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Dive Review of Lalati Resort/Lalati in
Fiji and Tuvalu/BEQA ISLAND FIJI

Lalati Resort/Lalati: "Beqa Island revisited", May, 2017,

by Bill Schlegel, MO, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 10 reports with 16 Helpful votes). Report 9771 has 3 Helpful votes.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 4 stars Environmental Sensitivity 3 stars
Dive Operation 2 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling 4 stars
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments Our group of 16 divers, spent two weeks in Fiji at the end of May. The first week at Paradise resort, Taveuni and 5 days of the second week at Lalati Resort on Bega. During our time there, Undercurrents feature article on Paradise resort came out. We were all very interested in that article and most read it while in Fiji or traveling back. This note represents somewhat of a consensus of their opinions and mine about both Paradise in Taveuni and Lalati in Beqa..
Well, you will pleased to hear that all the 16 divers in our group, and 2 non-divers, agreed wholeheartedly with that feature article on Paradise Resort. Paradise, Taveuni is an amazingly high end resort for something that remote. It should be noted that this resort was completely destroyed by a Typhoon about a year before. Perhaps thats why everything looked so new and was working. I cannot add any criticisms to the tUndercurrent feature article from June. The management of Paradise are wonderful. Alan, the Australian manager (? owner) seems to be some sort of superman. One of our group nicknamed him the Crocodile Dundee of the dive resort industry. He would dive with the customers, at least at the beginning of the week. My take was he was personally assessing their skills. He worked in the kitchen and my understanding was he had been some sort of chef "down under" coming to Paradise. Food was superb, with a local or Fijian component and even vegan. The resort manager, a local lady named Flo, was excellent with her attention to divers personal requests. Nitrox compressor with perfectly mixed gas every time. Divemasters were all all excellent. Two that stood out for me were Tina (Christina) a local and M.J. (l petite jewish girl from Manhattan, N.Y.). Both were involved in dives that were especially memorable. Fijiians from the local village, provided most of the workforce for above and under water activities. Grounds and pool were beautiful and clean. Everything was clean, new and working. We loved Alan's two large and friendly dogs, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, although they had a bad habit of getting on your lounge chair with you and gradually scooting over to edge you off while soliciting affection. I will not revisit the description of the diving which was wonderful and covered well.
Then, there was Lalati Resort on Bega island. I will preface these comments by stating it might not be fair to compare Lalati to the brand new Paradise resort. Bega is about 200 miles from Taveuni in the Fijiian archipelogo as I figured it. It is actually more remote, culturally, that Taveuni. We booked Lalati for 5 days in order to to fill out our slightly over 2 week dive vacation / travel itinerary.
I feel it necessary to make several comments about Bega. The first comment is that I'd been to Beqa before, in 1999. Stayed at a place called Beqa resort, now defunct and on the other side of Bega from Lalati resort. I remember that the diving then was excellent, and it still is. Still have several pleasant memories of that trip.
The Lalati resort is adjacent to Lalati village, a 10 minute walk through the jungle. All of the employees were from the village and I have to say demonstrated the same very polite and attentive attitude as at Paradise resort on Taveuni. The lodging consisted of beautiful Fijiian style cabins or Bure's. A husband and and wife resort manager team and husband and wife dive shop manager team were not local. The reefs in Beqa lagoon are extraordinary. Teeming with the same Fijiian reef fish turtles, grey reef sharks and invertebrates as noted in the feature article on Taveuni island. Several of us felt that the fish were present in even greater density than on Taveuni. Diving in Beqa lagoon (about 20 miles across, inside a barrier reef) consists of diving around multiple coral heads, that extend from 10 feel down to abut 100. Tidal currents were, at times, strong. Visibility typically from 80 to well over 100 feet. A dive outside the barrier reef encountered several pelagic's including grey reef sharks. Food was very good. Bar and other services were good. The Kava ceremony was very authentic and not your typical tourist kava ceremony staged at hotels on the main island. We had been informed that gifts of things often taken for granted in the USA were greatly sought after in these more isolated villages. Tooth brushes, new and used clothing (especially for children), sandals, eyeglasses including old prescription glasses, simple medical supplies and flashlights that charge the battery from a hand crank charger were appreciated. After giving about 20 pounds of these types of gifts to the local village, the next night, the chief came to our resort and presented us with a Kava ceremony. A wonderful example of Fijian hospitality.
What everyone in the group commented on was a lack of maintenance of Lalati resort. The actual resort is beautiful but has seen better days. The new on site managers had reportedly only been there a month. They also seemed to express exasperation with the state of the facility but were hesitant to talk about it. They were obviously and vigorously working on getting things in shape. But the comments we heard from the locals employed at the resort were that the off site owners were not putting enough money back into the resort to keep things up. My observations and discussions with the help seemed to verify that. Examples were that we were immediately informed upon arrival that drinking water was in short supply. They informed us that we should not drink the tap water and that we would be issued a two liter water bottle that we could refill at the front office as much as we wanted...They need to invest in an updated water system. Hot water showers were in unlimited supply. Just don't drink the shower water. The 40 foot aluminum dive boat, named the Cannibal, had two large outboards was satisfactory except for the single remaining ladder. One ladder was missing and the remaining one had one of its two hinges broken. So, not only did the ladder fold up and down but also folded right and left with the waves. Reportedly this had been the situation for some time and had not been fixed. Again, poor upkeep and investment in infrastructure. I won't blame the ladder completely for an accident that happened, but it did contribute to why I broke a bone in my left hand, on the last day of the trip. Divers have been known to jump into the water, between dives, to relieve themselves. So, I decided instead of fighting the rickety ladder, to slip into the water next to it. Caught my hand on a railing as a wave hit and fractured a bone in my hand. Not a diving accident; a boating accident. It should be noted that this was reported to be the most seaworthy craft on this island with 9 villages.
The dive shop was minimally serviceable. The Nitrox system was not safe. The first bottle of Nitrox I was presented with was 40% instead of the advertised 32%. My dive buddy had a similar discrepancy at the same time. It was suggested that we both just go ahead and use the 40%. We wouldn't due to the anticipated depths of the dives. I'm not sure how they were making up these blends. There were divers in our group who could have blended it for them but they were not interested in our help. Again, lack of maintenance is the key to inadequate Nitrox pumping. They probably just need a new, modern Nitrox system. The swimming pool had not been maintained. When we arrived, the filter was filthy, the water was dirty and had an oil slick (probably for tanning oils) and and was not useable. The dive shop manager got it in shape by our 2nd-3rd day. Again, lack of maintenance but the new managers were clearly working hard to catch up.
Again, a beautiful resort, in a remote setting with very kind and helpful locals who are trying to make a little extra money from tourists. Great reefs and diving. But the owners are reportedly not keeping the place up. Great potential. We were told by more than one of the villagers that the place is for sale. Would be interested to see what this place looks like in a year.
Note, the appraisal at end of this report applies to Lalati resort only. See previous Undercurrent feature article about Paradise resort
Websites Lalati Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience Over 1000 dives
Where else diving About everywhere.
Closest Airport Suva Getting There Fiji Air. 14 hours from LAX

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, currents
Water Temp 82-83°F / 28-28°C Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility 80-100 Ft/ 24-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No mandated restrictions except have a computer, stay with buddy. It is also smart to stay with dive masters here during drift dives
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas None
Dolphins Schools Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 3 stars

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 3 stars Shore Facilities 1 stars
UW Photo Comments Essentially no resources for underwater photographers at Lalati.
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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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