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“A Fijian village experience”

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Oarsman's Bay Lodge
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Nacula Island
Certificate of Excellence
Courtenay, BC
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“A Fijian village experience”
Reviewed November 15, 2009

We really enjoyed our time here and stayed 8 days. It was a time of quiet, laying in the hammock relaxation and snokelling on excellent coral reefs. If you want to party, this is not the place for you.
We bonded with the staff and we were sad to part.
It is not a resort in the terms most people think. It is basically 8 single cement bures on the beach with an open covered patio to have meals, that is it. They also have an office room, and a small domoritory above the office and a kitchen to make our meals in. There are about 8 staff members. There is no choice of meals but if you are vegetarian, you will get a fish or egg meal instead of beef or lamb meal. Meals are good but are very similar day after day, with some exceptions.
The rooms are clean, but realize it is to developing country standards. There may be some mold, some sand and dirt in the corners of the bedframe, a lizard may be in your room until you shoo it out, and so on. That being said, we overlooked it because we weren't looking for a normal North American motel experience.
The staff told us not to drink the tap water and since they were out of rainwater, we had to purchase drinking water by the bottle from the Oarsman, which cost fijian $6.00 for one an a half litre bottle. At some meals, they could not provide a beverage, you had to drink your own purchased water. We felt this was not right, since it is an all inclusive resort.
We brought our own bottles of liquor along and had drinks in our room each evening rather than purchase their drinks at fijian $6.00 or more. They did not have much of a selection of drinks, only Fijian beer, gin, tequilla and sweet liqueurs, that we could see. There are no stores on it island to purchase anything. Internet is available in the office at fijian $15.00 per hour.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank HannahComoxValley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Sydney
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed October 6, 2009

Out of all the islands we visited Oarsman was by far the best. It's not your budget backpackers but you get very good value for money. The resort is run by the local village, so all the staff are from the village. All have been trained in hospitality, so it's good to know that the money from your holiday is helping to sustain families and educate the children of the village. You are welcome to tour the village and see the result for yourself. The food was excellent and while we were there they had a traditional lovo dinner one night. The staff are always singing. Everynight there are traditional songs being sung on the guitar as you eat dinner. One night the village chief and his friends came over and drank Kava all night. We were invited to join in and try some. There isn't much to do after dark, so I recommend brining a pack of cards. The staff are great and Oni became like a sister to be by the time we left (only stayed a few days). I was sad to leave esp as the place we went to next Octopus was more touristy than we would like. If you want a taste of real Fiji. Go to Oarsmans. It's worth the 4.5hrs on the ferry.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank DebbieOSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
WestCoast
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2009

Beach:one of the nicest. warm sun and cool waters
Staff: Genuinely want you to enjoy your stay there and will try hard to help you.
Food: Very good and plenty of it,
Activities: Lots,Give everything a go,The walks cost nothing and are worth the effort.
Accomodation:Clean,comfortable and quiet.
Highlights: Getting to know some of the staff and meeting other s from around the world.
The laid back guest seemed to be having the most fun and got the spirit of the place.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank MandBWestCoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed September 8, 2009

Bula!

I firstly want to say that I read Trip Advisor before heading to Oarsmans Bay Lodge, I was hesitant because of some of the reviews.
But it is human nature for people to take action when they want to complain. I think a lot of people were sold this destination and it wasn't what they wanted from their holiday. If you want 5 star hotels with all the bells and whistles - Go to Denarau.

Oarsmans Bay Lodge is simple, clean, beds made up daily, amazing location and great value for money given your location, beach and meal inclusions.

My friends and I went anyway and we were so pleased that we did and will be going back!

We spent 5 nights in one of the duplex bure in August 2009. We went looking for a great beach to swim, sunbath, snorkel and relax. And we found our slice of paradise it Oarsmans Bay Lodge. You need to really spend at least 3 nights to get into the flow of things and get to know the destination and the staff.

After a 4.5hr boat ride up from Nadi on the Yasawa Flyer, we caught Joes Water Taxi for about 5mins trip around the corner to Oarsmans Bay. WOW! First impressions of this amazing place is the blue blue water that you could see right to the bottom of the ocean and how far away from the hustle and bustle of a city or even Nadi you feel. Naturally we were welcomed by the staff at Oarsmans Bay with singing and of course huge smiles :)

**would recommend upgrading to the captains lounge on the Yasawa Flyer for extra comfort with air con and bar and snack selections free of cost to make the trip much nicer. Cost about $25fjd each direction more.

So main points of interest for everyone

Food
Served at set times throughout the day (Different times to what's on their website). All meals are served on the deck that sits up and allows you to over look the water. Breakfast consisted of tea, coffee, cereal, toast, fresh fruit and daily changes of either additional scones, coconut little muffins things, fruit cake. Breakfast does come out bit slowly so don't fill up on the toast and cereals as the yummy stuff like the muffins come out bit later.
Lunch always looked tiny but always filing, one day we had fish and chips with salad, or chicken fried rice, hamburgers, kebab skews.
Dinner - 3 courses every night starting with a soup of some type (potato, carrot etc) with the most amazing homemade bread, mains would change nightly certain nights of the week were bbq night and lovo (traditional way of cooking) and of course if you could fit it in dessert which was cake with either ice cream or custard.

No one ever seemed hungry, if you were you can always ask if there is more and there usually always was.

Afternoon tea wasn't running on the first few days we were there but we asked about it and said we were getting hungry in the afternoon as lunch is 12ish and dinner at 7pm so the next day huge slices of cake and cup of tea or coffee were available in the afternoon for about $2fjd! Awesome.
Don't worry if you don't eat fish, there was plenty of other options to choose from, just let them know when you arrive.
Food is overall basic home cooked style, again I say its not a 5 star resort and if that is what your wanting you're going to the wrong destination.

Bar
Not overly stocked. Prices when we were there was Fiji beer was $6fjd, cans coke or other fizzy drinks and juice $4fjd.
Most people would take their duty free and buy their mixers from the bar.

Accommodation
Every room is pretty much beachfront location, even the dorm room which sits above the main dining area. Besides when you are only 10 steps to the beach who can complain. And the price? Well worth it, elsewhere you would pay huge amounts elsewhere to get that location.
We had 3 in our room, so we had a double bed and set of bunks with our own shower and toilet and vanity area. Plenty of room for you bags and to walk around. Celing fan and floor to ceiling windows with mozzie nets on them allowed the breeze to come in. We also took up one of the plug in mozzie repellents.

Trips
We did the Caves, Village Trip and Blue Lagoon. Oarsmans Bay Lodge website is out of date with pricing on the day trips. Currently gas/petrol is very expensive about $8fjd per litre. We paid $20fjd for Blue Lagoon, $55 fjd for the caves and everything else eg village trip is $10fjd.

The Caves was amazing, you get a decent boat ride over (hence the price) with amazing views of the glorious blue blue ocean. Underwater camera is a must with this trip. If you aren't into diving under the water then give it a miss though as you do need to dive under a rock and come up the other side. You are only under about 4-5seconds and the staff help you through and make sure you don't hit your head coming up too soon.

Village Trip - This is where the staff are from, amazing to walk around their homes and see how they live. We also visited the school where they did a performance for us of singing, shell market selling shells and bits of arts and crafts and jewellery. Note that some shells need permits to be removed from Fiji, the shell that you blow into Im not sure what its called so don't buy this one as the permit takes 3 days business days to get in Nadi. Market was great for necklaces, bookmarks etc.

Blue Lagoon - Must visit to say you have been there. Unfortunately a lot of the coral has been killed off with all the tourists and boats but there are parts where it feels secluded. Not a very nice beach at low tide, reasonable fish life but better at Oarsmans Bay we felt. One thing about the Blue Lagoon is where the Yasawa Ferry drops you off to be picked up is pretty much where the Lagoon is. (They don't tell you this)

Oarsmans Bay Lodge Beach
There is a large area that is sections off by bouyes for snorkling, this protects yourself from any boats coming past and the reef. Its a large area and over the best part of the snorkling area. Swimming is all tides and I just can't fault it at all.

They do massages too - We didn't find this out till the last day - Its no day spa, but fantastic massage none the less.

If you need anything on your holiday at Oarsmans Bay just ask, they don't know if you need it until you say something. I found them to be so friendly and will do what they can to make your holiday relaxing and stress free.
We treated them like friends from the word go, maybe that is why we had such an amzing stay.

Don't worry they have internet (at additional cost) and mobile phone reception for those of you who can't go without. But leave it at home or turn it off and enjoy the tranquillity. It was so nice not hearing people talking on the phone and phones beeping every few minutes.

I checked out the other beaches in the Yasawas as we came back to Nadi as they were on low tide. They all have coral or rocky areas or even green grass growing in the waters edge. Oarsmans Bay Lodge is all tidal swimming so the best pick I think for your swimming.

We had an amazing time at Oarsmans Bay Lodge - The staff were like friends by the end of leaving with their cheeky natures coming out on about the second day of being there.

Thank you Oarsmans Bay Lodge - We will be back!!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mezanz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 7, 2009

The beach at Oarsman´s is great, and we had a great time snorkling.

But: The resort was by far the worst we stayed in Fiji, although it was the most expensive. Particularly the food was a joke - only toast and butter for breakfast (ok, there was also Vegemite, but no jam or juice), very little quantities for lunch and dinner and poor quality overall (it was hard to guess whether we were eating fish or chicken). Luckily we brought our own alcohol (and muesli bars), as there was only beer and rather expensive wine at the resort (don´t even bother asking for cocktails). They ran out of drinking water one day. Service was incredibly slow (and we know the difference between laid back and slow). There is very little to do other than snorkling and swimming, which was really nice though. The interior is anything but Fiji-like (plastic chairs, tiled floor, bright neon lights).

On the upside, was the live music every day from people of the village.

Overall, if we don´t mind bad food, and are solely after a great beach and remoteness, you should still go.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank schtroumph12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Island
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2009

Oarsman Bay, what can I say. It really is as good as the preview pictures, in fact could be better. A deep water white sand beach, safe on all tides. Really great snorkeling alongside the beach, on both sides. Loads of short trips around the area, both by foot and by runabout. We didn't do the bunkroom things, but had the flashpacker stand alone cabins. Get used to relaxing, having meals cooked for you, showers late morning once the solar water has warmed up, sunbathing, kayaking, snorkelling and more relaxing. Weather over the Yasawa's is usually sunny and warm. Blue Lagoon is a quick boat ride across to the next island and that is also spectacular. Caves up north are awesome, but I hope they get a new ladder and some repairs around the place soon. You must duck down to swim under to the inner cave, not that scary after all. Food was OK, nothing flash but certainly easy to have it all done for you. Cake type stuff comes with every meal.
If you can, get an underwater camera as the fish life is stunning. Seems to change at every snorkel session. saw rays, lionfish, angels, neons, parrots and mega tiny coral fish, as well as larger grunters. Good diving around the area too, short boat ride or they collect you. It is a very long ferry trip up to the top, but Oarsman Bay will not disappoint. Nothing else we saw came close, certainly nothing on Nacula Island (although there was talk of a new place getting built just down the coast a bit) Only real drawback is that Oarsman is getting pretty pricey for a flashpacker place. It seems the price goes up every time I check back on their website. Oh well, they are continually improving the place with a new deck just done, so I guess you are paying for better facilities. We have also stayed at Korovu, on the way up the islands, 2 years prior. Oarsman 8.5/10, Korovu 6/10. We would love to stay again one day, plus I want to snorkel the Coral Gardens again (just up from Manta Ray Passage) now that had awesome snorkeling, best I have ever seen.
Oarsman Bay, no roads, no phones, no papers, no internet, just great

  • Stayed August 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Harvee1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 1, 2009

Oarsman bay we had heard was just a stunner so we went there for the first few days of our honeymoon. The beach is very beautiful, however the accomodoation and food is very basic so much so that we cut our stay short and returned to Denerau desparate for a bit of luxury. The good part is that you are way up in the Yasawas and there are some good day trips such as the cave that was in the Blue Lagoon film etc - but the food was diabolical - no food is really good in my experience is Fiji but this was not great - the good part about the food was that at morning and afternoon tea the staff may these giant cakes with a cup of tea !

  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank juggler2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Oarsman's Bay Lodge

Property: Oarsman's Bay Lodge
Address: Nacula Island, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Yasawa Islands > Nacula Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Hotels in Nacula Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3 star — Oarsman's Bay Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated beside one of the worlds best all-tide swimming beaches is Oarsman's Bay Lodge in the remote Yasawa Islands in Fiji.​Stay in simple, traditionally built bure accommodations. We offer deluxe or family style bures for groups, dormitory style for backpacking and budget conscious guests. Adventurous travellers can pitch tents and camp out on our grounds, or be swept away for a night or two on your own private island. ​Oarsman's Bay Lodge will exceed your expectations of what a Fijian holiday can be!​ ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Oarsman`s Bay Hotel Nacula Island
Oarsmans Bay Hotel
Oarsmans Bay Resort
Oarsman's Bay Lodge Fiji/Nacula Island

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