How to Visit the Suncoast on a Budget
For backpackers looking for a more authentic experience of Fiji, head north to the Suncoast. Located on the island of Viti Levu, the Suncoast is extremely easy to get to, whether you take public transport or rent a car. The typical Suncoast vacation takes you along the scenic Kings Road between Lautoka to Rakiraki, or maybe even a little further to Korovou. Along the way, you’ll discover genuine towns, down-to-earth budget accommodation and interesting historical sites. Inland, there are a wealth of hikes and Fijian villages offering the perfect mix of nature and culture without breaking the bank. Let us guide you through the affordable accommodation, transport, activities and food with this guide to the Suncoast on a budget.
Before we begin this guide to the Suncoast on a budget, don’t forget to bookmark The Complete Travel Guide to Fiji on a Budget. Trust us, there’s a lot of useful tips in there!
10 Free and Cheap Things to Do on the Suncoast
- Explore the towns of Lautoka and Rakiraki
- Go on a snorkelling trip to the outer reefs
- Have a cultural experience in a Fijian village
- Visit the Church of the Black Christ
- Check out the Tomb of Udre Udre
- Visit a cave known as the Home of the Snake God
- Go hiking in the Koroyanitu National Heritage Park
- Kayak and wander around Nananu-I-Ra Island
- Take a picture of Navatu Rock
- Scout out the cheap eats and local cuisine.
For more information on each of these experiences, see our full list of 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on the Suncoast.
How to Get to the Suncoast on a Budget
The Suncoast is the stretch of coast and highlands in the north of Viti Levu between the towns of Lautoka in the west and Korokou in the east. This area of Fiji is well connected to the main airport of Viti Levu, Nadi International Airport, by road, making road transport the best way to get to the Suncoast. We’ll go through your best budget options here.
Suncoast via Public Bus
One of the most affordable ways to get to the Suncoast is via an express bus. Express buses run between Lautoka and Suva via the Kings Road, costing FJ$5-FJ$20 each depending on how far you are travelling. Buses between Nadi Airport and Lautoka are numerous, where more information can be found at 6 Ways to Get to Nadi (& Get Around Nadi).
Getting Around the Suncoast by Taxi
Taxi services are readily available in the towns of Lautoka, Rakiraki and Ba, making it easy and relatively cheap to do short trips around the Suncoast. Note that taxis in these towns do not use metres, so negotiate a price first. Find more Fiji taxi tips here.
Finally, there is also the option to hire a car from Nadi for the ultimate freedom to travel around the Suncoast. Find out more in 5 Ways to Get to the Suncoast.
Free and Cheap Activities on the Suncoast
When it comes to free and cheap activities on the Suncoast, your most abundant options are cultural and historical sites. See the grave of a famous cannibal, stay overnight in a Fijian village and check out grand architecture and paintings of the Suncoast’s churches. Of course, because this is Fiji, there’s the opportunity to snorkel too.
Snorkel at the Outer Reefs
While snorkelling along the coast from your chosen budget accommodation is likely to reveal a few underwater creatures, nothing beats a snorkelling trip to the outer reefs of the Suncoast. The dive shops based at the Volivoli Beach Resort and the Wananavu Beach Resort are open to visitors offering fantastic boat trips to the coral gardens of the outer reefs. Snorkel gear will be provided, as well as boat transfer, costing a total of FJ$40-$50.
Visit or Stay in a Fijian Village
There are a number of inexpensive ways to enjoy the warm hospitality and cultural immersion of a Suncoast village visit. Take a taxi, 4WD car or a local bus from Ba to visit the picturesque Navala Village with traditionally thatched bures set among the Nausori Highlands. Once you arrive, present your sevusevu (gift) to the village chief – see Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village. It will also around FJ$30 each to enter the village and hire a village guide. Alternatively, enjoy a homestay in a village with Jioji & Alisi on Airbnb, providing budget accommodation and an authentic village stay experience. See 10 Authentic Village Stays in Fiji for more information. Plus, don’t forget to get your FREE FJ$50 Airbnb credit on us!
Explore the Towns of Rakiraki and Lautoka
Rakiraki is the mid-way spot on the Kings Road and the main hub of the Suncoast, while Lautoka marks the beginning/end of the Kings Road on the west side of Viti Levu, 30 minutes drive from Nadi. Both towns offer good shopping, eateries (more on that below), but most importantly, good produce markets. Visiting a Fijian produce market is a must-do in any town in Fiji where locals are happy to mingle and share recipe ideas. Not to mention, the array of tropical fruit and vegetables is always an impressive sight.
See the Church of the Black Christ
One of the many sightseeing locations of the Suncoast, the Church of St Francis Xavier is well worth visiting. The church is locally known as the Church of the Black Christ due to its mural of a Fijian-looking Christ painted by French artist Jean Charlot. Visitors are welcome but a small donation is appreciated. The church is located about 25km (15.5 miles) southeast of Rakiraki.
Visit Udre Udre’s Tomb
On the way into Rakiraki, don’t miss this fascinating historical site. Udre Udre was once the most feared cannibal in Fiji, now laid to rest at this tomb surrounded by 872 stones – a stone for each of his victims.
Budget Dining on the Suncoast
Compared to elsewhere in Fiji, dining on the Suncoast is very affordable. Even the resort and hotel meals will only set you back FJ$20-$30 for a large plate of Fijian, Western or Indo-Fijian food. Those staying in homestays are usually provided meals with the family for around FJ$15 each where you’ll sample true Fijian cuisine with all the bones included. Local cafes with meals priced FJ$5-$15 can be found in towns such as Rakiraki, Vaileka, Nabua, Ba and Lautoka.
Cheap Eats on the Suncoast
If you ever need a cake, Ba is the place to go to where it seems that all their restaurants specialise in cake decorating. Additionally, the town has some excellent curry houses and pizza bars, such as Indiques Restaurant serving vegetarian Indian meals for FJ$5-$9, as well as Indian Thalis for around FJ$9-$15. Mummums Eats and Treats also does Thali takeaway packs for around FJ$5-$6. You’ll find similar restaurant options in Lautoka, such as Kruepa Vegetarian Restaurant serving FJ$10 Thalis. Additionally, you’re more likely to find a few other styles of food in Lautoka, such as Western food at the Blue Ginger Cafe, often having good value lunch deals, such as quesadillas, toasties and pasta for around FJ$10.
For more recommendations, see our Top Cheap Eats on the Suncoast.