Matava Fiji's Premier Eco Resort on Kadavu, Fiji
Green Travel in Fiji at Matava, Kadavu Fiji
When it comes to green travel, there is one place that you should place on your (recyclable) bucket list right now: Matava Fiji's Premier Eco-Resort.
Located on the island of Kadavu, south of the main island of Viti Levu in Fiji, Matava was once a backpackers' rustic collection of burés. In 2000, the current owners of the resort, purchased the property and upgraded it to the 3.5 star resort that it is today; its the only star-rated resort on Kadavu.
So, why is Matava Fiji's Premier Eco-Resort so green?
Its not just the ample precipitation that falls on the island, nor the warm, tropical temperatures that hover around 80 degrees F year-round. Matava is 100% off-grid. Electricity requirements are minimal and met with solar power generated by panels installed around the resort. You won't find electrical outlets in your room, but trust me - it's a luxury you probably will not miss.
Matava Fiji's Premier Eco-Resort is small and intimate. Only 22 guests at a time can be accommodated. Organic meals are prepared on-site and served community style. Beautiful, tropical flowers and landscaping greet you each day, as well.
Getting to Matava Fiji's Premier Eco Resort
When I was at Matava in November 2010, the weather was not very cooperative! I arrived on Kadavu on a Saturday via airplane from Nadi International Airport. I jumped into a small pickup truck, which transported me to a small bay with a couple of fishing boats.
To call it a marina would not be 100% accurate. Kadavu is rustic and remote; the few roads that cross the islands are rutted and unpaved. We parked the truck and I took my bags out and placed them in the shallow mud, while my guide pulled the exposed, fiberglass fishing boat towards the side for our boarding. By this time, the rain was coming down. But we did have plastic bags in which to place the luggage and other items we wished to keep dry.
It was a 1-hour boat ride in the rain and wind from the airport to Matava. Actually, however, it wasn't bad. The rain was warm, and any water that splashed into the boat was also warm. Certainly not used to that, coming from the Pacific Northwest.
On the trip over the Great Astrolabe Reef (the world's 4th largest barrier reef and Fiji's largest living organism), I spotted a group of spinner dolphins and flying fish. Seriously! I thought I could die now and be happy.
Wahoo Fishing at Matava, Fiji
Fiji Travel: Cons
- Travel time/hassle - about 10 hours flying time from the West Coast of the U.S.
- Spotty cell phone coverage
- Remote and off-grid areas can be difficult to reach geographically and via technology
- Bugs and lizards - its the tropics, after all
- You'll have to go home at the end of the trip!
Fiji Travel: Pros
- Warm temperatures year round
- Warm ocean water for swimming, diving, snorkeling
- Great people - Fijians were named world's most friendly in 2008
- Lush, green vegetation
- Tropical flowers
- Delicious, fresh and organic food
- Ample recreational opportunities: hiking, swimming, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, jet skis, cruises and so much more!
- Affordable shopping and excursions
- Amazing photo opportunities
Matava: Eco Resort in Fiji
Things to do at Matava Fiji's Premier Eco-Resort
- Visiting a local village
- Climbing and swimming in a waterfall
Accommdations at Matava, Fiji
After I arrived at Matava Fiji's Premier Eco Resort, I was shown up to my buré (an individual room). It was spacious and comfortable with a queen sized bed, mosquito netting - so you can leave the windows open at night - and two bedside tables.
A sitting area in the front included a pair of chairs and another table. An open air closet with hangers was also provided.
Because the resort is eco-friendly, it uses minimal electricity and is 100% off-grid. Each of the rooms includes only three lightbulbs - one above the bed, one in the bathroom, and one on the front porch.
Many windows and skylights allow in natural light. And, in the evening, you can take one or two of the kerosene lamps from the lodge up to your room for reading or relaxing.
The bathroom was outfitted with a dual-flush toilet to conserve water (less water for less waste, if you know what I mean). An open shower, sink and several towels are all that you need. Lest you are wondering about hot water - yes! You can get a nice, warm shower any time of the day.
Meals are served 3 times a day, at communal tables in the main lodge - breakfast at 7:30, lunch at 1:00 and dinner at 7:00. Let the resort know in advance if you have any food preferences or restrictions because the meals are served from a pre-selected menu each day.
Each buré is individually sited. Narrow, steep steps take you to your room, so watch carefully so you do not slip or fall. Rooms include a comfortable bed and large front porch on which you can sit, sleep or take photographs.
A programmable safe is also included in each room, if you wish.
Matava, Kadavu Fiji
Why Stay at Matava Fiji's Premier Eco Resort?
For those that are interested in green travel, Matava, Fiji is the perfect combination of comfort and conservation. Spacious rooms and gourmet rooms allow you to feel pampered. But, you can take comfort in knowing that the resort is involved in a number of environmental initiatives and has won several eco awards:
- Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Award, Marine Environment Category (World Travel Show 2010)
- Excellence in Tourism Award (Accommodation Budget 1999)
- Project Aware Marine Environmental Award
- Founder: Shark-Free Marina
Matava Fiji's Premier Eco Resort also believes in the concept of "paying it forward." It supports several important causes:
- Saving sharks
- Educating villagers about environmental preservation
- Minimizing energy use
- Working to establish and maintain marine reserves
- Coral reef education and preservation
Not only is Matava involved in education and raising awareness locally concerning environmental issues, but the resort also has resources for its guests to review.
Year-Round Fun at Matava Fiji's Premier Eco-Resort
The guests that stayed with me at Matava were there for the deep sea diving. A couple from Washington State (USA) and Australia were very excited about the diving excursions offered by the resort.
If you'd rather fish or snorkle, that can be arranged too!
For me, the highlight of my trip was our walk to a nearby Fijian village. About 45 minutes each way, we passed several groups on their way to church on Sunday. The villagers were so open and friendly! Our guide showed us plants that are used for medicinal purposes, as well as those that need to be avoided.
After church, we hiked to a nearby waterfall. With the assistance of several young men, we climbed the slippery rocks and jumped into the pools of water. Never mind that it was pouring rain - this was pure paradise! I only wish my camera was waterproof (I didn't get any photos as a result).
The beautiful Fijian children are worth a new hub in themselves. Stay tuned and I'll write more about their friendliness and hospitality!
The Fiji Islands
Do You Want to go to Fiji?
© 2010 Stephanie Hicks