Fiji is a tropical paradise with more than 330 stunning islands, each with its own unique beauty. Fiji islands have white sandy beaches and gorgeous scenery that make for a perfect tropical getaway. However, with so many choices, it can be overwhelming to determine which island to visit on your Fiji vacation without breaking the bank.
To make your decision easier, we extensively explored Fiji and its many islands over the course of several months. Our travels have allowed us to curate a list of the top four Fiji Islands that offer an unforgettable vacation experience without draining your wallet. These islands are filled with activities and attractions that will keep you entertained and engaged throughout your visit.
Leleuvia Island – Experience the Beauty of True Fiji in This Breathtaking Tropical Paradise
For a stunning tropical paradise island where you can experience true Fiji, head to Leleuvia Island. Located east of Fiji’s main island, breathtaking Leleuvia is full of unique, authentic experiences you just can’t find elsewhere in Fiji. This is the real deal – incredibly traditional and a far cry from the many commercial resorts you’ll see in Fiji.
Leleuvia Island lies within Fiji’s Lomaiviti Archipelago, away from Fiji’s busy Yasawa and Mamanuca Islands, which most tourists flock to. Here you can get away from the crowds on a stunning island surrounded by a magnificent coral reef, sleep in authentic wooden Fijian beach huts (bures) right on the beach and go on incredibly unique day trips to nearby islands. This coral cay island is just paradise!
Plus, Leleuvia Island is easy to get to. In 90 minutes, you can go from bustling downtown Suva to tropical bliss at Leleuvia Island. It’s a different world out here. At just 17 acres in size, Leleuvia Island is small with just a dozen or so bures, which gives it a relaxing, exclusive vibe but at a highly reasonable price.
Things To Do on Leleuvia Island
Leleuvia Island may be small, but many activities can keep you entertained. Whether it’s a visit to a local Fijian village where you can drink kava with the locals, a day trip to Fiji’s Old Capital – Levuka, coral planting, an outrigger canoe trip, or you just want to lie in a hammock all day, there is plenty to do.
For a real ‘castaway’ desert island experience, make their trip to the picture-perfect Honeymoon Island nearby. Honeymoon Island is so tiny you can’t even find it on Google maps! It takes less than 100 seconds to walk around the whole of this isolated paradise island – can you imagine?!
For those who love spending time in the water, Leleuvia Island is ideal. Sitting on top of a marine reserve, you’ll find some of the best coral reefs in Fiji. Go snorkeling or diving and check out the turtles, stingrays, reef sharks, and brightly colored fish. There’s a whole new world under there!
Who Will Love Leleuvia Island?
Leleuvia is laid-back, fresh, and unpretentious. The adventurers and explorers who love learning about different cultures and those who love being in the water and exploring the less-trodden tourist paths are the types of people who will love this ultimate paradise island getaway.
Mantaray Island – Explore Gorgeous Coral Reefs and Swim with Majestic Manta Rays
Want to swim with manta rays when in Fiji? Then head to Mantaray Island, located in the stunning Northern Yasawa Islands! Swimming with manta rays is an absolute once-in-a-lifetime experience. These gentle giants, with an average wing span of four meters, are graceful, peaceful, and curious! There aren’t many places on this planet where you can swim with manta rays, but here in Fiji, it is possible.
Staying at Mantaray Island between May and October makes it incredibly convenient and affordable to swim with these majestic creatures multiple times! The manta rays swim right in front of Mantaray Island, so step out of your beachfront villa, grab your snorkel gear, and head into the water to meet these beauties gliding past!
Things To Do on Mantaray Island
Even if manta rays aren’t high on your list, a stay at Mantaray Island is magical and filled with many things to do. Early risers can do the sunrise hike to the top of the mountain for out-of-this-world views, water babies can get out on the kayaks and paddle boards, and the crafty ones can try basket weaving.
For sunset, enjoy a relaxing sunset tube cruise or head to the other side of the island to drink cocktails out of coconuts while watching the sun go down! Mantaray Island is more down-to-earth, relaxed, and sociable than many other Yasawa Island resorts, so the outdoor bar is a great place to meet other people. There’s a great wood-fire pizza oven here, and with a la carte lunches, it’s not hard to see why Mantaray Island is home to the best food in the Yasawa Islands!
Mantaray Island is a leisurely 3-hour boat ride from Fiji’s mainland, and the setting is just perfect. The beach has incredibly white sand and crystal clear waters, with some of the best reefs in the world! This makes the snorkeling here incredible, whether or not you see a manta ray!
Who Will Love Mantaray Island?
Those keen to swim with manta rays, meet other travelers, go on sunrise/sunset ventures, and those who want to experience idyllic beachfront living at an affordable price. With dorm rooms and beachfront honeymoon villas, there’s accommodation here to suit every type of traveler.
South Sea Island – The Perfect Day Trip from Fiji’s Main Island With Incredible Snorkeling
If you’re after the most convenient island to get to from Fiji’s main island, then South Sea Island is it! Not only that, but the prices for the Beachfront Bures here are exceptionally good value, and they have been decorated to an incredibly high standard. And the best part? Hardly anyone knows you can stay overnight here, so you may even get the whole island to yourself!
Located in Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands, the beautiful South Sea Island is a mere 30 minutes on the ferry from Denarau. Surrounded by incredible coral reefs and clear waters, with only three Beachfront Bures and a dorm here – this is the ideal tiny island to stay on overnight if you want that deserted tropical island feel!
Things To Do on South Sea Island
While South Sea Island only hosts a few people overnight, it is an extremely popular place to visit, with many things to keep people entertained. Day trippers come and enjoy the open-air restaurant, free-flowing drinks, the swimming pool, the Fijian Meke dance show, the Fijian craft market, snorkeling, and kayak equipment here, and the semi-submersible coral viewing submarine! It’s busy, but it’s a great atmosphere, and there are plenty of quiet spots if you prefer. And then come sunset, the island is all yours again… aaah! Enjoy an outdoor candlelit dinner on the beach as you unwind from a fantastic day.
The snorkeling off the beach at South Sea Island is incredible: you’re surrounded by thousands of tropical fish! You can also take a paddle board out or even learn to dive. And whether you’re a sunrise or sunset lover, you have the best view of both of them on this Fiji island!
As South Sea Island is conveniently located and served by several ferries daily, you can even take a day trip to nearby Malamala Island – the world’s first island beach club! That’s right – the whole island is a beach club! Oozing luxurious vibes, enjoy the beach club tunes by the infinity pool, sip cocktails out of coconuts, jump off the pier, and kayak around the island in 7 minutes before getting the ferry back to South Sea Island for the evening.
Who Will Love South Sea Island?
Those who enjoy a lively atmosphere during the day but appreciate a quiet, relaxed island in the evening will love South Sea Island. Also, people who are island hopping around Fiji will love to add South Sea Island to their itinerary as it is so easy to get to and is friendly on the pocket!
Kuata Island – Beautiful Scenery With Volcanic Mountain Views and Underwater Adventures
Known as the gateway to the Yasawa Islands, Kuata is a total paradise not to be missed! Something tells you that this place will be magical when a Fijian warrior greets you with song and dance from the top of a cliff as you get off the boat. Think of pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise blue water, unique rock formations, and volcanic mountains in every direction. The scenery is completely breathtaking and untouched!
And with the opportunity to do their world-famous shark dive, Kuata Island is a fantastic place for marine life lovers keen to explore the underwater world.
The Beachfront Bures at Kuata Island is insane and probably the best Beachfront Bures you’ll find in Fiji for both price and quality combined. Mere steps from the idyllic beach, the bures are luxurious with an incredible outdoor en-suite bathroom. Plus, being the closest Yasawa Island Resort to Fiji’s mainland, it takes less than 2 hours to reach here by Yasawa Flyer ferry, so it’s very convenient.
Things To Do on Kuata Island
Kuata’s daily Awakening Shark Dive is something you will remember forever – whether you’re a certified or introductory diver. Take the 25-minute boat ride out to where the big fish live, and sit on the ocean floor behind a rock as the instructors feed the bull sharks, tiger sharks, silver tip sharks, and lemon sharks around you. Certainly not for the faint-hearted, this is sure to get your adrenaline pumping, but it is very safe, and the instructors are exceptional.
If you aren’t into diving or meeting the big sharks yet, go snorkeling with the friendly and completely harmless resident reef sharks under two meters long at nearby Moia Reef. Swimming with these inquisitive creatures in their natural environment as they get so close to you is an incredible experience!
Apart from meeting sharks, snorkel off the beach at Kuata Island, where you’ll come across a fantastic reefs and smaller fish. Relax by the swimming pools or hike to the other side of the island to find a secluded beach. Early birds can do the sunrise hike to the mountain’s peak for unforgettable views.
Who Will Love Kuata Island?
Adventure junkies, divers, and also snorkelers who are keen to have their first swim with sharks will be in heaven at Kuata Island. And for those who prefer to stay on dry land, Kuata Island is perfect for those who enjoy hiking and want to experience the ultimate luxury beachfront bure living.
Final Thoughts on Budget-Friendly Fiji Islands
So there we go – our four favorite Fiji Islands! All unique, with something different to offer. Fiji is a spectacular country but can be incredibly expensive to visit. If you know where to look, however, you can stay at incredible Fiji islands for a fraction of the cost!
This article Four Gorgeous Fiji Islands That Won’t Break the Bank originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Image Credit: [@JimmyJames75/DepositPhotos]. All Other Images: [@dronecean]
Catrina is a freelance Travel Writer and aerial photographer who has visited 85 countries and lived in several - including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates, and England. Catrina has contributed to various popular travel publications, including Fodors, Australian Traveller, and Escape, as well as several international newspapers, aviation, and travel companies. The majority of her work, however, features on her website - 24hourslayover.com, where she has written over 450 travel articles to help fellow travelers! Her work has been nominated for several awards, including Best Travel Photography for the UK Blog Awards and Traverse Creator Awards.