How to Spend a Long Layover in Fiji

Wondering what to do during a long layover in Fiji? You’re not alone! My flight from the US to New Zealand included a 17-hour layover in Nadi, Fiji.

After doing a little research, I learned that during layovers exceeding 4 hours, you are required to go through customs and immigration, and enter Fiji as a tourist. US passport holders are given a visitor’s visa upon arrival with proof of an onward flight.

Here is how I passed the time during a long layover in Fiji.

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how to spend a long layover in fiji
Admiring orchids at the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. © Brittany Quaglieri

Don’t Book Anything Before You Arrive in Fiji

Fiji is a popular tourist destination bursting with activities to suit everyone. There are multiple tour companies at Nadi International Airport that offer full or half-day packages for adventure junkies, nature lovers, or culture hounds.

I suggest waiting until you arrive to book an activity. You’ll avoid being late for reservations due to delays or time spent in customs and immigration. Plus, you’ll want to see what the weather will be like. A boat ride to a secluded island sounds great until you arrive and it’s going to rain cats and dogs all day.

Additionally, I suggest waiting because you may change your mind about what you want to do once you arrive. Also, as a solo traveler, my plans depend on other travelers booking the same activity that I want to do. Even though I chose one once I got there, it was still canceled because no one else signed up. In the end, I joined two other girls on a different tour and was delighted with the experience.

Store Your Luggage at the Airport

After freshening up and changing into clothes appropriate for the tropical Fiji weather, you’ll want to store your luggage. Contrary to what the Nadi International Airport website says, the luggage storage facility is located on the second floor of the arrivals concourse, down a series of hallways that look abandoned. Don’t worry, though, the room is guarded by the attendant during open hours, which are daily from 5 am to 10 pm.

Cost: Fees for storing luggage must be paid in cash upfront, Fiji currency only. An ATM machine and a currency exchange booth are both available in the arrivals concourse. *Prices up to date as of the published date.

  • Hand-held luggage: FJ$7.10 (about $3.50 USD)
  • Suitcases/Backpacks: FJ$9.50 (about $5 USD)
  • Oversize Luggage: FJ$14.20 (about $7 USD)

Fees are charged for each item checked, per day of storage. For example, I checked 2 bags at the backpack/suitcase rate (2 x 9.50 = 19) and 1 bag at the hand-held luggage rate (7.10) for one day, so my total fee for the day was FJ$26.10 (or about $13 USD). Partial or hourly fees are not offered, you must pay for the whole day.

Related: How to Access Your Money Overseas

nadi produce market
View of the Nadi Market. © Brittany Quaglieri

Take a City Tour of Nadi During a Layover in Fiji

After shopping around, I decided on the tour company Great Sights Fiji, joining two Australian girls for a half-day “Discover Nadi” tour.

The stops included the Garden of the Sleeping Giant, the Chiefly village of Viseisei, the Nadi Hindu Temple, and the Nadi Produce Markets. The guide and the driver were both friendly local Fijians. During the tour, they engaged in conversations about the history of the island, the people, and each site we visited.

The guides also made a couple of unexpected stops at some shops selling locally made souvenirs, making the tour about 4.5 hours long.

Cost of the Discover Nadi Tour

The Discover Nadi Tour costs FJ$100 (about $50 USD) per person. Plus a non-compulsory tip of FJ$20 (about $10 USD). Remember to bring enough cash with you to buy some fresh pineapple to snack on at the Nadi Market (it’s only a couple of dollars) and any souvenirs you may want.

fiji gold beer
Local Fiji Gold Beer at the Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center. © Brittany Quaglieri

What I Did With the Rest of My Day

Would you believe that I did all of this before I had lunch? I landed in Fiji at about 5 am and breezed through customs and immigration in less than an hour. Then I changed, stored my luggage, and had a coffee and breakfast before booking the tour at about 8 am.

After the tour of Nadi, I still had another 8 hours before I needed to check-in for my onward flight. Thankfully, Great Sights Fiji told me about a nearby facility that had plenty of things to do to fill the time. They even offered to drop me off there after my Discover Nadi tour.

tea time at the essence of fiji rejuvenation center
Tea and scones at the Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center. © Brittany Quaglieri

Relax at the Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center During a Layover in Fiji

The Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Center is a transit lounge that offers the space for travelers to relax and feel refreshed as they begin or end their visit to Fiji. The tour guide and driver from Great Sights Fiji were kind enough to drop me off at the center after the tour of Nadi.

While there I received a foot massage, showered, ate lunch and enjoyed a beer. Plus, I watched two movies in an air-conditioned room on a bean bag chair. I may or may not have napped during one of those movies.

Free WiFi is included during your visit, as well. Although it’s not the fastest internet, I was able to do the basics like checking my email. As promised, a quick 5-minute shuttle ride to the airport was provided when I needed it, as well.

Cost of Entry

The Transit Entry Pass costs FJ$38 (about $18 USD), which includes everything I mentioned (except food and drinks). Plus lockers, luggage storage, and shuttle service to the airport.

Upgrade to a pass that includes a spa treatment along with everything included in the Transit Entry Pass for about $48 USD.

Other things to do at the Rejuvenation Center

Spa treatments – If you opted for the Transit Entry Pass and change your mind, you can still choose from the day spa’s a la carte menu of facials, massages, or treatments for an additional cost.

Privacy – Also for an additional cost, the center also has private day rooms to rent for a couple of hours at a time. Great if you want some privacy while you nap.

Get physical – There is an onsite gym that offers yoga classes.

Take in the views – Relax in the rooftop lounge with a Fiji Gold or glass of wine and take in the view of the surrounding mountains.

Shop – If you still have Fijian cash left over, buy some souvenirs at the Fiji Made Retail Shop onsite. It has locally made beauty products, clothing, and artwork.

garden of the sleeping giant fiji
Entrance to Garden of the Sleeping Giant in Nadi, Fiji. Brittany Quaglieri

This was a perfect mixture of site seeing and relaxation during my layover in Fiji. It broke up the traveling I’d done already in the US and the months of traveling in New Zealand that I had ahead of me.

If you have a long layover in Fiji planned, you will not be at a loss for things to do. Just remember to wait until you arrive to make any reservations and stock up on Fiji currency when you get there. Fiji is so beautiful and the people are so friendly, I’m sure you’ll have a great time no matter what you do.

By Brittany Quaglieri