Turtle Island Fiji: An island paradise, Where Love and Nature Flourish

Turtle Island Fiji: An island paradise, Where Love and Nature Flourish
A string of ancient volcanic lagoons and jagged islands pass below as you arrive by seaplane. The moment you step onto the island, your Turtle Family welcomes you with open arms and generous smiles to your paradise escape.

Romantic, intimate, comfortable and friendly almost beyond belief, Turtle Island is a world entirely beyond time and obligation. You arrive seeking peace, romance and respite from your usual cares and depart with a renewal of the spirit and a deep love for the island, its people, culture and essence. Whether you're a honeymooner looking for the perfect place to begin your life together, celebrating a special occasion, or simply seeking an escape, Turtle Island is a precious slice of paradise to be cherished by all.

During your stay on Turtle Island, home will be one of only 14 "bures," traditional, two room, thatched cottages built by Fijian craftsmen. Each is spacious, comfortable and filled with light. Hand woven 21-foot vaulted ceilings arch over the wheat colored walls and mellow wood floors. Each luxurious bure provides separate sleeping, dressing and bathing areas with furnishings all handmade by Fijian craftsmen using materials gleaned from the island.

The island is blessed with fourteen powdery, white sand beaches. Some are adjacent to the living and dining areas, while some are perfectly isolated, surrounded by high cliffs or set within a cove. Your time on Turtle Island is your own, whether you wish to stroll the beaches, wade in the pristine waters, cruise on one of our sailboats, don snorkel gear and go eye-to-eye with a green or hawksbill turtle, or scuba with your own guide escorting you throughout the turquoise waters. The Blue Lagoon is as clear as blown glass and offers spectacular displays and diversions. Living coral reefs of blue, green and yellow, called "fringing reefs," ring the island and are home to colorful galaxies of fish, from lion to angel to butterfly fish. Squid and octopi live here too, as well as sea cucumbers, rays and crabs. On soft, star-studded nights, the breezes carry the tropical scent of the island down to the sea's edge and the waves turn green-gold with bioluminescence.

Reserve a beach for the day and enjoy a romantic picnic for two where a luncheon of lobster and champagne will be delivered to your own private beach. Lose your worldly inhibitions. Read a book. Sip champagne. Dream and bask in the brilliant sun.

Richard Evanson, an American, acquired the 500-acre island in 1972 as a personal hideaway. In the late 1970's, Turtle Island was used as a filming location for "The Blue Lagoon," starring Brooke Shields. In 1980, Richard and his Fijian neighbors began to extend their hospitality to guests with a mind toward ecotourism. Since that time, Turtle Island has become renowned for its responsible approach to tourism.

Because of the environmental fragility of the island and Richard's commitment to sustainability, access and use of the island will always be limited to only fourteen couples. Arrangements are in place to ensure preservation of the island&'s wildlife and natural habitats, and the integrity of Fijian culture. A road, built with care through the underbrush to preserve the natural environment, encircles the island. Other paths, built primarily to access the reservoir, provide guests with picturesque views of the island while maintaining the integrity of the land.

Through an intensive reforestation program, over 500,000 trees, including over 100,000 mahogany, have been planted on the island in the last thirty years. The trees encourage ecological diversity, re-establish indigenous forests, prevent soil erosion, and create windbreaks. Turtle's three-acre organic garden provides the island with fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices.

Turtle Island encourages its guests to take an active role in protecting and enhancing the lives of local people. They are often so touched by their experience on Turtle Island, and the warmth and hospitality of the staff and local villagers, that they want to give something back. As a means to provide guests with opportunities to contribute, Richard established the Yasawas Community Foundation in 1992. Guest donations are applied to projects that provide solutions to real problems facing local residents including healthcare, education, and employment. Both the resort and foundation successfully address the three main concerns of sustainability: community, environment, and economy.

Richard identified many years ago that the retention rate between primary and secondary schools in Fiji was as low as 20%. Poverty continued from one generation to the next due to lack of proper schooling. He saw a need to educate the future leaders of his community and in 2002 started The Evanson Learning Center on Turtle Island. The school is providing unprecedented access to a world-class education for the young people in the area.

Through the years, Turtle Island has hosted many eye and dental clinics that have made a huge improvement in the health of Turtle Island's staff and local villagers. Dental clinics continue to be held in the island's fully functional dental bure. Thanks to these clinics, Fiji's friendliest people on earth really have something to smile about.

Richard has assisted his community in building small, backpacker resorts through interest-free loans to local villages. He has been instrumental in the design of the resorts' bures, and his business sense helped guide the local owners with their marketing plan. The project has brought success to the villagers and provided over 150 jobs to the area.

Environmental audits, which are commissioned by the resort every five years to assess the economical, social and cultural impact the resort has on life in the region, concluded that "Turtle Island is a precious gift of nature and something to be treasured and protected…."

Turtle Island holds an important place in the hearts of those who live and work there. Richard Evanson's invaluable humanitarian and environmental contributions to the island and the surrounding islands will be remembered long after he is gone. He has created a successful tourism model that benefits the environment and people of isolated destinations, while pampering guests in five-star surroundings and enriching their cultural experience. Turtle Island truly is a place once discovered that will never be forgotten.