Bula Bula, Have some more!

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
Trip End May 09, 2008

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Where I stayed
Mana Island Lagoon

Flag of Fiji  ,
Thursday, February 7, 2008

Still raining!  We got picked up from our hotel, got taken to another hotel, where we waited around an hour and a half for the Mana Flyer, the local boat transport to Mana Lagoon to arrive. 

The waves were super choppy getting to Mana.   The small wooden boat also didn't seem that sturdy... actually it was a big piece of s*.  We were slamming the waves quite hard and I had to brace the impact with my legs so my back wouldn't get the brunt of the impact!  The waves were so choppy that the 45 minute boat ride to Mana Island took an hour and a half.  Somewhere in the middle we hit some hard rain and fog and it looked for a while as if our captain lost orientation.  So we were really happy when we finally arrived on Mana Island - to get back on dry land!

The beach itself looked really nice despite the bad weather.   It had nice clean white sands, and there was a reef not too far from shore, that protected the beach from strong waves.

Mana Lagoon was not exactly what we were expecting.  It didn't look like the place advertised at the hotel for sure - it looked more like a run-down beach shack.  But the staff seemed genuinely very warm and friendly though, and their happiness was quite infectious.  We all approached the gathering place, aka The Sandpit, and were all greeted with a hearty "BULA!" and "Relax, you're on Fiji time now!".  Shortly after a briefing, they sung their Mana Lagoon welcome song (which is still going through my mind even after flying out of LA airport a few days later).

The buffet meals were all included in our package.  For lunch, we had a couple of traditional looking Fijian dishes. One was made of creamed taro leaves with some chicken pieces in there. ( For my Hawaii friends, it was very similar to chicken luau.)  We also had cassava root, and some mild Indian dal/soup.  The one strange dish we scratched our heads about was the pizza.   It looked like pizza with cooked ramen noodles and ketchup on it.  I didn't care for it but Frank seemed to kind of like it.  The Mama there kept saying "Have some more!" for each meal, which was really sweet.  You wouldn't go hungry here for sure.

After lunch, they took us snorkeling in a small motorboat just past the reef.  While the boat was anchored, we got to snorkel the area around the boat.  Unfortunately the snorkel masks (they had no fins) weren't too good, and after trying 4 pairs that leaked on me, I gave up and stayed in the boat. Frank snorkeled for a bit and had a good time.  One of the other guests (also happened to be from Germany) missed the motor boat and kayaked to meet us for snorkeling.   Unfortunately his kayak was leaking and flooded with water and basically sinking by the time it reached our boat!  After some snorkeling, we emptied the kayak of water, placed it in the motorboat and headed back to shore.

It was getting dark and the wind started to pick up with some heavy rain.  The staff quickly hammered in some extra pieces of wood to cover up one side of the Sandpit so we could eat dinner without getting soaked.  After dinner, we had a kava ceremony.  Kava is a traditional herbal concoction drunk in ceremonies, and used to "honor visitors, unite participants and validate their social identities".   Check this link for more info.  It looks and tastes like muddy water, and for first-timers, leaves the mouth and tongue a little numb.  Our host prepared really watered-down kava for us so we didn't really feel any numbness.  I just got a little sleepy!   It was interesting for sure, glad we got to try it.

We won't say too much about the facilities except that they were very basic, only a cold shower that dribbled water, the room lacked any fan (forget about AC!), and the screens had holes in them so we got quite a bit of mosquito bites that night.   We were glad to stay only one night!

The weather was much better the following morning.   We hung out at the beach, snorkeled a bit, then got back on the Mana Flyer to head back to Nadi.  The people there were super nice and really made us feel at home and part of their family.   But I felt the experience was closer to a 'homestay' than staying at a hotel, as the nearby Fijian village homes had similar construction (or worse) to Mana Lagoon.  So it would be a great place for people really looking for this type of experience. (A Swedish girl we met there was there for a 1 month so far!)   As for me, I was happy that I had a chance to experience Mana Island, but also really happy to be going back to the mainland!
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Lisa Mairs on

I was there this year Feb 20011, @ Mana Lagoon, i thought it was great, The dorms are basic, bed ,clean sheets, fan in the room, Food was cooked my a indain cook Ravi, so we had a mixture of indain and fijian food, breakfast was fruit and pancakes, toast egg, tea on some days
Dorm was FJD $55 with 3 meals dont know how much double beds are.
Bosco was the manager there, fun fella , very layed back on Fiji Time, great entertainer, the evenings , doing the bula dance, fire dancing, meke, fun and games, and let the beer flow, some night beach bon fires and kava.

Fishing, Castaway film trip, kayaking, snorkel, sunset beach was amazing, over the hill the other side of the beach, shark pools at high tide.

Mana Lagoon has decking, beach, blue green sea right in front of it , staff where great, cute boys..
thumbs up Mana Lagoon we miss you....and mana magic.....
cheers Bosco ur da man!

oh dont get the south sea cruise boat over $100
we took Mana Flyer which is a speed boat $60fjd

Alex on

Such an amazing place !!! Beautifull island and beautifull staff !!! I've spent there few days in March and I felt like in paridise . We were eating our lunch an dinner on the beach ( verry good by the way) . They prepared for us traditional lovo and fire dancing it was delicious !!! We went kayaking and snorkeling , Bosco show us reef sharks (wooow!!)
I'm not a good writer but seriously this place is cheap , and have good food and amazing staff !!!!! I really recomend it to you !!!

meg earwaker on

bosco of course i have time, for you anything BOSS....

mana lagoon was one of my favourite times when i was travelling. Fiji is a gorgeous country with the most spiritual and beautiful people, gorgeous beaches, amazing sea, sunsets and RUM and if you want all this plus a fijian family and wonderful memories than mana lagoon is the right place for you.

The experiences that mana lagoon offers once you've made friendships with the locals will blow your mind. The rugby game, the all-nighter on a deserted island, the hog, the sunset on top of the hill, the scuba diving, the meals, the school and the fishing were just some of the priceless things i experienced and enjoyed on mana lagoon effortlessly.

I went for a week and then went back again for another week as mana lagoon managed to feel like home and once you stay, its hard not to fall in love with the place.

The accommodation is basic but it doesn't matter, the showers are cold but it doesn't matter, the drinking water makes you sit on the toilet for hours on end but it feels so special that the negatives mean nothing. i woke up everyday to the most beautiful sunrise, a fijian family and the travellers it attracts are those with open minds and a buzz for life, drinking, socialising and fun.

I would recommend mana lagoon to anyone and everyone!!

much love x m

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