Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Vinaka Fiji Volunteering Is Extra Special – Here’s Why…

Friendly Fijians

Fiji is well celebrated as being one of the friendliest nations in the world and it’s not uncommon for visitors to quote their interactions with the Fijian people as the highlight of their tropical holiday. Expect to be greeted with a friendly hello (‘Bula’) and a big smile whenever you encounter someone new. With Vinaka Fiji volunteering, you don’t just meet the locals at your resort like a traditional visitor. Instead you get to work alongside them and get to know them too. This cultural immersion enriches your understanding of Fijian culture and ensures that your volunteering experience is that much more unique and mutually gratifying.

Pacific Island Backdrop

Base Camp

Vinaka Fiji volunteering takes place in Fiji’s tropical Yasawa Islands. The Yasawas consist of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands in tropical Fiji. Four of the islands have dramatic elevations with summits just short of 600 metres above sea level. The pristine beaches and dramatic monoliths provide a beautiful environment in which to volunteer and enjoy the many activities on offer.

Comfortable Island Resort Accommodation

Volunteers call Barefoot Island Lodge their home for the duration of their volunteering experience in the Yasawas. Barefoot’s outlook is picture perfect. It’s positioned between two beaches on spectacular Drawaqa Island. One of the beaches overlooks the lagoon where the awe-inspiring manta rays come to feed each day. 

When you work hard, getting a good nights rest is especially important. The lodge has different room types to accommodate variations in budget, different ages and comfort preferences. Set amongst mature trees, just a few steps from the beach, are the standard double/twin bures and dorms with shared bathrooms and facilities. If you appreciate added comfort and privacy, the waterfront safari-tent-style deluxe bures with ensuite bathrooms are also available as an upgrade.

All your main meals are provided so when it comes time to eat, relax and re-energise for the next volunteering stint. Barefoot will provide night-time entertainment and it’s worth budgeting for the odd purchase, as you might want to treat yourself to one of their famous milkshakes or unwind with a sunset cocktail. 

Weekends At Your Leisure

All work and no play isn’t much fun. Vinaka Fiji programs are seven nights in duration – five days of volunteering (Monday to Friday) and two days (weekends) of relaxation. Fiji runs at a deliberately slower pace than what you might be used to and we call this ‘Fiji time’. Hence relaxation is big in Fiji and its quite acceptable to spend your weekends sun worshiping or napping in a hammock.

If you’re in the mood for a bit of action there are some incredible activities available. Experience some of the world’s best snorkeling and diving, kayaking, hiking, village visits, cultural activities, hand-line fishing, visits to caves… even swimming with manta rays depending on the season! Sunday is typically a ‘day of rest’ in Fiji so supervised activities are limited, but volunteers are always welcome to attend the traditional Village Church Service - generally a very moving experience.

Marine Conservation

If education, planting and construction aren’t your cup of tea, you might like to consider volunteering with Fiji’s unique Marine Research and Conservation Program. Comprising over 300 islands, 4,000 square miles of reef and 1,500 species of sea life, there are literally thousands of reasons to volunteer. Extend your dive and snorkeling skills in this incredible marine environment or take the opportunity to learn to scuba dive.

It’s a pretty spectacular feeling knowing that you’re playing a part in protecting Fiji’s stunning natural marine environment for future generations and travelers to enjoy. Not only will you complete hands on work to help research and conserve the environment, but also you’ll assist in passing on skills to the local villagers who are the day to day guardians of this beautiful marine environment.

* SCUBA DIVING REQUIREMENTS: You will spend time on this expedition both snorkeling and scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least Open Water Level. Non-divers can join the program following completion of a diver training program (approx. 5 days) with Reef Safari in Fiji that will certify you up to an Open Water Level.

Partner Volunteering with a Holiday

Awesome Adventures Fiji
Make the most of being in this incredible part of the world, and add on some travel pre or post your volunteering program. Combining a holiday with volunteering is an enormously rewarding way to experience the Yasawas. Awesome Adventures Fiji offers a fantastic range of options for exploring these islands.

You can book a ‘Fiji Island Escape’ and chill at one resort for as long as you like (there are more than 20 resorts to choose from!), or you can island hop where and when you like with a ‘Bula Pass’. There are a selection of packages available, which feature a fantastic range of resorts and the region’s best activities. Or if you like it your way, you can Build Your Own Adventure.