guide to Fiji for more tips.