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Island Spirit: New Tropical Island Breaks Giving You More
Fijian holidays designed so you can give a little back on holiday in paradise
Island Spirit is a small, sustainable travel company based on Taveuni, northern Fiji, which has taken a new approach to sustainable travel by combining the essential elements of eco, adventure, volunteer and community-based tourism to provide a holistically beneficial selection of eco holidays.
Each of these nine, carefully designed, unique adventures provide inspiring and fulfilling experiences by connecting guests with nature and engaging with local communities.
Island Spirit respond directly to the changing demand for eco experiences in Fiji and being locally driven, they help with local income generation while giving the guest a chance to really indulge in Fijian life. They are perfect for those who are looking to explore the country’s rich culture, stunning reefs and verdant rainforests.
Whether guests choose a 1, 2, 3 or 4 week adventure, they will be assured that their money goes to the right places and they'll uncover some of the most beautiful islands in the world - while giving a little back. Island Spirit Director, Kirsty Barnby says: "More and more people want to return something to their holiday destination so I have personally spent a lot of time living near to and forming valuable relationships with local communities to find out what they need and how we can all benefit from working alongside each other. They are a complete pleasure to work with and I really believe we provide something quite special".
Fiji's rich forests and rivers are teeming with wildlife, including species that are extinct elsewhere in the world like the orange dove. Wildlife and bird enthusiasts will be captivated by the endemic barking pigeon, nudibranches and sharks of the colourful reef systems, and abundance of butterflies.
The Adventure Trips
The seven-day "Clownfish" adventure offers a quick overview of the islands, a taster of reef volunteering and a chance to be immersed into village life on the more remote northern islands of Fiji, while the 21-day "Parrotfish" adventure focuses on diving at the soft coral capital of the world, the Rainbow Reef, kayaking, reef volunteering and a range of other island adventures.
A typical adventure itinerary starts with the rare opportunity to stay for two days in a traditional island village with your host family while living out a dream full of seclusion and culture. During a few hours in the day guests take part in applied conservation projects include coral gardening, building fish houses, mangrove planting and forestry projects.
Children and local villagers will join in and help during these community activities so it tends to be more fun than work! The evenings are spent absorbing the laughter, enjoying great food, song, games and of course, drinking the traditional drink, root kava.
The island adventure during the second half of the trip is like no other. Guests are now on their true adventure holiday, they’ll discover an untouched Jurassic Park-like National Park by foot and kayak; dive one of the top five soft coral reefs in the world; hike to, and stay in, a rainforest lodge to watch the endemic birds while the sun rises over distant islands; swim under huge waterfalls; snorkel a black pearl farm; surf empty reef breaks; visit three fabulous islands; and relax on quiet, soft, white, sandy beaches.
Island Spirit guest, Jen McAlisteer, did the trip in December, 2011. "The holiday included the perfect balance between cultural immersion, adventure and the chance to give back something to the local community. Having the opportunity to stay in local villages and volunteer on the reefs is a really amazing experience and Taveuni is such a beautiful setting. Every place that we visited I just wanted to stay there longer or return to again."
Giving Back While on Holiday
The sustainable tours promote a virtuous circle whereby ecologically and socially conscious guests benefit as much as the villages and local business involved. Small groups ensure a more fulfilling experience for both the villagers and guests in terms of cultural immersion and bonding.
Applied conservation projects include:
- Coral gardening
- Fish house building
- Mangrove planting
- Crown of thorns clearance
Island Spirit tour guide, Viliami says: "When Kirsty introduced Island Spirit to me and my Father, the Chief of Yanuca Island, I was immediately impressed by the idea and the values behind the tours because eco tourism is growing very fast on the islands and I want to be part of that movement. I want to preserve na qoliqoli (our fishing grounds) for my son Aliki, it is my top priority. Island Spirit are helping me to do this by means of training and partnership with me and the village."
How does it benefit the local people?
Our direct work focuses on marine and forest conservation but 75% of profit is distributed to a diverse range of areas in need with help from our partners. Local community development initiatives we help are listed below:
- Providing solar lanterns to the communities of Taveuni
- Promoting shark protection in Taveuni
- Working with schools to promote marine conservation amongst the youth
- Providing monitoring and evaluation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Providing rare and valuable work experience for the University of the South Pacific Marine and Forestry studies students
- Supplying library books
- Creating an emergency fund for natural disasters
Special deal prices start from $AUS1250 for one week.
Island Spirit fulfills both community initiatives and conservation objectives by providing adventure holidays on the island of Taveuni in Fiji.
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Phone: (00679) 8353006