18 February 2020

How to Travel Fiji on a Budget: Example Itinerary & Cost Breakdown

Fiji in the South Pacific is a dream tropical holiday destination for many. The archipelago country is made up of over 330 islands, with picture-perfect white-sand beaches, crystal blue waters, incredible reefs and the friendliest local people.

While it's known for its luxury resorts and being on the pricier side, it's becoming more and more popular as a destination for solo backpackers and travellers on a budget.

There are popular hostels in Nadi offering affordable accommodation and food options and many resorts out on the islands offer hostel/dorm-rooms for travellers on a budget too.

So how much does it cost?

Here is an example guide for travelling Fiji for 10 nights on a budget with price breakdowns and daily costs. It includes island hopping to two popular resorts in the Yasawa Islands and staying in Nadi before and after.

I have personally been to each of the resorts and highly recommend them. The rooms are comfortable, clean and air-conditioned. I also include a few tips and tricks on how to make your money stretch a bit further.

Local Currency

First things first, let's talk money! Fiji uses the Fijian Dollar (FJD). Out on the islands, cash is not accepted at the resorts, so everything will be billed to your room to be paid at the end by credit card. It's still a good idea to carry a little cash, however, as if you visit local villages, you may wish to purchase souvenirs or a fresh coconut.

You will also need cash for your taxi to and from the airport and for food and drink while overnighting in Nadi. Pre-order the currency from your local bank beforehand otherwise you can withdraw cash from an ATM at the airport before hopping into your taxi (that's what I always do when travelling as it gives you the best exchange rate without the middle man fees).

Prices in this post are quoted in New Zealand Dollars. If you're not familiar with it, use xe.com to exchange the rate into your own currency. (If you haven't already, download the app to your phone - it's a super handy app to have while travelling to exchange multiple currencies).

DAY 1 - Nadi Hostel

Welcome to Fiji! You will arrive at Nadi International Airport. A taxi ride will take between 15-20 minutes to get to your Nadi hostel and should only cost around $20 NZD. Don't accept a fixed price, instead, ask that they run the metre.

I recommend two options for where to stay for your first and last nights before heading to/from the islands. Where to choose will depend on whether you are looking for a quiet and relaxing atmosphere or a more fun and sociable one.

Oasis Palms Hotel

For more quiet and chill vibes, Oasis Palms Hotel is a great option. It's an affordable boutique hotel that offers good dorm-style accommodation too. They have a lovely pool with plenty of sun loungers, an onsite bar and restaurant. A continental breakfast is also included in the room rate.
 Dorm room cost: 

4-bed dorm: $33 NZ* per night.

*All prices are accurate at the time of this post and based off the website's own booking system.

The only downside is that it's in quite an isolated location and not close to anything else. But that shouldn't be a problem if you're just looking for a nice place to chill for the evening.

Bamboo Travellers

If you're looking to stay somewhere with a more fun and social/party atmosphere, Bamboo Travellers is a good choice. I didn't personally stay at this hostel (I stayed at Oasis Palms) but I met a friend here one Saturday afternoon for drinks. Located beachside, it had a great atmosphere, cheap drinks, good food and my friend highly recommended the accommodation side.

Dorm room cost:

There is a range of options to choose from depending on the number of beds, mixed or female-only.

Cheapest: 24-bed Mixed Dorm: $14 NZD
Darest: 4-bed Mixed Dorm: $21 NZD

Some downsides she mentioned was that it could get very noisy and the pool is very small. Both options aren't perfect, they are budget accommodation, but they are fine enough as an overnight base before and after the Fiji Islands - which is where you'll find the real beauty and magic of Fiji.

Food in Nadi: For 3x average priced meals a day, budget yourself around $50 NZD total.

DAYS 2 - 5 Octopus Resort (4 nights)

Rise and shine, it's time to head to the islands! Today you'll be catching the Awesome Adventures Yasawa Flyer Ferry to Octopus Resort. (Book this in advance online).

Yasawa Flyer Ferry Ticket: $120 NZD.

Image credit: bluelagoonresortfiji.com

Included with your ticket are free transfers to and from Port Denarau Marina (pre-arrange the pickup time with them). It's around fifteen minute's drive to the marina from your Nadi hostel. You'll arrive with plenty of time to drop off your luggage, walk around the shops and grab a coffee.

Money-Saving Tip: Stock up on drinks and snacks at the port shop.

At boarding time, hop aboard the catamaran ferry and enjoy the stunning water views as you cruise your way towards the Yasawa Islands. You can choose to sit inside the air-conditioned cabin or outside in the open breeze.

After about two and a half hours, hop-off at Octopus Resort on Waya Island.
It's an incredible resort with so much to offer. There are many daily activities available free of charge including snorkelling, kayaking, yoga, village visits, basket weaving and jewellery making. For a small extra charge, you can take part in a cooking class, snorkel boat trips, a guided mountain hike and more.

The beautiful Sulua Spa is also very well-priced if you're looking to indulge in a relaxing treatment. The snorkelling is incredible, with a beautiful coral reef, a protected marine reserve, just steps from the sand.

There is a good pool surrounded by daybeds and plenty of sun loungers available on the beach. The beachfront Coconut Bar is a cool place to hang out, grab a drink and watch the sun go down.

Compulsory Meal Plan

Like many Fijian islands (including the next stop on this itinerary) there is a compulsory meal plan that you pay a set price for three meals a day. The food is high-quality and the portions are generous so there's no need for extra snacks throughout the day (though they are available to purchase).

Breakfast is a help-yourself buffet with a good range of choices including eggs made to order. Lunch and Dinner are a la carte menus with plenty of choices, as well as a daily specials board. Dinner also includes an entree and dessert, making it quite a luxurious meal.

Daily Meal Plan: $90 NZD per day

Dorm Room Cost: $21 NZD per night

Money-Saving Tip: Take advantage of Happy Hour for drink specials (at each resort).

For more inspo follow Octopus Resort on Instagram here.

DAYS 6 - 9 Blue Lagoon (4 nights)

Blue Lagoon Beach Resort is located in the north of the Yasawa Islands chain. Hop on the ferry that arrives at Octopus Resort mid-morning (the same one you arrived on) and continue cruising north for a further two hours. 

Ferry cost: $88 NZD

You'll know when you've arrived - the water is so blue you'll have to see it to believe it! It makes travelling so far on the ferry entirely worth it.
Blue Lagoon Beach Resort is located in a beautiful, tranquil lagoon on Nacula Island. The white sand beach and crystal clear waters here are the definition of paradise.

Blue Lagoon and Octopus Resort and sister resorts and are quite similar in terms of activities. They also offer many free daily activities including snorkelling, kayaking, paddleboarding, mountain hikes, yoga, village visits, basket weaving and more.

The calm lagoon is amazing to swim and snorkel in, the house reef is brimming with colourful coral and sea life.

For an extra charge, I highly recommend visiting the nearby Sawa-i-Lau Caves. They are ancient limestone caves and it's one of the top things to do in the Yasawas. They run trips to the caves a few times a week and it takes about three hours. You may recognise the caves if you've seen the movie Blue Lagoon with a young Brooke Shields.

There is a Massage Hut, a pool, lots of daybeds and sun loungers on the beach. The beach-facing restaurant and bar make every meal incredibly picturesque. The staff here are also some of the warmest and friendliest people in the world.

Blue Lagoon has the same compulsory meal plan as Octopus Resort, with three delicious meals provided a day for a set rate. I would have to say the food here is even better and it is entirely worth the price to eat so well.

Daily Meal Plan: $90 NZD per day

Dorm Room Cost: $31 NZD per night

For more inspo follow Blue Lagoon Beach Resort on Instagram here.

DAY 10 - Nadi Hostel

After eight blissful nights in the islands, it's time to return back to the mainland. The ferry will be there to pick you up at around 1 pm and it's a bit of a long day cruising back down the Yasawa chain. You'll arrive back at Port Denarau Marina at around 5:30 pm.

Ferry cost: $120 NZD

Your included shuttle will be waiting to take you back to your Nadi hostel. Remember you have two recommended options to stay at for your final night, Oasis Palms (nice and quiet) or Bamboo Travellers (nice and sociable).

Hostel cost: Between $14 - $33 NZD

Food: 3x average priced meals a day = $50 NZD total.

DAY 11 - Nadi Airport

It's time to check out and head to the airport (depending on what time your flight leaves).

Taxi to airport: $20 NZD

Money-Saving Tip: Eat before and buy any souvenirs from a local place as the airport prices are much higher.

Total Cost - 10 nights

Ferry Total: $328 NZD

Accommodation Total: $262 NZD

Food Total: $820 NZD

Taxis Total: $40 NZD


Total Cost: $1,450 NZD

Total Cost per day = $145 NZD

Beverages not included.

Add 3x Happy Hour beers daily and 1x can of coke as an example over 10 days = an additional $21 NZD a day x 10 = $210 NZD.

Add a $20 NZD daily budget for optional activities eg. snorkelling excursion, Sawa-i-Lau Caves trip. $20 x 10 = $200 NZD.


Final Total Cost including beverages and extra activities: $1,860 NZD

Final Daily Cost: $186 NZD - all included.

$186 NZD = $262 FJD  //  £92 GBP  //  €110 EUR  //  $119 USD.

Pin it! :)

For an incredible Fijian island experience, $186 New Zealand Dollars a day is pretty good for a clean bed, three great meals a day, a few drinks and all of the activities available.

If you're thinking of travelling solo and coming to any of these resorts, you'll have the best time and will meet so many new people. What I loved so much about Octopus and Blue Lagoon is the great social atmosphere they had. You sit together in groups for meals and it's so easy to make new friends. There are loads of solo travellers just like you, so don't worry!

It's entirely possible to have a holiday in paradise on a backpacker's budget. So what are you waiting for? Swaying palm trees, white powdery sand, the bluest of waters and the friendliest local people are calling.

Want to see more? Check out the travel vlogs I made for Youtube on Blue Lagoon and Octopus Resort.

Happy Travels,

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