Bula! (That’s hello in Fijian.)
If you are contemplating a trip to Fiji, I am going to stop you right there and tell you to just go. Fiji was one of my most favourite trips and I had the time of my life.
Fiji is made up of over 300 islands with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and incredible waters. Fiji although being known for its beauty, is also known for the people. Fijians from what I experienced and heard from many others, are very friendly, welcoming and hospitable. Nothing is quite as welcoming like stepping foot off the boat while a group sings and plays guitar as they greet you to the island.
You’ll hear a common phrase in Fiji, “Fiji time.” And it couldn’t be more accurate. Everything runs a little slower when you’re on island time which is what “Fiji time” refers to. Exactly how life should be sometimes especially when on holiday!
Many people think that Fiji is not really backpacker friendly and caters more to the honeymooners and families while also costing a fair amount to holiday in the beautiful islands. Well I have good news as this is not the case!
Fiji can go both ways and has something for every kind of traveller. There are definitely tons of options to have a luxury holiday while visiting Fiji, but if you are like me and on a tight backpacker budget then you may be surprised to see many other backpackers travelling the islands. When you go island hopping and stay at the resorts, there are options to book dorm-style accommodation at some. This helps to decrease costs significantly and really allows for the opportunity to meet other solo travelers and new friends alike. One of the best parts of travelling!
When I was planning my trip to Fiji, I felt overwhelmed with all the different choices and activities there was to do. I opted to wait until I had arrived to figure it all out so I booked a hostel through HostelWorld on the main land in Nadi for two nights and once there I spoke with the local travel desk to see what the best option would be for me. All the blogs and travel advice online all seem to point to island hopping as the way to go and it was the best decision I could have made!
With my package I was able to get 5 days and 4 nights on the islands. Two nights at Beachcomber Island Resort and two nights at Mantaray Island Resort. It was perfect as I only had less than a week left in Fiji. You can definitely book for longer if you have the time. The package includes all your meals, dorms and boat transfers on the Yasawa Flyer which is a large ferry departing daily from Port Denarau making stops at the different islands and resorts including the Mamanuca and the Yasawa Islands. I recommend doing some research to see what your best options are depending on budget and time. Awesome Adevntures Fiji is a great company to book with and their website has lots of information and packages available.
Make sure you bring some bottled water and alcohol with you if you want to have your own drinks. There are no stores on the islands other than what you can buy from the resort so everything is more expensive including drinks.
I would also suggest getting a data phone sim card for the time you are in Fiji so you don’t get charged insane amounts for data and you can still have access to the internet. I paid roughly $30 and got 5 gigs of data for the week. Available at the airport or local shops.
Beachcomer Island Resort was my first stop and its known as the party island, although it wasn’t much of a party when I was there. I did however meet some amazing people and still had an incredible time! They say you don’t see the real Fiji until you leave the mainland and I can say that is true. The colour of the water and the beaches are absolutely stunning and nothing compared to what I saw in Nadi. It really is paradise.
Two days on Beachcomber felt like enough as the island is incredibly small. Next stop was Mantaray Island and this resort was quite a few steps up in quality compared to Beachcomber. The island was much larger with more activities, the food tastier and I got to meet some amazing like-minded travelers to spend time with soaking up the sun. The highlight of this resort in my opinion is they have daily viewings of Mantarays where you go out on a small boat and swim with these majestic creatures. It was on my bucket list and feel so thankful I was able to have the incredible experience of swimming with them in their natural habitat. Definitely go if you are in Fiji!
Some other activities that are offered at the resort are local hikes, jewellery making and cooking classes which are free. Budget score for the savvy backpackers! If you don’t have your own snorkel gear many of the resorts have some you can rent out for free or for a small fee.
It seemed like the time to head back to Nadi came up way too fast and I didn’t feel ready to leave the beautiful island and the incredible people I had met. When you spend so much time with people travelling it always feels like the friendships form so quickly and deeply compared to real life.
I only had a limited time in Fiji but there is so much more to experience in the country including river tours, village visits, off-roading tours, hiking and more. If you have the time, do some research to see what best suits your interests. Many of the resorts also offer day trips from the islands including fishing and diving excursions to see the amazing underwater life.
Fiji was an absolute dream and I hope to travel again one day to the beautiful beaches and experience more of what Fiji has to offer.