Sunday, March 8, 2009

Traveller Reviews - A lovely fijian hideaway - TripAdvisor

I began my stay at Matava only planning to stay a week or so before venturing onward to explore the rest of Fiji. However, in the end I stayed just over 3 weeks and now I wouldn't have planned my holiday any differently. I chose Matava because I wanted to dive the Astrolabe reef, and I was looking for a remote and fairly rustic resort (to weed out the people that expect chocolates on their pillows) with some interesting people to drink some beers and chat with during dinner. Also, as a solo traveler, costs at most resorts were out of my budget, so accommodation was also an issue.

Given that it was the wet season, the diving did not disappoint. Colorful hard corals, some soft corals, nudi branches, and great shark and manta dives. The dive staff are wonderful and do a great job of keeping things organized and efficient while maintaining a fun atmosphere - and catering to the particular needs and desires of the divers that come through and whatever nature had delivered for the day. Due to the sheer size of the reef there is a lot of diversity in the dives that are offered – and the “exploratory” dives were some of my favorites.

I was fairly impressed with the grounds of the resort given the remoteness of the island and the inherent challenges that comes with the humidity. They have just added (sometime in 2008) a lovely main bure with a nice bar and a deck where most meals are eaten. There is no beach actually attached to the resort - so you do have to motivate to paddle to the nearby island (15 minutes or so). Meals are served on a (mostly) fixed schedule - although they will keep your food for you if you for some reason miss it. As a fish-eating vegetarian - they did an excellent job feeding me. Most of the food was handmade and the most memorable dishes featured fresh fruit, produce from the organic garden, and whatever fish was caught that day (bit of luck required here) with some chilies thrown in for good measure. And I discovered that even fresh tuna gets tiring after three weeks! Although the toasted coconut chips served during happy hour never got old.
My stay was really made so enjoyable by the staff. When I came down with a bad cold on my second day (perfect for a diving vacation!) I was immediately force fed fresh pineapple and given a selection of sudafed from their personal stash to ease my suffering. Most of the guests that came through were friendly and fairly adventurous – and made for some enjoyable evenings. Due to the lack of electricity at night (bring a headlamp!), and the long days in the sea and sun, most people went to bed fairly early. The nights were normally hot and humid. There were usually lizards rustling the thatching, mosquitoes lurking around the netting with spiders waiting in anticipation, and occasionally a crab or some other creature would make its way into my bure. But that’s the fun of sleeping in the tropics! Luckily I could also hear the water and there was usually a breeze to help with the heat.

Overall, I had a fantastic stay at Matava. I loved the remoteness, the basic and natural feel of the place, the amazing staff, and the friends I made during my stay. So I recommend it for the adventurous people of the world that want a relaxing holiday with some good diving and fishing without the crowds or the frills and the expectations of fancy resorts.

Kadavu Island: Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort - Traveller Reviews - A lovely fijian hideaway - TripAdvisor

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