How to Visit Vanua Levu on a Budget
Let’s be honest, budget travellers are the most adventurous travellers and Vanua Levu is certainly an adventurous Fiji destination to hit! 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. Plus, there’s a great range of cheap resorts and hotels to help save a few more cents while you’re exploring. Check out more tips, accommodation, transport, things to do and dining options with this guide to Vanua Levu on a budget.
5 Tips for Visiting Vanua Levu on a Budget
- The cheapest way to get to Vanua Levu is via one of the ferry services – note that they’re pretty slow and run on “Fiji time“
- If you choose to fly to Vanua Levu, book about three months in advance for better airfares
- A great selection of complimentary activities are included in most of the resorts on Vanua Levu, keep this in mind when comparing the value for money with some of the budget accommodation options
- The best deals on food can be found in the towns of Labasa and Savusavu
- Make use of the 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Vanua Levu.
How to Get to Vanua Levu on a Budget
Vanua Levu is located northeast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu. Because most travellers arrive in Fiji via Nadi International Airport, the most convenient way to get to Vanua Levu is via a domestic flight. However, for those budget-conscious travellers with plenty of time on their hands, the alternative way to get to Vanua Levu might just be your best option – taking the ferry. Learn more about getting to Vanua Levu with our 6 Ways to Get to Vanua Levu (& Get Around Vanua Levu).
Vanua Levu by Ferry
It’s the most budget-friendly way to get between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu: taking a ferry. Interlink Shipping Line travels between Natovi/Suva and Nabouwalu/Savusavu/Labasa, Fiji Searoad Service travels between Lautoka/Nadi/Natovi/Suva and Nabouwalu/Savusavu/Labasa, and Goundar Shipping travels between Suva and Savusavu. It’s a lengthy journey, with ferry services usually include bus transfers from the ferry ports in Nabouwalu and Natovi to the towns stated above. Expect the travel time to take anywhere between 4h30min to 11 hours depending on which route and company you use. See How Much Do Water Taxis & Ferries Cost in Fiji? for more information on prices.
Free & Cheap Water Activities on Vanua Levu
With waters teeming with tropical marine life, not to mention that the water is pretty warm, it’s understandable why spending time in or on the water in Vanua Levu is a must! There are a couple of ways to enjoy your time exploring the waters surrounding Vanua Levu as cheaply as possible.
If you know anything about Fiji, then this one will be no surprise to you, but it’s a fun and cheap thing to do nonetheless! Vanua Levu is blessed with a wealth of amazing snorkelling spots, either off the beaches or a short boat trip away. While many resorts offer snorkelling as a complimentary activity by providing masks and snorkels, if you have your own gear and are looking for your own snorkelling adventure then head to Split Rock. Split Rock offers some of the best snorkelling in Savusavu Bay featuring colour reef fish such as clownfish, sergeant fish, damsels, clams, grouper, parrotfish and more. Find Split Rock off the beach in front of the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, opposite road market post No.63.
Kayak or Stand-Up Paddle Board
Glide across the crystal clear waters and up close to coral reefs by hiring a kayak or a stand-up paddle board. Most of the mid-range and luxury resorts offer complimentary use of watersports equipment, while only a select few budget accommodation on Vanua Levu have kayaks and paddle boards available. Hire two kayaks for around FJ$10 a day at the Sigasiga Sands Resort or enjoy complimentary use of kayaks and paddle boards at the Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat to explore Dolphin Bay.
Free & Cheap Land Activities on Vanua Levu
Most of Vanua Levu’s free and cheap activities are on the land, though visiting Fijian villages, glorious gardens, doing jungle walks, visiting cultural sites and much more. Check out some of our recommendations here, as well as in our 10 Free & Cheap Things to Do on Vanua Levu.
Flora Tropica Garden
See a gorgeous garden filled with more than 300 types of palms and countless tropical flowers at the Flora Tropica Gardens. Located just off Lesiaceva Road on Daku Road (about 5km southwest of Savusavu), Flora Tropica Garden. Explore the gardens along a mix of elevated boardwalks and stone paths. Guided tours are also available Monday to Friday at 10am for around FJ$20.
Vuadomo Village & Waterfall
Chasing waterfalls by Fijian villages is, funnily enough, a real “Fiji experience”. You can experience it in several locations on Viti Levu, Taveuni, and right here on Vanua Levu with the Vuadomo Village and Waterfall. Located along the Cross Island Road, approximately 20 minutes drive from Savusavu, Vuadomo Village holds an amazing spot for swimming and taking photos. Pick up some Kava from the market to present to the village chief as a “sevusevu”, as well as a FJ$10 donation and one of the villagers will take you on a tour to the impressive waterfall. Learn more about visiting a Fijian village here.
Enjoy a Nature Walk or Two
Vanua Levu has no lack of gorgeous places to walk. Take a magnificent jungle walk onto a mountain peak with expansive views of Dolphin Bay from the Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat. Sigasiga Sands Resort also has a number of bush walks through 40ha (99 acres) of forest. Ask your accommodation provider for the best places to take a walk nearby!
Visit Naag Baba
Naag Baba is a stone snake head visited by religious devotees from all over the world. The interesting natural and cultural-significant attraction can be seen inside the Naag Mandir Temple. Additionally, choose to walk the 108 steps leading from Naag Baba to the main Yagan Havan. The temple is 14km from Labasa along the Wainikoro Road.
Dining on a Budget on Vanua Levu
Unlike other destinations around Fiji, the budget accommodation on Vanua Levu usually offer cheap meals at their restaurant or in-room dining service. For instance, the Sigasiga Sand Resort has a fantastic Indo-Fijian menu with meal priced between FJ$12-$15 delivered straight to your door! The Sea View Cafe at the Hidden Paradise Guest House also offers meals for around FJ$15, especially on their Thursday curry nights. However, if you’re looking to get out of your resort, there are plenty of cheap restaurants to sample the cuisine in Savusavu and Labasa.
Cheap Eats on Vanua Levu
Burgers and curries priced between FJ$5-$10 shouldn’t taste as good as they do at the Taste of Hidden Paradise Restaurant (LTA Building, near Savusavu Wharf). They serve up Chinese stir-fries, Indian curries, burgers and Thai food. The Captain’s Cafe (Copra Shed Marina, Savusavu) is another fantastic option to watch the boats come into the marina as you indulge on curries, pasta dishes, pizzas, burgers, enchiladas and more for around FJ$7-$20. Savusavu Wok (Main Street, Savusavu) is an affordable Chinese restaurant serving up fresh seafood for around FJ$8-$20. Over the hill on the other side of Vanua Levu, The Banana Leaf Restaurant (679 Naseakula Road, Labasa) serves up a good choice of Indian curries with roti for around FJ$10 each.
For more recommendations, see our Top Cheap Eats on Vanua Levu.