Fiji is a dream destination for many surfers. To get to these paradise islands in a sustainable way is not easy at all (but yes, there are people who get there sailing!). Finding a sustainable accommodation, however, is not so difficult and what we found exceeded our expectations …
Maqai Eco Resort, Qamea Island, Northern Fiji
Double (single)-, twin- and family- “Bures” (cabins); various packages for Surf- or Yoga retreats (~ 1 week from 660 to 1250€/per person)
Year-round, all levels, surf lessons, rental, boat trips & information provided
Community integrated setting Minds about waste-reduction/avoidance and recycling Uses (natural) resources mindfully Supports local, charitable NPOs (Non-Profit-Organizations)
Yes, activity-focused, check with them at the time of your visit
LOCATION & HOW TO GET THERE
You have heard that the Fiji islands are one of the most paradisiac islands on earth and want to see it with your own eyes? As the Maqai Eco Resort is located on the small Qamea Island, away from the touristic hotspots, you will most probably get the real Fijian experience there. The Maqai Eco Resort also focuses on integrating cultural, social and environmental features of the local area, so besides the white sandy beaches and perfect waves, you can enjoy local delicacies, watch cultural ceremonies, dances and music, visit local villages, go snorkeling, diving or fishing and/or join one of the many tours offered at the resort (kayaking, hiking through the rainforest; visiting a local farm and many more). Sounds bearable, right? 😉
Getting to Fiji by plane is probably the easiest way – most people fly to Nadi, the main international airport. To get from there to the Maqai Eco Resort, you could take another short flight to the northern island Taveuni, where the staff of the resort can pick you up to transfer you to Qamea Island, where finally the paradise awaits you. However if you have time for the local and sustainable way of traveling, you pick the overnight ferry (twice a week) from Suva (capital on the main island of Fiji) to Taveuni.
ACCOMMODATION OFFERS & PRICES
The Maqai Eco Resort has typical Fijian “Bures”, beach front cabins, for single travelers, couples and families. Simple but comfortably equipped they usually have to be booked with meals (~100€/pp/night for accommodation & ~45€/pp/all meals per day). That´s why the Maqai Eco Resort also offers various options for surf- or yoga-retreats, as well as packages for families or couples (e.g. 5-7 days including accommodation, meals, boat trips and/or lessons, from 660 – 1250€/per person).
Beside accommodation, the packages usually include all meals, activities (massage ), use of kayak and snorkel equipment, transportation to Taveuni Airport and so on. Surfer´s packages range from beginners (including lessons) to experienced surfers (including boat trips) – for five days you can expect around 660€ (experienced) to 900€ (beginners). For all the options and details please have a look at their website.
SURF CONDITIONS & INFRASTRUCTURE
If the islands of Fiji weren´t so far from anywhere else, they probably would be over-crowded with surfers from all over the world. The waves are incredibly famous already, however if you go to the Maqai Eco Resort, you still might be one of the lucky persons who has a perfect wave for himself.
At the Maqai Eco Resort you can not only surf all year round, because both seasons offer their options (which is not in all areas in Fiji), but you can also surf directly in front of the resort. With short boat trips you will easily reach various different breaks – you can read about the details on their website and the staff on the ground will help you out with what you need.
Whether you’re a weekend surfer, beginner or advanced level, you will get what you are looking for in this area of Fiji! Check with them in advance, if you can either bring your surfboard or rent one of theirs (boards longer than 7´2 are not recommended/restricted to be taken on the plane). Don´t forget your booties for reef-protection, rashie, sunscreen and zinc!
There is quite a lot to tell you about the sustainable principles and practices of the Maqai Eco Resort, as they even have been used as an ideal case study for a sustainable tourism course of the San Diego State University.
The resort has an on-site wastewater treatment system, uses solar power (plus very little a diesel generator) and they try to minimize waste and reuse & recycle it (e.g. plastic, metal, glass is sent to the main island, food scraps are given to the pigs of the neighboring village). Also the buildings are made from recycled and local materials and food comes from an organic garden or the local marketers. The resort not only tries to protect the reef (with fishing, boat and foot traffic restrictions), but they declared it also as a Marine Reserve and even implemented the special project “coral gardening”, where they constructed an artificial reef. Environmental education for locals and guests, with topics like turtle protection, is also part of the Maqai´s sustainability principles.
In social and integrational questions, the resort has also a very sustainable approach. It is not only crucial for them to employ local staff and integrate the neighboring village and locals through tours and invitations (hiring singing & dancing groups, selling handicrafts etc.), but they also support the medical and dental foundation Lolomafoundation and made the neighboring village of Naivivi a 10% shareholder of the company.
There have been organized some projects where tourists could volunteer in the village, for example installing solar power, clean-/wastewater system or assisting in schools. Please contact the staff directly to get to know more about those possibilities.
No wonder that the Maqai Eco Resort has won the ANZ Fiji Excellence in Tourism Award 2016/17 in the Sustainability category, check it out yourself and let us know if you agree!
Depending where you are coming from, however, if you are from Europe, Fiji is one of the remotest surf destinations you can get to. As stated before, to travel to far distances is usually not a very sustainable practice. Read more on that in our blog entry about sustainable travelling and you might get an idea of how to reduce at least a little bit of your footprint when selecting your flight details.
We provided you already with a lot of information, however if you still haven´t learned enough about this resort, or if you want to get in contact or even book your trip with them, then have a look at their nice webpage!