Matava wins AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Award 2010

Matava has been awarded the Environment/Local Sustainability Award at the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards.

KADAVU, FIJI ISLANDS – 26th February 2011 – Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco-Adventure Resort is proud to be announced as the winner of the Environment/Local Sustainability Award at the AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards 2010 for its policies on environmental sustainability and the environment.

The annual Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards night sponsored by AON was held at the The Warwick Resort and Spa on the Coral Coast on Friday 26th February 2011, and attended by Matava Director, Stuart Gow. Many local tourism operators and business people attended the evening presentations. This year there were over a thousand nominees in the 12 categories. This glamourous event was Red Sea Rig & Cocktail theme, welcoming guests with a 3 course dinner, an awards ceremony & fantastic live entertainment with a turn out of over 400 guests

Matava was proud to be nominated in 3 categories, and was chosen as a finalist in all nominated categories at this year’s AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards. Bite Me Gamefishing Charters and Mad Fish Dive Centre were recognised as finalist in the Fiji Experience Award, and Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort was a finalist in the Quality Accommodation Award as well as winning the Environment/Local Sustainability Award.

“We are extremely proud to win this award. We have been lucky to win overseas and global awards for our environmental policy in the past year, but it is especially gratifying to be recognised at home by our colleagues in Fiji.” said Mr Stuart Gow, one of Matava’s Directors.

Richard Akhtar, Managing Director of Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort said “At Matava, we are of course both happy and proud to receive this prestigious award. We find it even more important that the industry, by rewarding environmental efforts, choose to take a stand for the environment we depend on. We also see it as an important continuing signal to the community which at the same time can serve to inspire the numerous individuals and companies who have been doing so much, and continue to do even more in the field of environmental enlightenment and conservation. This award has highlighted Fiji’s leading role and efforts in this regard especially.”

About Matava – Fiji’s Premier Eco Adventure Resort

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.

For interviews, images or further information please contact Stuart Gow,, t: 679-997-5416

About AON Fiji Excellence in Tourism Awards:
The awards which have been in existence for 14 years, honour those who have made a significant input to Fiji’s most important industry. The prestigious awards are given to individuals, groups and companies in a broad range of categories; covering accommodation, restaurant and dining, tours and transportation, environmental and local sustainability. Winners were chosen as part of a nomination process which began late last year and closed in January. Recipients of the various awards have proven dedication, active participation and innovation in their fields of speciality, and have thus merited the esteem of the industry. Over the years, the AON Excellence in Tourism Awards has grown in prestige and now not only bestows recognition but serves as an incentive for individuals and companies to aspire to greatness in the sector.

Stuart Gow
+679 997 5416

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality offers honeymoon specials for its Costa Rican and Nicaragua Green Hotels

Feb 23, 2011, San José, Costa Rica – With the average wedding costing more than $24,000, it’s no secret that tying the knot can be an expensive affair. Before putting that dream honeymoon on the chopping block, consider sacrificing the wedding dress for one with a few less rhinestones and head to Costa Rica – your marriage will thank you.

Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality manages five high-end, Earth-friendly resorts, hotels and ecolodges in Costa Rica: Latitude 10 Beach Resort, Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn, Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort, and Harmony Hotel. And with honeymoon season right around the corner, the award-winning hospitality group has launched honeymoon specials for each of its locations:

• Latitude 10 Resort: After taking the plunge, spend a few days with your new sweetie at the private, tropical Latitude 10 Resort. Enjoy the peace of your open-air window secluded bungalow and the deserted white sand beaches of Playa Santa Teresa. Latitude 10’s honeymoon special runs April 25 through Nov. 20, 2011: stay five nights in the master suite and pay for only four and enjoy a complimentary private, romantic dinner. For more information, visit Latitued 10 Resort, call (506) 2640-0396 or email

• Lapa Rios Ecolodge: If you love nature as much as your main squeeze, consider Lapa Rios for that dream honeymoon. An oceanfront bungalow serves as your headquarters, complete with a private wooden deck and an open-air shower. Wander through one of many rainforest trails and listen to the natural music of the local wildlife. Lapa Rios’ honeymoon special runs April 25 through Nov. 20, 2011: book the Honeymoon Package and receive an additional night for free. For more information, visit Lapa Rios Ecolodge, call (506) 2735-5130 or email

• Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation & Inn: Pamper yourselves by soaking in an organic coffee, clove and citrus bath or sit under the cascading waterfall of Finca Rosa Blanca’s sweet water infinity pool. After a dinner featuring local ingredients, settle into your bed’s soft bamboo linens and airy sheets and dream of a long future with your new love. Finca Rosa Blanca’s honeymoon special runs April 25 through Nov. 20, 2011: stay three nights and pay for only two and receive a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine. For more information, visit, call (506) 2269-9392 or email

• Arenas Del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort: Stressed out from all that wedding planning? Chill out at Arenas del Mar, the ideal location for couples needing to decompress and reconnect. Surrounded by rainforest, this spot includes beautiful private suites, two full-service dining areas, spa, access to miles of pristine beaches and private swimming pools. Arenas Del Mar’s honeymoon special runs April 25 through Nov. 20, 2011: stay five nights in the ocean view premium suite and pay for only four and receive a complimentary romantic beach dinner and a tour of Manuel Antonio National Park. For more information, visit Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort, call (506) 2777-2777 or email

• The Harmony Hotel: A labor of love in itself, Harmony is a magical place designed to help its guests find balance through love and nature. And with nothing but Mother Nature as a distraction, this hotel is a dreamy, secluded setting for an unforgettable experience. Harmony’s honeymoon special runs April 25 though Nov. 20, 2011: stay five nights in a bungalow and pay for only four and receive a complimentary romantic dinner. For more information, visit The Harmony Hotel, call (506) 2682-4114 or email

“At the end of the day, it’s not the mile-high cake or elaborate table centerpieces the bride and groom remember most – it’s those first few days spent in the marriage afterglow,” said Hans Pfister, CEO and principle of Cayuga Sustainable Hospitality. “When staying at one of our earth-friendly ecolodges and resorts in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, surrounded by private rainforests and beaches, new couples are offered the much-needed peace and tranquility to relax and reconnect after the big day.”

And just as the wedding should be a unique affair, so should the honeymoon. Cayuga’s locations offer a range of outdoor opportunities – when the newlyweds aren’t relaxing on secluded beachfronts, enjoying gourmet eats or lounging in the private open-air bungalows. Some highlights include hiking the wild rainforest waterfalls at Lapa Rios Ecolodge, taking a surfing and stand-up paddling lesson at Harmony Hotel, horseback riding near Arenas Del Mar and touring the organic coffee plantation at Finca Rosa Blanca.

And for the newlyweds who want to go where few have gone before, consider staying at Cayuga’s sixth ecolodge, located in Nicaragua:

• Jicaro Island Ecolodge: A secluded island getaway perfect to spend those first few newlywed days. Start the day with yoga overlooking the lake or relax in your private hammock. Finish the day with a sunset kayak and a candlelight dinner on a floating dock. Jicaro’s honeymoon special runs April 25 through Nov. 20, 2011: stay three nights and pay for only two and pick from either a complimentary romantic dinner on the floating dock or a couples massage. For more information, visit Jicaro Island Ecolodge or email

Calabash Mountain Villa in St. Lucia

As owner of Calabash Mountain Villa, a new property listed on this site, it was with joy that we discovered Eco Tropical Resorts, a site that echoes our philosophy of how we should exist in our surroundings.

Developing a place for people to come and enjoy what I love about my homeland has been a dream of mine for years. That is why, years ago, when the opportunity to obtain this property for a decent price came about, I jumped on it.

Our initial plan was to develop a small village concept, with bungalows around the property. We put a formal business plan together and went shopping for investors. The concept was interesting to potential investors, but they wanted to invest in much larger projects than the one I was proposing. So the idea went on the back burner until I could find a way to make it happen. The fire to do something never died.

A few years ago, the embers still burning, I pulled out the old plans and began to look to see what I could do. I pared my vision down to something I could accomplish without major investors. I still wanted to focus on a natural setting that would allow visitors to see the inner beauty of St. Lucia and enjoy the natural settings I remembered from my childhood.
The actual story of the current concept for Calabash Mountain Villa can be found on our website, Calabash Mountain Villa in our blog, “Island Breezes.” To peak your curiosity I’ll just say it involved an architecture class at Purdue University, Indianapolis; and then a contractor in St. Lucia to incorporate local regulations, feasibility of various features given the actual terrain, and ways to provide the best experience for visitors.

The property was dense with trees, bushes and vines of all sorts. And because we are on a mountain-side, there are plenty of rocks and boulders. In clearing the way for our Villa, we only cut down the trees we really needed to, to provide a place for the structure. (I wanted to see trees all around us when it was done.) The trees we did remove were put to use as wood for part of the construction, and we used the wood to make charcoal. Our neighbors were allowed to take wood to make charcoal also. The bark from the spice trees was harvested and our neighbors were allowed to have what they wanted. Many of them took the cinnamon to market for sale. As we came across the boulders, we busted them up and saved them to use as part of the structure. Then, as we started actual construction, we made sure we did not do things to harm the surrounding area. For example, we did retaining walls to protect against erosion on our property and on the property around us.
The construction phase was a labor of love. Love for St. Lucia and a love of nature that we will share with our visitors. We even went with a solar water heating system (and yes, it will also save us money in the long run.)

We used local labor crews, most of who lived in the area around our site. We have hired staff from the local area too. A couple of them walk to work because it is that close. Some of these local crew members and staff are also related to me.

Many of our neighbors have come to tour our Villa and have promised to tell their friends and family members, who live in other parts of the island or in other countries, all about Calabash Mountain Villa.