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Bulou's Eco-Lodge

Navala Village Rd Navala Village, Viti Levu Fiji
Traveller (51)
Dining (4)
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5.0
#1 of 8 lodges in Viti Levu
4.9 of 5 bubbles
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4.0 of 5 bubbles
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4.8 of 5 bubbles
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4.3 of 5 bubbles
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Free parking

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Navala Village Rd Navala Village, Viti Levu Fiji
29Reviews4Q+A2Room tips

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Detailed Reviews
Subhodip wrote a review Apr 2014
The Hague, The Netherlands11 contributions19 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
If there is one place I could suggest to travellers visiting Fiji, it is this. Nestled in the stunning mountains of Ba and just minutes away from Fiji's only traditional village (Navala), Bulou's lodge is an oasis in the pristine landscape of Ba. It is the only place one can stay while visiting Navala, and thank God that's the case!
The lodge is owned and run by Bulou & her son Tui, and their hospitality is unmatched. The moment I reached the lodge, I was welcomed by Bulou as if she had been waiting for me for years. I spent 2 nights in one of the bure's & during the day Tui took me to Navala where I spent time with the school kids & also met the village chief. In the evening we would return to the lodge & Tui would get straight to making Kava, while Bulou prepared dinner which was delicious & plentiful! Me being Indian, Bulou also prepared a vegetable curry & dal for me for lunch.
Being a local, not only did Tui know the place inside out, but he was worldly wise as well, which made for great conversations!
Their place is for travellers who seek an experience beyond the typical tourist trail. The lodge has no electricity, & no Vodafone connection! solar panels & generators keep lights on at night. Staying at the lodge was the highlight of my Fiji trip. I left the place transformed in a strange way!
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Date of stay: April 2014Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
chop_hsuey wrote a review Oct 2013
Sydney, Australia90 contributions19 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our recent stay at Bulou's Eco Lodge was amazing.
The lodge is not a five-star resort, but considering how deep in the highlands this place is you have all the facilities you need. You can expect to have traditional home cooked meals, a comfortable bed with mosquito net to keep you safe, trill of birds as an alarm clock, and an en suite in your bungalow.
The main attraction and reason for staying at Bulou's Eco Lodge is to visit the beautiful Navala village. Although, it didn't take us long to realise there is alot more to do in Navala than visit this picturesque village. We also went for trek, scaling up mossy waterfalls and swimming in spring water pools. Your guide Tui will help point out some of the interesting flora and explain to you how they still use the land each and every day.
Try contacting Tui (email sipirianotui@gmail.com) to arrange your stay, be mindful that he has limited computer access. Try calling his phone (+679 628 1224) early mornings or later in the day. Tui will also come into Ba town and transport you back to the lodge as it's a long bumpy ride.
The FJD180 cost of staying includes accommodation in a bure and all meals, but there is an additional price for guide and village entry. Discuss the prices with Tui upfront so there are no surprises in the end.
The only problem was we only stayed one night.
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Date of stay: September 2013
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
TipsyTravels wrote a review May 2015
North Vancouver, Canada60 contributions30 helpful votes
+1
4.0 of 5 bubbles
While planning our 17 day trip to Fiji it was important to me to have a mix of island life, resort-ish, budget and swishy and a cultural element. Bulou's definitely fulfilled the cultural and budget elements and was an experience we are so glad to have had.
It was difficult to get in touch with Tui in advance to make the booking as we found out later his internet was down for a while so our emails went unanswered but eventually we got through by chance on the phone. We made a booking for 2 days, no deposit, barely took our names, we knew it was going to be a different experience...
When we landed in Fiji we stayed one night in Denarau so we could get things sorted (another review on that later) and we hired a driver through our hotel to take us to Bulou's just outside Navala Village. We paid $200 Fijian each way and you definitely need a 4x4, don't be talked into a mini van, it wouldn't make it as parts of the road are Rey rough! (We almost were convinced and the 4x4 was the same price) the drive goes up through Ba and then into the highlands and was about 2 hours. We took the longer way back on our return and it was 2.5 hours on more dirt road. We tipped the driver another $100 at the end as we felt it was worth the money, he then advised us that the hotel quoted the wrong price and it should have been 350fjd each way, but he was happy with our $500 total.
We got to Bulou's about 4ish and it turns out Tui had forgotten we were coming but luckily nobody else was there so we got a Bure as we booked. VERY simple, really "glorified camping". A hut with a bed and a curtain into the bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet (we didn't always have running water so often just walked to the river to wash up).
Tui said he needed to drive to Ba to get some things and would be back and we would have dinner after he returned. The light he set up for us in our Bure stopped working the second he left and so we sat on a log eating our only bag of chips (bring snacks!) and drank our warm bottle of Chardonnay under the stars - it was actually wonderful and created a great memory. He returned after 10pm but we had already gone to bed. In the morning he made fresh delicious pancakes and bananas with jam with tea, delicious. He took us to the Navala village and we had a leisurely day wandering around taking photos, saying Bula to villagers and Tui giving us the history. We brought school supplies and crayons and some small toys for the kids and gave them to a teacher for distribution (they prefer you don't hand them directly to any children as it causes a problem for the kids who miss out). The chief invited us into his Bure to share in his private kava ceremony so that was special for us.
The village is so beautiful, something directly out of National Geographic.
Our second night we were joined by a group who were trekking across the highlands and it added another great vibe and dimension to our stay.
I understand that Tui used to co-run the lodge with his mom, however his mom suffered a stroke last year and she is mostly bed ridden (she comes to keep him company in the kitchen sometimes in her wheelchair) and so he cleans and cooks and hosts all on his own now. He is a very gentle man with a big heart and soul and a generous laugh of a 10 year old.
I would recommend experiencing Bulou's to get a real feel of Fijian culture bring lots of bug spray for the mosquitoes, be prepared with a flashlight, some extra snacks (although breakfast, lunch and dinner were more than plentiful and very tasty (whole grilled fish, curry, roast chicken, root veg, rice...), beer and wine if you want it (if the generator is working he can put it in his fridge) and most of all, an open mind and an adventurous spirit.... Photos to come when we return to Canada.
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Date of stay: May 2015Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
alwaystravellingst wrote a review Jul 2016
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia3 contributions8 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We recently did a homestay with Tui and all we can say is that we were really treated as part of the family. Tui is really a nice man and he is very proud of his Fijian heritage. He was very detailed in explaining Fijian culture such as differences in preparing kava for village chief and friends. Although there were only 2 of us, Tui made us very delicious dinner including soy sauce chicken, fish, spinach and many more! We were very very full after that.

During the village visit, Tui showed us everything you need to know about Fijian village. It was really great. When we were there, we were lucky to see the happy villagers slaughtered a cow for a wedding ceremony celebrating the occasion.

Note that there is about 20km distance of unsealed road from Ba town to Navala village. Just drive slowly if you are driving a sedan car although 4WD is recommended. The scenery along the unsealed road is amazing - rolling grassland. Once you reach the village, drive further for a short distance and Tui's house is well signed on the right.

As this is a stay in the jungle/mountain area, please expect insects in your room although the bed is provided with a sleeping net to keep the insects away. Also please be careful when you walk at night, there are many frogs on the grass and some are really really small. Avoid stepping any of them! We used our phone light to guide us.

By the way, Tui's email address has changed for now. The one you found online is temporarily not used by Tui. For now. you may contact him at stuinakauvadra@gmail.com. Hope this will help people/travellers who would like to contact him.
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Date of stay: July 2016
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Karina W wrote a review Aug 2015
Wellington, New Zealand6 contributions6 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We absolutely loved our stay at Bulou's Eco Lodge. The location is beautiful and quiet, just 15 minutes walk from Navala and the Bure we stayed in was cute and had everything we needed.
The best thing about Bulou's Eco Lodge are the hosts: Tui spoiled us with great home cooked (and in part also home-grown) meals and answered all our questions about Fijian culture in general and Navala in particular. The village visit was very interesting. We also enjoyed the Kava sessions and just chatting to him.

!!Beware of George from "Round The Island Tours"!!
As we decided last minute to come to Navala and couldn't reach Tui on his landline we looked for an alternative and found George's phone number who claims to take bookings on Tui's behalf. He is telling people wrong costs (about double of what they actually are) and asks for a deposit of 50% to hold your booking. Don't book through him!
Best way to contact Tui is by email (sipirianotui@gmail.com).

If you are on a budget and/or enjoy travelling like a local it is also fairly easy to reach Navala by bus: the Navala bus leaves Ba every day at noon and only costs FJD 2.85. Ba is on the Kings Road about 40 minutes drive from Lautoka, so easily reached from any bigger town on Viti Levu.
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Date of stay: August 2015
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Andrew K wrote a review Jul 2013
San Antonio, Texas54 contributions23 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Bulou's is the only place to stay near Navala - the sole remaining thatched-bure village in Fiji. (It's a 15-minute walk.) It feels like a homestay - Bulou (Fijian grandma) and her son Tui look after you - but you stay in a separate, pretty basic bungalow (running water, but no hot; toilet, but barely functional shower). When you return from Navala, the swim in the river just down the bank from your bungalow is a treat. And then Tui will prepare kava for you.

The food is simple - curries, potatoes, grilled fish and chicken, and piklets (mini-flapjacks) - but good and PLENTIFUL - all prepared by Bulou, who insists you eat MORE.

It's not cheap, but we couldn't find this kind of experience anywhere else in Fiji, so it's hard to judge it in terms of value for money. On the other hand, costs (e.g. of the tour of Navala) were not explained at all before they happened - you're presented with a surprise bill at the end. This left a little bit of a sour taste in our mouths.
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Date of stay: May 2013
3.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
3.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Zedscape wrote a review Apr 2017
Newcastle, Australia51 contributions40 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
This place, a short drive from Navala Village, is unassuming, but envelops you in its laid back charm. It contains rustic dorm-style accommodation, or cabins that accommodate 2. I assume that it is not quite the place it was in its heyday of the 1990s. Nonetheless, Tui is an easygoing and capable host, always ready for a laugh and good for an explanation of the local way of life.

Suggestions: Get the explress bus from Nadi to Lautoka, then change to the express to Ba. You can then get on a bus to Navala, which leaves in the morning, at midday, or at 4pm. We missed the midday bus, so got a taxi ($60), which was pretty rough, and took longer than the local bus that we got on the way back to Ba.

Take mosquito repellant and a torch. Tui supplied coils.
Showers are cold, but it doesn't matter because the weather is so warm.
Swimming in the river is a great alternative to cool and cleanse.
The food is basic but tasty and filling. Tui cooked us a wide variety of local dishes.

You have to pay extra to go to the village ($15pp), which gives you access for as many days as you are at Bulou's.
The village is quite spectacular, in its mountainous natural surrounds, with the river winding through, and the traditional huts. Power lines are currently being installed, which will be great for the community (less so for the natural beauty...).

This is certainly not your average Fijian holiday - a refreshing change!
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Date of stay: April 2017
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
2.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
ohiowanderer wrote a review Jul 2015
Columbus OH1,144 contribution452 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
It was initially hard to get in touch with Tui, but we finally did and he met us in Ba and drove us to the lodge. It is a lovely trip into the highlands on a road that is partly dirt and partly sealed. The lodge is basic with a large building with the kitchen and dining area. We stayed in a rustic bungalow with two beds that filled the small room and a little bathroom with cold water. One bed had a mosquito net. There is electricity in the evening only so bring a flashlight or torch. The river is nearby and the gardens are pretty. Tui took good care of us but things move on "Fiji time". We had kava then dinner. The next morning we visited Navala with Tui. Later he drove us back to Ba. The lodge is about a kilometer from the village and you can't visit the village by yourself. Tui is an interesting man. He runs the lodge and cares for his mother which keeps him very busy. If you don't mind rustic accommodations, this place is worth a visit.
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Date of stay: July 2015Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Terri0s wrote a review Sept 2013
Olney, United Kingdom9 contributions8 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
we would thoroughly recommend staying at Boulou's Lodge to anyone who wants to experience a little piece of Fijian country living, in a remote, unspoilt part of the interior. Boulou and her son Tui run the lodge, providing great local information and helpful advice. There's no electricity, but the bures are clean and charming. You can contact Tui to make a booking via his email address, sipirianotui@gmail.com,or phone him on his landline number. There are no mobile phone signals. Tui is an excellent guide to the village of Navala (extra payment together with entrance cost to village) and made our visit very memorable.
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Date of stay: August 2013
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Peter W wrote a review Sept 2012
Old Bar14 contributions7 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Our recent stay with Bulou and her son Tui was not only relaxing and interesting but educational as well. We helped Tui gather food for dinner that Bulou cooked superbly. Be warned, don't eat for 2 days before visiting Bulou's Eco's Lodge. Visitors are encouraged to eat more, eat more. Our 26 year old son is a big eater but was stumped with plenty of food still on the table. We had a wonderful kava ceremony and sat up chatting for hours. Tui was our guide in Navala village the next morning. He has an intimate knowledge of the village and it's people and was very informative. The villagers were charming and the children rushed to sell us their handicrafts which were not Chinese trinkets but items made by the kids.
The accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable. We stayed in the bunkhouse and it was a restful night before the early start the next morning. Tui took us before dawn to a hill overlooking the village so I could photograph the village as the sun rose.
More people should be visiting villages rather than just staying at the 5 star resorts and thinking they have seen Fiji.
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Date of stay: September 2012
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Cecile M wrote a tip Jul 2023
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Location is awesome, but not easy to access from the south without a 4x4. No reception, it's a time to connect with people only :)."
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TravBugs0321 wrote a tip Mar 2015
Nevada City, California98 contributions55 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"The Mosquito nets provided over the beds are quite effective, but bring bug spray for dusk."
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LOCATION
FijiViti Levu
NUMBER OF ROOMS
18
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BULOU'S ECO-LODGE - Reviews (Viti Levu, Fiji) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Bulou's Eco-Lodge
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Yes, free parking is available to guests.
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