Although expats in Fiji will have several transport options available to them, they should be aware that public transport infrastructure is not always comprehensive and efficient, especially on the smaller islands. Driving in Fiji can be difficult because of poor road conditions. Expats who buy a car should consider hiring a local driver to assist them.
Public transport in Fiji
The main form of public transport here is buses, but travelling by bus in Fiji can take some getting used to. While they are cheap and service most areas, their frequency varies considerably depending on their destination and the day of the week.
On Fiji’s larger islands, expats will find the bus networks are extensive and efficient. Buses in Fiji tend to be noisy, crowded and a little uncomfortable; however, they are sufficient for short journeys, and they're a great way to interact with the locals.
Overcrowded minivans are a common sight throughout Fiji. These shared taxis are popular with locals and are often the quickest way to get to a destination. They are cheaper than buses but more expensive than hiring a private taxi.
Passengers should not expect to have a comfortable ride, though – drivers tend to load as many passengers on as possible.
Small trucks with tarpaulin-covered frames on the back are known as carriers in Fiji. These trucks run trips along popular routes in Fiji, such as between Nadi and Suva. They can be found on the main roads or central spots in any of Fiji’s main cities or towns. While travelling by carrier is often faster than the equivalent bus journey, the vehicles only leave when they are full.
Expats looking to travel between islands in Fiji can take the ferry. There are a number of operators available with a variety of destinations and leaving times. The cost of travelling by ferry in Fiji is fairly reasonable.
Taxis in Fiji
Taxis can easily be found in all of Fiji’s main cities and there will always be a taxi depot close to the city’s bus station. These private taxis are rarely used by Fijians, and there are often too many of them, so expats will find taxi drivers competing furiously for business.
While some taxis are well maintained, most of them are in bad shape. If travelling in a city, ask the driver to put the meter on. In rural parts of Fiji, expats may find that drivers won’t use a meter, in which case it's essential to agree on a price before starting the journey. Uber and other ride-sharing apps don't currently operate in Fiji.
Driving in Fiji
While there isn’t much traffic on Fiji’s roads, many embassies still advise their nationals to avoid driving in the country. Many roads are poorly maintained and it’s common to find roads littered with potholes.
For expats who need a car for convenience, it’s worth hiring a local driver. Expats who want to drive should do so defensively and always be cautious on the roads. It’s also best to avoid driving at night, especially outside urban areas.
Domestic flights in Fiji
In addition to Fiji’s international airports in Nadi and Suva, the country has a number of domestic airports. Flying is the fastest way to travel between the islands, and the other major advantage of taking a domestic flight in Fiji is the stunning views passengers can expect to see of the islands, lagoons and coral reefs.
Cycling in Fiji
Bicycles are a popular way for both locals and expats to travel in Fiji. That said, cycling alongside cars in Fiji can be difficult and dangerous, as the infrastructure for cyclists is undeveloped and there are no designated cycle lanes.
Cycle shops in Fiji are hard to find, so cyclists should always carry their own spares and supplies. There are only a few cycle rental companies and prices can be high, so expats planning to do regular cycle rides should invest in their own bike.