The Turtle Island Experience is one that the entire Turtle Island team, spread from the USA to the South Pacific, has come to know and love. Our team is composed of individuals who love travel and truly appreciate the unique Fijian experience on Turtle Island. Our Director of Sales & Marketing, Matt Buchan spoke to Chris, one of his client managers based in the USA, who spends every day helping people plan the holiday of their dreams. Chris has visited Turtle Island eight times now and we would like to share her experience and tips with you.
What is your role with Turtle Island?
I get to talk to people all day and answer questions about Fiji and Turtle Island. My official title is Client Manager but I really manage their arrangements to paradise.
How long have you booking vacations to Fiji?
I started in the summer of 1997.
What makes Turtle Island special to you?
The Fijian people are so happy. They sing all the time. They have a life that speaks volumes. I only wish the world that I live in had the same philosophy. Life in the America is so rushed and hectic. I guess that's why we desire to escape to Fiji so we can slow down, relax and enjoy the serenity of creation. I wish we could learn to live for the day and not worry about tomorrow. The Fijian people have a saying, “siga-na-liga” which means, no worries. Turtle Island is a place that you can experience everything I’ve just mentioned, with the added bonus of an all-inclusive resort where all the worry and stress is taken away. The staff at Turtle pay attention and go a step beyond. For example, if you’re going on a snorkeling trip, they pack bottled water and extra towels. There’s always a guide to point out interesting things under the sea that you might miss and a boatman keeping watch for safety and tired snorkelers. Then, when you return from the trip, the bar man is walking down the dock toward you with fresh tropical fruit drinks knowing you might be thirsty from your excursion.
How incredible is Turtle island?
It’s unique. The owner Richard Evanson has often told us that his college professor said, “Be unique, don’t compete.” There are a lot of islands in this world, but you won’t find one with his concept. It’s a place you can go where your title or job at home doesn’t matter. You can let your guard down and be a kid again. Laugh, smile, sing, and enjoy. Do you remember what it was like to have your mom look after you when you were a kid? The Bure Mamas and Papas at Turtle do unexpected things for you, just like your mom would have done. It’s so nice to be pampered and spoiled once again.
What are your 5 favourite things to do on Turtle Island? I can only pick 5?
How about a description of my perfect day on the island. It started out with breakfast in bed brought to us by our bure mama, followed by a couples massage in Vonu Spa, then we were whisked off to our own private beach for a picnic then a nap in the hammock under the swaying palm trees with the gentle waves lapping ashore, followed by a stroll along the beach to hunt for shells. After returning to our bure for a fresh shower, a serenade of singers came to our bure, followed by the chef who described dinner and asked us how we like our steak cooked. By the silent electric cart we were delivered to Cliff Point for a private dinner under a canopy of stars and sweeping views of the neighboring islands. After 36 years of marriage, we fell in love all over again. Oh, and the steak, it was flavorful and cooked to perfection!
What is your most memorable moment from your trips to Turtle Island?
I wanted to surprise my husband so I had our bure mama wake us up and lead us by lantern to the horse coral. During the walk my husband kept saying, “I don’t know why we have to get up so early.” I told him to trust me. We mounted the horses and rode them across the island to Long Beach (they seemed to know the way), and while we were riding on the beach, our bure mama set up a breakfast. As we rode up to the table my husband said, “Look, they didn’t even clean up after someone’s picnic yesterday.” I said, “No dear, that’s our champagne breakfast.” We ate fresh fruit and muffins and toasted another day in paradise.
What travel tips do you have for people preparing to come to Turtle Island?
Pack as many swimsuits and flip flops you have and plenty of shorts. Try to completely disconnect from home and enjoy the simplicity of life. Take part in as many activities and excursions that you think you might enjoy, otherwise you’ll wish you had. Give yourself permission to laugh and indulge and experience Fiji. Go with the flow and slow down. Relax.
What don't they need to bring?
Leave your formal attire and fancy jewelry at home. No need to bring converters and adaptors as the bures have US plug-ins and voltage.
What concerns do American travellers have coming to Fiji?
Weather: They don’t realize that Fiji is in the 80s year around. They’re also are concerned about cyclones which don’t happen regularly like tornadoes or hurricanes in the US.
Cost: People think it costs a lot.When you consider that everything is included at Turtle Island verses other South Pacific resorts where everything is extra, it’s a great value. For example, at Turtle, you can go diving and fishing every day and it’s all included. You can indulge and not worry what each drink will cost or what your bill will be when you check out.
How easy is to get to Fiji from the USA?
Wherever you live in the US or Canada, you simply fly to LAX on any airline and then non-stop to Fiji. Fiji Airways flies nearly every day of the year and the flights are at night. Two meals, two movies, two naps and you’re there.
How does our service differ from every other travel company?
I have first-hand experience and since I love to talk about Fiji, my clients usually know more than the average tourist. I love sending photos and provide them with detailed information and I’m always happy to walk them through their itinerary. It makes them more comfortable when they arrive knowing who to look for and where to go.
What can guests expect when they arrive on the island?
You can expect that your glass will never go empty, fresh fruits and vegetables picked just minutes before they are served, flavorful food beautifully presented, to have more activities than you have time to do, miles of roads and trails to explore, people who remember your first name, to gain a couple pounds, to experience a culture that will enrich your life, to laugh, to feel sand between your toes so soft it feels like butter, and to come home feeling like you’re the luckiest person on earth to have a Turtle Island experience.