Want to travel to one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world? Learn all about the Fiji Islands with this guide for first time Fiji travelers. Travel tips along with the best places to stay in Fiji.
Fiji Islands Guide – First Time Fiji Travel Tips and Where to Stay
I just got home from the most wonderful week in Fiji. What a dream trip!!! There is no doubt that I’ve officially fallen in love with the Fiji Islands!
Traveling to Fiji has always been on my bucket list, but with it being so far from Texas, I always thought it would be too expensive and just a dream. Little did I know how affordable a trip to Fiji would be! I’m so happy my friend Rachel invited me to join her and Randalyn, as I probably would never have thought I could afford it.
I’ve been to Hawaii and all over the Caribbean Islands, but Fiji is now my most favorite tropical island! It’s not only my favorite for the amazing people and turquoise water, but for the price.
Where is Fiji?
Fiji is a group of volcanic islands in the South Pacific about a 3 hour flight north of New Zealand. It’s known for friendly people and beautiful tropical beaches.
What Did You like Best about Fiji?
I loved EVERYTHING about Fiji and I plan to write about all of the things I did very soon. If I have to say what I loved most about Fiji, it was the people. The Fijians are so sweet and happy!
You can’t pass a person without them saying BULA! Bula actually has a variety of meanings such as Aloha in Hawaii.
When Bula is used as a greeting it means a wish for good health. It’s considered disrespectful if you don’t happily say Bula back to a person. Being around such nice people will no doubt make you relaxed and definitely put a smile on your face!
Fiji Islands Travel Guide for First Timers
I hope this first timer Fiji travel guide will help you plan a trip there! I think more people need to experience this beautiful island.
Is Fiji Expensive?
Compared to Hawaii and the Caribbean, no it’s not at all. Your flight and hotel will be the most expensive part of Fiji. You’re kind of stuck with the flight cost, but there are many nice budget hotels. During the off season, when I was there, you can find hotels between $60-$100 a night. That’s pretty amazing for such a beautiful tropical island!
When you arrive in Fiji, the cost of food, drinks, day trips, spa treatments and shopping is inexpensive. For example…
- A 60 minute massages start at $30 USD.
- In one of the most expensive resort’s gift shops, I got my daughter a pretty shell ankle bracelet for $1 USD.
- I rented a cabana on a private island with a butler service for only $40 USD.
- My delicious dinner at the upscale Indigo restaurant in Port Denarau was $20 USD.
Do You Tip in Fiji?
Tipping is not customary or required.You can tip if you want, but if paying by credit card, there is no space for tip.
Believe me after spending a ton of money in Hawaii, I was in heaven with these Fijian prices!
Travel Tip: Get to know the local cab drivers and they will help you find deals around the island. Be sure to negotiate and remember tipping is not expected.
What is the best time of year to go to Fiji?
We asked the locals and they said anytime is the best time! Then they told us the busiest season starts in April and ends around August.
I was worried about going the first of February because the weather forecast said thunderstorms everyday. Well, it was sunny everyday! There was some scattered rain, but it didn’t last long at all.
October to early November when the weather is dry is supposed to be the best time to go.
How long is the flight to Fiji?
It can take 13-20 hours to fly to Fiji from the United States. It just depends on where you live. My flight from Dallas to Nadi, Fiji took 16 hours total. This included my flight to LAX, wait time between flights and the 10 hour direct flight from Los Angeles to Fiji.
What Airline Did you Fly to Fiji?
I flew on Fiji Airways through American Airlines so I could get airline miles. I was impressed with Fiji Airways! The seats were comfortable and since I flew at night, I was able to sleep most of the 10 hours. I got a new travel pillow (see it here) and it worked like a charm!!
Is the Fiji Airways Airways Premier Lounge Worth The Extra Cost?
When you purchase a flight on Fiji Airways, they will ask if you want to buy a pass to their premier lounge.
They ask that you arrive 3 hours before departing and I wasn’t sure if Nadi International Airport would have restaurants or good Wifi, so I purchased the lounge pass.
The Nadi airport has a fast food court and wifi, but after experiencing the Fiji Airways lounge, I’m so glad I splurged!
Would I buy passes into the lounge with a big family? Probably not, but since I was alone, it was affordable enough. I think a day pass was $70. This included fast Wifi, showers, a wonderful dinner buffet, desserts, all the drinks you want, comfortable lounge areas and a kids play area. It was very fancy, quiet and had great Fijian service.
What is the best area to stay in Fiji?
Now that you have figured out how to get to Fiji, let’s figure out where to stay!
When booking your flights to Fiji, you’ll more than likely fly to the Nadi International Airport on Fiji’s main island of Viti Levu. There are several great areas to stay near Nadi.
My top picks for places to stay would be:
- Denarau Island
- The Coral Coast
- The Mamanuca Islands
The most convenient place to stay is Denarau Island and where I stayed on my trip. It’s only a 15-20 minute cab ride from the Nadi airport. Denarau Island is a gated community full of beautiful resorts, a golf course, water park, shops, restaurants and one of the main ports in Fiji.
All resorts are ocean side, but this is more of a bay ocean area and not the bright blue turquoise water that you’ll find in other areas of Fiji.
There is a sand beach that you can walk to from any resort. The Denarau Island hotels have a beautiful views of the ocean and sunset with lots of water activities, but note there are mostly large rocks ocean side and not sand.
Where Should I Stay in Denarau Island?
All of the resorts are very nice on Denarau Island. You can easily walk to and from each resort for dinner or pool hopping, or take the Bula Bus for about $8 FJD per day pass. (That’s about $4 USD)
All of the resorts are great, but our top 3 picks were:
- Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa (I would personally pick this resort for close sandy beach access)
- The Westin Denarau Island Resort & Spa
- Wyndham Resort Denarau Island (we stayed here)
The Wyndham had some fun daily activities and wonderful food!
Most day trips leave from Port Denarau Marina and this is another great reason to stay here. You can easily hop on a boat for a day trip, enjoy shopping and dining, or get an inexpensive massage.
The Coral Coast
You can drive an hour or more from Nadi to stay on the coral coast. It’s known for the coral and beautiful beaches. We visited the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast and it was incredible!
The Mamanuca Islands
Venture by boat 30-60 minutes away from port to stay on one of the gorgeous Mamanuca Island resorts. You’ll be surrounded by dazzling turquoise water that’s so pretty it doesn’t seem real. The only downside to this option is the extra cost, the isolation from the mainland and you’ll need a boat for transportation.
Which Mamanuca Island should I stay on?
Any island is amazing!!! I visited a few and it would definitely be very hard to choose. Look into getting a Bula Pass to island hop and stay on multiple islands while in Fiji.
If I was to go back, I’d definitely like to stay on Malolo Lailai. We visited this island during one of our day trips and it was so beautiful!
You can ride bikes around the island, play golf, snorkel, dive and do all kinds of fun water sports. It looked like a fairy tale island!
We talked to a cute couple who were staying on Castaway Island. There is only one resort on this small island and would be perfect for honeymoon or for a quiet isolated getaway.
One of the larger Mamanuca Islands is Malolo Island with over 2,000 acres. The popular hotels on the beach are Likuliku Lagoon Resort (splurge for an over-water room), Tropical Island Resort (adults only), and Six Senses Fiji.
If budget was no option and you want pure adults only luxury, stay at the Tokoriki Island Resort. It’s an hour by speed boat from the Denarau port and very pricey, but holy cow! What a dream place!
A more affordable and family friendly option on Tokoriki is the Sheraton.
What About Staying in Suva?
I haven’t been to Suva, but I met some travel agents who stayed in both Denarau Island (Nadi area) and Suva. They preferred Denarau Island out of the two main areas to stay in Fiji.
Fiji is definitely worth the long flight! 5 nights was great, but I would have loved an extra 2 nights because there are just so many things to do on the Fiji islands.
Stay tuned… I’ll be sharing my favorite things to do in Fiji soon.
Originally published on February 8, 2020. Last Updated on May 15, 2021 by Amy Locurto