We spent almost two weeks in Fiji, at Wananavu Resort (Raki Raki on Viti
Levu, Bligh Waters) and Garden Island (Taveuni). Our trip was primarily a diving trip, and that is what drove our choice of hotels, locations, etc.
Diving at both locations was excellent. However, the dive operations were
on dramatically different levels, with Dive Wananavu excellent in just
about every way and Garden Island with some serious issues (I have reviewed
We chose Wananavu Resort due to land-based access to the Bligh Waters as
well as the beachfront bure accommodations offered.
The resort itself is beautiful and well-maintained. We stayed in a
beachfront bure, which was simply furnished but had everything we needed.
Our front door opened directly onto the beach and we spent hours relaxing
on our porch and in the beach hammocks. No need for AC as we slept every
night with screen windows and doors open to the breeze. Our biggest (and
probably only) complaint with the room was that the walls are very thin.
Each bure contains two units and you can everything next door...
The resort has a nice pool but we never used it as we preferred our porch
and the beach. The grounds are immaculate, with tropical plants, garden
paths and a beach that is cleaned and raked every morning before sunrise.
The food was pretty good overall, not spectacular, but that's not why you
came to Fiji, anyway. They do a pretty good job considering the relatively
remote location. Not surprisingly, the seafood is pretty reliable. The
"lovo" buffet was a big disappointment, especially since there
are no other options that night.
Service in the restaurant/bar is generally good, although somewhat
inconsistent. We had the sense that the longer-tenured, more experienced
staff was pretty sharp but others seemed a bit out of their element. At the
same time, the staff is incredibly friendly and really went out of their
way to make us feel welcome. This was also our experience on Taveuni.
The resort offers many activities, day trips, etc. although we did not take
advantage as we were diving. We did use the spa and enjoyed it. Very
friendly and relaxing.
One tip: Stop at a grocery store well before you get to the resort to pick
up water, beer, etc as there is nothing near the resort and you will pay 3x
once you are there (although prices are still pretty reasonable by US hotel
The diving in the Bligh Waters was excellent. Beautiful coral formations,
abundant small and medium-sized fish and plenty of colorful nudis, sea
lettuce, etc. Sharks on every dive, both white tips and a couple nice gray
reef sharks. No turtles, rays or any real pelagics. We had the opportunity
to sample Sailstone reef (closest to resort), Wheatfields (between resort
and the passage) and Vatu I Ra Passage. I preferred the sites at the
passage and Wheatfields to those on Sailstone, again based on a small
sample size. The density, variety and health of the hard corals the Passage
blew me away.
A very nice surprise on our 2nd day of diving was the siting of two whales
during our surface interval. The captain did his best to get us close to
them so we could snorkel but they were moving too fast. Still an awesome
Viz and current varied significantly from site to site, viz ranged 30-40 ft
up to about 75. Water temp 76 deg, wore 3mm full suit plus hooded vest. The
wind can pick up quickly as this is offshore diving.
If I had to compare to Rainbow Reef on Taveuni, I would say the coral
formations in the Bligh were more dramatic, but perhaps a bit less
colorful. Seemed to be more hard corals in the Bligh and more colorful soft
corals in Somosomo at Taveuni. Of course this is based on a total of 17
dives, so take it for what it is worth.
Dive Wananavu is a first-class operation, and I cannot say enough about how
well we were treated. Managers Jeremy and Kristen went out of their way to
put together three wonderful days of diving for us, despite the fact that
we were literally the only divers at the resort (most of the place was
occupied by a non-diving wedding party during our visit). We had the entire
boat to ourselves on two out of three days and there was no drop-off in
service as I have experienced at other locations when boats are not full. I
had asked to visit the Vatu passage, and they put together a fantastic
3-tank dive on our last day to make this happen, despite the fact that it
probably wasn't ideal for them (incidentally, the other divers on our boat
were taking a Discover Scuba class. At the Vatu I Ra? Wow. I mean, who does
that? What a cool experience for them).
They operate a new, 33-ft. aluminum dive boat. Very comfortable, outfitted
with everything you need, including a marine head and all relevant safety
equipment (life vests, marine radio, GPS, oxygen, SMBs in the BCDs, etc).
Briefings were thorough, professional and informative without being
overwhelming. Rental gear appeared brand new and was of high-quality,
including air-integrated computer.
Truly a full service operation, with gear waiting for us on the boat,
rinsed, set-up, etc. Crew was always helpful without being intrusive. My
girlfriend, a newly-certified diver, appreciated their help and attention
and this also allowed me to relax and focus on diving and having a good
The DMs and captains were very good. Personable and professional and
generally fun to be around. I split my time diving with mangers and other
DMs; the local DMs are somewhat newly certified and do seem a bit green;
over time they will on doubt become more comfortable leading and pointing
out critters, etc.
In short, Dive Wananavu is top-notch, fantastic operation that I recommend
without reservation. This may sound like a marketing pitch, but we really
did have a great time. The combination of the dive op with the resort was
- 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