Fii has the kindest people in the world, and I think most of them work here. Viola and Roland run this resort, and Viola handled most of our needs and was fabulous. She was also extremely generous, and her pricing on miscellaneous excursions was more than fair. She was so nice to us on a bure change that I don't even want to describe it--she'd go broke if she did that often!! Anyway, we stayed here for six days and then on Taveuni for ten at a more expensive place, but I'd choose Dolphin Bay in a heartbeat.
To get here most expeditiously, you should fly to Taveuni. Then Viola has staff who will give you a car ride halfway down that island and then a boatride over the Somosomo Strait to the island of Vanua Levu. This is on a tiny little peninsula of that island that is not accessible by road, so you really feel like you're at the end of the world here.
The diving was excellent. Dolphin Bay operates on its own time, an hour earlier than on Taveuni, with the result that you usually beat the other boats to the best sites by at least an hour. My husband and my son dove both the White and Purple Walls a couple of times in only a few days--when the coral was open--and numerous other Rainbow Reef sites by themselves. The divemasters were professional but also laid back and really fun. The snorkelling at a deserted resort the next bay over--which you get to by a charming ten-minute walk--is the best I have seen in the world. It was like swimming in a landscaped coral garden--check out my attached photos, which are not really doing it justice. This would also be a wonderful place to teach a young kid to snorkle, as the coral heads were very close to the surface.
Food was terrific and unlimited. It was usually simpler as in soups, pizzas, and pastas, but occasionally a meal would completely knock your socks off, like one night with this amazing lamb, or on another with traditional Fijian food. I cannot remember the name of that sort of party, but Dolphin Bay put on a really good one, and it was a lot more spontaneous and fun than one we went to at a more commercial place.
You can stay in a bure or tent or camp out. We went with the bures, which were kept extremely clean--a trick with all the sand--and which had cute and comfortable beds with very nice linens and mosquito netting. There was no air conditioning, but we had a fan which was fine except for one hotter night. I believe not all of the bures have lighting, which was fun as you can use kerosene lanterns. It's also not a bad idea to bring a flashlight. The bathrooms were the only thing that really made you feel like you were roughing it. We were there in a drought that had gone on for a couple of months, so to flush our toilet we had to pour water in. Showers were with cold water, which wasn't exactly a problem considering the temperature. So to sum up the rooms, no, they weren't posh, but I really liked them.
Side trips I recommend by boat are to any schools Viola recommends (bring as many school supplies and books as you can carry because they're really needed), and to the island of Kiowa for a cultural experience you won't believe. There's also another little island closeby, Korolevu, that's a fun two or three-hour excursion for some snorkelling. It has tiny white beaches between black rocks, and it was completely deserted when we stopped there. You can also hike on the hill behind Dolphin Bay pretty much as far as you want--always ultimately getting to more bays, of course. Other than these activities, we spent our time diving, reading, eating, and running over to the bay next door either for snorkelling or playing volleyball with the Dolphin Bay staff.
One last think I'd recommend is that we went there end of June--great time. The weather was totally cooperative (remember, they were having a drought), and the water was crystal clear and perfect for diving. One interesting thing we also noticed was that the weather on Taveuni was much wetter, like raining for five of the ten days that we were there. So June/July are great for diving here period, but this resort has a little microclimate that makes it drier than the next island over. So I'm saying this is an awfully good place to dive the Rainbow Reef from.
Dolphin Bay was the most charming and friendly place I've ever stayed at. I still owe them a bunch of pictures and have been too lazy to send them, so in the interim, if anyone wants any info at all, hit me up because I owe them! Fabulous place--you won't go wrong.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat is a small family style dive resort on the Rainbow Reef in Fiji. Accessible by boat only it nestles in a horseshoe bay, surrounded by Rainforest, White Sandy Beach and Palm trees. Minutes to all the dives sites including the world famous white wall, famous for Softcorals, 20+ dive sites to choose from this is the ideal dive spot. Dolphins, Reef Sharks, tropical fish, it's all there, including a PADI dive shop where you can take courses in English or German. Accommodations range from bure with private bathrooms to Jungle Tents with shared bathrooms, all with comfortable beds and mattresses and very close to the beach. Let the soft lull of the waves put you to sleep, sip a glass of wine in your hammock and let the fish go by! ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dolphin Bay Divers Retreat Hotel Taveuni Island