Sunday, June 21, 2009

Special place! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

Matava is a special place. It is not a luxury eco resort and not for the high maintenance crowd. It is simply a wonderful eco resort with a fantastic staff. The lure of Matava draws the same type of people here. If you want to spend some time with those who like adventure and are well travelled, then you picked the right place. We usually stay at the best places when we travel but we wanted to take it down and notch, kick off our shoes (literally) and enjoy a bit of the “real” Fiji.

Hopefully you’ll be greeted by Maggie when you arrive. He makes the whole place come to life. When he isn’t there you miss him greatly. He’ll have you cracking up laughing every time he talks and don’t believe a word he says! You’ll see what I mean when you get there. .. :)

Speaking of getting there, the boat transfer is an adventure in itself so be prepared. Check out the picture with my husband standing in front of our boat. It takes about an hour to get to the lodge. If it is windy and there are waves, you’ll probably be very wet by time you arrive. They give you raincoats but they are so full of holes they don’t help much. They can’t use large boats because the tide can get VERY low. Large boats can’t make it through the reef passages. If you arrive during low tide be prepared to have to walk through some mud to get to and from shore.

Now I say Matava is not a luxury eco resort but if you stay in the Honeymoon bure it will feel like it is. The Honeymoon bure is beautiful and has the large deck with fantastic views. The mosquito net over the bed adds ambience to the room but it is not just for looks. Luckily, it was cool and windy while we were here so mosquitos only bothered us a bit on one night but we slept with the net every night. There are no ceiling fans or a/c, just the ocean breeze. There is also no heat in the rooms so you bundle up or snuggle to get warm. We were there at the end of May and it was chilly, almost cold. Bring a jacket or long sleeve shirt and pants.

All power is solar and there are on-demand gas water heaters. There is a charging station in the main lodge where you can charge batteries, laptops, etc… There are no plugs in the rooms and they do not allow hairdryers to run. In your bure there is a welcome book and it explains that running a hairdryer for 5 minutes uses enough power to run the resort for a week. The book continues to say that however, they will give you a ride in one of their boats for 5 minutes to give you what they like to call the windswept and wild look. I cracked up when I read it!

Adding to the laid-back appeal of Matava is they ask you to go barefoot in the main lodge. In the evening, they sound the drum at 6pm to let everyone know the bar is open (if you want something before then you can get it). This lets all know that if they want to come down to share stories of the day, come on down. Gas lanterns provide light giving everything a warm feeling. One night we had a kava ceremony during the cocktail hour. After we started dinner, the Fijians who were still drinking began singing. It was magical and they were in perfect harmony. It was a very special evening.

Dinner is served at 7pm (or around there in Fijian time). The food here is FANTASTIC, especially the soups! There is lots of variety, fresh ingredients, and flavor. We were here for 5 days and we had something new every day.

When you are finished socializing for the night and ready to go back to your bure, you either use a flashlight or take one of their lanterns to light the way. Once you get back to your bure, look up. The night sky here is unbelievable! The Milky Way is right above you. It is awesome what you can see without any light pollution.

Staying at Matava is a special experience and one we are glad we did. We wanted a true Fijian experience before we went to Taveuni for a completely over the top one. The Fijians here are extra warm and welcoming. We met Jennie, one of the owners, and she was equally as friendly and welcoming. Visiting Kadavu and getting away from all the super touristy stuff gives you a chance to be a part of the real Fiji.

Things to do:

If you want some exercise, take a walk up the trails behind the property. Hike up to the house at the top, go right then keep taking the trails to the left and you’ll go up, up, up to some great views overlooking the ocean and the island.

Definitely hike to the waterfall in the village. It is beautiful!

Dive Manta reef. They try to make sure everyone that stays here goes at least once. We were lucky and saw 3. We hung out by one just watching him feed. It was wonderful! The only thing is we were surprised at how poor visibility was. We had expected better but they also said it was the time of year. Taveuni has much better visibility but you rarely see any big stuff there. We also found out about a place on Viti Levu called Pacific Harbor that is known for Tiger sharks.

Special place! - Review of Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort, Kadavu Island, Fiji - TripAdvisor

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