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Dive Review of Pro Dive/Paradise Taveuni in
Fiji and Tuvalu/Taveuni

Pro Dive/Paradise Taveuni, Dec, 2009,

by Sean Bruner, Arizona, USA (Contributor Contributor 16 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 5319.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 4 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 3 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 3 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments We can recommend Paradise Taveuni resort, with some reservations. The resort is beautiful, like virtually all resorts in Fiji, with lovely grounds and a swimming pool overlooking the ocean with mountains of Vanua Levu in the distance. The bures (bungalows) are attractive with a queen bed in a separate, small room, a good-sized sitting room with refrigerator (and outrageously priced mini-bar snacks and drinks) and a modern bathroom with tub and shower, closet space, two sinks and even an outdoor shower. One outlet in the bathroom has 115 volt current for American accessories. The staff, as is usual on Fiji, was friendly and attentive.
The diving is first rate. Pro-Dive, the on-premises, independent 5 star PADI operation, is professional and well run. The owner, Carl, a Colorado ex-pat, is reserved but friendly. The boats are fast, although very basic. They dive two different reef systems, the famous Rainbow Reef and Vuna Reef, and they are the only resort to dive the latter, since the resort is further from the airport by quite a distance than any other dive resort on Taveuni. The coral on Vuna Reef is pristine hard corals of staggering variety, with an abundance of tropical fish, all the usual suspects in this neck of the woods. The coral on Vanu Reef rivaled that of PNG or even some places in Indonesia. Although the resort advertises pelagics at Vuna Reef, we only saw a couple of sharks in 10 dives, many fewer than at other spots in Fiji, such as Beqa Lagoon. Rainbow Reef had some spectacular dives, such as the amazing White Wall, featuring unusual white soft coral that looked like snow, and several colorful swim-throughs. Annie’s Bomie had abundant colorful soft coral, as good as any we’d seen on Fiji. The divemasters, Billy and Charlie, native Fijians, were attentive and quick to point out interesting subjects, such as leaf scorpion fish, juvenile sweetlips, harlequin shrimp, and the like. What’s not to like, then?
The problems, however, spoiled the idyll of the vacation. First, we were placed in a bure in back (“garden view”) that was just in front of the maintenance shed and generator. The generator needs to be moved at least 100 meters further back from the bures. The noise from the workers and the generator was constant, as was the traffic in front of our bure, making it difficult to take a nap or engage in other, more private activities. Even worse, however, was the smell of diesel that permeated the room. After several gentle complaints, we were moved next door. This was a vast improvement, since it cut down on the traffic (although there was still some) and our “garden view” consisted of a garden and not the maintenance shed. But the noise from the generator and the fumes persisted, even when we closed all the windows to the back, and we would wake up from naps with a headache. The hot water was spotty, and we were forced to take a couple of cold showers after diving, never a pleasant prospect.
We had bought a package, as is normal on these vacations, but the hidden costs just mounted up. On a previous trip, at the Beqa Lagoon Resort, our package also included meals and we got a salad and/or soup, a choice of meat, fish or vegetarian main course, and dessert. At Paradise, our voucher said, breakfast, one course lunch and a two course dinner. Did you know salad and dessert are two courses? Neither did we, and it wasn’t explained during the orientation. On the third day, we were pressured to upgrade to a better meal plan, since “we noticed you have been ordering extras.” Until then, we had no clue that much of our food was not included, but was being tallied at New York City prices. One expects to pay for drinks from the bar and items from the mini-bar, but it had never been explained that when we had soup and a sandwich for lunch, the soup was $F10 each. We declined the upgrade, however, since they wanted to charge us $F40 per day per person! On Christmas day, we were pressured to buy the Christmas dinner, at $F50 each! We refused, as did the two other American diver families, and we were all banished from the dining room to across the lawn for Christmas dinner. All that said, it must be noted that the food was quite good, with a varied, imaginative menu and excellent presentations.
One final complaint is that we were forced to pay a “fuel surcharge” for the trips to Rainbow Reef, which was a 30 minute boat ride away. It was $F40 per person per day, the equivalent of about $25 US. Although our voucher did mention the possibility of a fuel charge, we had no idea it would be this much, since no amount was stated. When we went on the Galapagos Aggressor and the Solmar V to the Revillagigedo Islands, the voucher clearly stated that we would be charged $100 each for a fuel surcharge, but those were 400 miles roundtrips, and on luxury liveaboards, not 60 minute roundtrips on a bare-bones dive boat without a head! What we alone paid in fuel surcharges could have run the boat for a month or more. It felt sneaky.
The diving at Paradise Taveuni is great, but if you go, make sure: 1) you book an “ocean view” bure (especially Hibiscus) and whatever you do, don’t let them give you the Pandanus bure; 2) get the lowdown on the “fuel surcharge” before you pay; 3) make sure you understand what is and is not included in your meal package.
Websites Pro Dive   Paradise Taveuni

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Indonesia, Palau, PNG, Carribean, Mexico, Galapagos
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 78-°F / 26-°C Wetsuit Thickness 5
Water Visibility 75-150 Ft/ 23-46 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 50 minute dives; need buddy; different depth restrictions on each dive
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks 1 or 2 Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 5 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's 4 stars Shore Facilities 2 stars
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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