Since arriving in Fiji just over a week ago, I’ve gotten a crazy number of questions about what it is like, how expensive it is and if it’s worth visiting. It seemed like a blog post sharing our insights was a must as Fiji has been one of our top stops.
What’s Fiji Like?
Fiji is made up of more than 330 islands, the majority of which were created by volcanic activity millions of years ago. As a result, most of the islands are rugged and hilly, covered in green jungle or to my surprise, grass and brush. There are plenty of white sandy beaches, but also dark volcanic rock lining the shores.
Once you get off the main island where the airport is, you arrive at smaller islands where resorts are secluded and separated from each other. Unlike Maui or Cancun, there pleasantly aren’t shopping centers and tourist traps everywhere. Just beach, water, palm trees and activities galore.
Most islands are also home to small villages, which each seemed to be about 300-400 people. You can typically visit these villages with the resort to see what life is like.
From SCUBA diving to hiking to just relaxing by the beach, this is an amazing place for a vacation.
We’ve enjoyed how many activities the resorts offer. Our first night in Fiji, we got to watch a traditional fire show with dancing, singing and of course throwing things around things that were lit on fire. Every day at the resorts was filled with activities – group hikes, village visits, snorkel trips, yoga and trivia games. You could even snorkel right from shore.
Our top activities: snorkeling with manta rays and a trip to the Sawa-I-Lau Caves. The magestic and giant mantas swim through the channel between Nanuya Balavu and Drawaqa Islands from May to October. If you stay at a resort near there (like Octopus Resort), you can go out to snorkel with them. It was an incredible experience!!
The Sawa-I-Lau Caves, at the very north part of the Yasawa Islands, are made of massive, beautiful limestone formations filled with sea water that you can swim in.
It’s also very family friendly. Several people we met raved about the kids clubs and babysitting services.
Where Did We Stay?
While some people choose to just stay on the main island, where you can stay at a chain hotel resort near the Nadi Airport, we really wanted to also experience the smaller islands. So we spent a week at the Blue Lagoon Resort and Octopus Resort in the Yasawa Islands, a large group of islands just north of Nadi.
It’s easy to get up there – just hop on the Yasawa Flyer, the ferry that shuttles guests to 26 resorts on the islands, for 1-4 hours to get to your destination. Or take a seaplane, like we did on our way back, for a quick 26-minute flight! It is bumpy and loud, but you get some great views of the reef from above.
We really loved the activities, gorgeous views and remoteness of these resorts. With communal dining and so many activities, these were great places to meet people or travel solo. Only downsides: the service wasn’t always top notch, usually around meal times, and the outdoor bathrooms were a fun vacay novelty, but they also often filled with bugs at night.
We spent our last 4 nights at the Marriott Momi Bay since we are SPG members and it looked like a nice place to celebrate our anniversary. This is a gorgeous and huge resort on the main island. The beaches aren’t particularly nice on the main island, but Marriott built a lagoon that is stunning. It also has incredible pools, a great gym, amazing live music every evening and pretty good food. Only downside: it is a 45-minute drive to any restaurants so you’re pretty committed to the Marriott food options.
How Expensive is Fiji?
It really depends where you go and how you travel. Surprisingly Fiji is big on the backpacker scene, so you can even find most nice resorts offer dorm beds for only $15/night or so. If you’re looking for a beachfront villa at a nice resort, expect to pay around $300-400/night. Basic private rooms with shared bathrooms can go for about $200/night depending on the resort.
Of course, you can also get realllll fancy and stay at places like Turtle Island for a mere $2,400/night.
Nearly all activities are included, even things like kayaks and snorkel gear. Food plans were about $60/person/day for quite good food. You can also save money bringing your own alcohol from the duty free shop in the airport.
Is it Safe?
On the resorts, we felt incredibly safe and didn’t worry about petty theft, to the point of not locking our room and leaving belongings on the beach when snorkeling.
If you’re opting to visit one of the main cities like Nadi or Suva however, from what we hear and read, be vigilant of your belongings and avoid walking around at night.
How to Get Here?
Especially if you are on the West Coast of the US and looking to go to New Zealand or Australia, Fiji is a perfect layover stop. Fiji Airways is a great airline and they’ve got nonstop flights from LAX and SFO. Once you’re in Fiji, it’s a short 3-4 hour flight to places like Auckland or Sydney.
Did I convince you yet? Fiji is definitely on our return-to list. So add it to your list!