Ever since I arrived in Fiji, we’ve gone on a cruise and stayed in 5-star resorts and pretty much experience the best of the best. When we got confirmation that we were going to Korovou Eco-tour Resort, I had mixed feelings about it. We’ve read some negative reviews online about the place which involved the food, the water, and the rooms. This is quite common to hear since it was a backpackers / volunteer-oriented resort. We still came with an open mind as this is after all the traveler’s life and it is not always glamorous.
We rode the South Sea Cruises to Korovou on a beautiful sunny day. The friendly and warm staff of Korovou greets us with a song as we approach the island.
Eco-straws and saucers
Upon arrival on shore, they handed us with fresh bu (coconut) with a beautiful red hibiscus and to our delight eco-friendly straws made of papaya! We were all very much impressed and surprised as we’ve never seen anything like it.
Things are definitely looking up! Plus points for them since other resorts, 5-star even, were still using plastic straws!
At lunch, we were served a delicious fish dish with fries and everything on the platter was eco-friendly as well. The fries were held together by banana leaf. And instead of packets, the ketchup was placed in an onion bowl! I enjoyed it very much and don’t know why this place got bad reviews for its food!
After lunch, we were invited to sit under the coconut trees by the beach and were taught how to make woven hats and baskets from coconut leaves. This was the traditional way of doing things in the island. No need for hats or bags made of textiles that takes years to decompose. Just old fashion, reliable, sturdy materials from nature.
Loco for Coco
We learn more about the coconut tree and how every part of it is usable. Its roots can be used as a toothbrush and for herbal medicine. The trunk as building materials for a home. Its leaves can be used as a roof. And as we have learned earlier as weaving material for hats and baskets. Of course, the coconut fruit is a big source of nutrients. It’s interesting to learn that we can live off just this tree and survive!
Nama or Sea Grapes
In the late afternoon, we were invited to visit a neighboring village to see the women harvest some “nama” or sea grapes. The women of the village spends 3-4 hours a day harvesting the nama and it is then sold in the market. The nama grow abundantly on the reef in this area. A harvest can generate FGD100 so it gives them a good income.
Right before the sun sets we head back to the resort carrying baskets of sea grapes. The nama was made into a dish and served during dinner.
While waiting for dinner, I meet Abu who tells me more about the Lovo feast. Although we’ve had Lovo dinner during our Captain Cook Cruise. We didn’t really get to witness how the Lovo works.
Abu explains to me that the Lovo is an underground oven. A hole is dug on the ground and lined with hot coals. The food is placed in a woven basket, placed in the pit. It is then covered with banana leaves and then sand. The feast is slowly cooked for about 1 hour. But of course, since we are in Fiji-time it can take longer.
At around 6:30 PM, we get invited to visit the pit to witness the opening of the Lovo. It takes 3-4 men to open the pit, taking turns digging through the hot sand. You could see how hot it is with the steam coming out from underneath them. They first took out a layer of bread fruit, taro, and cassava which they place in a coconut basket. A basket of chicken and fish was pulled out from the Lovo as well. It smelled so good my mouth started to water.
We then headed back to the dining hall and waited for the feast to be served. The buffet table was set up with food from the lovo and other Fijian dishes. It was explained to us that the food that we were having all organic and came from the island. Everything was delicious!
Over-all, despite the negative reviews I’ve read online, I still enjoyed our visit to Korovou Eco-tour Resort. They might not be a 5-star resort but their efforts towards eco-tourism is quite stellar! I love how they reminded me of minimal and simple living. Going back to basics helps us to live and travel sustainably.