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“Ultimate chillout...”

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Caqalai Island Resort
Warsaw, Poland
Level Contributor
15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Ultimate chillout...”
Reviewed February 1, 2011

Caqalai was the last leg of my long journey across two continents, and it offered everything I was looking for: peace and quiet, great snorkelling, chilled atmosphere. It's one of those rare places that don't attract party animals (no booze on the island), so you can really relax. It's low key and very basic, mind you: simple thatched bures with a bed as the only piece of furniture, no real floor, outside showers and an outhouse, power generated for a few hours in the evening, that's all. I do think they should do a better job keeping the place clean, to be honest! Go diving with Sharon, she rocks!

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled solo
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1 Thank malina_z_lublina
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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44 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Polish first
  • Any
English first
NewZealand
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed October 3, 2010

We stayed at Caqalai for a few nights in June. The property looked a bit ragged around the edges, but the staff were very friendly, the snorkeling was great and the atmosphere was just totally chilled out and relaxing. This is what you'd imagine a little, slightly ragged, thatched bungalow on a beautiful beach would be like! The food was not great and some nights not much was served (plated meals, no choice of menu, included in price), but included in the very reasonable price. Great place to hang out on a tropical island beach!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank TravelBug064
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2010

From the moment i stepped of the boat i felt like i was at home, the staff were great and felt more like family than just staff looking after you. the food was great very Fijian. just prefect if you want to chill and forget about the world. watch for the volley ball everyday!!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank biglad1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gloucester
2 reviews
Reviewed July 8, 2010

It is pretty hard to describe just how special Caqalai really is, and i guess i would just say go there to live it and experience it for yourself, as you will walk away with a completely new sense of what Fiji, and travelling, is all about! When i have been back packing and travelling from place to place i have done my best to immerse into the local cultures and understand their customs, and after volunteering in a Fijian village and visiting Fiji since a number of times it was a shame to see so many miss out on what makes Fiji so special when arriving into nadi and heading straight out to the Yasawas. Caqalai is a resort that will give you a taste of what makes Fiji the place it is, and it is well worth every moment spent getting there! Caqalai is run by villagers from Moturiki, the island just across from it, and the staff are unbelievable, always smiling and chatting and telling stories and they have a really genuine interest in each and every guest that arrives. If you ask they will happily take you across to Moturiki for a village visit which is a chance not to be missed, and they love their volleyball in the afternoons so get ready as they are pretty good! They also have a great house band who play in the evenings around the grog bowl, and beside the beach bonfires, and throw out some requests, you will be suprised! The location speaks for itself...a castaway island of white sandy beaches surrounded by stunning reefs where the snorkelling and diving are immense, and whether your in a dorm or in a bure you can step out and into the ocean. But like i said, its the staff that make it just incredible, you can get a white sandy beach all over the world, but Fijians you will only find in Fiji, and on Caqalai, for a few days at least, you will be "kaiviti"!

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank KaivalagiGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Suva
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2010

This was the 3rd time my girlfriend and I have visited Caqalai in the passed 3 years we have lived here. The first two times I would recommend this place to anyone, hands down. Charming, beautiful, friendly staff, the food, well ok, but edible.

But in this last trip, it was evident of how far the quality of the place had fallen. First, it was unbelievable had bad of shape our bure was in. The thatch roofing was about half gone and not repaired. Not just this one, but several of them. I could understand if this was within a month of the last cyclone, but that was in March, this is June. This is just neglect and laziness. And made worse since much of the staff sits around all day except for the volleyball games. The cost of repairs doesn't require much money (if any) and just requires weaved thatching and labour. Also, they hadn't cleaned out the inside or outside. It was obvious our bure was used by the staff which had left there rubbish on the ground and dirty laundry hanging on the line. Oh, and the pillows and sheets smelled so bad it was hard to sleep. And of course we had bed bugs.

The little things are gone too that added to the charm. The staff used to welcome you with a song. Also, on your departure. No more. They used to offer green coconut freely (since there are so many) now only if offer them money, the small canteen had some provisions, now its virtually empty. In general, the place look like a dump!

Next, they have started a waste separation system to better manage their waste. I applaud them on this effort, except that the waste is kept right outside the kitchen, and the door is constantly open exposing all the food to an overwhelming amount of flies. The food is usually uncovered and swarming with flies. And guess what! I got severely sick with diarrhea. Not only that but the quality of the meals has fallen severly. Except for the sunday lunch lovo. It was ok. In the past they used to have more vegtables and fruit selections. Not much, but definately more. Heres what was lunch: Ramen noodles, deep fried eggplant, & tin tuna. I knew from the passed that it was important to bring some extra food and munchies to supplement the food they give. I didn't realize i would be relying so heavily on that food we brought. If only they had a kitchen you could cook your own meals!

Transport: Ok, $60 return per person (there were 4 of us, so thats $240) I would expect them to bring the bigger boat with the covering, especially if it looks like it will rain. Nope! Its just some POS fibre with no cover. (Late of course, but this is Fiji.) Our stuff is just poorly wrapped in a tarp. Luckily there were 4 seats. On the return trip however, beautiful weather, perfect in fact. Never seen the sea so calm. You would think that this would make for the fastest ride. Nope. Our incompetent boat captain, got us stuck in the reef for about an extra 45 minutes by going the wrong way. Glad we put sunscreen on since we were in the fibre, exposed to the blazing sun.

The only thing that saves this place is the snorkeling. It is still amazing and I am glad that the place is still small and not too touristy, like many places in Fiji. But Caqalai used to be one of my favourite places to go. Now, sadly, I wouldn't recommend the place to anyone. No way. Maybe if it were half the price would it be worth it.

I hope they can make some positive changes for the better.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank nikoSuva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2010

I've given this 5 Stars because this was perfect for me - although it may not be for everyone.

Shared basic toilet facilities, no power in the Bures, basic beds. Drinking water from rainwater collection tanks.

Food was wholesome and the staff were very friendly.

Seriously off the beaten track, this small island can only be described as paradise. Whether you want to just chill out and sunbathe or snorkel and dive you won't be disappointed if you come with the right attitude and expectations.

The key draw points are the sandy beach and stunning coral reef that surrounds the Island - Oh, and the price :o)

If you like, laid back, low key, friendly, communal holidays - this is for you. A hidden Gem in a Fijian Market over run by expensive generic holiday resorts.

The Island Resort is managed by the Methodist Church and as such there is no alcohol for sale on the Island. Feel free to bring your own duty free drinks from the main Island if that is necessary for you - they don't judge you :o)

If you're back packing or on a budget you won't find better in the whole of Fiji. If you just like somewhere away from the crowds - give it a try, I didn't want to leave.

Did I mention the snorkeling was spectacular? Seriously, I'm a diver of 12+ years and never go anywhere without diving. I just snorkeled the whole time and saw more life and interesting things here than I have at other resorts whilst diving. The reef is beautiful with soft corals and brightly coloured fish dominating.

Stayed February 2010, traveled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank davetuna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
Reviewed April 19, 2010

I'm reluctant to even write this review because so few places remain in the world that can be described as an isolated paradise, but are not overrun with tourism - I'm tempted to keep this gem to myself!
We were looking for somewhere to spend Christmas that A) was right on a beautiful beach, B) had good snorkeling and diving, and C) was kept secret from the usual throngs of holiday-makers. This sounds totally impossible of course. But Caqalai ranks through the roof on ALL 3! It's well enough away from the beaten track that you'll just come across the odd backpacker and odd diver - the good kind - and the resort is developed just enough so that it's comfortable but feels completely authentic and unspoiled.
There's a reef right off the shore for snorkeling the day away, and the diving is excellent. We went for 4 dives in the 5 days we spent there, each time to a different spot, never too far from the island. Sharon, the instructor, is ultra friendly and relaxed, offers courses, night dives, the whole show, very accommodating and flexible with time.
They serve a fair variety of traditional Fijian dishes for dinner, and the local musicians who come to play while you eat are awesome - plenty of good people for a party if you want one.
Caqalai strikes me as a place that gets a lot of returning guests, it feels like a real community. It takes just one visit to join, and it definitely won't be the last visit for us.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank S_Peadar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Caqalai Island Resort

Property: Caqalai Island Resort
Address: | Moturiki Passage, Fiji
Location: Fiji > Lomaiviti Islands > Caqalai Island
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Caqalai Island
Number of rooms: 22
Also Known As:
Caqalai Island Hotel Caqelai Island
Caqalai Island Resort Fiji

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