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“Dream vacation”
Review of Turtle Island

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Turtle Island
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nanuya Levu
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 February 2010

Love it love it love it! Can't wait to go back.....we went for our honeymoon and I can honestly say not a day goes by since that I don't daydream about being on the turtle island beach.

Everything was so beautiful but the staff was the best part....We already bought another trip to return. It may be expensive but you can't get the same experience at a chain hotel whatsoever.

  • Stayed: April 2008, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank olive2bruiser
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 9 February 2010

Bula Bula !!! My wife and I first went to Turtle Island in 2004 for our 20th anniversary and in June 2009 returned for our 25th anniversary celebration...what an incredible place to go to getaway from the world and meet some truly incredible people...by far the biggest plus of Turtle Island is the staff that is simply amazing ! If you go to Turtle you will never ever forget Aruthur , Dockman , Erami ,Taru ,etc etc etc....each Bure is assigned a "Bure Mama" that takes care of all your needs,but they are never intrusive...I could go on forever here,but I won't...if you're looking for a fantastic place with incredible beauty,superb snorkle and scuba, awesome food all inclusive 3 meals per day and more if you ask, and last and best...the best people on Earth welcoming you at the end of the dock as you zoom in by plane and land and in the Blue Lagoon and cruise to the shore to be greeted by the Fijian staff singing to welcome you !..folks..it doesn't get any better than this place ! My wife and I have spent 18 days there and the next trip is sure to follow !!! and howdy to Richard Evanson if he reads this stuff !.....you done good my friend !!! Have fun on Turtle folks ! David and Glynda Ramsey

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RamseyDE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2009

Not enough words to describe how wonderful the trip was for my wife and I. It was our 10th year wedding anniversary and it was the best choice for a trip.

The island, itself, is beautiful. There are hills to hike or run or mountain bike. so many palm trees, coconut trees every where, and the island garden had some of the best and freshest vegetables and fruit you could find.

There are so many beaches that each couple had their own private beach. Your bure mama and a driver would either drive you to the beach or drop you off by boat. Or you could walk to it yourself. You could have breakfast, lunch or dinner on the beach. All you had to do was just say what you wanted to eat. The sand is soft, and the water is warm and inviting. The colors ranged from from white to green to light blue to blue. I spent alot of time just snorkeling because each day brought new beaches to visit. All the fish you can possibly find just hanging out off shore to watch as you snorkel.

The food was great. Each day the menu was wonderful. Fresh fish (lobster, tuna, shrimp, etc) cooked anyway you wanted it cooked. Breakfast, lunch and dinner had a wonderful selection to choose from. The juices (pineapple, watermelon, etc., ) were always fresh. In fact, never had watermelon juice before which tasted great. The meat was cooked perfectly. The chef would talk with you personally to ask about what you wanted to eat. The drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic were great. There was a variety of wine or other alcohol to choose from each day. We could either eat alone or with the other guests. Either choice was good. The other guests were great to hang out with the entire time there.

The activities kept us busy, at our own pace. We went sunrise horseback riding where we had breakfast prepared on the beach. We went deep sea fishing where we caught beautiful fish (tuna and wahoo) which every guest had that night for dinner. We went snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and just plain hanging out either on the hammock or the day bed on our porch watching the ocean. All the guests and our bure mamas all went on a sunset cruise and had a dinner on top of the mountain. At nightime, we most of the time had dinner on the beach with the other guests. After dinner, we would get together have kava (a local drink) with each other and the staff.

The bure (beach house) was more than what we expected. The bed was comfortable, there was a day bed on the porch, a lounge area, and a jacuzzi. The refrigerator stocked with food and drinks. Somehow, our bure mama, Tokasa, knew my wife likes lemonade. Each day there was a bottle of the some of the finest homemade lemonade you could find. If we wanted some other juice, then that would have been provided as well.

Speaking of bure mamas, Tokasa is her name and she was without a doubt a highlight of the trip. She was so helpful and could almost read our minds by bringing us food or drink we wanted without asking for it. She would ask us what activities we liked to do, and next you know all the activities we liked were arranged. We looked forward to enjoyed talking with her each day. She was like a member of the family.

The staff was no different than our bure mama. Each day everyone is greeted with "bula, bula" (hello, hello) with a smile. And, if we had just met a staff member one time, they knew our names throughout the entire trip. They were all as wonderful as Tokasa. And each one was ready to drop what they were doing if you had a question or request. Not one complaint.

On our 10th year anniversary, the staff surprised my wife and I with a celebration. I was completely surprised because we just anticipated a dinner on the beach with our fellow guests. The fact they planned and prepated to celebrate our 10th year anniversary was incredible.

All in all, not one complaint. My wife and I had a wonderful time and would go back anytime. I highly recommend Turtle Island to any couple.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank angelo2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 September 2009

Turtle Island is truly stunning. The staff are geniune and you feel like family from the moment you exit the seaplane. If you are looking for a very beautiful location with lots of privacy then this is the place for you. Days are spent snorkeling or on a private beach. The evening brings guests together for cocktails and dinner. I find this sort of like camp for adults, meeting interesting people from all over the world. Some people prefer to eat all their meals privately and that is fine but I think you miss part of the Turtle Island charm if you miss the evening events.

I look forward to our return to Turtle Island someday. Our Bure Mama was simply the best. I never had to ask for things twice and she anticipated our needs. The only thing I feel needs improvement is food. I'm not a foody but I think the menu needs a bit updating.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank aimsterLA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2009

Bula bula!

My parents visited Turtle Island nearly 30 years ago and have been raving ever since. No...seriously...I have been hearing about it for 30 years! My father said his fingernails must still be left in the pylons because he just did not want to leave and had to be dragged onto the plane! My mother talks about the wonderful people she met including Richard and the friendly staff and of course the romance. Yes, 30 years of expectations are pretty hard to meet...but they did!

I went to Turtle Island in 2004 on my honeymoon and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a life experience and not just a holiday. I know it has been a while since I was there however I have been told that nothing has really changed significantly since I was there - good!

If you want a posh, glamorous, 5 star food, air conditioning and snap your finger service holiday, this is not the place for you. You will be disappointed. However if you want white sand, beautiful fish and surroundings, plenty of relaxing and romantic moments, privacy, good food, genuine and friendly people, experience Fijian culture and to completely forget the world (there is no TV, mobile phone reception or newspapers) this is the place for you!

As others have stated, we were welcomed to the island with wonderful singing from the staff and cool cocktails ready and waiting. Being carried to shore from the seaplane was fun and unexpected. I felt very regal in all honesty! It was just a lovely way to start the honeymoon.

I found everything that Turtle Island has to offer is very personal and genuine and that is something lacking in larger hotels and resorts. Upon arriving, we noticed our names engraved into a plaque above our bure door - how personal is that?! The rooms are basic but the simplicity suits the kind of holiday you will have. Simple and relaxing. Most importantly they were clean, and I loved the pineapple shampoo and conditioner available in the bure. The fridge was filled with our drink of choice (again personal touches) and freshly picked flowers were simply scattered on the bed and towels. Simple and unpretencious. There is no air conditioning, just open shutters and flyscreens that let the lovely sea breezes in. After a private tour of the island and an introduction to the services you have available to you, we settled in by lying on the large 'made for 2' daybed on the verandah of our bure. We just relaxed immediately. I couldn't believe how quickly it happened.

The rest of the visit was just a blur of fabulousness - sunset cruises, kava nights, lobster pancakes for breakfast, champagne, cocktails, snorkelling, scuba diving, private moments on our own beach (wink, wink), a private dinner served on a floating pontoon out in the blue lagoon, turtle sightings, horse riding, candle lit dinners on the beach with our new found friends, football on the beach with the local children, star gazing and mountain top group dinners, day tours to local islands and enough food and alcohol to last a lifetime. There is a gym, located basically on the beach, if you can be bothered to pull yourself away from all the relaxing.

One bit thing I have to mention...Turtle Time. Yes, the island does have its own timezone and that would be "Relax man, you'll get it eventually" time. All the guests we met commented on it, but no one seemed too bothered by the relaxed attitude to service. You will get what you want, but not right away. Nothing is urgent, everyone is relaxed. Most of the time you just can't help but laugh about it. So please keep this point in mind when deciding what you want out of your holiday.

Also some people have commented on the cost...yes...it is expensive but everything you want to drink, eat and activities you want to do are included in the cost. You can also only imagine how much it costs to constantly fly food and other essentials to the island - there are no roads!

We genuinely felt welcome on the island and were really sad to leave.

Unfortunately my marriage did not last (just like Britney Spears and Kevin Federline who were also honeymooning on the island during our stay) but my memories will last a lifetime. My parents are absolutely right to still be recommending this place after 30 years and so will I.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank amberrochelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2009

A little context before I dive into the details...

I have found that there are two basic types of travelers: People People and Things People. The easiest way to determine the difference is to ask someone about a recent trip. Things People tend to focus on the names (brands), costs, physical descriptions of the trip while People People generally describe what they experienced, how they felt and the people (culture) they encountered. The reason I bring this up is because I have seen some wildly skewed reports on destinations for people describing the same basic experience. Of course things can happen well above/below the norm for any given point in time, but the reality is that we are all different so I personally try to take the time to provide my personal tastes to each review as I read them.

My wife and I tend to be People People. Sure, we love luxury, but we our focus is generally on trying to experience the environment we are visiting first and foremost.

I first read about Turtle Island in the mid 80s and thought that it would make for a great honeymoon location. Unfortunately, we could not afford the cost and so I put the trip on the back burner for "someday". Three kids and nineteen years of marriage later I decided to finally book the trip, telling my wife that the wait was over and that we earned this splurge for ourselves. Over the next year we made arrangements for our kids, house, pets, etc. and my excitement grew every time we talked about it. My wife warned me on many occasions that there is no way anything could live up to the expectations I was setting.

When the Air Pacific flight was 2 hours late leaving LA I started to worry. When we were told by the Turtle Island staff at the Nadi airport that we may not be able to take the connecting flight (seaplane) that day because of low visibility I started think that she was right, this was going to be a big letdown.

Fortunately, within a hour of pacing the Nadi airport we were told that the flight to the island would be running and were asked to meet the driver in a few minutes. A short ride in the van with another couple and we found ourselves at a small dock where *the* "Turtle Island Airways" plane was located. Having been weighed (luggage and all) we were loaded into a vintage de Havilland seaplane and inflight within a few minutes time. The scenery was awesome; for the next 30 minutes the four of us stared out the windows at the coral and emerald sea.

Upon landing at the island we were greeted by the staff carrying a welcome banner and singing a Fijian song. Our wives were carried ashore "princess" style by traditionally clad Fijian men and we were all heartily welcomed with a fruit drink and smiles all around. Note that these were not the typical "I will smile because it is my job" expression that you get at a hotel, but the "I am genuinely happy to share our world with you" smile that is extremely rare in my experience.

It took approximately 1 minute for me to forget about the previous 13 hours of travel. You could not help but be caught up in the infectious laughter and warm personalities of the staff. We posed for a photo with our "Burre Mama" on the beach (who welcomed us "Home") and the smile from that picture did not leave my face until the plane came to get us the last day. I have never smiled/laughed so much on any vacation in my life (they nicknamed my wife "Laugh Machine" she giggled so much!)

Over the course of the week we enjoyed many meals, walks, swims, snorkeling and general downtime. What was really special was the ability to request one of the half dozen or so private beaches for the day. On all but one day the beach we were given was accessible by foot so we walked across the island and had our lunch brought out later. There is nothing like having a beach to yourself. Just the two of you for the day. It actually takes a bit of getting used to the fact that no one else is going to show up. It takes romance to a level that you simply cannot get any other way in my opinion.

One of the nice things about the way Turtle Island is setup is that it allows you to be as social or as private as you wish to be. While there we met couples who spent all of their time on the main beach, commonly accessible activities and communal meals. Conversely there were those who were seen upon arrival and departure and chose to spend their time together alone. My wife and I tried to strike a balance by getting as much private beach time as we could and then dining with the other guests in the evenings and mornings.

The meals were wonderful. People People wonderful. They were not gourmet culinary creations. Breakfast was simple, fresh and served at a table that allowed you to look out over the "Blue Lagoon" while you had a cup of coffee, some fruit and scrambled eggs with the local lobster in it. In other words and idyllic setting shared with others and peppered with laughter and the occasional Fijian song provided by one of the staff. Oh, and a hearty "Bula! Bula!" wished upon you as you came within range of anyone one of the staff.

The Things side of me grumbled here and there because the wine selection was subpar for a resort of this caliber (something I have been told is being remedied), but this was a small trade-off for being able to enjoy such an idyllic setting with such wonderful hosts. Speaking of taste, all guests are invited to the Kava ceremony each evening with the staff. This must be experienced at least once. Although Kava tastes pretty odd to the western palate, being able to share this part of Fijian life with the staff was very memorable.

In the end, the trip was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I look forward to the next time my wife and I are able to visit the island. If you are a People Person I highly recommend a visit.

If on the other hand you are a Things Person, may I suggest a nice sterile hotel on Maui...

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank humantypo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 August 2009

I highly recommend you watch the DVD about Turtle Island before you go. Richard is very clear about what the island is about and what kind of guests will be happy on Turtle. I did meet him personally, he is very clear and sticks to his beliefs about what he has accomplished in creating Turtle. He cares very much for his guests as well as his staff and doesn't accept anything but respect from both. In his words if you are plastic or looking for a spa and golf give them a pass. If you are in love with your partner, love natural beauty give them a try. The natural beauty of the island, the staff and the guests are uncomparable. Everyone of the guests we were privileged to meet all enjoyed their stay and the company of the other guests and also their private time. Keep an open mind that you are traveling to another country and you need to respect their way of life. The simplicity of what truly is good and makes you happy was the best thing I took away from my vacation/wedding/honeymoon on Turtle. My husband and I arrived 4 days prior to our wedding. We really connected and experienced each other completely with out the distractions of the world. Our wedding could not have been better had we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. The dedication of the staff was unbeatable only because they did it from their hearts, not to make a buck. The amount of work, attention to detail and joy they brought to our day was priceless. My husband has travelled extensively around the world and he too has never had such an experience. Just because you can afford to go here doesnt mean it is for you. Again really watch the DVD know what you are doing and think about what you want from your trip. Turtle is special and unique. It is unspoiled, quiet and a place you just are truly at peace even when you are participating in activities as a couple or a group.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank bernadetted6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Turtle Island

Address: Yasawa Islands, Fiji
Phone Number:
Region: Fiji > Yasawa Islands > Nanuya Levu
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Nanuya Levu
Price Range: £412 - £1,599 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Turtle Island 5*
Number of rooms: 14
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Welcome to Turtle Island - located in the Yasawa islands. You have found one of the most unique all-inclusive private islands in all the world. Be one of only 14 couples sharing the most beautiful and lush 500 acre private island resort… where each couple can have their own private beach and is assigned a dedicated personal concierge, your bure mama. We provide our guests one of the most intimate, private and romantic experiences. Your private island includes private beach picnics, romantic private dine outs, spa treatments, horseback riding through the winding island trails or on your own private beach, scuba diving, champagne sunrise breakfasts, an amazing and friendly Fijian staff is ready to make all of your dreams come true. This exclusive private island paradise awaits you and your partner for a romantic week to remember. ... more   less 
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Turtle Island Hotel Turtle Island

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