Travel Fiji on a budget
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"When you stop and look around, this world is pretty amazing."
Quite possibly the most paradise-like country I’ve had the chance to visit… The combination of Fijian culture and that Gatorade blue water, just DOES IT FOR ME 😍
I gotta say too, Fijians are the kindest souls on this planet; humans with heart's of gold #bless 😇
Fiji should be on every ones bucket list. My intention with this post is to make planning a trip here effortless for anyone planning to go, no matter what your budget may be.
When is the best time to visit...
It’s ideal to go between the months of September- December to avoid the peak season during winter break. If you’re wondering when the best weather is best, it doesn’t matter the weather stays pretty consistent all year long.
How to Fly Cheap-Cheap!
I went to Fiji when I was living abroad in Australia because it’s one of the closervacation destinations to fly to. I paid around 400$ round trip?! – sooo good right!?! Now flights are currently ranging from 600-800$ from Brisbane. The flight was LUSH too! 😍 Fijian airlines hooked it up! At that point in my travels I was riding on a SERIOUS budget, I’m talking like under $1000 dollars to my name, you can bet when I heard complimentary wine on the entire flight –I was taking FULL advantage! 6 glasses later, I was feeling good! 😝 It turned out to be such a blessing in disguise because shortly after I landed in Fiji it became aware to me that my luggage didn’t make the flight!
Anyways... let's continue on to where I went, what I did and all that good stuff.
How I Traveled on a budget less than 1500$
Before I went to Fiji I took a recommendation from a friend whom had just went to Fiji himself through a tour agency, he enjoyed. The company is called The Feejee Experience
You can EASILY do the exact same activities on your own for the same, if not cheaper price. At the time I didn't know a damn thing about where to go, what to do, and I was by myself.
I decided to go this route for many reasons…
- I was traveling solo, and I wanted to meet people.
- Tour companies are great if you’re on a limited amount of time because you sight see a lot in a short amount of time.
- Everything was organized with the tour company which included transport, actives & accommodation. I paid just under $1000 AUD for this 10 day package. Food however was not included and neither was any additional activities I wanted to do such as going to Cloud 9 cocktail bar
- Tours are great if you’re on a budget because you know exactly how much you're paying in advance, and saves you the drama of fucking it up on your own.
Transport from the airport
When you fly into Fiji you MUST land on Viti Levu, which is the main island. From there most head to Nadi (the main town on the island) You’ll find anything from $$ hotels to backpacker hostels with dorms as low as $4/ night.
Most accommodation offers FREE airport transfers, otherwise you can take the local bus, coach service or a taxi. (in my package this transfer was included) Contact your accommodation prior to arriving to see if they offer a transfer service (most places do.)
Where to stay in Nadi
Staying in Nadi is usually a must for at least one night because boat commutes to the islands depart in the morning or early afternoon.
I stayed at Smugglers Cove Beach Resort for 11$/ night in a 4 bed dorm. Honestly it was better than I expected it to be! It's located right on the beach (not the greatest beach) but whatever it was clean, comfortable, has a decent pool & lounging area, free wifi too!!
I spent my first day in Nadi taking the local bus to the market to get fresh food, and find myself some basic toiletries that I was without because of my lost luggage incident. I believe my local bus ride into the town center was 80 cents. The market was very traditional, I bought some carrots, peanuts and this yummy pineapple popsicle for less than a few dollars!
What activities you can do on Viti Levu
The tour picked me up on day #2 we spent the first 3 days of our trip on Viti Leuv (main island) most travellers will opt to go straight to the islands which is totally cool but, I loved these days because this was when I got to learn HEAPS about Fiji's culture . These are a few of the most memorable highlights you may want to do as well...
Visit a local Village / participate in a Kava ceremony
I had the chance to visit an elementary school, and a local village where I took part in a traditional Kava Ceremony.
Kava: is from the root of Kava plant for consumption it's produced into a powder form then mixed with water, and drank this way. Kava is a sedative and an anaesthetic.
The cermemony consists of sitting in a ciricle passing around a bowl filled with Kava, each person drinks from the bowl. .. and things get very interesting. I suppose a typical westerner like myself will never underdstand just how important Kava is in Fijian culture. It's appears like muddy water to me but for Fijian's it's a way of life.
Tip: Be careful if you're a first timer, Kava can potential be potent.
Tip #2: You must cover your body when visiting a village, bring a sarong if you're wearing shorts.
Bathe in the mud pools
I wasn't too thrilled when I heard this was an activity on the itinerary, but of course I did it! There’s two mud pools, both are right beside each other ones called Sabeto and the other is Tifajek. There a quick 30 minute drive from Nadi town. You should totally try this! I mean how often are you going to have the opportunity to take a bath mud in nature!
Visit the sand dunes
Another great activity I did was knee boarding down the sand dunes in Fiji at Sigatoka Sand Dunes National Park. You can reach this park by bus from Nadi town or you can pay for taxi ride it’s not far at all. I do not recommend going by bus on Sunday though, it's way too busy!
Go Jungle Trekking
Fantastic jungle exploring can be done on the main island. Me and the group trekked to a waterfall, jumped in for a swim and went floating down a steam on a tiny boat; this was hilarious.
Visit Natadola Beach
You HAVE to visit this gorgeous beach called Natadola Beach, its rated one of the most stunning beaches in the world!! Located 30-minute drive from Nadi town.. #takemeherenow
Okay, you're ready to go Island hopping...
So many beautiful islands...
which one should you pick?
If you’re stuck wandering which island to go to (because there's A LOT) don’t worry about trying to get to them all. Pick a few and I promise it will be UNREAL.. because they’re all stunning.
Here's the three main attractions/areas to choose from
- Coral coast on the main island of Viti Levu
- Yasawa group, to the north west of Viti Levu
- Mamancua group just below the Yasawa group
Personally, I went to Beach Comber island and Manta Ray island; both are apart of the Yasawa group of islands.
How to hop the islands...
You can access each island by ferry if you're planning on going to several islands, I recommend getting a ferry hopper pass called a Bula-Bula pass which is priced at 277$ for 5-21 days
Choose the length of your pass (5, 7, 10, 12, 15 & 21 days). The Bula Pass is valid for travel onboard Awesome Adventures and South Sea Cruises vessels from Port Denarau Marina to the Yasawas and Mamanucas.
Where to eat on the islands...
On the islands there’s a compulsory dining pass you must pay because there’s no grocery store on the islands don't worry, the food is a delicious buffet style.
what Experiences you Don't want to miss
Swim with Manta Rays😍
My favourite island was Manta Ray island, I loved it for the obvious reason; because I swam with Manta Rays which was totally un-freakin-real! 😱 The backpacker accomidation here was decent too! I felt like I was camping on the island. The beds were super comfy and had mosquito nets.
The reef off the main beach shore had me feeling like The Little Mermaid! Each day I snorkelled above incredible tropical fish and colour coral.
How swimming with the Manta Rays works..
It’s important to double check first if it’s Manta Ray season when you’re planning your trip. I was there in September. It's not gaureenteed you'll see them if you go to the island either because they're wild and unpredictable. however, it's likely. If the island diver's spot them in the morning, they'll ding this massive wind chime and everyone is mean to jump out of bed and make their way to the beach for the boats that will take everyone out to swim with them.
It was one of the most MAGICAL moments of my travels by far. I was swimming down the ocean current, as families of these beautiful creatures swan beneath me.. ugh it was like a dream!! 😍
Head to Beach Comber
Beach comber is titled the “party island” in Fiji, quite possibly the most beautiful party island I've ever seen – it's paradise. Most of the staff on the islands are flamboyant gays which led to some entertaining nights.
From Beach comber I went on a day trip to Cloud 9, which is a floating cocktail bar in the middle of aqua blue waters. I only recommend doing this if you want to chill, have some drinks and relax. The boat ride cost to get out there is anywhere from 20-50$ .
Visit Cast Away Island
This is where the movie Cast Away was filmed. Excursions to this island can easily be found, it's one of the most popular activities for tourists to do. I personally didn't make it here but I kinda wish I did... THAT WATER THOUGH 😍.. If I was ever to be trapped on a remote island, let it be this one PLEASE!
Tip: Plan to make it back to Nadi the day before you're flight departs Fiji, just to be safe... as most things in Fiji run on Fiji Time 😂
Extra tips you should know before you go, check out my post on travelling like a pro in Fiji here.