Off the coast of Australia and about 12 hours from California is the stunning, remote-feeling island nation of Fiji. 333 islands welcome travelers to the slower lifestyle, beautiful landscapes and the picture-perfect vacation you’ve dreamed off. Whether visitors stay on the main island of Viti Levu (where Nadi and Suva are located), or if visitors jet off to one of the hundreds of perfect little island, Fiji has something for everyone.
To Australians, Fiji is like the Hawaii of the Pacific, which for us means that there are endless options for lodging, ranging from $50 USD a night to $2000+. While Max and I initially thought Fiji was super “remote”, we quickly learned that there are so many options for hotels, transportation and dining. We were, frankly, surprised at how developed it was in general, giving us a number of options for our last minute booking (the night before we left).
Ranging from $20 a night to thousands, you will find exactly what you’re looking for in Fiji. There are adorable, low-key boutique properties all the way up through incredible luxury hotels on pristine beaches. Depending on your budget, you can find some incredible steals. Our favorites are Serenity Island Resort, on the lower end, and Yasawa Island Resort or Kokomo on the higher end.
Due to the proximity to Australia, you can typically find excellent deals for luxury hotels on luxuryescapes.com, or, as we often do, check out trivago.com.
Typically, travelers will arrive to Nadi International (NAN) before transiting to other islands. Fiji Airways is the national airline and is an absolutely incredible flight experience (they even serve my favorite wine, Matua).
Port Denarau is approximately a 20-30 minute drive from the airport and is the main Ferry Terminal in Nadi. Port Denarau offers great shopping, as does downtown Nadi, if you have some extra time. Ferries are an excellent way to get to some of the neighboring island chains and it’s how we accessed Serenity Island Resort. Ferries and taxis are not as cheap as they are in developing countries of Asia, etc, so expect to spend more than $30-40.
The Yasawas and other island chains are further away and require domestic transfers via tiny prop planes. Flights are typically organized through your hotel directly, and sometimes the cost is included in the hotel rates. Expect to pay upwards of $300 per person for flights to farther away chains.
Like many resort destinations, there are endless options when it comes to dining. When traveling to more of the remote areas of Fiji, the majority of your dining will happen on property.
In the main cities and towns, there will be a number of dining options. In Nadi, for example, you can find anything from Indian cuisine to low-key sandwich shops. Prices range, but are more expensive than some of the other island destinations we have traveled to in the past. One recommendation we have is to pick up some Fijian Rum on the way to your island resorts to save money.
Nadi and the port of Denarau offers great shopping if you need anything from clothing to skincare. The islands are more limited, but some of the hotels have excellent gift shops that have a number of local products and crafts.
Note that you cannot take Kava through security at the airport. If you plan to bring Kava powder home, purchase it after security when you leave the country.
Fijian people are so kind, fun, and cannot stop smiling. They are generous, open and incredibly honest about their lives and their country. Fijians are so welcoming and want to include you in their personal lives and really treat you like family in a genuine way. Our experience at Serenity Island, for example, was so different from many experiences we’ve had around the world. We met some of the nicest people who have lived their whole lives on these islands and want to tell you everything about it. They taught us how to pick our own coconuts, they brought us cold coconuts with little umbrellas on them in the mornings, just because they could, and they invited us to their private staff Kava ceremony on a Sunday night. We absolutely fell in love with the people and we still smile and can’t stop thinking about them.
On that note, it’s important to understand the history of Fiji, particularly when it comes to the main island and Nadi. Indians were brought to Fiji as indentured servants to work on the sugar plantations in the late 1800s. Since then, many have settled in Fiji and made it their home. We experienced some interesting tensions in Nadi (not on any islands) between Fijians and Indians. It’s important to keep your eyes and ears open and be weary of any scams, no matter where you go in the world. While your guard may be down from your amazing experiences with the islands, be sure to trust your gut in the major cities. Max and I almost fell pray to a bit of a bait and switch scam when were were shopping around and it made us a bit uncomfortable. This happened a couple times and I do think it’s important to mention here.
Have you ever wanted to feel like you're in Jurassic Park? We've got just the place for you. The Yasawas are a remote, idyllic destination in the northern edge of Fiji and travelers truly feel disconnected from the rest of the world here.
The flights are typically the most expensive part of the trip- although, there are consistently deals on the major airlines like Fiji Airways and Air New Zealand. Be sure to follow Scott’s Cheap Flights or set up Google flight alerts for your preferred dates. If you’re planning to visit the Yasawas or some of the other gorgeous, remote islands, be sure to account for the additional $300-600 USD per person for the roundtrip airfare from Nadi.
Hotels range dramatically, from boutique bungalows to luxury compounds. Max and I booked the Serenity Island Resort last minute for less than $100 a night plus $150 for a roundtrip transfer for two from Nadi international. Yasawa Island Resort, Hideaway and some of the luxury resorts start at $350 and above. Some of the more remote hotels, like Yasawa, include full board and this is quite common in Fiji.
Suggested daily budget – Water (which happens to be Fiji Water) is around $2 for a liter and alcohol ranges, but is reasonable for around $20-30 for very nice rum. Food costs completely depend on where you are, but it’s reasonable to get coffee for $3-4 and breakfast for $20. The American and European hotel brands will of course be more expensive, but still nothing more than what you’ll find in Hawaii. Keep in mind that alcohol at most resorts will come with resort prices. As always, we recommend looking into F&B packages like full-board or half-board at luxury hotels as you will often save quite a bit of money.
Overall, the best time to visit Fiji is from late October to early November prices have yet to reach their peak. During this period, the weather is dry and warm and the beaches and resorts are far less crowded.
Check out some of our favorite Fiji resorts and what we like and don’t like about each of them.
WOW! Were we blown away when we walking into the FIji Airways lounge at Nadi!
You can expect helpful, kind people and a laid back attitude. BULA! is the term you’ll hear absolutely everywhere and it means “welcome” “hello” “goodbye”…just about everything. Embrace the people and the culture for an amazing experience. Take part in a Kava Ceremony. You will NOT regret it.
When starting to plan your trip, first consider your budget and be sure to add in the high transfer costs to get between hotels, islands and towns. The best advice we have to finding hotels is to go to google maps and search “hotels” over Fiji. You can start to narrow down your requirements and find out how far you have to go to get to your dream hotel. Fiji is a very large country and I recommend picking a section of the country to go to in order to maximize your transfer costs. For example, spend a week in the Yasawas or spend a week in the Marquesas, but trying to do both in one week would be challenging.