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Dive Review of Lalati Resort in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Beqa

Lalati Resort, Nov, 2012,

by Jeanne Sleeper, CA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 5 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6767 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, dry Seas calm
Water Temp 79 to 82 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 60 to 100 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Given the specific site and dive plan, a range of expected dive times were given ie 50-60 minutes and as a courtesy to everyone, were expected to surface not much longer than that.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics 1 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 3 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments The dive operations at Lalati have recently been taken over by a new group. They have made significant recent improvements (new boat engines, fantastic dive boat ladder system) and are currently working on the building to facilitate better gear handling. How to improve things for photographers is on their radar, but not yet accomplished. They were responsive to small changes they could make on my trip to better accomodate the size and number of cameras.

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 1 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments My 4 person travel group wanted a 1 flight less than 12 hours from LAX,tropical, all inclusive,not a giant resort, 9 total day trip to some place new. Lalati Resort & Spa was competitively priced and met all of our criteria. We appreciated being met at the airport, enjoyed the 2 hr ride in the Lalati van around the main island, to get to the dock for the resort's boat ride to Beqa island 45 minutes across a channel.

The setting is magnificent - our South Pacific fantasy - palm trees, sand, exotic flowers, lovely individual bures (cottages), hammocks, sun shine, clear blue water, pool, casusal atmosphere. It all came with a most gracious hospitality of the Fijian people and the resort and dive management.

There are 2 dives in the AM and most sites are less than 15 minutes from the dock. Two days there was too much current and they had to work hard to find diveable sites - but they did. We loved Paul's Pinnacle and asked to return to that site, no problem. In a dozen dives you can visit all the regular dive sites. Lots of small reef fish, few large schools of reef or blue water fish, amazing few nudibrach species, shrimps or crabs - we were surprised about that. Three species of clowns and at least 8 types of anemones. Some interesting arches and holes in the reef for framing pictures. Most sites are less than 70 ft, and reef up to 15-20 feet for pleasant, long safety stops. The reefs were healthy, some more lush than others. By the end of the trip we commented on how the remote location limits the species count, but what is there thrives.

For housed camera, changeable port photographers their diving is a challenge because there is no predicting how to set the camera up each morning. I ended up with mini wide dome and 17-55 lens most days, as the safest choice. The day I set up for macro with a 105 lens we ended up on a drift dive and it was near impossible to stay still enough for that lens. Another diver had a 60 on that day with not much better result. There is no dry work counter space on the either boat to even consider changing a set up.

We initially thought we'd make a house reef shore reef dive each day. After one dive we decided we were not that desperate. Instead we participated in afternoon activites that the resort has organized for part of each afternoon. Hiking, cooking class, how to clean a coconut, sunset cruise to Bat Island, village tour and dancing (yes!), kayaking the bay on the edge of the mangroves, underwater or above water pumpkin carving for Halloween contest during our stay, volleyball, value-priced spa massage, and more. There was plenty to do, including some hammock naps and plenty of time to download cameras each day. One afternon we took the dive boat to a shallow reef for snorkeling and the coral there was spectacular. Some activites are free and some cost extra.

There are no roads, no retail, no restaurants except the resort on the island. Bring everything you need. The resort just installed two new Cat generators that are quiet and put out consistent power. Bring your own CONVERTERS to step the 240 v down to 110 power and you also need plug adapters for Australian to US prong configurations. The resort supplies adapters only. As with any remote travel, if you have an item that stops your whole system from working (the battery or charger) bring two in case the converter fails and fries your electrical parts. The resort does not have an inventory of camera parts.

A recent Undercurrents report had said that the included food was small portions. So we brought turkey jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, nuts and other snacks. Immigration's "no meat, no fruit" policy put the jerky and dried fruit in the trash bin. At the end of the week, I gave the nuts and all but one protein bar to the resort staff as gifts. We had one lunch that was a smallish portion, but otherwise our group was pleased with the quantity, quality and presentation of the food. The daily 3 pm cookies and tea and 5 pm hors d'oeuvres were fresh baked treats each day. One evening was an amazing "pit cooked" buffet of fish, chicken, pork and greens that had the kitchen staff working all day. The poolside BBQ lunch variety was good and introduced us to lamb sausages.


FYI's: Currently no nitrox, but in the plans for the future. If you want to buy local handicrafts, the ladies have a few things for sale on the Lalati Village Tour day. Bring $2,5,$10 Fijian bills. They have no change and things are modestly priced. Consider if a few dollars really makes a difference in your life and be kind - don't haggle for discounts. Their only customers are people who visit the resort and take the village tour. These souvenirs are their only micro business opportunity for cash money. On the drive from the airport to the boat dock is a good sized store called Baravi Handicrafts. The resort van is happy to stop for coffee, bathrooms and shopping. They have everything from postcards to turned wood urn table bases and sea creature sculpture and Fijian masks. They are set up with DHL and will handle crating, fumigation, and sea shipping of large items.

Our group really enjoyed the resort and the diving and the ease of the one flight trip. The bures are large and 3-4 friends could share if you need a lower price.

If you fly Air Pacific out of LAX we have one last word to the wise. DO NOT go to the check in counter with the very large Fijian woman agent. Let the people behind you go ahead of you. She weighed every bag including carry on to the "ounce" and made people take things out to meet the rules. It was not an option in her line to pay for excess baggage, the answer was NO GO. After laughing about this with others at the resort who came thru LAX, they had the same experience, only with THIS agent. On the other hand, 120,000 American miles gets you a business seat on Air Pacific which with your American Platinum card got me an extra free checked 20# bag and a "correct dimensions" camera gear carry on at 36 pounds (instead of the 17# stated allowance)at no charge...of course no guarantee that will work every time!

If you bring things for the village, gently used kids clothing, sewing supplies, fish hooks/line, flip flops of all sizes are especially appreciated. Skip pencils - they have way too many.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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