We did a lot of research on where to stay in Fiji, and for travel logistics, exorbitant cost to get to some of the other islands, and good reviews from Trip Advisor, we chose to stay at Wananavu for 5 nights in January.
The staff was fantastic - starting with the the shuttle driver who picked us up from the Nadi airport for the three-hour trip to the resort. Yes, it's a long drive on not-well maintained roads, but you're not off-roading and you are in a developing country, so you have to roll with it a bit. Don't let the other reviews scare you about the drive. I loved going through the heart of Fiji's most populated island to actually see another culture.
When we got to the resort, we were greeted warmly, given a welcome drink and immediately shown to our beachfront bure. We were so happy we paid extra during this once-in-a-lifetime trip to Fiji and got a room right on the beach. It was so amazing to wake up every morning to that famous view of the Fiji water and coastline!
The food was fine. Some meals were better than others, and I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of options at each meal. We went with the all-inclusive package so we had our choice at breakfast, lunch and dinner of something from the standard, daily menu and they had a daily special each time so you didn't have to eat the same thing every time if you wanted a bit of variety.
While we understood it, it was a bummer that the a/c (essentially a swamp cooler) couldn't be on while we were out of the room. (Your key has to be inserted into the unit for it to work.) We were there in the height of summer, so maybe it won't be an issue year-round, but this is the tropics, so if you want an ice-cold room, this may not be the resort for you.
The best part of Wananavu is the plethora of activities to choose from. If you want a pool or beach vacation, you're in the right spot... but if you're wanting to experience more, this is definitely the place for you. There's an on-site spa for facials, massages, and other treatments. Water activities include snorkeling, scuba lessons and kayaking. The resort had cultural classes too - an herbal medicine talk, a cooking class, soccer/football on the beach, and sulu-tying lessons.
Hands-down, though - the best part of staying at Wananavu is the accessibility of off-site activities. Our favorite day was hopping into a resort shuttle bus and going with two other couples to a local farmers market and then visiting a local village a few hours away from the resort. There, we were greeted with a kava ceremony before riding on horses to a nearby water fall that was a natural water slide. (If you go on this trip - wear old board shorts! You don't want your bottoms falling off or your nice shorts getting ripped!!) After that, the local women served us homemade lemonade and pancakes, and we perused a market of handicrafts they had made. The villagers were so incredibly friendly and welcoming.
Wananavu bills itself as the "real Fiji" and I think there's something to that. You're on the main island, and able to immerse yourself a bit in the Fijian culture. There are beautiful palm trees and azure-colored water - but the best part is being able to meet people who make Fiji great.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The real Fiji! Perfect for romance; fabulous for diving excellent for culture. 34 deluxe bures nestled along the beach and amongst tropical gardens. A real island experience with mainland convenience. Only just over 2 hours from Nadi International Airport. Great food, fantastic staff, unparalleled views, world class diving & snorkeling; amazing village tours and a perfect wedding venue. This is a true Fijian experience and is, as the name suggests, Wananavu! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Wananavu Beach Hotel Rakiraki
- Wananavu Beach Rakiraki
- Wananavu Beach Resort Fiji/Rakiraki