You wonder how much money you may need to visit Fiji? We know that sometimes it is very difficult to find specific information on costs of traveling around the country. That’s why we decided to share with you our financial summary at the end of each stage of our journey. Here is the fourth part – Fiji.
How to count the expenses?
As we said in the previous financial posts from Canada and USA, and Peru – before traveling around the world we estimated budgets. One general budget for the entire trip, and the budgets for individual countries or stages of the journey. All were done on a quick and rough estimate. We focused on total spendings in every country, rather than a daily average. We didn’t include the costs of flights between the continents, as we bought RTW ticket before we left our country.
From the first day of our trip, we were writing down all our expenses: accommodation, transport, shopping, tickets to tourist attractions, and so on. Every week we tried to verify if we’re not spending too much. Although our journey ended a few months ago, we systematically analyze the finances of each trip stage on our blog. This way we know if our estimates were accurate or not. In addition, we want to share our insights and perhaps help some people who want to visit given place/country, by providing the calculation of our spendings.
Summary of our spendings on Fiji
All figures are in Fijian Dollars (FJD). The current average exchange rate is 1 USD = 2.08 FJD
Total expenses are divided into different categories, as seen in the following diagram:
Accommodation covers only the cost of accommodation on the Mana island. Just as in Canada and the US – in Fiji we also managed to use CouchSurfing (our whole stay in Nadi). Still, the accommodation cost for our stay on the islands sums up to almost 50% of our spending in Fiji.
Transportation includes all the inter-city tickets, occasional taxis, and the boat from Nadi to Mana and back. This category doesn’t include the boat to the Monuriki island (aka Cast Away Island). We have included it in the Entertainment category, as the total cost of that trip. The transport sums up to almost 14% of total spendings in Fiji.
A total of 19% of our expenditures was food. This is much less compared to the countries we have visited before Fiji – Canada and the USA at around 31%, and 25% in Peru. However, we didn’t eat less – our room on Mana island had daily full board included. The only food expenses we had to take were on the “mainland”. As far as possible, we tried to cook our own meals, and very occasionally enjoyed a bottle of cold Fiji Bitter. Groceries totaled to 17.1% of the total cost.
The remaining 1.8% of food spendings fall into Restaurants category. That includes few eating-outs in the city during our stay on the “mainland”. We did that only 4 times, when we couldn’t cook dinner ourselves or when we went for a day-trip to Lautoka.
Entertainment category is 7.4% of our spendings in Fiji. This is very little compared to eg. Peru, where this category included up to 36% of our total expenditure. It’s because we didn’t visit a lot of paid attractions. These were only three places – Garden of the Sleeping Giant, Mud pools in the area of Nadi, and a trip to the Monuriki island (aka. Cast Away Island) while we stayed on Mana.
The last category, Other, or 10.1% of our costs, turned out to be much higher than in the previous countries. So far, we’ve never exceeded the 3% of total spendings in given country. In Fiji we did, however, go a little ‘crazy’ with shopping. Among our purchases were: a SIM card, cosmetics, sulu for Patrycja and bula-shirt for Dawid, diving mask and other little things that we took to Mana island.
Budget or extravagance?
Here is a small list of cost for all categories, divided in 3 cost variants we assumed:
|Accommodation (per room/bed)||30-50||100+||108|
|Transportation (daily per person)||0-20||40||17|
|Groceries (daily per person)||5-10||?||21|
|Restaurants (meal per person)||0||30+||12|
|Entertainment (attraction per person)||0||65+||64|
|Other (per expense)||0||10+||24|
Traveling on a budget, or “I want to see things, but I don’t have a lot of money to spend”:
Accommodation: cheapest would be Couchsurfing, but that works only in major cities, on the “mainland”. Cheapest accommodation can be found in hostels. In the more tourist places, such as Nadi or Suva, beds in dormitory rooms are available for 30 FJD. On the islands, the cheapest backpacker places offer accommodation for at least 50 FJD.
Transport: on the “mainland”, the cheapest way is to use public transportation. Among major cities, there are quite regular bus routes – and the buses usually reach some villages once or twice a day. It’s also quite easy to hitchhike. We managed to ‘catch a ride’ twice – without even trying it on purpose 😉 Fijians are very polite and willing to help. So if you walking to where they go, and they have a place in the car – they will probably be happy to stop and pick you up.
Food: preparing the meals yourself and buying only the most necessary food products. This is possible, but only on the “mainland”. On the rest of islands, unfortunately, you will not find stores offering fresh foods. Therefore, when you leave the mainland it’s best to find a place which includes full boarding. Otherwise, you’ll need to eat out in restaurants, or learn fishing/eat fresh coconuts. In addition, you need to remember about the water. On the “mainland” you can easily drink water from the tap, but on the islands, it’s better not to do (it’s usually salt water from the ocean or rain water). The cost of bottled water at the bars on the islands usually is the same as for bottle of beer, so some people may have a serious dilemma 😉
Entertainment: in Fiji, the biggest tourist attractions are – without any doubts – exotic islands, white beaches, palm trees, crystal clear water and coral reef. Unfortunately, staying only in Nadi or Lautoka will make it hard to see anything of the above (except palm trees). But the smaller islands – they often have the full package. So if you can afford to stay on the island, you don’t have to worry about other entertainment.
Among the free attractions in Nadi, it’s worth to mention the local market and the Hindu Sri Suva Subramaniya temple. And not that far from Nadi, you can enjoy a free trekking to the Sleeping Giant. We mentioned these attractions in our post “Fiji – a perfect place for exotic getaway”.
Other: there’s no sense to buy unnecessary things when on a budget. As for souvenirs – photos and memories can be sufficient.
The variant most preferred by people with a stable financial situation, who like to spend their holidays comfortably:
Accommodation: accommodation in hotels or renting a room via the portals like Airbnb, Booking.com, and others. In the table above, we did put 100 FJD as a starting point. Looking at room rates in Nadi, you can, of course, find a double room with shared bathroom for up to 50 FJD. However, this will be a hostel for backpackers, where a person looking for more comfort would probably not stay. In addition, 100 FJD is definitely not enough to rent a double room (even backpacker one) on the islands. Prices for a decent room in the resorts start at 200-300 FJD or much more, depending on the island and hotel class.
Transport: on the “mainland” by taxi or rented car. Between the islands using official tourist ferries. For the very rich options – there are also small planes and seaplanes between some of the islands. We have no idea how much these two options may cost, but it’s definitely not within our budget. Official ferries price depends on the destination island. Pricing can be found, among other information, on the following pages: www.ssc.com.fj or www.awesomefiji.com.
Food: in this variant mainly eating out at restaurants – both on the “mainland” and on the islands. The basic two-course dinner for one person will cost at least 10-15 FJD on the mainland, and about twice as much on the islands.
Entertainment: as we already mentioned, Fiji biggest tourist attraction are the exotic islands. You can choose how many of them you’d like to visit. You can do it on your own – buying ferry tickets and booking hotels alone. You can also take advantage of the many offers of travel agencies, and buy so-called island hopping (i.e. jumping between the islands on a ferry/boat) or Bula Pass. They can be booked online – also with ‘overnight’ variant. More information can be found at www.awesomefiji.com/bula-passes.
In this category can include scuba diving on the reef. It’s worth to consider this form of entertainment if you have enough funds. Of course, in addition to massages, traditional dance shows, Mud Pools sessions, and visiting the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and other places.
Other: only your wallet sets the limit here 😉 In this budget, expenses are usually souvenirs, such as shells, handmade bowls or sulu.
From the very beginning, we try to spend our money wisely. We save where we can, but we don’t save on tourist attractions that we really want to see. We’re also not walking hungry to save money on food. Therefore, our costs fall somewhere in the middle between the “Budget” and “Extravaganza”.
Accommodation: As we mentioned before, while in Nadi we stayed at the Couchurfingu ambassador of Fiji. As a result, we saved a lot of money and learned a lot about the Mana island. We spent one night at the airport when we weren’t allowed to board the plane to New Zealand. But we’ll tell this story later…
The only accommodation, for which we paid, was on the Mana island. We stayed in a typical backpackers hostel, no frills like air conditioning or hot water. The upside, however, was that we got a free night for each 5 days booked. We could slightly cut down the costs if we decided on a dormitory. However, as we mentioned in other posts, we usually prefer to have a little bit of privacy.
The average price we ultimately paid for each night on Mana was around 108 FJD. It might not be the cheapest, but when compared to other places available – we really didn’t pay that much. Another advantage is the fact that we had full boarding included the price of the room. As a result, we saved the money we would have to spend for food.
We traveled around Fiji as cheaply as we could. We took a taxi a few times, but these were mostly traveling from or to the airport, and with a larger group of Couchsurfers (so we did split the bill). When traveling alone, for example to Lautoka or to the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, we chose local buses, which cost less than 1/4 price of a taxi.
The most expensive means of transportation was the boat to Mana and back to Nadi. We saved a bit by opting for a smaller boat instead of the official ferry, but despite this, the two transfers summed up to 3/4 of all of our transportation costs in Fiji.
Food: we tried to cook our own meals in Nadi, so most of our costs in this category are groceries. Moreover, we did eat out 4 times while in the town and had a beer at the bar. On Mana, accommodation included the meals. There weren’t too fancy, but with the help of some snacks and fresh coconuts, we had enough energy for swimming and resting on a sunbed 😉 On Mana, we also had an occasional beer at the bar and had to buy some water.
When added up, it turned out that the cost of daily spendings for food didn’t exceed 17 FJD per person.
Entertainment: on Fiji, we were mostly focused to get some rest and relax. Our main goal was to spend as much time on the island as we could afford. We didn’t care, however, hopping the islands, so we didn’t consider buying Bula Pass. It was supposed to be a holiday on an island, a small and charming, surrounded by coral, where we could dive or snorkel.
This doesn’t of course mean that we completely skipped the paid attractions. While in Nadi, we went to the beautiful Garden of the Sleeping Giant and Mud Pools. And both places definitely are worth a visit and spending some money there. We wrote some more details in our post about Nadi: “Fiji – a perfect place for exotic getaway”.
Also, while on Mana, we took a trip to the Monuriki island, where the movie Cast Away was filmed. Even just the very view from the top of the hill was worth to come here. More about that breathtaking view in our previous post: (link to another).
Other: This time we went a little crazy, because most of these were not required expenses. Except for the SIM card, basic toiletries and underwear – when on a budget we should skip optional expenses. However, we wanted to have a fun memento of Fiji, which is why we bought sulu for Patrycja and bula-shirt for Dawid. Also – taking into account the long stay on the island and the desire to snorkel – the purchase of masks turned out to pay off.
Assumptions vs. reality
So how much money we needed for Fiji? After summing up all the costs, our average spendings totaled to about 62 FJD per person daily. At today’s exchange rate this is around 30.25 USD. This is not too much, but we exceeded our assummed budget by 25%. We probably didn’t really expect how expensive will be the stay on the island. However, so far our expenses for each of the visited countries seem to be close to each other – less than 40 USD per person daily.
Finally, we present a brief table of prices of certain articles:
|Dinner in the restaurant for two (main course + drink)||27.50 FJD|
|Lunch at McDonalds||15 FJD|
|Dinner at an inexpensive restaurant on the islands for one person||30 FJD|
|500ml beer in a bar in Nadi||4-5 FJD|
|500ml of beer on the islands||10 FJD|
|Water 1.5l on "mainland"||3 FJD|
|Water 1.5l on island||10 FJD|
This barely scratches the surface, so if you’re interested in more numbers, take a at www.numbeo.com, where you can compare the cost of living in different countries and cities.