Matava Resort in Fiji survives Cyclone

Matava is fully operational after Cyclone MICK
Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort is 100% fully open
after the cyclone passed on Monday 14th December 2009

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS – 17 December 2009 – On Monday 14th December 2009 Fiji was hit by a Category 2 Tropical Cyclone, TC Mick. The cyclone passed straight over the main island and just to the East of Kadavu Island.

Although the resort experienced high winds and heavy rain, no damage was done to the resort at all, apart from the loss of some thatch from the corner of the roof of the dive centre.

The guests and staff spent the whole day playing cards, board games and reading books safely in the Main Bure while Maggie served breakfast, lunch and dinner as normal. Richard at the resort has said that the biggest thing he is upset about is that most of the mangoes came down out the big mango tree! No mango jam this year!

By Tuesday 15th December we were once again fishing, diving and trekking as normal, in glorious sunshine albeit with a stiff breeze!

The cyclone passed quickly and was over in less than a day, however Kadavu Island, like the main island, did experiences high winds. Kadavu’s main Telecom Fiji tower in Vunisea sustained damage and at the moment, all communication (including mobile services) are down on Kadavu.

Unfortunately this means that we are currently unable to communicate directly with our reservations system at the resort. A communications issue such as this would normally be repaired quickly however with the other wind damage to many systems on the main island, it may be a few days before normal communications with the resort is re-established. Please bear with us.

Furthermore, Airports Fiji Ltd was also engaged in an upgrade to Kadavu Airport last week. Although no interruptions to services were expected, the works (now delayed by the cyclone) have now caused short term interruptions to flight services. All flights to and from Kadavu from Nadi International Airport and Suva Airport are currently suspended and we have been advised that the airport will re-open on the 18th December 2009.

We appreciate your patience in these matters, and rest assured that we are all fine and 100% fully operational at Matava – Fiji’s premier Eco Adventure Resort.

May we take this opportunity to wish you and your family all the best for this festive season

Richard, Adrian, Jeanie & The Team @ Matava

Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort, is an eco adventure getaway offering you a fun and unique blend of cultural experiences and adventure activities in the environmentally pristine and remote island of Kadavu in the Fiji Islands. Matava – Fiji Premier Eco Adventure Resort is a PADI Dive Resort as well as a Project AWARE GoEco Operator. Matava offers accommodation for up to 22 guests in lush tropical surroundings in traditional thatched Fijian ‘bures’ with hardwood polished floors, louvre windows and private decks offering privacy, comfort and superb ocean views. For more information about Matava: Matava

Annual census of the 27 bird populations native to the Dominican Republic

For the holiday season, we have just announced a new ‘voluntourism’ package – the ultimate eco-chic getaway. Guests of Tortuga Bay and The Puntacana Hotel will be able to participate in the annual census of the 27 bird populations native to the Dominican Republic – staying in beautiful luxury but also helping us take care of the islands beautiful flora and fauna. This count is crucial, as it helps monitor and protect the health of the island’s birdlife and the package was created as so many of our guests asked what they could do to help preserve the beauty of the local area. Puntacana Resort & Club was founded on the principals of sustainable tourism back in 1969 so this is the latest way in which we are extending this principal to our guests

To find out about this package, please go to:

Chaa Creek, One of the Best Environmentally Friendly Hotels in the World

Cayo District, Belize, November 27th 2009 – The Lodge at Chaa Creek has been selected as one of the best environmentally friendly hotels in the world by CNN Traveler Magazine. According to the CNN press release, Chaa Creek was listed 2nd amongst 6 other internationally recognized hotels.

The preferred environmentally friendly hotels were located in Kenya, Australia, Philippines, Ecuador, Switzerland and of course Belize. The Lodge at Chaa Creek was the only Central American hotel to be included in this distinguished directory.

CNN Traveler is published in two editions, one for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA edition) and the other for Asia Pacific (AP edition) to ensure greater relevance to readers.

The Magazine has a readership of approximately 308,000 per issue and has received many accolades for its award-winning writing and world renowned photography.

Belize’s first Green Globe certified resort, the Lodge at Chaa Creek caters to eco-adventure families , friends & honeymooners and hosts an internationally recognized Natural History Museum, Butterfly Farm, Rainforest Medicine Trail and full service spa.

The lodge’s 365 acre private reserve also accommodates the Macal River Camp and provides miles of trails for walking, birding, mountain biking, horseback riding, a fleet of canoes, and a new eco-friendly swimming pool. The on-site organic farm supplies farm fresh food daily for delicious regional fare while elegant accommodations create an ambiance of peace and serenity.

Staffed by 130 professional individuals and with only 23 distinctive spaces, this romantic little lodge blessed with understated Belizean charm and a spectacular jungle setting guarantees a unique and truly intimate experience.

Reef and Rainforest combination packages are also offered with Chaa Creek’s Caribbean partners.

For more information about The Lodge at Chaa Creek, toll free USA 877-709-8708, UK 0-207-096-0329, Belize 501-824-2037 reservations[at] or visit the web site: The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

Eco Family Vacation Sweepstakes

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize’s award-winning family vacation destination in the jungles of Central America, is offering free all inclusive holidays to the lucky winners of our Family Vacation Sweepstakes

These fun-filled holidays of a life-time are being provided to eco families who would like to enjoy a truly special Belize adventure free of charge. Chaa Creek has been family friendly since its inception in 1981 providing culture based environmental programs that introduce families to the tropical rainforests of western Belize.

To enter the Family Vacation Sweepstakes, all you have to do is write an essay (maximum of 300 words) explaining why your family has chosen Belize and The Lodge at Chaa Creek as your best family vacation destination. The essay must be submitted via email to and will be published anonymously on the Chaa Creek Travel Blog.

The Chaa Creek Team will then send you a link upon receiving your essay to access a short list of questions about Chaa Creek. All of the answers to the questions can be found on the Chaa Creek website at You must score a minimum of 85% in order to be entered into the final sweepstake drawing.

The Family Vacation Sweepstakes closes on February 1st 2010. All qualified entries will be placed in the drawing barrel and the winning tickets for the five prizes will be drawn and monitored by the Board of Directors of Chaa Creek Limited in the Cayo District of Belize.

Winning vacation packages accommodate a family of four and are inclusive of cottage accommodation, food, transfers, tours and activities for all the family.
A Four Night/Five Day Eco Rainforest Package for four
A Four Night/Five Day Inland Expedition Package for four
A 50% discount on a Four Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package for four
A 40% discount on Four Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package for four
A 30% discount on Four Night Inland Expeditions Package or Eco Rainforest Package four

For more information about the Family Vacation Sweepstake, contact the property at 877-709-8708, or visit the web site at The Lodge at Chaa Creek.

Disclaimer: Please note that vacation prizes are non-transferrable, and cannot be used for existing reservations.

Matava named as Ultimate Eco Escape

Ultimate Eco Escapes
Sport Diver Magazine Sept 2009
Matava named as one of only 6 Ultimate Eco Escapes
in the World in Sport Diver Magazine – September 2009

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS – 22 September 2009 – Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco-Adventure Resort is proud to be named as one of the world’s Ultimate Eco Escapes by SPORT DIVER Magazine, the official publication of PADI Diving Society’s in September 2009 issue.

“DOING THE RIGHT thing isn’t always easy. But as destinations across the globe continue to adopt innovative ways to conserve resources and protect the reefs and animals we love, choosing to help the planet becomes less chore-like and more pleasurable. Get active by swimming alongside whale sharks to help collect data, or help remove the killer that’s slowly claiming Micronesian reefs. Or, simply relax, retreating to eco-minded sanctuaries where solar-heating and local gardens help reduce global impacts. Whether heading to Utila, Vieques, Dominica, Fiji, Kangaroo Island or Yap, doing the right thing just got easier. ”

“We are extremely honoured that Sport Diver Magazine has selected us to feature in their front page cover story for the September 2009 issue” said Matava Director and PADI Instructor Development Staff instructor Stuart Gow. “After 6 years of hard work and commitment to our strict environmental policies, it is rewarding to be recognised by such a large and influentioal dive publication ”

Sport Diver Magazine is the official publication of the PADI Diving Society and is one of the largest dive publications in the world.

Mr Gow finished by saying “Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco-Adventure Resort has again proved that it is indeed among the leaders in environmental education worldwide, and this latest article further solidifies our position as an example of “how resorts can operate AND help maintain and improve the surrounding environment.”

Sport Diver Magazine is the official publication of the PADI Diving Society in the Americas, published by Bonnier Corporation.

PADI Diving Society is a lifestyle organization for people who love the water. Whether you’re a dedicated snorkeler or avid diver, beginner or pro, the PADI Diving Society will help you get the most from your active aquatic lifestyle.

Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort, is an eco adventure getaway offering you a fun and unique blend of cultural experiences and adventure activities in the environmentally pristine and remote island of Kadavu in the Fiji Islands. Matava – Fiji Premier Eco Adventure Resort is a PADI Dive Resort as well as a Project AWARE GoEco Operator. With more than 12 years experience in the Fiji Islands, Matava is recognized as a leading educational dive centre. Matava offers accommodation for up to 22 guests in lush tropical surroundings in traditional thatched Fijian ‘bures’ with hardwood polished floors, louvre windows and private decks offering privacy, comfort and superb ocean views

Mad Fish Dive Centre is our on-site PADI Dive Centre offering the best of diving in the South Pacific.                                                                                                  

Launch of

Announcing the launch of –

The all new lanched on September 19th 2009. The will include the world’s first ever totally free on-line green training program for hotel staff.

This new and innovative course is split into 5 modules, aimed at covering the essentials of environmental preservation. Energy efficiency & renewable energy, water health & efficiency & waste water, nature conservation, community, and waste & recycling; they are easy to follow and understand. The course is designed for all hotel staff, and anyone else who is interested in ways to make their home or business a little bit more eco friendly, offering some simple, and cost effective, greening solutions, in an easy and simple way. Register today, and start your free learning.

The Ecohelpline will also be offering greening advice and tips for your hotel, home or other business, as well as eco consultancy services for tourism eco best practices, and renewable energy planning & installation services for all forms of renewable energy, including, * BioGas, Solar, Wind and Hydro, for home or business.

Background of The Ecohelpline :
The Eco Helpline has been established to promote environmental best practices in the tourism industry and beyond, in an easy to understand, simple to implement manner. As the course is totally free, there is no reason why every tourism worker in the world cannot participate, learn, and make a difference.

The Ecohelpline is an all new international partnership of experienced industry stakeholders from a range of areas across the tourism spectrum; the Eco helpline team is:
1. Hemant Thite, Renewable energy expert from India. Also Managing Director of The Biogas Helpline. The BiogasHelpline is a professional body based in Singapore, formed to promote and develop biogas. The BiogasHelpline provides online support for queries, funding, partnering, consulting, courses and careers.
2. Lise Tyrrell, managing director of Eco Tropical Resorts, based in the United States. Lise Tyrrell’s travelling experiences sparked her interest in eco tourism, which in turn led to the idea of compiling a directory web site for eco lodges. She developed an Eco Rating for hotels to fill out and get a score as to how “eco” they were. This helps guard against “greenwashing”. The Eco Helpline modules are based on the Eco Tropical Resort’s butterfly club eco questionnaire, which was designed by Lise, in collaboration with Jem Winston.
3. Jem Winston, Managing Director of Rosalie Forest Eco Lodge, and formerly of 3 Rivers Eco Lodge in Dominica, Caribbean. The eco lodge has won numerous international awards for its environmental Best practices and community tourism projects. Jem is also the Director of Education at The Sustainable Living Initiative Centre (S.L.I.C.) Dominica, offering community workshops in renewable energy and assisting participants with funding to purchase their own systems. We look forward to welcoming you to the

For more information visit or write to or make a regional phone call to us.
U. S. – Lise Tyrell- 916-838-1525
Dominica, West Indies. – Jem Winston – (+1 767) 275 1886
India – Hemant Thite – +91 9423219300

Kosrae Village News from Micronesia

We have always known about the Japanese freighter that was sunk during World War II, the PBM that crashed on takeoff following the war and the 1800’s wooden whaling ship.

Last week we spent a day and a half with Bob Swanson, a guest from Kwajalein, exploring Lelu Harbor with his side scan sonar. We got images of the wrecks we know about and quite a few others. We only had time to check a few of them and we hit the jackpot! One turns out to be a plane wreck that does not seem to be documented.

I’ve posted (really bad) photos, sonar images and details on this page

I’ve also added a few more (better) photos to my underwater gallery.

One of our coral monitoring volunteers has had to drop out due to illness, so if you are thinking about it – we really need you!

If you have questions or comments please use my personal address,
To go to our hotel site: Kosrae Village

Turtle releasing at Eco Paraiso, July 2009

The Carey Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) arrives to the beaches of Yucatan from April to June to nestle during the night. This turtle is fast and agile in the water, but slow, clumsy and unfortunately endangered in land, because its shell is sold in the black market as earrings and rings. Its eggs are also sold illegally because it is wrongfully thought that they cure asthma, having also high cholesterol levels.

Since 1980 “Pronatura” civil organization verifies that the Sea Turtles can nest their eggs in the Mexican shores. The members of this organization collect the eggs where they can be vulnerable and relocate them in areas where they are safe (in places with less predators, away from luminous spots, tides and humans).

At the beach of Eco Paraiso Hotel in Celestun, Yucatan ( “Pronatura” established a safe nesting zone, at the top of the first dune. This is the perfect place for nesting because the sand is harder, which allows the turtle to dig easily.

The turtle nest has a shape of a clay pitcher of 23 to 30 inches deep, and a base diameter of about 30 inches. The turtle caves the sand with its back legs for about 2 hours (you can hear the turtle breathing while caving, similar to a human breathing through a snorkel). When the turtle finishes to cave, it places from 100 to 200 eggs, depending on its size and if it nested the previous year. The turtle always nests in the same beach, but sometimes the nesting zone is far away, so instead of coming back the next year, they nest every two years.

The eggs are hatched around 60 days under temperatures from 82 to 86 Fahrenheit. This is critical because it defines the baby turtle sex: if the temperature is below 82 F the babies will be male, but if it is above 86 F the babies will be female (that is why Global Warming could make it very hard for turtles and other reptiles to survive).

Sunsets, just after dawn are the perfect time for baby turtles releasing, because during this time the diurnal animals are at their resting areas: pelicans, seagulls, herons, lizards and iguanas are sleeping and the diurnal fishes are resting. Also, the nocturnal animals are just waking up. The first 110 yards journey at the beach and sea is crucial for the baby turtles survival, because it is when most predatory activity occurs.

Sea turtles have between 0.07% and 1% chances for survival. Although their probability chances with the “Pronatura” liberation program are still uncertain, the suppression of the diurnal predators activity helps them a lot. The surviving turtles can live up to 120 years, and they reach their reproductive maturity between 20 and 30 years old.

How can you help the turtles to survive:
– Don’t buy their meat
– Don’t buy jewelry made with turtle bones or shelves
– Don’t consume their eggs
– Don’t take the shells or the sand from the beach; it can cause erosions making the soil impossible for the
turtles to nest.
– If you watch the turtles nesting don’t use lamps or flashes and keep your distance by at least 7 yards.
– Avoid bonfires during the nesting season.
– Pick up sunloungers, chairs and other objects on the way of turtles.
– Pick up plastic bags and other garbage near the nesting places.

Eco Paraiso Hotel
Celestun, Yucatan Mexico
Eco Paraiso

Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge Ecotourism Practices

There are many considerations when designing, building and operating an ecotourism resort that differ from more general tourist accommodation. Compliance with a wide range of requirements is necessary for inclusion in the important ecotourism associations as well as to satisfy green-minded guests. For example: air-conditioning is not considered necessary for ecolodges, but hot water showers are a must; energy consumption should be kept to a minimum; the ecolodge should cause minimal or no damage to the local environment; local communities should be supported; waste should be recycled, etc. etc. (a very useful and detailed description and CD-ROM on ‘Designing and Operating an Ecolodge in the Lao PDR’ produced by the Mekong Tourism Development Project can be obtained from the Lao National Tourism Administration).

However, no ecolodge can claim to be 100% ‘green’ and we are no exception. Basically, what distinguishes Rivertime and other ecolodges from other forms of accommodation is that ecolodges make serious, sustained efforts to build environmentally-friendly facilities and procedures into their operations.

International eco-tourism associations define ecolodges as:

• minimizing forest destruction and supporting conservation of nature both generally and in the local area

• maximizing the use of local, organically-grown fruits and vegetables

• using local architecture and labour

• minimizing the use of energy

• minimizing negative impacts on nearby villages

• employing local people

• supporting the local community in terms of education, development, etc.

• minimizing water use and managing waste

Here is a detailed description of how our resort tries to live up to these goals.

• minimizing forest destruction and supporting conservation of nature both generally and in the local area

The resort was constructed without the cutting down of a single tree in the densely forest area of the resort grounds. This was achieved by carefully and respectfully locating each lodge, sala and other constructions in whatever space was naturally available within the forest. This was also the case with the extensive, one-metre-wide, forest footpaths which were designed to wind through the forest, flanked by dense natural growth (grasses, bushes, flowering plants as well as trees). The dense forest canopy covering most of the resort was also left undisturbed and the forest continues to be a sanctuary for many varieties of insect, reptile, amphibians, birds and butterflies.

• maximizing the use of local, organically-grown fruits and vegetables

All our fruit and vegetables are local and organically-grown. During the dry season, we cultivate organic vegetables on the banks of the river near the floating restaurant. When the river rises up the river banks, we are still able to use home-grown organic vegetables from the organic vegetable garden in the garden restaurant.

• using local architecture and labour

Our resort buildings were designed to be compatible with traditional Lao rural architecture while including features (such as European-style bathrooms) to improve the convenience to non-Lao guests of the resort. All the lodges, the office, the floating restaurant and internal walkways and salas were built entirely by tradesmen from three local villages, often in family groups, who displayed tremendous skill, innovation and care in all the construction, including difficult tile work and glass installation, carpentry, installation of European toilets and shower facilities, much of which was new to them. An example of their diligence is that each of the resort lodges wooden roof times was individually carved, on site, by hand. Throughout the construction period, these village craftspeople made substantial design contributions and showed tremendous patience in dealing with the changing demands of the main designers (Philip and Khamkeun) for whom ecolodge construction was also a new venture. In addition to the resort buildings, all the furniture in the resort and floating restaurant was produced by local villagers, much of it built onsite by local craftsmen and women.

• minimizing the use of energy

Shower units in the resort bathrooms use on-demand heaters. The resort lodges and restaurant do not use air conditioners but use natural air flow and fans for cooling. All clothes, dishes and linens are hand-washed and air-dried. Low wattage fluorescent light bulbs are used in some, but not all, locations. The electricity used in the resort is produced by falling water (i.e. hydropower from the Nam Ngum hydro-electric power plant upstream from the resort). Hydropower is generally considered to be ‘green’ in the eyes of most environmentalists as, once established, the power plants produce no carbon emissions. However, we do lose some environmental ‘points’ in this category since we use no solar power such as solar water heaters. We looked into installing solar water heaters (which would have had to be on the lodge roofs) and would have liked to install them. However, we found that, for the heaters to be at all effective, we would have had to cut down the canopy producing trees which stop direct sunlight from reaching the roofs of all the lodges. To have cut down all those trees just to earn some more environmental ‘points’ would have been purely cosmetic and would have defeated the objective of preserving the forest environment.

• minimizing negative impacts on nearby villages

We have developed a very positive relationship with nearby villages since we began construction of the resort. The construction of the resort was achieved solely using local labour and expertise. People from local villages continue to benefit in many ways from our presence, for example: guests often buy handicraft items such as hand-woven Lao skirts, etc. which are produced by these villagers; older women from the local community are often brought in to provide traditional massages for our guests and local tuk-tuk drivers provide transport for our guests.

• employing local people

All our staff are local people from nearby villages. In addition to providing all staff with accommodation plus 3 meals a day, we pay salaries which are 20% to 40% more than other resorts, hotels and restaurants. Because we recruit locally in a rural area, it is usually not possible to find staff with high levels of education or English skills, and so on the job and English language training is an ongoing commitment we make to our staff and standard of service.

• supporting the local community in terms of education, development, etc.

Children in five local primary schools benefit extensively from donations of educational materials and school infrastructure as well as receiving English language classes from the resort operators and volunteer guests. Village community organizations receive annual contributions to village development funds in return for their commitment to preserving the natural beauty and cleanliness of the local area.

• minimizing water use and managing waste

We use low water use toilets. (We researched and considered the use of environmentally-correct, water-free ‘dry toilets’ but decided this would be a step too far us and, we believe, for our guests). Deep well water is used for toilets, washing clothes and dishes. High-quality, 3-stage, chemical-free filtration system is used to produce drinking water and water for food preparation. Linens, tablecloths, bed sheets and towels are only cleaned every 3 days or on demand. Our swimming pool uses flowing river water that needs no chemical treatment.

We reduce, re-use and recycle as much as possible. Organic waste from the restaurant and kitchen is used as natural fertilizer for our organic vegetable garden on the river bank. Synthetic waste is collected weekly, bundled up and sent to a recycling plant 8 km. from the resort location where it is graded, broken down into chips and sold on to a variety of industries around Vientiane .

The future

In the coming year, we will continue to develop and improve our resort, including further developing the Rice Farming Experience, which we offer to our guests, by adding to the existing Lao agriculture PowerPoint presentation and finding more local farm sites where guests can go into the field to experience actual rice farming work. Also, we are hoping to introduce a Lao Buddhism Experience component to the extensive range of activities we offer guests. We also hope to have enough funds to build a traditional Lao sauna and massage facility. We already offer Lao massages which are given in the private lodges by skilled elderly ladies from the nearby village and who greatly appreciate the opportunity to earn a little extra income.
For more information check out their website: Rivertime Resort and Ecolodge

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality Adds Latitude 10 Resort

San Jose, Costa Rica, September 1, 2009 – Enhancing its portfolio of award winning and internationally recognized sustainable resorts, Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality has taken on the management of Latitude 10 Resort, in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica.

Set on seven acres of private beach front property, Latitude 10 Beach Resort offers guests a very personalized and intimate experience, and was originally built to be a private second home.  With room rates that range from US$195.00 – US$295.00 in the Green Season ( June – October) and US$245.00 -US$395.00 in High Season , the resort consists of five spacious free standing, individually decorated and private casitas. Each casita has its own décor, private open air bathrooms and rainforest showers.  The heart of the resort is the Clubhouse, an open-air ranchito which overlooks the infinity pool and over 100 meters of private white sand beach. This is where guests can relax, enjoy breakfast, cocktails and light meals, and have their private chef create meals if they book the whole resort.  An open air studio offers personalized yoga, massage and spa services.

Latitude 10 is the perfect complement to our portfolio because the owners already have a commitment to sustainability and the level of service and hospitality experience is on par with all of our properties”, says Cayuga’s President , Hans Pfister.  “Our goal is to raise awareness of the amazing experience Latitude 10 offers while helping it to reach even higher sustainability goals in its operations.

As part of its commitment to the quadruple bottom line of people, planet, profit an place, Latitude 10 hires almost exclusively from the local community and encourages guests  to explore Santa Teresa, set on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica. It provides bicycles to guests so they can discover the surrounding area that offers an abundance of local culture, restaurants and a reputation for ecological consciousness that has awarded the community a “blue flag” since 2001.

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality develops and manages hotels, lodges and other tourism related projects in Latin America and the Caribbean that are committed to the four “P”s of sustainability – people, planet, profit and place. It offers solutions and expertise to tourism operators looking to enhance their performance in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.  As well, Cayuga will provide expert responsible travel advice including full itinerary suggestions for families, adventurers and honeymooners. Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality also manages Lapa Rios Rainforest Ecolodge, Arenas Del Mar Beach & Nature Resort, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn as well as Harmony Hotel, all based in Costa Rica.

Media Contact:  Hans Pfister ( or Maria Jose Castro (, (506) 2288-5803.