First thing's first: This is not really a resort and you will be sorely disappointed if you're thinking this is a luxury stay! Having said that, we did really enjoy our stay here, partly through being aware of what previous reviewers had warned.
The boat trip to Maravagi is quite long, around 90 mins, in a small banana boat. If there is even a slight sea, you will get wet, but fortunately for us it was pretty calm both ways. The boat has no safety equipment so we opted to take some ourselves (lifejackets, PLB, phone). Arriving at the resort we were welcomed with leis and lime drink - quite nice - and discovered we were the only ones staying at the time.
Our accommodation was on the shore in run down huts with a cold shower and toilet in each. The room had three beds (one double) and a fan, but was not mosquito proof (beds have nets though). There were old lino floors with crazy colours, and as we discovered at night, a few cockroaches and what we presumed to be a rat (heard, not seen!) The wall between us and the adjoining hut was very thin - no privacy there! The bathroom is concrete floor and old painted walls, and our shower drain was blocked the first day, which they promptly cleared for us.
The shore was mostly rocks and old coral, and there was a very small beach to get in for snorkelling. A few loads of sand could go a long way to making this shore a lot nicer... The land behind our huts had been razed and looked like a wasteland - not sure why trees had to be burned down to make new accommodation, especially seeing as they haven't made a start yet.
We had breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all were edible but not amazing. Lots of rice, chicken, fish, fruit, kinda home style stuff. The dining room was nice with island style weaving etc. We could choose when to eat and there were generally 3-4 options for each meal. We brought our own snacks, water, and alcohol, which they didn't mind us drinking. The food is plenty and there is a bar, so only drinking water is really recommended.
Some staff were talkative and friendly, and seemed to take on board suggestions for improvement. Others were very quiet and servant-like. We got a guide to take us to the other side of the island to see the villages there. This includes a walk through an ankle deep putrid swamp and around S$50 in kustom fees, so be prepared.
The most incredible part about this place has to be the diving. We reckon it was some of the best snorkelling you could ever find - acres of reef starting from literally the water's edge, 1-15 deep and leading into a deeper channel in between the island and the next one, all a marine protected area. All the tropical fish and coral are there, including reef sharks if you keep your eyes peeled. There are even Manta rays, which come in 4pm daily to the channel, 2 min boat ride from the resort! This was a pleasant surprise when we heard about it off-handedly from the staff. We did about 5 drifts past/under/over them with the boat picking us up and taking us back each time. They are truly incredible creatures and sometimes close enough to touch, although we didn't!
So, if you want an incredible spot for snorkelling and a chance to see manta rays (which they don't really advertise), AND if you don't mind roughing it a bit, you'll probably enjoy it here. I would rather check out other resorts around the Floridas first though! I didn't pay, so can't say much about value, though I hear it is not cheap.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Maravagi island Resort A short distance from the main island of Guadalcanal across the Iron Bottom Sound (about 40 kilometers North/ 90 minutes OBM ride) of the Florida group of islands and on the north side of these islands chain is Mangalonga Island. Here you will find a wonderful and a true hideaway retreat. Its colorful coral reef and superb views of the sheltered bay with its deep water anchorage and the charming white sand beach across the island channel is known to be one of the islands paradises. The traditionally built bungalows have modern amenities of basic ceiling fans, mosquito nets and a private cold water bathroom. There are six bungalows which can accommodate up to 3 people each and are all beach fronts with amazing view across the bay except one dormitory style setup of 7 rooms. All are basic but clean and comfortable and electric power is also supplied by 3 phase generator. One motel is currently under construction along the ridge overlooking one of the surfing sites. The choices of food is yours with Island-style meals featuring fresh seafood, fruits and vegetables and are served in a separate dining hut built along the sea front... While at the resort you can enjoy a whole range of activities which include snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, swimming, bush walking, beach-combing, cultural entertainment, sightseeing trips, and surfing. Or you can just sit back and look out over the colorful coral reef at the resort sea front. The Maravagi Resort Reef is a superb place for hours of snorkeling and easy scuba diving. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Maravagi Hotel Mangalonga Island