With cheap cruises from Australia to Vanuatu or New Caledonia, or with frequent flight sales to Bali, most
backpackers travelers decide to skip Fiji as a destination (unless they’re on honey moon). But Fiji is a hidden paradise in the South Pacific which is worth to see. No wonder why it’s gaining popularity among travelers around the world who are looking for new experiences beyond conventional.
Not for nothing Fiji is known by the locals as The Way the World Should Be.
Because Fiji is AMAZING (do you need any other reason?)!!! I didn’t know anything about Fiji when I decided to go there, I just wanted to do something crazy and go where not many people go. But while being there I discovered a world surrounded by different kinds of islands, reefs, incredible people, culture and good food (yes, fresh fish, lobster, wild fruits and
not too bad good beer). Prices are not as expensive as in Australia but they’re not as cheap as in Bali. However there are not many travelers around so the vibe you’ll get from the small backpacker community is more authentic and pretty sweet (good party, chilled people ready to go on an adventure, good looking people… What else do you need?).
Where to go?
With more than 300 islands to choose from, you’re mostly likely to arrive to Nadi, located in the West of Fiji. From here you can take a bus (or flight if you have afford it) to the East part where you can access islands with more historical or cultural value such as Ovalu, place where the World Heritage Listed Port of Levuca is located. Or… You can simply relax in Nadi for one day, meet new people and decide where to continue your journey next day. Around one hour away by boat from Nadi you can visit the Mamanuca Islands where you can do island-hoping. If you have the time you can also visit the Yasawa Islands, but despite each island is unique, they are still islands.
For Budget travelers I’d recommend to stay in the village of Mana Island for at least 3 days, probably the cheapest accommodation you’ll find in the islands of the country. From there you’ll have access to Monuriki Island (where the movie Castaway was filmed), or to Cloud 9, a floating bar in the middle of a reef. The best place about staying in this island is that you can interact with local people, play with kids in the water, walk around the island in a couple of hours (but be careful because some parts are private property), and the best part: You’ll be staying for around $40 FJD in the same island and with the same white beaches and reefs as people who stay in the resorts in the same island for $3,000 FJD per night!
Don’t forget to take your bathing suit, your snorkel and mask (this will save you some dollars), heaps of water and beer bottles (each bottle of water is $5 FJD and $10 FJD for a beer in the islands), sunscreen and a book to read. Most of the resorts in the island sell/rent whatever you missed but for twice or triple the price inland. On the other hand they also have a lot of material for activities such as volleyball, or handcraft making, so take a look!
Do NOT miss!
If you have a diving license (or if you want to get certified), go to “The Supermarket”! No, this is not a place to buy groceries, but a very rich region full of sharks
and other dangerous stuff, fish, turtles, corals, rays, etc. There are days when some diving companies feed the sharks so the whole place becomes full of wildlife (and you can see the spectacle for free, just paying for your regular dive or even snorkel).
Also, take the time to meet local people, understand the way they see the world, their kindness and their stories. Yes, Fiji is known worldwide for being a honeymoon destination, and you’ll see a lot of couples celebrating love. This gives an opportunity to the tourism industry to charge higher prices (people in love are like drugged people that will pay whatever, we’ve all been there). But Fijians are also aware that young people play an important role to spread the world of how amazing is their piece of paradise, how rich is their culture and how warm they are as human beings.