How to Visit Denarau Island on a Budget
When you think of a budget holiday in Fiji, perhaps the luxury island of Denarau should not be at the top of your list. However, if you have your heart set on the five-star resorts, then there are a few ways you can make some savings while you’re there. Budget travellers can still experience a “treat yourself” vacation without going overboard. With that in mind, we’ve put together this quick guide to Denarau Island on a budget to give you some budget travel tips.
10 Tips for Visiting Denarau on a Budget
- Use the yellow bus (Westbus) as the cheapest way to get between Nadi and Denarau
- Get around Denarau on foot – the island is small enough to walk around, so there’s no need to pay for transport
- Play around with your dates when booking your resort, mid-week rates are cheaper
- Consider planning your trip in the low season (October-November, January-May) for cheaper hotel rates
- If travelling with kids, consider resorts like the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Sheraton Denarau Villas where children under 12 years can stay and use the kids’ clubs for free
- Sightseeing around the other resorts, as well as the Port Denarau Marina, is a great way to spend a day for free
- Make use of your resorts’ free facilities: gyms, pools, loungers, entertainment programs, WiFi and more!
- Apartments, such as at The Palms and The Terraces, have similar room rates to the resorts but have kitchen facilities – make use of them by cooking your own meals to save money on food
- Eat in Port Denarau, rather than in your resort restaurant, to save money on meals
- Sightseeing in Nadi is a great way to spend a cheap day – just catch the yellow bus into town!
For more information on each tip, see our complete Denarau budget tip list here.
How to Get to Denarau Island on a Budget
One way Denarau is kind on your wallet is that the island is just a 25-minute drive south of the Nadi International Airport, keeping the transport costs to a minimum. What’s more, the island is actually attached to the mainland by road giving you plenty of road transport options to choose from.
Denarau by Bus
The public bus service in Nadi and Denarau is by far the cheapest way to get to Denarau. The public bus operator servicing Denarau costs around FJ$1-$2 per person to travel between Nadi and Denarau. Additionally, there is a hop-on-hop-off service costing around FJ$8 per adult for the full day. Children under 12 travel free with a paying adult. Find out more about these bus services in our Denarau Transport Guide.
Denarau by Taxi
For a quicker and direct service to Denarau, taxis are a popular way to get to Denarau. The drive from Nadi Airport takes about 20-30 minutes, costing FJ$30-$50 one way – taxi prices can be negotiated so try to get a cheaper price! Note that taxis need to be booked in advance when departing from Denarau with the only taxi company permitted to pick up on the island, Denarau Hire Cars. Denarau Car Hires has set fares. Get tips on taking a taxi in our 10 Things You Need to Know About Taxis in Fiji.
Denarau by Airport Transfer
Private airport transfer services are available to get you between Nadi Airport and Denarau Island. These services can be booked in advance, where your driver will be waiting for you at the airport on your arrival. While most private transfers cost up to FJ$130, there are some more affordable services such as Go Local Fiji (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor).
Getting Around Denarau on Foot
Denarau Island is a compact island, so a great way to save money on bus transport and taxis around the island is to simply walk. There are paths/sidewalks alongside the road, as well as on the waterfront connecting the resorts.
For more tips, check out our 5 Ways to Get Around Denarau.
Sightseeing in Denarau
Sightseeing is always a cheap way to enjoy any destination and Denarau has its fair share of places to check out.
The main town of the island, Port Denarau is a fascinating township displaying a stark contrast to the other towns and cities in Fiji. The contemporary architecture, street sculptures, water features and pockets of palm plantations make the town a pleasant place to wander. The streets are packed with souvenir shops, eateries, tour desks, supermarkets and ATMs.
The Denarau Island Resorts
Whether you are staying in one of the Denarau resorts or just visiting Denarau for the day, wandering around the five-star resorts is a fun way to spend an hour or two. Denarau’s luxury resorts with tropical gardens, lagoon-style pools, fine restaurants and poolside cafes are nothing short of impressive. The resorts are all open and connected via a walkway on the waterfront. Alternatively, take the Bula Bus to hop-on and hop-off at each resort.
Although the beaches at Denarau are manmade and not ideal for swimming, they still make a pleasant place feeling the sand between your toes. What’s more, you can capture some amazing sunsets from Denarau’s beaches. The most scenic stretch of beach can be found at the Sheraton Fiji Resort.
Resort Activities in Denarau
Being a guest at one of the luxurious accommodations in Denarau often comes with many perks that don’t require you to fork out expensive extra fees.
Lounge by the Pool
Poolside holidays are essentially what holidays in Denarau are all about. Each resort and apartment accommodation has at least one outdoor swimming pool lined with sun loungers to catch some rays. Some resorts, like the Hilton Fiji Beach Resort, have seven different pools to choose from. The Sheraton Resort, Sheraton Villas and Westin Resort share all their facilities, including the pools, keeping pool days for their guests constantly fresh.
Go to the Gym
If your idea of relaxing in Fiji is working out, then you’re in luck, as most accommodations in Denarau offer guests free use of their fitness centre.
Join an Activity on the Adults Programme
Resorts in Denarau have a daily agenda of free activities for guests. Usually, these involve a fitness class, such as aqua-aerobics in the pool, a group walk, or playing beach games like petanque or volleyball. Later in the evening, restaurants will have cultural shows and themed nights (see below).
Activities for Kids
Even the younger guests are catered to with plenty of complimentary or cheap activities for them to do. The family-friendly resorts that we list in 8 Family Resorts in Denarau have outdoor and sometimes indoor playgrounds, children’s pools with a waterslide, and amazing kids’ clubs. Check out our 5 Best Kids’ Clubs in Denarau for more information.
Culture Activities in Denarau
While Denarau Island feels a world away from the villages and local communities of Fiji, the resorts still make the effort to bring guests closer to the local culture.
Resort Cultural Activities
For resort guests, evenings are often filled with Fijian cultural entertainment. At resorts like the Radisson Blu Resort, sunset is acknowledged with torch-lighting ceremonies carried out by performers dressed as Fijian warriors. Resorts like the Sofitel Fiji Resort host Fijian “meke”, otherwise known as traditional dancing, as well as traditional “lovo” feasts where food is slow-cooked in an underground oven. Guests can watch the unveiling of the lovo before the feast begins. Needless to say, lovo dining is not a free activity.
Kids’ clubs, a free or affordable service depending on which resort you use, are a great way for children to get immersed in the Fijian culture, with activities including Fijian games, language lessons and crafts.
Dining on a Budget in Denarau
Compared to the restaurants found in Nadi town, just a 15-20-minute drive away, eating out in Denarau is not cheap. With that in mind, we recommend budget travellers to catch a bus to Nadi town to see the sights (check out our The Guide to Nadi on a Budget) and try some of the amazing cheap eats in Nadi while you’re there. Otherwise, head to Port Denarau Marina to find some cheaper food options than what is available in the resorts.
Cheap Eats in Denarau
Part of visiting Denarau is about indulging, so try some yummy treats like the waffles at Snowy House Kitchen for around FJ$15. The Hot Bread Kitchen bakery serves up cheap pies, desserts and sandwiches for under FJ$10. We also find the fisherman’s basket at Bonefish great value at around FJ$30 for a fish basket to feed two for lunch. Families, don’t miss the large 18″ pizza for around FJ$40 at Mama’s Pizza – big enough to feed the family!
Check out more recommendations in our Top Cheap Eats in Denarau.