The luxurious yet eco-friendly Likuliku Lagoon Resort
Best known for having the only overwater bungalows in Fiji, the excellence of Likuliku Lagoon Resort goes well beyond their luxury accommodations and five-star service. Awarded numerous accolades for their exceptional hospitality, what makes this tranquil, adults-only oasis most unique is their interest in conservation. Through its various green programs and initiatives, Likuliku is leading the way in sustainable tourism while providing a purer and more authentic experience for travelers.
As a Fijian resort, Likuliku’s commitment to ecotourism stems from taboo. Most often used in association with marine life, it is a local term used to describe the responsibility of traditional owners and the community to protect their natural environment.
In recognition of this trust that extends to the land, Likuliku Lagoon Resort has been conscientiously designed to go around a mangrove preservation site so as not to disturb this ecosystem. The buildings were constructed with locally sourced materials such as bamboo, pandanus and soga thatch. Not only does this serve to protect the environment, but it creates an ambiance that welcomes a more authentic customer experience.
This experience is accentuated by Likuliku’s farm-to-table culinary prowess, which includes the healthiest organic meals I’ve seen at any resort around the world. That’s why I like to recommend this resort to travelers allergic or sensitive to processed foods. The chefs are easy-going and flexible, which is why it’s also ideal for those following the guidelines of the paleo and AIP diets.
The secret to this fresh and fantastic cuisine is the use of local ingredients, some of which are grown in the resort’s garden. Behind the restaurant, Likuliku staff cultivate various herbs like mint, basil and dill. These are used by chefs to create savory salads and entrees that are often accompanied by shots of freshly squeezed natural tonics.
These herbs also decorate the eggs, which are cooked to perfection and served in different styles with breakfast. Guests also have access to a powerful juicer surrounded by a generous array of raw fruits and vegetables. Yet Likuliku’s breakfast star is raw honey, which the resort collects from beehives in the garden.
Bees benefit the island’s ecosystem by promoting pollination. Meanwhile, using fresh ingredients grown in the garden as well as additional ingredients from local producers, Likuliku actively supports the surrounding community while minimizing the resort’s carbon footprint.
Likuliku is so determined to uphold the ethics of the taboo that he created a position to designate a person on staff to be in charge of conservation initiatives. This is where Sia Rasalato, the group’s environmental manager, comes in, a graduate student whose experience includes various ecological projects, workshops and internships across the South Pacific.
“This is your common hibiscus,” Sia explains, as he leads me along a path that zigzags through the property, “common uses are for decoration, but also for treatment for medicinal purposes. ” Sia is keen to educate clients about the flora and fauna of the island during the nature walks that he accompanies almost daily. From the garden, Sia accompanies me to the nursery, where one of Likuliku’s most ambitious ecological projects takes place.
This is the dry reforestation project. This natural habitat once thrived in the Mamanuca Islands, an area of Fiji that receives less rain. In recent centuries, they have suffered greatly from bush fires and the introduction of alien plant and animal species.
The Likuliku Dry Reforestation Project aims to restore this ecosystem, one of the most vulnerable in Fiji, by cultivating and planting its endemic trees. Launched in January 2016, the Likuliku dry reforestation project is a prototype. It is the first of its kind to be funded by a seaside resort.
Sia accompanies me to the nursery, a 10×10 meter plot located behind the complex. At the time of my visit, there were twelve different tree species. He describes how Likuliku staff collect seeds that fall from mature trees, which are then added to the resort’s seed bank. After their germination, they are taken to the nursery.
Once the seedlings are big enough, Sia bags them up and takes them out for replanting in the wild. This is a process that takes around 18-24 months, but over time it is possible that the dry forest will be restored.
“This is our hot spot for iguanas,” Sia says as we continue along one of the resort’s trails, “if you walk around at night with a torch [flashlight] and look up, you will see crested iguanas sleeping on those tree branches. He explains how the dry reforestation program has been crucial to another of the complex’s conservation projects, which is to save the crested iguana from extinction.
Sia cites Likuliku owners and staff as the driving force behind these green initiatives, which pave the way for sustainable tourism. The people who work at Likuliku are also influential in maintaining a natural setting while incorporating what is grown in the resort’s garden into fresh and delicious meal options. While guests staying at Likuliku Lagoon Resort enjoy superior service and dining, they may feel good about investing in vacations that value and fund environmental conservation.