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schmer
Vancouver, Canada
Abaca Village Stay
4.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 24 Oct 2022
This was a great experience and we highly recommend. We booked directly with Pau (pauliasikubu62@gmail.com) and purposely didn't go through a tour company - they take a high commission away from the village. It's hard to get through to Pau though, as no reception or data in the village means he must drive into Lautoka to answer emails. But a week before arriving, we got an answer and though no actual confirmation that they could in fact pick us up at the bus station in Lautoka at a specific time, lo and behold, Mark was there to pick us up.

We stayed one night in Pau's home and the hospitality was lovely. The sleeping arrangements are very simple and humble, but it suited us fine and was worth the experience. When we arrived, the men who played 7's for the village were practicing in the field in front of the church. After they finished, they huddled for prayer and then broke out into a glorious a cappella hymn in 4 part harmony. It was incredible to witness this small slice of life under moonlit skies. That night we presented our kava root to the chief and shared kava together. My husband stayed and had great conversations about the world and life with Pau, the chief, and a few other men. Our dinner and breakfast was a big spread of food and wonderful.

The next morning at 8am, Pau let us up to hike Mt. Batilamu. It was 10km round trip - 3 hours up and 2 hours down (closer to 6 hours total when you count the break for lunch up on the cliff). Our kids (6&8) were well able for the climb at this pace, but we do hike with them back in Vancouver for context. The way down was quite slippery at the top, so that portion did take longer than we had hoped. For a portion of that terrain Pau had our son on his shoulders, if you can believe it ;).

We highly recommend doing village stays like this when in Fiji, to get off the beaten track and away from the curated resorts. The only way to really see the Fijian way of life is to stay over night and immerse yourself to do so. You must be open minded and okay with rustic accommodations and in return you will have an authentic and memorable experience.
Date of stay: October 2022
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    Reviews (8)
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    1 - 6 of 8 reviews
    Reviewed 30 April 2022 via mobile

    I have always wanted to explore highlands in Fiji above Lautoka. Finally we were able to drive up to Abaca village in our own truck (not 4wheel drive) We had to pay $20 per head at the visitors centre. The scenery was spectacular as expected as well as the flora - beautiful views down to the ocean; lush vegetation especially in rain forest part. Unfortunately we only got to see waterfall from the distance due to poor marking and overgrown trails. We do hope very much to go there again once it has been cleared up more

    Date of stay: April 2022
    Trip type: Travelled with friends
    1  Thank katkranz
    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.
    Reviewed 21 January 2020 via mobile

    Our family did the hike up to Mt Batilamu and loved it! It’s a steep challenging walk but the kids (7&9) made it to the top in two hours with lots of rests (I needed a few more rests than them😉), and back down in an hour. Stunning views and well cared for hut at the top. Cool clean stream to soak in at the bottom.

    We called Pau and he gave our number to a taxi driver who was lovely, and on time! He only charged $30FJD each way and waited for us while we walked. We gave him more because he was so kind and it felt like the right thing to do. Entry was $20/adult and $10/child. We got a guide and it was $40/person. Well worth it as the track splits and winds a lot. If we had known how much we would love it we would have stayed two nights.

    I would recommend this experience to people with a decent level of fitness, who aren’t expecting five star facilities. Avoid the tour companies and organise the trip with Pau directly.

    Date of stay: January 2020
    Trip type: Travelled with family
    Thank Maddie L
    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.
    Reviewed 14 September 2019 via mobile

    We spent 2 days and 2 nights in Abaca and totally recommand it. You can just rent a 4*4 car and go there on your own. You will live the true fidjian experience with no "touristic approach".
    Kalesia was wonderful. We had Fijian meals with her and family. It was simple but delicious and authentic.
    You can go on your own to visit the waterfall and to climb Mt Batilamu.
    À good experience is to go and hunt wild pig on a horse with Kalesi's boys.
    Totally recommend!!!

    Date of stay: September 2019
    Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    2  Thank TeresaCC75
    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.
    Reviewed 7 February 2019 via mobile

    This one night stay at the Abaca village was the highlight of our trip. The village is located in a scenic mountain valley and if you're a hiker like us, there's a couple of good day treks in the area. You can spend the night in a mountain lodge or down in the village. If you have time, why not both.

    Essential here is to not book the stay through the tour companies because they will charge you almost double the price and the money doesn't go to the village. Don't send email to abacaecotour@gmail.com, it's a tour company even though it may appear it's not. The villagers don't really have Internet so the best bet is to call Pau, the Abaca Village Project manager (+679 7193194) or have someone call him for you (i.e. a receptionist).

    Pau can arrange your ride with Simon, who is a really friendly guy, from Lautoka to the village for 80$ return trip. Other prices at the time we were there were: 20$ entrance, 7-15$ for delicious traditional home cooked meals, 35$ for the lodge accommodation. You can also make your own food at the lodge if you so please.

    We preferred to see the village life, so we ate with Pau and his family at his house. All the people at the village are very welcoming and the children are lovely.

    About the hikes then. The hikes were a bit challenging because the paths are not marked. We managed to find our way ok without a guide to Mt. Batilamu but with the Savuone falls route we had to ask Pau to guide us, because we got lost on the way. The falls path is quite hidden in the jungle and there're some river crossings and wall climbing!

    We recommend good shoes and a guide (even though Pau walked in his flip-flops).

    Date of stay: February 2019
    Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    3  Thank tangyjoe
    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.
    Reviewed 31 October 2015

    If you want a real Fijian experience then this is the thing for you. My girlfriend and I stayed with a delightful family in this truly stunning village. The village and accommodation is very basic but that only added to the authenticity of the place. We were the only non-Fijians staying and were made to feel very welcome by the whole village and especially the sweet little children. We stayed in the home of a family and shared their food and their room (if you're after 5 star or privacy then this isn't for you!). One of the sons guided us up a mountain which afforded sensational views and was a good work-out!
    We booked through an agency who took a huge commission and didn't even inform the village we were coming. I'd therefore just recommend turning up (by car) and paying the villagers directly. It'll be cheaper for you and will ensure the money actually goes to the villagers. There's a tiny tourist office there so they're set up to take people who just turn up.
    I highly recommend this unforgettable experience.

    Date of stay: December 2014
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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    5  Thank engrob84
    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.
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