Galoa is a small 500 years old village with about 200 inhabitants and fifty houses. The village lies just off the north coast of Vanua Levu in the northern reaches of the Fiji Islands. It is, without doubt, the most isolated village on FijiBure.com and even the United States President, George Bush, would be incognito on this island where there are no television sets, no mobile phones and hardly any communication at all with the outside world - except for the local boat.
Image right: the village is on a thin sandy spear - meaning you can see the sun rise and set over the ocean from it.
Visitors to Galoa can expect to sleep on a proper bed in a large house. Your hosts are a prominent family, Disele and Benioni Turaga (see image right) and your home one of the largest homes in the village (it boasts an eating area that can seat 20 people).
Galoa's largest buildings are its two churches - a Methodist and Assemblies of God church. The churches are very active among this devout community. The community has a large primary school which you are welcome to visit.
It has the largest mango trees I have ever seen - believed to be over 100 years old (the image right is of the mango trees).
Unless you are already staying at Savu Savu on Vanua Levu - the only way to get to the village is by boat - via bus from Suva or Nadi..
The host's house at Galoa has a dunny type toilet and washing is by way of a "Fiji shower" (ie bucket of water). The village is dependent on rainwater - so there are plenty of rain water tanks.
There is a reliable source of generator electricity in Galoa which only runs from 6pm to 10pm at night. All houses have power.
Fijian villagers are very healthy and believe that cleanliness is next to Godliness.
It is important to note that Fijian villagers are offended by bikinis or scant clothing worn in the village area - be safe and wear clothing that covers the knees and shoulders. Do NOT wear hats in the village during your holidays in Fiji.
However, if you go to the beautiful secluded beaches nearby treat it like any other - and get a great suntan in a bikini!
There are no public telephones in Galoa - the nearest phone is at Lekutu on Vanua Levu - and that is a good 20 minutes away by boat.
You will enjoy the most incredible and memorable holiday adventures whether walking along the secluded beaches, or enjoying some of the unique activities on offer. At Galoa you will, from the moment you step into the village, be accepted into the community. You will, in true Fiji-time, be able to participate in traditional ceremonies, like Kava drinking in the "vale ni so qo" (or large community hall), dancing and singing as well as swimming in the sea, snorkeling on the Coral reef, exploring the beaches or relaxing.
Image right: The village headman greets the guests in his late father's home
If you enjoy fishing this is the place for you. For a fraction of the price you pay when going on fishing trips organised through tour operators you will be able to not only fish in waters teaming with fish but participate in "feeding the sharks" - and activity that has to be seen to be believed.
Image right: photo taken at night in the channel off Galoa - fish can be seen everywhere.
It is important to note that the "man is boss" in the traditional Fijian community so you will find the village women doing all the household work, cooking, etc. Tourists to the village are welcome to participate in the kitchen, washing etc... but this is entirely optional although you will enjoy chatting to the women about their experiences at Galoa. All food, washing etc.. is done for you by the women in the village - and these costs are included in the cost of accommodation. You might also enjoy joining the men either to watch or participate in their traditional farming practices along the lands bordering the road where they cultivate taro (a potato-like vegetable), Kava and a form of giant asparagus known as Dromo-Dromo. Once again you are not expected to do anything but relax and do what you wish, but for those who want to take a step back in time this is an unforgettable experience well worth considering.
We get a lot of enquiries from school teachers from all over the world. Their common desire is to spend a few days in a Fijian classroom. Judith is a school teacher at a local school and qualified teachers staying at Galoa are welcome to spend some time in the classroom with Judith.
Image right - one of Galoa's several classrooms
If you have children this will be a holiday and experience of a lifetime as they are immediately welcomed into the fold by Fijian kids of all ages - over 70 of them! The beaches at low tide offer a perfect venue for a game of soccer, rugby or other ball games that the Fijian kids just love playing. (Bring a small rugby ball with you and your kids will be kept occupied for your entire stay! Simple things like balloons and sweets are a firm favourite.)
Image right: the entire Galoa school gather for a group photo.
Children might also like to spend some time joining the Fijian children in their classrooms to see how Fijian teachers go about their work - again this is totally optional - one thing for sure there is no shortage of activities for the family!
While the local Galoa Fijian dialect may be spoken by villagers they all speak English. (Fijian translation of common greetings can be seen at this link).
Galoa is the ultimate backpacker adventure. You are in a safe environment, welcomed into a friendly community from the moment you arrive but have a natural island playground to explore.
When you arrive at Galoa there is a very simple traditional ceremony that you can participate in. When the villagers gather in their community hall they welcome guests at a Kava ceremony. An elder from the village will welcome you and the man or male spokesman for your group, at this time, is expected to make a short speech and provide a small gift to the village (such as 1kg of powdered Kava - which cost about F$20 or US$10). Once these formalities are over your hosts Simon and Judith will keep you informed of future Kava celebrations, entertainment or other activities taking place during your stay. (A big wooden drum is often beaten to alert villagers of celebrations, church services and other community activities).
More on kava at this link
Payments will be organised directly with Disele on your arrival at Galoa. Please do not tender credit cards to the village as they do not have those sort of banking facilities - cash is king. There are plenty of ATM machines on the way to Galoa - they can be found at Nadi, Lautoka, Sigatoka, Pacific Harbour, Savu Savu and Suva.
Image right: A shell is used to alert the village to a meeting
Gifts and Village Funds:
If you are thinking of bringing gifts consider bringing practical things like books, notepads, pencils, rubbers and sharpeners that can be used in the school. If you have children consider bringing a gift of a rugby ball, tennis balls, cricket gear, balloons etc for the village... a great ice breaker and your kids will have a great time. This option is entirely up to you and is not expected.
There is also a village fund which has been set up at the request of past guests. The village fund is contributed to by guests, but it is important to know that donations are voluntary and you are NOT expected to donate to the funds. The funds are administered by the village mataqali (or elders) without any outside influence.
The two village funds are:
a building fund which is used in identified projects that help the entire community; and
micro-financing - a fund which is used to finance small enterprises that individuals or groups of villagers in each village want to set up. The money is loaned interest free and with no strings attached. The recipient is morally bound to return the money once he has started earning an income from his enterprise so that the money can be used again to help someone else in the village.
There will be a poster in your guest room in the village which tells you more about the village funds, alternatively you can discuss them with your host.