With over 330 islands, Fiji is a picture-perfect paradise and a dream destination for many travelers. And with its budget-friendly accommodation options, Fiji has also become a very popular destination amongst backpackers. In fact, this country has everything you need to spend the perfect holiday: white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, stunning wildlife, and friendly locals. From the amazing main island of Viti Levu to the Mystery Island of Taveuni, read on to find out what are the best islands in Fiji, where to stay and what to do.
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Home to Fiji’s capital city, Suva, and to Fiji’s main airport near Nadi, Viti Levu is also Fiji’s largest island. This fantastic island offers gorgeous beaches, stunning coral reef, as well as incredible volcanoes and rainforest landscapes. These are the reasons why Viti Levu is one of the best islands in Fiji. Most travelers visit Nadi and the Coral Coast on Viti Levu. That is to say, your first steps in Fiji will most likely be in Nadi, where you will get a taste of the local culture, food, and heritage.
Nadi is Fiji’s second largest town and is an exciting place to visit if you want to have a glimpse of what Fijian’s life looks like. From exploring the orchids garden to taking a mud bath or simply visiting the local markets, there is no lack of things to see and do in Nadi.
Best activities in Nadi
Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Beautiful spot for a stroll or a picnic, the Garden of the Sleeping Giant is a must-see in Nadi. This amazing botanic garden is home to over 2000 varieties of orchids, native plants and trees and is simply a tropical delight. The garden is located outside Nadi’s center, so you’ll most likely have to take a taxi to get there. The entrance fee is $18.
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pools
The Sabeto hot springs and mud pools are one of the most popular activities in Fiji. This natural mud spa is set in beautiful surroundings and is a lovely place to spend a relaxing day. After experiencing the mud pools and hot springs, you can even indulge yourself and enjoy a massage. You can choose to visit the Sabeto hot pools on your own, or as part of a tour. The entrance fee for the hot pools and mud baths is $30.
Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple
This colorful Hindu temple is located right in Nadi’s city center. With its beautiful paintings on the ceiling and sculptures on top, the Sri Siva Temple reflects a typical Indian architectural style. To visit the temple, you will have to cover your knees and shoulders and to take your shoes off. Don’t worry, if you don’t have anything to cover yourself up, the reception will lend you a sari. The temple is open every day from 6am until 7 or 8pm depending on the day, and the entrance is $5 for foreigners.
Where to stay in Nadi
Bamboo Backpackers is one of the most affordable backpackers’ resorts in Nadi. Located on Wailoaloa beach, this beautiful hostel offers live music every night, fire dancing shows and other activities to keep you entertained during your stay. Bamboo is probably one of the best options for solo travelers and can be considered a party hostel. This amazing place also has a bar, a cafe, and a tour desk.
Smugglers Cove, also located on Wailoaloa beach, is another great option for budget travelers. With its nightly entertainment, including Polynesian and Fijian ‘Hulas’ and knife and fire dancing shows, you won’t be bored at this fantastic budget resort. With its cozy rooms and laid-back atmosphere, Smugglers Cove is one of the best resorts for couples. This hotel also has a dive shop on site that offers scuba diving packages and dive trips for those who want to enjoy the beautiful coral reef.
Tropic Of Capricorn
This budget-friendly hotel is located right next to the Smugglers Cove. You can choose to stay in a dorm, double or triple room. With its friendly staff, amazing restaurant and beach view, the Tropic of Capricorn is definitely one of the best hotels for value in Nadi. You can also enjoy massages by the pool, which is quite nice. Every evening you’ll be entertained by a guitar player and singer, and you can also drink kava with the locals and other guests.
Rendez-vous Surf Camp
Located in Nabila, this amazing resort offers budget rooms on the beach. The Rendez-Vous Surf Camp is close to the famous surfing site Cloudbreak, which makes it the perfect place to stay for surf lovers. With its beautiful swimming pool, billiard tables and lounge area, this resort has everything you need for a relaxed holiday. The friendly staff and laid-back atmosphere will make you feel right at home.
How to get to Nadi
Coming from abroad, you will most likely fly into Nadi’s airport. Nadi’s hotels and city center are easily accessible. Usually, your hotel will offer a shuttle service to and from the airport. However, you can also choose to take a taxi if you like. Once you are at your hotel, you can travel around Nadi with the local bus which is only $1 one way.
- Coral Coast
The Coral Coast is one of Fiji’s main tourist area. Stretching from Sigatoka to Suva, this beautiful coastline provides endless opportunities for adventures and relaxation. Whether you want to explore the underwater world, enjoy nature at the National Park, or simply relax at one of the beautiful resorts, the Coral Coast has everything you need for a fabulous stay in Fiji.
Best activities on the Coral Coast
Sigatoka Sand Dunes
The Sigatoka Sand Dunes are a national park located by the Sigatoka River on the Coral Coast of Fiji. After paying the $10 entrance fee, you can start the 1-hour walk to the dunes which offers incredible views of the coast and the surrounding vegetation. Once at the dunes, you can enjoy the magnificent landscape and the beach.
Pacific Harbour is a small village located a couple of hours drive from the capital city, Suva. With its small typical Fijian shops, restaurants and cafes, Pacific Harbour is definitely worth a visit. If you’re after a typical souvenir, you will find it in one of the many souvenir shops in the village. After your shopping, you can enjoy a swim and laze on the beach which is right across the road from the village.
Ecotrax is the world’s first and only eco-friendly velocipede adventure. This amazing electric rail-ride attached to the old sugar cane railway track will take you on an epic adventure along the Coral Coast. From beautiful bush to small villages and deserted beaches, the track takes you to some of the most beautiful places in Fiji. Suitable for everyone, Ecotrax is a must-do on Viti Levu.
Where to stay on the Coral Coast
The Beachouse is a popular resort located on the main island of Viti Levu, just a couple hours from Nadi. With its private beach, swimming pool and volleyball court, the Beachouse has all the facilities you need for a perfect stay. You can choose to stay in a dormitory or private room. Moreover, free breakfast and afternoon tea are included during your stay at the resort. It’s also worth mentioning that you can enjoy the traditional food at the Coconut Cafe or ask the tour desk to arrange a kayaking or diving trip for you. This property is a fantastic choice for an unforgettable stay in Coral Bay.
Mango Bay Resort
Located on the beautiful Coral Coast, the Mango Bay Resort is appreciated for its amazing staff and delicious food. With its lagoon-shaped pool, massage services, and poolside bar, this resort is the best place to go for ultimate relaxation. Set in a beautiful location, The Mango Bay offers free wifi, use of kayaks and snorkel equipment. Don’t miss this amazing place if you’re going to the Coral Coast.
How to get to the Coral Coast
There are daily local buses running along the Coral Coast from Nadi to Sigatoka. Some buses even go all the way to Suva. The local bus is very slow, so allow plenty of time. Pacific Transport runs express buses from Nadi to Suva along the Queen’s road. These buses take around one and a half hours to get from Nadi to Sigatoka. They are more comfortable than the local ones and really affordable. You can check the price and timetable on their website.
The Yasawa Islands are probably the most popular group of islands amongst backpackers. With plenty of budget-friendly accommodations options, the Yasawas are definitely one of the best islands in Fiji. The picture-perfect beaches, breathtaking sea creatures, and turquoise blue lagoons make the Yasawas the ultimate paradise destination. Get ready to meet new friends, and to have an experience like no other on the Yasawas.
Best activities in the Yasawas
Snorkel with sharks
Snorkeling is a must-do on the Yasawas. If you’re up for an adrenaline adventure, book a snorkeling trip with reef sharks. These majestic creatures can be seen in several spots on the Yasawas, the most popular one being near Kuata Island. Several tour operators run daily snorkeling excursions where you can enjoy transparent turquoise water, stunning coral reefs, and of course, incredible reef sharks.
Swim with manta rays
Another exciting thing to do in the Yasawas is to swim with manta rays. There are only a few places in the world where you can swim with manta rays, and Mantaray Island in Fiji is one of them. From May to October, you can swim with these beautiful creatures in their natural environment. Swimming with the extraordinary manta rays is an experience you will brag about for years to come, so don’t miss it!
Visit a Fijian village
Many resorts on the Yasawa Islands offer the chance to visit local villages and schools. This can be a great opportunity to give back and discover more of the local culture. Most travelers bring pens, erasers, and other school supplies to give to the children. Anything you bring will be greatly appreciated, and you will be rewarded with delightful smiles.
Where to stay in the Yasawas
Mantaray Island Resort
This stunning resort located right on the reef offers a choice of private and dormitory rooms. Surrounded by beautiful rainforest, the Mantaray Island Resort has a restaurant serving Fijian, Indian and European food. Activities at the resort include diving, snorkeling, and kayaking. If you want to enjoy the natural beauty of Fiji, head to the Mantaray Island Resort. You surely won’t be disappointed.
Sunrise Lagoon Homestay
This friendly homestay is located on Nanuya Lailai, one of the best islands in Fiji, and the most beautiful islands of the Yasawas. If you want to experience the real Fijian island life, head to this fantastic homestay. Sunrise Lagoon offers delicious food, clean rooms, a beautiful setting, and amazing staff. This stunning place is located just a few minutes walk from the famous Blue Lagoon, where you can snorkel with beautiful tropical fish or simply enjoy the beach.
Located on Likuliku bay in the Yasawas, Octopus is a gorgeous resort. With its 2 bars, day spa and swimming pool, Octopus is definitely luxurious. This resort offers a wide range of activities including yoga classes, Fijian cooking lessons, beach bonfire nights and traditional Fijian dancing. This chill resort is very popular amongst backpackers and couples alike. The friendly staff, delicious food, and picturesque beach are just an added bonus to this fantastic resort.
How to get to the Yasawas
There are several ways to get to the Yasawa islands from Nadi. The most common option is to take the Yasawa Flyer boat from Port Denarau in Nadi. This fast boat stops at a couple of resorts on the Mamanucas before heading to its fabulous neighbor, the Yasawas. However, the cheapest option is to take the Tavewa Seabus from Lautoka. This seabus is quite small, not really comfortable but definitely more affordable than the Yasawa Flyer. With prices starting at $100, the Tavewa Seabus is the best transport option for budget travelers.
The Mamanuca Islands are an archipelago of 20 islands located just off the coast of Viti Levu. These islands are a picture perfect paradise with stunning palm-fringed beaches and friendly locals. For these very reasons, they are considered to be some of the best islands in Fiji. Surrounded by pristine coral reefs, the Mamanucas have some of the best surfing spots in the world. Whether you want to relax or enjoy the multitude of water sports available on this tropical paradise, the Mamanuca islands are the best spot for a perfect vacation.
Best activities in the Mamanucas
Cloud 9 is a floating bar and pizzeria located right in the middle of the ocean. Surrounded by nothing but turquoise blue water, this incredible place is easily accessible from the main island of Viti Levu. Whether you want to enjoy a drink at the bar, laze on the sundecks or take a dip in the ocean, Cloud 9 is the perfect place for an experience like no other.
Kayaking is a great way to explore Fiji’s beautiful coastline. You can even watch the fish through the water or stop on a secluded beach and enjoy a fantastic sunset. Resorts often give their guests access to kayaking equipment. However, if you prefer to have a guide, many operators offer kayaking trips around the beautiful Mamanuca Islands.
Home to the famous Cloudbreak, one of the most challenging waves in the world, the Mamanucas is the perfect destination for surfing. If Cloudbreak is too much for you, try surfing at Namotu Left, Desperations or Swimming Pools. Whether you’re a pro surfer or a beginner, there is a wave for everyone in the Mamanucas!
Where to stay in the Mamanucas
Ratu Kini Backpackers And Dive Resort
Located on Mana Island, this laid-back hostel and resort offer a range of accommodations from mixed-dorms to private rooms and even a campsite and cottages. Ratu Kini has an on-site restaurant and bar, where guests can enjoy delicious seafood and cocktails. Activities at the Ratu Kini include Kava ceremonies, Fijian dancing shows, fire dancing and bonfires on the beach.
Beachcomber Island Resort
The Beachcomber Island Resort really is one of the most stunning affordable resorts in Fiji. Located on Beachcomber island, in a marine sanctuary, the resort offers a wide range of water sports activities including snorkeling, diving, surfing, and canoeing. This fantastic resort has a compulsory meal plan which includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Offering free wifi and evening entertainment, this resort definitely is one of the best resorts in Fiji.
How to get to the Mamanucas
The easiest and most affordable way to get to the Mamanucas is to take the South Sea cruises ferry that departs from Port Denarau in Nadi. It’s a reputable company that offers transfer to the main resorts in the Mamanucas. You can check their route, timetable, and prices on their website. The Yasawa Flyer also goes to the Mamanucas, but only serves the Beachcomber and South Sea Island resorts. If you missed the boat, you can take a water taxi, but it won’t be cheap.
Taveuni, also called Mystery Island or Garden Island, truly is one of Fiji’s hidden gems. With its raw beauty, incredible lush rainforest, stunning coral reef, and secluded beaches, Taveuni is the best destination for adventure seekers and honeymooners alike. Considered one of the best islands in Fiji, Taveuni has everything you could be looking for. This incredible island is home to Fiji’s only world heritage national park, abundant flora, fauna, and volcanic formations. If you want to experience real island life at your own pace, Taveuni is the right place for you.
Best activities in Taveuni
Located within the Bouma National Heritage Park, the Tavoro falls are a series of three beautiful waterfalls. These spectacular waterfalls are very popular in Taveuni, especially the lower one as it is easily accessible from the visitor’s center. Above all, each waterfall has its own natural pool where visitors can enjoy a swim.
Lavena coastal walk
The Lavena coastal walk is a 5 kilometers trail that meanders along a white sandy beach and lush forest. Actually, this beautiful 3 hours walk is a fantastic opportunity to discover the Fijian fauna and flora, as you will see many native plants along the way, as well as rare birds.
Bouma National Heritage Park
The Bouma National Heritage Park is a pristine rainforest making up one-third of Taveuni Island. Home to the Tavoro falls, this national park is the perfect place to escape from the tropical heat. On top of that, you can hike through the rainforest, and look for the Tagimoucia flower, which only grows on Taveuni Island.
Where to stay in Taveuni
Maravu Taveuni Lodge
The Maravu Taveuni lodge proposes traditional bures in a beautiful setting. Located close to Taveuni Beach, this lodge offers an on-site bar and cafe, a swimming pool and a wide range of different activities. With its easy access to the beach, the Maravu resort makes it easy for guests to enjoy the colorful reef. On top of that, this fantastic place is located only a few minutes drive from the airport and offers free airport transfers.
How to get to Taveuni
The easiest way to get to Taveuni (but not the cheapest) is to fly directly from Nadi or Suva. In fact, Fiji Airways operates several flights a day from both cities, making it easy for visitors to reach the so-called Garden island. Flight time is only about 1h30. The cheapest option would be to take the overnight ferry that departs from Suva twice a week (Mondays and Fridays). The overnight journey usually takes around 14-16 hours and is operated by Goundar Shipping. The price for the journey from Suva to Taveuni is $67 in economy class, first class will cost you $80. You can contact them directly to know the exact timetable.
Fiji is one of the most beautiful destinations in the South Pacific. With so many breathtaking islands to choose from, this country has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing or adventurous holiday, head to one of the best islands in Fiji. Have you ever been to Fiji? Let me know in the comments below!
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