56¢ dorm beds on a tropical island: A gimmick but I still want to go
Recently I was contacted by a resort that claimed to be the new champion for world’s cheapest hostel bed, which I’d previously determined was in Siem Reap, Cambodia at US$1 per night. The Beachcomber Island Resort in Fiji has reduced its 114 dorm beds to FJD$1 per night, which is only US$0.56. Sounds like an amazing deal, but when you learn that the dorm is on a private resort island in the tropics, it’s clear there is more to the story.
Unsurprisingly, the bottom line is that the dorm bed price was reduced for reasons relating to sales tax (benefiting guests), and each dorm bed comes bundled with three buffet meals per day at an additional cost of FJD$80. So for FJD$81 per day (US$45), you get a comfortable bed and 3 buffet meals per day on a private tropical island, with many activities also included in the price. That’s quite a deal, if you ask me.
The South Pacific can actually be cheap
If you’ve traveled to Fiji or at least researched it you might already know about these few resort islands just off Fiji’s main island, but this was all news to me. My only experience in the South Pacific was when I fell into the “Air Tahiti Nui Trap” which offers a free trans-Pacific stopover in Tahiti, later teaching me that even the worst hotels on Tahiti are very expensive.
Being relatively close to Australia and New Zealand, these adventure resort islands off Fiji get many of their visitors from those countries as well as those visiting them. So the challenging part is that you have to get to Fiji in order to visit, and that part won’t be cheap. But once you get there, it looks fantastic, and great value.
The world's original party island?
The 56-cent dorm beds are a bit misleading because it’s a package price, so it might be helpful to say that you are paying US$20 for the bed, and US$25 for 3 meals and many included activities and entertainment. That would be a fantastic deal almost anywhere in the world, much less a private island with turquoise waters reminiscent of a Maldives water villa.
For an additional fee you can scuba dive or rent Jet Skis or do paragliding, but those on a backpacker budget can fill their days with the included activities such as snorkeling, beach volleyball, mini golf, billiards, or relaxing on a tropical beach. At night there is a live band, limbo competitions, and satellite sports on the big TV.
They bill themselves as the “world’s original party island” and that one might be hard to prove, but it’s interesting to know that backpackers can afford a tropical island holiday as long as they are able to get to Fiji. There are private rooms and huts for those with more to spend, so anyone looking for a party island can afford one.