On Mana Island Ratu Kini was not expensive, dorm for US $ 17 dubble bed room from US $ 25, with decent food, diving and snorkeling, mostly quite young guests. If you like to eat a lot take full board with 3 meals included.
The website is at the moment not working, maybe later... but you can book with hostelbookers.com and others.
I love places like this! It is a real backpackers place. Standard was not very high, we shared two showers and two toilets with 20 others. But the rooms were cleaned every day and fresh flowers brought in. The food was served on plates, there was no menu, we ate what we got. I was a bit dissapointed by the food, it was somewhat tasteless. There were long tables with benches where we all sat together, and if we were not there on time we got no food! The power generator was engaged only a couple of hours in the evening, we had to take care to be back before the lights were turned of, otherwise it could be hard to find the way.
Our next door neighbour was another backpackers, and from the beach we could see the island where the film "Castaway" was recorded :-)
Most of the guests were in their twenties, backpackers like us. There were some others of my age, but my son was the only kid. We met a woman from New Zealand on her way home on vacation, with whom we later met up in Rotorua where she took us on a sightseeing :-) This is a big advantage with places like this compared to hotels: People talk to each other, it is easy to get friends. We heard many backpacker stories around the table at the meals, and got quite a few good tips.
All the people working there were very friendly, and most of them spoke english, including a cute, four year old girl, the daughter of one of the employees, who also "worked" :-)
We paid 35 Fiji dollars + tax per person including three meals a day in october 2001. Prices now start at 50 Fiji dollars per person in a twin bed room. Camping and dorm room beds are cheaper.
The location is fantastic! Right on the beach, with clear water, and palm trees for those who need shadow. And the hostess Susie, she was like a mother to everyone, and remembered us all by name.
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