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Cost Of Living In Fiji 2013 - 2014

A partial list of current prices for food and basic essentials in Fiji

Fijian food can be broadly divided into two catagories. Local and imported. As you would expect, imported goods are far more pricey than locally produced. A general rule of thumb is that imported produce is triple what you would pay back at home, maybe more.

So if you pay 99c for a tin of baked beans (on special) at home, don't be surprised when you see that same brand for sale in a Fiji supermarket for about fj$3-4.

However, the cheap prices of local produce makes up for it, and you can actually eat quite cheaply in Fiji, if you are prepared to buy local goods.

How much you pay for an item depends on two factors.

  • Local villages and market towns are cheaper that the cities or tourist areas
  • Local produce is cheap, imported produce is expensive... very expensive!

Food and grocery costs

Cigarettes: fj$3.20 a pack of 10, just under fj$6 a pack of 20 . Since the 2013 budget came out, prices have risen. There is no set price so do shop around, but a packet of 10 now averages $4, and 20's will range from $7.80 to $9.

Milk: Fresh milk is almost impossible to get. And if I did find some, I don't know that I would buy it (personally, I wouldn't entirely trust the local pasturization process). But UHT and powdered milk is readily available. Expect to pay around fj$2.75 for a liter of full cream UHT, and about fj$5 for 500gram packet of powder.

Tea and Coffee: Coffee is a similar price to what you would pay in NZ or Aust. Teabags are expensive, Up to fj$5 per pack of 50 (imported). Loose tea on the other hand, is cheap, less than fj$1 a packet (if you buy the localy packaged brands). But I find it to be too strong for me, and this is locally packaged, not imported.

Biscuits: Imported biscuits are 3-4 times what you would pay back home. But, the locally made ones are just fine, and you can pick up a packet of crackers for less than fj$1, only a little more for the fancy varieties.

Pasta: If you are hoping pasta will be cheap, sorry. fj$5-fj$7 a packet. However, rice is cheap, maybe a dollar or two per kilo, depending on the grade. Locally produced potato chips are also very cheap, .50c a small packet.

Bread: Again, locally produced is cheap, imported (and frozen) is very expensive. There are fresh hot bread shops everywhere in Fiji, you won't have to look far to find one.

The cost of an unsliced loaf averages 90c per loaf. So that is around 1/3 of what you would pay in NZ. These hot bread shops also seem to operate very late, so you have a good chance of picking up fresh bread at almost any hour.

Margarine: While the bread is cheap, the margarine to put on it is not :-( A standard 500gram tub will cost fj$5, more or less. Butter will most likely be imported from NZ, and therefore very expensive (and difficult to keep fresh in the Fiji climate anyway).

Fruit and vegetables

No matter where you go in Fiji, you will see locals with their roadside stalls selling produce. Prices are extremely cheap, and much of the produce is sold in bunches. Every town of any size also has the markets, which is a hub for the local community to come and sell their produce. While these markets are not often frequented by tourists, the locals will make you feel very welcome, and are usually more than happy to tell you about some of the unfamiliar fruits and veges.

Some examples and prices of what you might find in these stalls....

Mangos (in season from late Nov to March) .50c each, same price for paw paws, cucumbers, handful of the small (but firey) local chillies, coconuts, kilo of bananas, gauvas. fj$1-fj$2 for pineapple, though supermarkets will charge more than that. 8-10 small tomatoes for fj$1.

You will see bunches of taro and cassava ranging from fj$15 upwards, and of course kava is available almost everywhere.

Bok Choy is fj$1 a bunch, though the "normal" cabbages and lettuces tend to be a bit pricey. Take a look at the Suva Municipal Market page for a more detailed look at local produce prices.

Jump to a more comprehensive list of items

Meals

If you want to grab a quick lunch, then there are Indian curry houses everywhere. They don't sell only curries of course, but also traditional Fijian fare that generally has rice, taro, or cassava as a side dish.

A typical plate of chicken curry in a rural town will cost you about fj$6, and a mug of tea to go with it, another fj$1. Add on another fj$2-fj$3 to that, if you are in Nadi, Suva, or one of the tourist areas.

Accommodation in Fiji

To get some idea of the rental prices in Fiji, take a look at the classified section on The FijiTimes online. Prices given are generally per month, and can range from as little as fj$400, to over fj$3000, depending on quality and location.

I strongly suggest looking for a place in one of the more upmarket areas, such as Namadi Heights in Suva. Yes, it will cost a lot more. But you will have more peace of mind knowing the chances are a lot lower of returning home one day to find all your valuables gone. Just one quick tip: when checking the classified, make sure you see "H+C" in the advert. Hot water is not a given in rental properties, so if the advert doesn't specify it, then chances are that it's not available. Speaking for myself, I don't care how tropical the climate - I like a hot shower at the end of the day. Or at least the option to have one.

Transport costs

You can find details on the transport in Fiji page of this site. Using public transport is cheap...to give an example of that, I negotiated a taxi ride from Navua to the Naviti resort, and that cost me fj$8. This is a trip of 1hr 20 min... but the driver was on the way to pick up a fare from Nadi airport, and so was happy to give a cheap fare for part of the journey. Always be prepared to haggle, and if you think he wants too much, then say so. I could probably have got that particular price even lower, but I was quite happy to pay that amount.

Nadi Supermarket Prices, Dec 2013

General items for sale in a Nadi supermarket, 2013. Prices are in Fiji dollars.

  • UHT Milk: $2.75
  • Tea Bags, 50s: $3.29
  • 50g Coffee: $4.99
  • 200g Milo: $3.99
  • 1ltr Soy Oil: $2.90
  • Pasta 500g: $3.79
  • Tuna 170g: $1.90
  • Weetbix 375g: $4.60
  • Sweet Biscuits 145g: $1.89
  • Colgate Toothpaste: $1.99
  • Airsun Toothpaste 200g: $1.65
  • Bar of Soap 70g: .60c
  • Shampoo 180ml: $3.89
  • Canola Oil 5ltr: $15
  • Rice 1kg: $1.19
  • Salt 1kg: .85c
  • Garlic 500g pkt: $1.67
  • Frozen Chicken no9: $9.09
  • Frozen Chicken no20: $18.56
  • Potatoes 1kg: $1.38
  • Onions 1kg: $2.08
  • Soy Sauce 150ml: $1.69
  • Peanut Butter 375g: $3.89
  • Tomato Sauce 425ml can: $1.89
  • Unsliced Bread: .90c- $1.60
  • Buns 1 doz: $1.80
  • Long Loaf: $1.52
  • Soft Drinks 2.25ltr: $2.79
  • Coke, Sprite etc 330ml can: $1.60
  • Pack 20 Cigarettes (B&H): $7.90

2013 Suva prices, local supermarkets

These prices were taken from a local supermarket in Suva, July 2013. So while prices will vary, this gives you a reasonable idea of the costs for general grocery items.

  • tea bags - 50's $2.85, 100's (imported) $6.10
  • Loose Tea leaves - 200gms $2.40
  • Instant Coffee - 50 gms $4.60
  • Baked Beans - 420gms $2.00
  • Spaghetti - 420gms $3.15
  • WeetBix - 375gms $3.40
  • Milk (UHT) - 1 Litre $2.73
  • Milo - 200gms $4.00
  • Tub Margarine Flora - 500gms $4.40
  • Breakfast Crackers Biscuits - 375gms $1.20
  • Oaties Cookies - 500gms $3.50
  • Lettuce - imported $18/kg, local $2/heap
  • Carrots - $1.70/kg
  • Cabbages - $1.00/bundle
  • Tomatoes (local) - $9.95/kg
  • Bottled Water - $1.85/500ml, $2.65/1Lt
  • Soft Drinks - $7.49/(4pack x 1.25Lts)
  • Coca Cola - $2.55/2.25Lts
  • Tomato Sauce - $2.20/440gms can
  • Powdered Juice - $0.60/satchet

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SBI!

What Foods Can You Take Into Fiji?

This is a common question, and it can be hard to find definitive answers. Even the official Fijian .govt websites that should give you answers are either out of date, closed down, or "under construction".

So, is not entirely clear on what can and can't be taken into Fiji.... there is simply nowhere to get a clear cut answer.

However, after doing some research, I have found that tinned or commercially packages food is usually acceptable as long as you declare it. The exception to that, is any form of meats, chicken or dairy products. That means no salami, bacon, cheese, stock cubes etc.

But if you declare what you have, then you should be ok with things such as...
  • canned tuna or salmon
  • breakfast cereals
  • infant formula
  • dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
  • packaged spices
  • packets of savory biscuits

Just be sure to have unopened, commercially packaged goods. And declare everything... better to have some things declined than face a fine for trying to import prohibited goods.

house in namadi heights suva A nice house in Namadi Heights, Suva.

A house like this, in Namadi Heights Suva, will cost you somewhere around fj$2500 - fj$3,000 a month to rent. This one has 2 living rooms, 2 kitchens and 3 bathrooms, 5 bedrooms, office and a well secured section.

suva takeaway food prices Typical Suva takeaway food prices.

A blackboard outside of a typical Suva cafe, that shows prices for takeaway food. Four pieces of fish and chips for fj$6.50 has to be a cheap meal! Notice that the fish is Marlin.

You can expect to get a decent meal for two in Suva for less than fj$15, although there are plenty of more expensive and upmarket restaurants to choose from.

Suva Indian food prices Suva Indian restaurant food prices.

If you enjoy Indian food, then you are going to love Suva and Nadi! Indian resaurants are everywhere. As this price menu in a restaurant window shows, you will pay under fj$10 for a great Fijian Indian meal.

Fiji roadside produce stall These roadside produce stalls are everywhere in Fiji

No matter where you go in Fiji, you will come across produce stalls like this. Melons, tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant, taro, kasava, chillies, pawpaw, pineapple and mangoes. The markets can be a tropical fruit lovers paradise!

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