Specifically, we were to spend one week at Paradise on Taveuni and one week at Matava on Kadavu. However, Fiji Airways (the local government run airline) decided to change our flight from Taveuni to Nadi to one day later and our flight from Nadi to Kadavu to one day earlier…impossible. They also cancelled our flight from Kadavu back to Nadi on the last day and changed it to a day earlier. If this is confusing to you, imagine how it would feel to learn all this on the first day of the vacation you’ve been planning your whole life. Fortunately, Alan, the owner of Paradise, was absolutely amazing at sorting all this out for us. While we were enjoying some amazing diving with the Paradise Dive team, he was working out all the details of communicating with our travel agent and making adjustment to our reservations not only at the other resort but also getting us set up for an unexpected night in Nadi on our last night. Each night or morning, Alan would give us the choices of what could be done and then he would personally see to it that the arrangements were made. We were never concerned or worried as we know Alan was taking care of everything.
That said, when we arrived on Kadavu, we were greeted by a quiet young man in barefeet and a pick up truck. He loaded our luggage into the bed of the truck and climbed on top for the short drive to the water. I say water because there is no dock and at low tide, while the staff transports the luggage, the guests are required to wade out through what can only be described as muck, out to a very small boat. Let’s just say be sure to wear your Keen’s.
Upon arrival at the Matava resort, guest are again required to wade out to land. We were greeted by one of the “partners.” (Not sure who the others are as she was the only one we met.) We were told that they had come to collect us for two days in a row at the airport but that we weren’t there. Apparently, the message of our delay was given to one of the partners but not relayed to the people on site. We apologized and explained the situation with the airlines but at first we were made to feel somehow to blame for this and for missing the previous night’s lovo feast and Fiji night. We were treated to a delicious lunch in the main bure. However, we would have preferred to be shown to our bure and had a moment to freshen up before eating.
In our bure, we were told to sit down and given instructions on living in the jungle. We were told that we needed to turn in all of our valuables for safekeeping in their vault and all of our food stuffs…including any wrapped/packaged snacks, because “critters” would burrow into our bags/luggage to find them. This is a bit unsettling. The bure was bare bones and is solar powered (which we knew ahead of time) so there are no outlets and only one dim light bulb in the main room and a yellow bulb in the bathroom (which I asked to have changed so I could take my contacts out at night and they replaced with a strip of three LED “Christmas” lights.) The day we arrived there was no wind and it was stifling. The following days, the tradewinds picked up and it was quite comfortable. However, with no ceiling fans or portable fans, I can imagine in the warmer months it must be quite unbearable. Mosquito netting and coils were provided but we didn’t notice many bugs other than some rather large wasps that seemed to be rather fond of our bure on the first day. I describe the accommodations as similar to summer camp. On the evening of our arrival, we were called to dinner at 6 for a briefing on the resort. We were again told to bring our valuables to be stored in the vault and to bring any and all snacks or food stuffs to be stored in the kitchen. I felt a bit like we were being spoken to like school children but that may just be the demeanor of the locals. Maggy did say he would contact Fiji Airlines to see what he could do about the mix up and seemed quite fired up about how terrible this was. However, despite providing all of the necessary paperwork we were later told that we should contact our travel agent when we got home. On check out, the “partner” did not bring down our bill but sent Maggy and did not make any attempt to adjust the bill due to our arriving two days late and needing to leave one day early through no fault of our own but due to their government airline. Any attempt at adjustment would have gone a very long way in improving our mood and feeling toward the resort upon departure.
The food at Matava was delicious and they were wonderfully accommodating to my fiance’s peanut allergy. They provided separate meals and even gave him his own jar of jam so we could ensure a knife with peanut butter was never put into it. Creative and fresh tasting meals with theme’s were provided each evening and a 6 p.m. cocktail hour during which we occasionally treated to fried coconut chips…my favorite! Maggy makes a fabulous mai tai and other specialty drinks, beer and wine is also available. All meals are served at a large table with all guests eating communally.
Our diving experience included excellent hard coral reefs and the spotting of a beautiful manta ray, which was very exciting as June is off season. However, the dive crew is more there to supervise than to truly point unusual sea life out and guide you to seeing things. Our first dive was outside the Great Astrolabe Reef. The current was so strong we ended up cutting the dive short and going to the other side. It was so bad that one of the guests got motion sickness and didn’t dive for the next two days. Not really how you want to start your vacation. The boat crew was kind and helpful and did provide hot tea or coffee and cookies during the surface intervals. Although, we did get stuck inside the reef during low tide on one occasion and had to wait in the boat for over an hour before we could get back to the reef. Beautiful corals and colorful fish were seen and some turtles but they were too far off to see up close. The water temperature was in the mid 70s (Fahrenheit) and my fiancé who usually just wears his swim trunks in 79 degree water, found need to rent a shorty…most of the rest of the guests were in 5 mil suits.
Other guests walked to through the nearby town to a local. There are some strict rules for going, including no long pants, nothing on your head, no shoulder bags etc. all in respect for the chief. Who, the guests who went told me, asked for a donation to see the waterfall. Our voucher said there was unlimited diving at “critter junction” which we were not told about when we arrived and I sort of forgot about while we were there, so we did not do this.
All in all, I think we will see what other dive operations are available on Kadavu that are a little less rustic. A beautiful island but a little too bare bones accommodations for our taste.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, Hotels.com, Agoda, Travel Republic (UK), Odigeo, Traveltool, S.L.U., Evoline ltd and HotelQuickly so you can book your Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Matava - Fiji`s Premier Eco Adventure Hotel Kadavu Island
- Matava - Fiji's Premier Eco Adventure Resort Kadavu Island