Fiji's top accommodations-luxurious bures (bungalows) at private-island resorts-are beyond the reach of many travelers. And yet, Fiji does offer something for everyone, including the value-conscious traveler.
Here are some suggestions and tips for experiencing the Bula (welcome) feeling and getting the most from a visit to Fiji for less:
Book an Air-Hotel Package.
Typically the most economical way to visit any pricey destination is to book a package that combines airfare to Nadi (a 10.5-hour flight which usually costs about $900 to $1,100 round-trip from Los Angeles) and a hotel. You can start your search at two places:
• Click on the Flight + Hotel search engine on the website of Air Pacific, Fiji's national carrier. Plug in your dates and you'll get a large selection of lodging options, from 2-star to 4-star, and package rates ranging from about $1,200 to $2,000 per person for six nights' accommodation and airfare.
• The U.S. Vacations section on Tourism Fiji's website, which has links to dozens of deals offered by South Pacific travel specialists.
Stick to Viti Levu and Island Resorts Reachable by Boat.
Many of Fiji's private island resorts are reachable solely via chartered plane or helicopter, which can be quite pricey. To keep transportation costs down, look at booking resorts in the tourist areas of Fiji's main island, Viti Levu, which include the Coral Coast and Denarau Island. In addition, several resorts in the Mamanuca Islands, located off of the coast of Viti Levu near Nadi, are accessible by affordable boat transfer.
Travel in the Off-Season.
Fiji is a tropical destination with year-round sunshine and temperatures in the 80s, but it does have a high and low season. High season, is May to October, when dry, sunny days prevail and prices tend to be higher as demand surges, especially among honeymooners. November to April is considered low season, as this is when the humidity soars and the majority of tropical storms occur (February and March are rainiest). Still, it does not rain all day every day, and travelers seeking the best rates might consider visiting then.
Use Hotel Frequent Stay Points.
If you travel for business and have earned points with a hotel frequent-stay program, you may be able to use them to snag a few free nights at a resort on Viti Levu. Sheraton, Radisson, Sofitel, Novotel, InterContinental, Shangri-La, Outrigger and Westin all have resorts near Nadi or on the Coral Coast.