We all have our thoughts of what and where Paradise is.... By Bob Cunningham
We all have our thoughts of what and where Paradise is, what it looks like smells like, the culture, the atmosphere and where we might find it. Paradise was said to have been in the dash board lights according to a song by Meat Loaf, but I discovered it and maybe a bit more, on an Island in the South Pacific. For me this is at Paradise resort in Taveuni Fiji.
Upon entering the resort you first notice the vast lush gardens, a few wild chickens walking around, parrots and mina birds flying here and there. The view of the ocean from the volcanic cliffs, looking to the west where you know you will have perfect views of the many sunsets to come. Everyone you meet has a smile and a warm Bula (that’s hello in Fijian) as if welcoming you home from a long journey.
Alan and Terri Gortan have built Paradise from what was a backpackers location to what is now a must visit destination in Fiji, if there was a rating for here it would come in at least as four star. The Bure’s are designed with your comfort and romance in mind, with the private outdoor shower and hot tub. The Spa is nestled on a cliff overlooking the ocean providing a spectacular location for one of the best massages ever, the sounds of the ocean gently surging against the black volcanic cliff, lulling you to highly relaxed state where all your stress goes away.
Each meal in Paradise is an experience that will cause your taste buds to scream in ecstasy from the wonderful combinations of flavors. The Fijian Night experience is one that will not want to miss. The food is cooked in a Lovo, a traditional Fijian method of cooking, blending everything into a cornucopia of flavors. Then there is the story telling, music, dancing and the experience of the Kava. Guys don’t worry if you can’t dance, the lovely ladies (Filo, Kata, Star and Liti just to name a few) will be happy to teach you.
Ok so what about the diving, after all this is a Diving Magazine. Well the house reef is one of the best I’ve seen. Look close as there is an abundance of life everywhere from the smallest of critters to the larger ones. Make sure that you also look up and round you and into the blue water as you never know what you might see, things like turtles, spotted eagle rays, dolphins and if your there in August there have been reports of Humpback whales passing through.
There were two main reefs that we dove, Vuna reef and Rainbow reef. Upon splashing in on Rainbow reef you quickly learned how it got its name. Every color of hard and soft corral that you have ever seen is there, all of it filled with life. Sites like the Fish Factory will give you an idea of the amount of life that is located there. Most every type of fish that is found in the Pacific is located here, but make sure you look out into the blue water there as well or you will miss the big ones, like the tuna, rays, turtles and even the white tip sharks.
Vuna reef is full of life as well from the nurseries of baby fish, to locations that have a plethora of Garden eels, Ribbon eels, Frog fish and much much more. The swim throughs are very unique here, tunnels through the volcanic rock formed thousands of years ago when the islands were forming. There are some places where you will feel cool fresh water rushing out, coming from locations miles and miles away.
The dive staff Pro Dive Taveuni takes care of your every diving need. The only thing you need to take to the boat with you is mask and fins, they take care of everything else for you. They also know where everything is located on the various dive sites that you will go to. With the present weight limits on the air lines they have a good selection of rental gear, all of it is up to date and well maintained.
So what is there to do on your non diving day in Paradise? There is so much to do the hard thing is deciding what you want to do most. Here is list of some of the activities: Mountain trek horse ride where you will travel the tropical mountain trail passing through farms learning about the different flora along the way till you reach the peak of the southern Taveui mountain where you will be rewarded with a 360 degree view of the island and waters. Southern Taveuni Tour & village Visit is the ideal tour to allow you to discover where and how the Taveuni people live as well as visiting the Southern Blowhole. Learn about the handcrafted mats and Tapas made by the local woman. Great opportunity to purchase a one of a kind Tapa. Bouma National Heritage Park and Lavena Coastal Walk. Discover the beauty and splender of the Tavoro waterfalls, the Waitavala waterslide and the Holy Cross Church where you can learn about the famous battle that took place there. Cannibal Cave Tour is an eerie journey into the lost culture of the island where you can explore the hidden underground cave. Descending on your hands and knees to the wonders of the ancient legends of the cave and look for old bones from days of long ago when cannibalism was a norm for here. Learn about the mud pools and there legionnaire healing powers.
There is still so much more to do, there is no way you can get it all done so plan on coming back many times. Each time you come back to Paradise you will be welcomed as a member of the family, feeling those same feeling that you felt the last time you were here, the stress from your normal life drifting away knowing that you are at someplace special trying to discover what that extra special something is and knowing whatever it is you know that it is at Paradise Taveuni.
I don’t know what that special feeling is for you, as I’m sure it will be different for each of us, but for me it feels as if Paradise is more like a little bit of heaven on earth. I hope to see you in Paradise in the future. BULA
A little about Bob: Bob Cunningham resides in Illinois. He has been the owner of BAD Leos Diving for ther past 5 years and conducts group travel all over the world. To contact bob email@example.com
To see Photos of Paradise Taveuni go to our "Recommendation" section.