Cost Of Living In Fiji 2015

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

Fijian food can be broadly divided into two categories. 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 than the cities or tourist areas
  • Local produce is cheap, imported produce is expensive... very expensive!

Food and grocery costs

Check Out The Supermarket Prices

Rothmans 20's $11.99 10's $6.40. Pall Mall 20's $9.89

Milk: Fresh milk is almost impossible to buy. There are only 230 dairy farms in Fiji and they are all in the Suva area. How can 230 dairy farms supply 658,000 (2013) tourists per year, let alone the locals, with fresh milk, butter, cheese and yoghurt - impossible. Rewa milk is a Fijian company, their fresh milk is made up from NZ powdered milk and Fijian tap water, the same goes for Rewa UHT milk, why buy Rewa powdered UHT milk when you can buy the real thing from NZ. Your best bet is to buy 1 Litre of NZ Anchor full cream or light for fj $3.90. Rice milk will cost you fj $8.70 and Soya milk fj $4.90. Powdered milk is sold under several brands here in Fiji. It will be from NZ and sell for around fj $5.95 to $7.95 for a 500g pack.

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 locally 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. Arnotts full cream biscuits fj $9.95 Fijian full cream Fj $3.45 Arnoyys TimTam Fj $8.95 Fijian TimTam fj $2.95. The locally made biscuits are just as good if not better, try the local Ginger nut and the coconut biscuits, twice the flavor and cheap as chips. You can pick up a packet of dry tasteless crackers for less than fj$1. So don't worry there will always be a biscuit around to have with your coffee their are dozens of varieties to pick from.

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: Plain white bread is priced fixed by the government at $0.75 per loaf, a large wholemeal loaf $3.65. There are fresh hot bread shops everywhere in Fiji, they open seven day a week from sunrise to sunset. Our favorite Hot bread shop in Namaka makes a fantastic kibble and mixed grain uncut loaf for fj $6.60 each but only on a Friday? Tuesday? or was that Thursday. Newworld supermarket at the Nadi Back road roundabout has the best selection of healthy rye, multi & mixed grain ect, for fj $4.50 but the loaf is small. I always walk around to the bakery next door and pick a loaf that is still warm.

At most of the hot bread shops you can buy cream buns, lamingtins, small iced cakes, pies and sausage roll. In the heart of Nadi town there is a full on cake shop were you can buy freshly made decorated cakes for around fj $25. they will make up a birthday cake for you the same day if you get in early.

Butter: The Rewa brand, Yes it is not Fijian butter but real, rich NZ Butter and sells for fj $8.95 per 500g pack. I did find Anchor Butter 445g fj $10.95 Margarine will cost you fj $2.70 for Meadowlea 250g. Country soft spread, Golden and marigold are also available.

Cheese: A full range of NZ Mainland 250g fj $14.95. Philadelphia 250g fj $11.95. Kraft cheddar 12 slices fj $12.95. Australian gold brie fj 125g $12.95 and not forgetting Rewa 250g fj $6.50

Jam: there is a good range of imported and local spreads. If you have a craving for lemon butter on your mixed grain toast don't bother looking for it. Craigs 375g fj $5.05 the Fijian brand will sell at fj $3.95. peanut butter fj $ Honey is another story, Sugarcane honey is very dark and strong, 500g fj $11.95

Meat: ALL meat in the super market is frozen. They run all the meat through a band saw. The New,New world super market has three band saws, if you get there early in the morning you can see the tell tail marks left be hind by the band saw. There are three butcher shops in Nadi. The only shop I like is the South Pacific Butchery on Denarau road.

Fish: Again, all the fish in the super market is frozen. They run all the fish through a band saw. The local produce market is the best place to go. You can buy your fish in lots of three to six for the smaller fish to one or two for the larger fish, there is no refrigeration so get in early. The boys will only be to happy to fillet the fish for you for an extra $5.00. The last very large red snapper we brought cost us Fj $35, it lasted us two nights. You can also buy fresh fish from road side stalls, early morning and late afternoon

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 fiery) 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 - but only in season, out of season tomatoes will go up to $4.

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.

Check Out The Supermarket Prices

Meals

If you want to grab a quick lunch, then there are Indian and Chinese houses. 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 with rice in Nadi town will cost you about fj$6.90, and a mug of tea to go with it, another fj$1,a can of coca cola $1.60, a bottle of Fiji water $2.90. Add on another fj$20-fj$30 to that, if you are in Port Denarau with the Tourist.

Or call into the Sheraton Resorts, Flying Fish restaurant for dinner and order Glazed Lamb shoulder, with caramelized corn, oyster, mushrooms & brioche croutons for as little as Fj$87 or Wagyu sirloin, with crispy polenta, caramelised onion puree & chimmichurri for Fj$89

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$600, unfurnished to over fj$3000, depending on quality and location. Our rent per month is $1,100 furnished,in a block of four flats fully fenced in and twenty minutes from Nadi.

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.

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