Along the way, I flew on some of the world’s best airlines and shared my thoughts on the ground and in the air. The cash cost for the airfare alone would have been well more than $17,000. Using miles and points, however, I knocked the cost down to around $500. Learn how to travel like I do with PointsAway: The Definitive Guide To Free Flights & Nights.
The bus driver waved me off as I approached from the airport terminal. He motioned that he’d be back in a minute. I plopped down on a seat and looked around at the closed rental car stalls and the Western Union kiosk, apparently manned day and night. I considered getting some Fijian money and decided against, at least for now. I would only be there for the night, after all, and I didn’t feel like getting scalped on the exchange rate.
The bus driver returned a couple minutes later and I hopped on board for the short trip to Tokatoka Resort. Located about a 2 minute drive from Nadi International Airport, the property is regrettably not located on the beach, nor close enough to it for a walk. There were some cheaper options, but at less than $60 for the night, it seemed like the least risky choice should a complication arise, like the airport shuttle not making its rounds. I tipped the driver $5 USD on arrival, the smallest bill I had with me, and received a big smile in return. Jackpot for him: tips aren’t custom in Fiji, especially ones of that size, but I couldn’t remember if that was the case and erred on the side of courtesy.
I was quickly checked in and discovered I had not a room but a small villa, half of one of the dozens of huts that lined the interior of the property.
The room was clean, the bed comfortable enough and the shower hot.
I could hear a band intermittently playing from the resort’s outdoor bar and restaurant area nearby. I decided to explore for a few minutes. The band had mysteriously disappeared by the time I made it to the bar area. An Australian couple was watching a rugby game with great interest. The water slide, pool and playground, great for kids by day, was left vacant.
The restaurant staff sized me up, trying to determine if they’d need to cook one last meal or could pack up for the night. I smiled and walked on, back toward the gift shop near the outdoor check-in area. The air was cool but still fine for short sleeves. It’s winter time in Fiji, which is probably a relief for the locals, with fewer tourists and none of the muggy, stifling warmth summer brings. I strolled into the gift shop, set to close a few minutes later and took a look around. I wasn’t certain if I wanted to trust the water and was thirsty, so I looked for a beverage.
Fiji Water was the obvious choice. Whether it’s merely stocked at the resorts or consumed by the local population, I do not know, but there was a big bottle that was reasonably priced. I grabbed it and made my way to the counter, only to discover she couldn’t take my card for such a small purchase. Thankfully, she could take US dollars so long as I’d accept Fijian currency in change. I gave her a $5 and received a Fijian $5 and a couple coins in change.
I settled in for the night, charging some of my gear after figuring out how to enable the outlet, which was the same shape and voltage as those used in New Zealand and Australia. I slept well until about 3AM, at which point I started waking up hourly. Jetlag, it seemed, was set to strike late but not to be avoided entirely. I finally gave up on sleep around 6AM, showered and packed my things for the next flight. Dawn broke and I took the opportunity to explore again.
Daybreak In Fiji
Interesting black birds with flat heads and golden beaks hopped around in pairs outside many of the villas. I’m not much for bird watching, but they were a clear indication that I was in a foreign place.
I managed a few pictures of the nearby foliage and saw the sun rise over the mountain range to the east.
I double-checked to ensure the beach was too far away for a stroll and was disappointed to confirm. After a stroll around the property, I checked out and made my way to the shuttle back to Nadi’s airport, just a few short hours after I’d left, wishing I’d had more time to explore.
With taxes and fees included, this room came to $74.09 for the night. There are probably more affordable options of the same quality to be found closer to the beach, but if you’re only in for the night before a connecting flight as I was, it’s tough to recommend against Tokatoka Resort.
I’ll be able to wipe out the cost of the room using some of my Barclaycard Arrival points, given that I paid for the room with the card when booking it through Hotels.com. That makes this stay essentially free.