We stayed at Wananavu Beach Resort, Viti Levu, Fiji for 9 nights. We have been scuba diving for 20 years, and have dived all over the world. This trip was the best combination of resort, diving, and dive shop, which all combined to make a fantastic vacation experience. We arrived at the resort after a somewhat bumpy 3 hour ride for the airport (we knew to expect this). The resort is beautiful, lush, green, very tropical, well maintained. Ben and Rachel, the managers, have established a high standard for service, and it shows. The Fijan staff all knew our name after the first day. The service was always good, although some of the staff were obviously more experienced than others. We stayed in a beach front bure which looked out at the water. The AC worked really well, and the shower made you feel you were in a tropical garden. It is a bit of a walk up to the restaurant terrace, but worth the walk. It was easy access to the dive shop, however. The meals were always worth the walk. They had two buffets, one a Fijan buffet and the other Mongolian barbecue. The rest of the nights you ordered off the menu. There were many diverse choices, and we enjoyed all our meals there. When in doubt, get a pizza. Rachel has taught the staff how to make it, and they were always good. As divers, we did now always finish in time for lunch, but it did not matter. We were served whenever we got there. We enjoyed visiting with Ben and Rachel when we were up for our meals, and were lucky to have them dive while we were there. They are very hands on managers, and have an excellent relationship with all the staff. The resort is spotless, beach swept daily, lovely pool with umbrellas, and hammocks and chairs at the beach. Many guests coming to the resort on non-diving, so there are many other activities offered (for an additional fee), and a lovely spa on site.
The dive shop was one of my favorites because of the incredible level of service we received. Vicki and Chris had only been there a week, but you would not have known that if they had not told you. The gear was collected on arrival, loaded on the boat, rinsed daily, and completely rinsed and hung out to dry the last day. All I had to do was get into my gear and into the water. I took it off in the water and passed it up, so I only had to get myself on the boat. We dove with Chris, Vicki, and Josh, but we were on the boat with all of the crew, and everyone pitched in and helped. I always felt looked after in the water, so I could focus on looking at the spectacular color underwater. You will not find a more friendly, accommodating, helpful dive operation anywhere. They also have nitrox, which had just happened when we arrived.
The diving was nothing short of fantastic. We were lucky, and got out into the Vatu-I-ra passage five of our six diving days. The diving at Sailstone Reef is closer, and I saw very interesting things there too, but the visibility is not usually as good. The colors underwater are incredible, and the soft coral must be seen to be believed. We also saw our share of small sharks, a turtle, a couple of rays, and lots of colorful fish, but the soft coral is what makes diving on Fiji special. Check out Dive Wananavu on Facebook to see some of Chris' pictures. He was very helpful to me as a basic point and shoot photographer. Water was a little cooler than I expected (79 degrees in late October). The dive boat is comfortable as long as there are not too many people on it. Two days we had 14 divers, the max it could accomodate, and it was too many to be comfortable. With 8 or 9 divers it is a great boat. A new boat had been ordered, but had not arrived, which will probably solve this problem. Bring what you need, because the dive shop is equipped with good new rental equipment, but not much to buy if you forget something or would like to add another layer. I would have bought a hooded vest.
The best thing about Wananavu is that we left feeling like we were part of the Wananavu family. Thank you Rachel and Ben, all the resort staff, Chris and Vicki and all the dive staff (josh, pictures are coming). We are definitely planning a return visit next year - and it is a LONG way to travel.
We stayed in a beach front bure, and would again. Read some complaints about noise from the attache...
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