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“My idea of paradise”
Review of Tribewanted FIJI

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Tribewanted FIJI
Reviewed May 12, 2010

Captivating, unique, inspiring, life-changing, soul-shaping, beautiful, chilled, remote, peaceful. An eco-tourism, cross -cultural haven. Let the local fijian villagers tell you a few stories, drink grog, meet Tui Mali-chief of the region, visit a local school, play volleyball with the locals, learn how to weave coconut thatch roof, help with the work of the fijian community in building and maintenance, eat 5 times a day. Sleep (under a mosquito net)and be lulled to sleep by the sound of the lapping shore. My only concern, during the whole time was 'How many times can I phone the airline to extend my trip?' I did not want to leave and I miss the island like crazy.
A chance to realise how simple life can be- if you allow it to be. The island is remote and beautiful and the 'tribewanted' project has always set out to have no negative impact on the physical or social environment. The project has great green credentials and is working towards being zero waste, so don't bring too much disposable stuff (plastic bags etc) unless you intend to take it away with you too. And ladies, this will not be a bikini-party. Fijians are very modest and shy about the female form so long skirts, t-shirts, and boardshorts are a must. It's all about us going into their culture and respecting it, learning from it. Not about us imposing our idea of a beach resort on the locals. It is wonderful. If you're sick of the same-old, same-old in your travels this place is for you!!

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Claireleo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6 - 12 of 18 reviews

Reviewed October 31, 2009

Off beach reef snorkling, total cultural immersion, traditional food and such wonderful people that they change your life, Vorovoro is not everyone's idea of paradise but it is now my benchmark. To get the most from the experience, and it is an experience, means diving in and letting the pacific and the Fijian culture wash away who you were to let you become who you can be.

  • Stayed: October 2007, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank chiron_51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2009

Oh where to start as I am still bubbling over with pleasure of it all. I told my husband on the phone from the island, that even if I were to take a thousand photos I could not impart the atmosphere and emotions and it proved right. I have in fact taken 450 photos so he has the general idea. The journey was as I expected long and tiring, firstly London to Seoul 11 hours, then after 3 hours stopover on to Nadi another 10 hours. From here a taxi to a hotel for the night then a 3 hour bus ride starting at 7.30 am. Wonderful bus journey through the countryside and by now I was excited though a tad tired. We arrived into the bustling city of Suva on market day with a council official warning us as we got off the bus, to mind our rucksacks and to ignore any approaches by locals. Not a good start but good advice. Fortunately we were ok and I loved the flea market where I purchased my much needed sulu or sarong ( worn on the grog mat and any ceremonial sessions) as it is sometimes called. After a day in the city it was off to our digs for the night, called the Rainforest Hotel. This was in fact set adjacent to a rain forest which we set off to explore the following day, truly natural and wonderfully green helped by a torrential downpour the whole evening. The name of the hotel said it all. We found a Sunday school outing enjoying themselves frolicking in a water pool, all fully clothed and happily smiling, whilst 2 ladies prepared a barbecue lunch. I felt already amongst friends and they loved our presence. After a friendly half hour exchange we had to move on but the first of many wonderful memories. The afternoon was spent more cerebral, with a museum of culture visit, familiarising ourselves with some warrior history.

And so off to the airport for the small plane into Labassa a mere 40 mins away to be collected by a member of the Tribewanted team who took us by taxi into town to purchase any final needs and the regulatory "grog" - more on that later. The town itself is small, one single High St full of Indo Fijians, I felt I was in Delhi or Calcutta, and yes we were the days novelty factor as are any tribies when we arrive into town. We had to go to the busy market place to buy Kava. This is a traditional root that is pounded to powder, tossed into a cloth and lots of water added in a vessel called a Tanoa. The powder is dunked in the water and constantly wrung out and the liquid becomes like a big muddy puddle, tastes like it too. I just had to visit the internet cafe Govindas from where Ben the founder in the project's early days conducted the business, and in fact where tribies today still flock to get messages home via Skype phone and email. And at last it was off to catch the boat which would finally connect my feet to the beach, that at times had seemed so elusive with problems at home. The 45 minute journey was in a small boat, just like going down the Amazon and then it suddenly opens up to the vast Pacific Ocean. Api the skilled boat captain making this journey in both night and day conditions, amazing navigation. And so Vorovoro was in my sights 7 months from seeing the first TV programme. It was an exciting but equally emotional moment. The boat slewed up onto the breathtaking site of the white beach and green trees and foliage. Soon to be friends, came to greet us and in a blink we were off the boat and a welcoming cup of tea and homemade cake by Frances the cook in hand. So at last, here, and I couldn't wait to explore this island. It was more beautiful than I could imagine with infrastructure of traditional Bures (thatched huts), hammocks by the beach and open sheltered kitchen with a home made oil drum oven. I was in heaven and could not wait to "play dirty" as my earlier blog explained. I was like a kid in a toy shop, all the things I love doing in one place, all be it the other side of the world, but at least it was hot and sunny as a bonus. In the evening we were welcomed by Tui Mali, the land owner and Chief of the area. We presented our Kava to him as a show of appreciation for allowing us to stay on the island. This is known as a "Sevusevu" and all guests do this.

The days flew by with a wide variety of tasks including, re- piping the kitchen drain, concreting the new showers, sorting out the tool shed, repairing a well used hammock, sorting the ecotricity hut with its myriad of wires, laptops and the island power hub. By this I mean a single solar panel that supplied minimal power to charge up our mobile phones/laptops and fairy lights in the kitchen. Apart from the odd solar light around the island it was head torches for seeing anything. I now know what pitch black means. To phone home and due to the time difference it is a 100 yds walk amongst pitch black foliage in order to get a signal on the phone and if lucky reach home by phone. My husband was ecstatic to get my few phone calls and I was content in the knowledge he was being cared for and I could throw myself wholeheartedly into island life. To explain about the grog sessions. This is where at the end of a long tiring working day, Fijians chillout. They sit cross-legged around a woven mat on the floor with several guitars and sing traditional songs and yes drink the afore mentioned GROG in vast quantities. It is narcotic but not alcoholic so after a few hours people become very chilled out but not raving. I had a bilo (half a coconut drinking vessel) or 2 not being a fan of anything mind altering, and fortunately I can enjoy myself without the prop of a drink. Listed below are new things I experienced as I think this would soon become a book if I ramble any more.
The List
Learnt to de husk crack and grate a coconut
Pick Paw Paws and make jam
4 Peak challenge, the island has 4 peaks and you climb up and slide down, literally. No mean feat.
Variety of sleeping modes as only 4 members initially on the island, this crept up to 14 later.
Slept in a military Hammock
Slept in a tent on the beach
Slept in a bure
Learnt a Fijian meke (dance sitting down)
Learnt to count to 10 in Fijian
Learnt how to weave a traditional grog mat. Certainly easier to go and buy a carpet.
Visited a local school on a neighbouring island (by boat) FANTASTIC. Played with the children
Visited a village fund raising church bazaar (by boat) - very different to ours.
Visited a monthly church gathering where a food feast was prepared. We were guests of honour.
Snorkelling on a reef with an option to spear fish, Native style
Pumped rainwater (liquid gold) up a hill to a storage tank in a flash storm, Hard work but great fun
Had a solar shower on the beach
Swam naked in the ocean, privately!!!
Rambled along the beach collecting shells for a mosaic design on the new showers
Saw a whale skeleton that washed up on the island. Poasa is reconstructing it having burnt the flesh off.
Huge Campfire by the seashore in moonlight.
Picking fresh lemons from trees and making lemon drink, Wonderful.

This is just a taster of my 2 weeks, but i think enough to give you an idea, of the variety on offer.
En route home there was a visit to an Eco animal park and a National Sand Dune park to round off the trip.
Like all holidays, all good things have to come to an end, but the memory of this one will certainly linger on.

With a big Vinaka to everyone on the island, who made this dream come true.

Jay

  • Stayed: September 2008
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1  Thank jaybe_w1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2009

A fantastic eco-adventure. The dream of living on an island, in a beach hut, in a community of intelligent, like-minded, talkative, welcoming individuals.
You become totally immersed into the culture and values that imbue the Tribewanted ideal and the fijian community that makes it possible. Took part in ceremonial aspects of a fijian life style and gained a reverence for the sense of welcome, gravity and whilst the word is becoming quite a cliche in this exerpt, the sense of community. Went spear fishing in the beautiful oceans and reefs, boat trip out to beautiful islands, walked around the island itself, Worked in the gardens and the kitchens, lazed in hammocks, played Carrom, drank Cava, sang, danced, worked and played.
An amazing experience that i will never forget and will never stop talking about. Truly truly wonderful.
Take: antiseptic creams;cuts quickly become infected, Suntan lotion and mosquito repellant, mosquito net, a musical instrument if you play one, a listening ear if you dont, Snorkel gear if inclined, walking shoes/trainers for the hills.

  • Stayed: July 2007
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1  Thank Becks87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2009

Imagine an island with no cars, no shops, no bars or clubs. Nightly camp fires and grog sessions with the sweetest music and song under the stars. Imagine people whose giggles and genorosity warm your heart. Imagine a place where you can snorkel in turquoise waters teeming with life but not another person in sight who you wouldn't call a friend. I have just returned from an incredible 5 weeks in Vorovoro where I was lucky enough to be island chief, working and laughing and learning in one of the only really genuinely cultural experiences I discovered on a RTW trip.
Was trying to keep this short but I have too much to say about this magical place. So I will just say go, you will never regret it.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled solo
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Thank CharliebrownBrighton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2009

I was part of the first team to go to Vorovoro and help set things up. It was such a magical time for me. I had one of the most amazing experiences of my life and even found my future husband!

We have been married now for 2 years and everyday think of visiting the island again. We forged so many beautiful memories of the people, scenery and life on the islandn it was so hard to leave it behind.

Visiting Vorovoro reminds us of a simpler time when people found pleasure in community & friendship and lived for each other.

If you've ever dreamt of life on a tropical island then Vorovoro can be your stage. It has all you need to lose yourself in its charm.

  • Stayed: September 2006, traveled on business
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Thank tribalpixie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 18, 2009

Amazing! Great! Fantastic! Are words one can try to use to describe an experience that words cannot really explain. Tribewanted must be experienced to fully appreciate how special it truly is.

  • Stayed: April 2008, traveled solo
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Thank Alan88Toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tribewanted FIJI

Address: Vorovoro Island | PO Box 2670, Labasa, Vanua Levu, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Vanua Levu > Labasa
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Labasa
Price Range: $41 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tribewanted is a unique island community tourism project. Living alongside the local fishermen and women on Vorovoro, our cross-cultural community have built a simple, sustainable village from scratch. Up to 30 tribe members of all ages stay on Vorovoro for a minimum of a week, taking part in Village life which can include on a typical day; foraging the island gardens for fruits and vegetables, language classes, dance classes and teaching in the local school. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tribewanted FIJI Labasa

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