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Fiji: Best bang for buck BEGINNER diving

Discussion in 'The Pacific Islands' started by filmguy123, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    Looking for diving advice for Fiji. Will be there in the area for free due to a workflight through PNG, in either May or June, and considering this as dive destination (over PNG or Brisbane area which I may also be flying through for work). I know diving in Fiji has a ton of variation. I am only interested in beginner dives - I have Open Water & Nitrox only, less than 20 dives. Not looking for deep dives or strong current, etc.

    Also looking for good bang for the buck. $1000-$1500 total max for the trip (including diving, lodging, food; excluding airfare, as I should be able to be in Fiji for free). Is this reasonable for ~5-7 days, maybe 10-12 dives?

    What would be my best bet for an area to base out of? Convenient is best, and because I will have extra baggage from doing video work before this avoiding regional flights for the sake of cost and baggage is ideal.

    Open to either a shore stay and working with a local diveOP, or a liveaboard, but as I understand the liveaboards would probably exceed my budget (and also offer a lot of dive sites that exceed my experience level).

    Thank you for the help!!
     
  2. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Portland, OR
    2,168
    2,376
    113
    Hey my friend-- It is Greg-- I moved from Portland down to So Cal a few months back. Based on your criteria, you may want to look into Wananavu Beach Resort. It gets very favorable reviews among divers. There seems to be something going on with their website, as it is not accessible currently for some reason, so I was unable to check on prices. You can take a look on Trip Advisor for photos and info and reviews. Here is a bit of info from some divers on another dive website I access. Sounds like it will be a great trip! Here goes:
    Wananavu (www.wananavu.com) the resort is beachfront on the north central coast of Viti Levu, Fiji near the town of Rakiraki. If you stay more than five nights the resort provides complementary transportation to and from the airport and it takes about 2.5 hours. There are 31 rooms in the 21 bures (garden view, ocean view, beachfront, and honeymoon) and all are equipped with ceiling fan, A/C, bathroom with shower, king bed or other types, a mini bar and hot water pot for instant coffee or tea. Electrical outlets are same as Australian two angled prongs, 220 volts. There is a table and two chairs on the patio that is perfect for relaxing. Free water sports include kayaks, swimming pool, and snorkeling. Other activities include tennis, volleyball, fish feeding, crab races, and presentations on Fiji customs and Fijian Medicine. Everything at the resort is in Fijian dollars which means everything is 50% less than the US dollar. Bottle beers were $8 FD or $4 USD.
    We always had plenty of hot water. The power to the room requires the plastic portion of the key to be in the slot so if you want to continue charging batteries or run the A/C you need to leave that portion in the slot and take the key when you leave the room. Some people got a bit sick from the water after a storm flooded Rakiraki town? We had occasion to use the hospital in Rakiraki and were charged nothing for the care or prescriptions. We were in and out in less than an hour. The taxi ride was less than $20 FD
    Breakfast was included with our package and included cereal, fruits, juices, coffee or tea, and hot items like omelets, eggs to order with several sides like hash browns, beans, etc., pancakes and French toast. Lunch and Dinner could be ordered off the all-day menu or off special menus that changed every day and were very good. The most expensive items were $34 FD, but many were less than $20 FD.
    WANANAVU DIVE: (www.divewananavufiji.com) the onsite dive shop headed by James and Mindy. They have a large boat that holds 22 divers and a smaller boat that holds up to 12 divers. The boat has all the safety equipment you would expect and the crew makes sure everyone receives an orientation as to what equipment there is and where it is located. There is no head on the boats. Towels are passed out after the first dive and Mary (a DM) will try to dry them after the surface interval so it will be ready for you after the next dive. We used the large boat all but one day and usually had 6 to 8 divers. All of the divemasters Josh, Jess, and Mary were very good. Once you set your dive gear in your bag outside your bure upon your arrival you will not need to take care of anything again until you pack it up on the day you leave. They will wash and dry everything and hang it in the shop. On the day you leave you go to see that they have put everything that is yours in your bag and then they will deliver it to your room. Dives averaged 70-feet for one hour. Current was quite strong on some dives and nonexistent on others.
    DIVING: Everyone goes to Fiji to see the beautiful soft corals and this place delivers. We were amazed at all the vivid colors red, blue, purple, pink yellow, and types of soft corals. There were also lots of marine life such as white tip sharks, turtles, schools of chevron barracuda, anemone fish, jellies, lion fish, eels, and nudibranchs, blue dragon was a favorite. We also saw tiny shrimps, lobsters, porcelain crabs, frogfish, ornate ghost pipefish, and other pipefish. There were dive sites with numerous swim throughs. It is definitely worth a trip.
    Here is the Trip Advisor link: Wananavu Beach Resort - UPDATED 2017 Reviews & Price Comparison (Fiji/Rakiraki) - TripAdvisor
    Have fun and be sure to post a trip review afterward. Hey-- I just went to the dive shop website linked above and they have rates shown that are inclusive of the hotel.
     
  3. CaptainCalamari

    CaptainCalamari Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Australia
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    My first dive was in Fiji 2 years ago, we were staying on Mana Island about an hour off the coast of Nadi. Just did an intro dive uncertified under the on island dive centre. First dive was in the lagoon to about 5m, vis was only about 5m due to tides. 2nd dive was out to the islands fringe reef. Reef wall 20m deep 800m long, we dove to 12m and was absolutely fantastic, vis was 25m, beautiful rich coral, plenty of sealife.
     

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  4. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Portland, OR
    2,168
    2,376
    113
    It is a bit pricey I am afraid. About $1500 per person for a 7 night, 5 days of diving + all meals package.
     
  5. jjardin

    jjardin Nassau Grouper

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    You could go to Pacific Harbour and stay at one of the places there e.g. Uprising. There are a few dive shops and they also do the shark dives. There are things to do and places to eat within walking distance. Your budget would work there. The diving is ok, the shark dive is cool--so if you aren't going off Viti Levu to the other islands it is the thing to see (e.g. don't want to spend money on airfare). I wasn't all that impressed with Wananavu diving--it is ok, but not in the price range you are looking at and I am not sure it would be worth it purely for the diving.. We stayed at Waidroka which is near pacific harbour, which is cool but far from the main road--if you go there rent a car--not sure they are in your price range as their website seems down.
     
  6. Zod066

    Zod066 Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Sigatoka, Fiji Islands
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    Have you considered the Coral Coast on the main island? (about 90 minutes from Nadi airport) Diving VERY close to shore on the wall of the surrounding reef. Most of the good stuff is around 14m to 20m. Lots of turtles and many great resorts and hotels. PM me if you need more info, but Bedarra Beach Inn is a nice small hotel and Diveaway Fiji operate the diving from there.
     
  7. cbm32

    cbm32 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: I am bi-coastal. Michigan and SoCal
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    You may want to check out Ratu Kini Dive Resort, Mana Island, Fiji

    Backpackers resort and dive op....I have not checked their prices lately but they have always been very reasonable in the past.

    Lots of other backpacker options that are very good value. The Yasawas are not the best diving in Fiji, but with backpacker options all over it can be the cheapest way to go.
     
  8. filmguy123

    filmguy123 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Pacific Northwest
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    So, I didn't get plane ticket confirmations until 2 days ago with the work stuff, so unfortunately I am trying to see if I can make this work now, rather last second, for 5/17-5/23.

    Wanauva looked great for around $1200 USD for a package. Bedarra beach also looked great. Unfortunately they are both full.

    I would need to book this within the next 24 hours or so... any other recommendations?

    I'd like to stay someplace with a secure private room (I will have expensive camera gear with me), and all my transportation is comp'ed so I could do $1000-$1200 for the 5 days/6 nights (also fine staying the first night in Nadi somewhere cheap before transferring to hotel if there is a 5 night package).

    Any other !timely) suggestions are most welcome!!

    Thanks all
     
  9. Trailboss123

    Trailboss123 Divemaster

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Portland, OR
    2,168
    2,376
    113
    Check this out-- Fiji - Questions
     
  10. Debvenice

    Debvenice Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
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    How about liveaboards? Any suggestions on boats or specific areas?
     

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