While at first glance, it could appear to the eco-conscious traveler that the most earth-friendly options are also the most luxe and the most expensive. This isn’t always the case. I’ve made a point of learning about and advocating for sustainably focused vacations, those that support the ecosystem and local people. Case in point: the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji, a family-friendly, ecologically minded resort founded by the son of the famous sea explorer and diver, Jacques Cousteau. As opposed to resorts that are just starting to weave environmentally sound practices into their program, JMC has had sustainability at its core since the beginning.
When it comes to sustainable travel, I always look for clarity and real action. The resorts and experiences I advise on must have an environmentally and ecologically responsible ethos and offer excursion options, accommodations choices and the like that mirror this approach. It is our goal at Solas Travels to help guide clients to the options that complement their own value and priorities … and if traveling as a responsible world citizen is important to you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Ideal for adventure-seeking families and those sincerely passionate about sustainability, Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is the place for diving, connection to local people and countless outdoor options with ample flexibility. While not ultra-luxe in a traditional sense, the property is rich in character and boasts an incredible staff.
Here’s why I love Jean Michel Cousteau Resort, which I believe to be the best resort in Fiji for families who want to “travel green”.
Arrival at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort
Following your drive from the airport, the welcoming, smiling staff at Jean-Michel greet you with singing and cool towels, a refreshing start to your stay. Once you arrive in your bure, you’re treated to a downright heavenly coconut foot scrub and massage.
At turn-down, guests are given updates about the next day’s activities, allowing for a “choose-your-own-adventure” experience. Bonus: The daily bulletins also include details about the local language or certain foods or cultural traditions, tying you more closely to the team and the land, something even our 8-year-old picked up on and appreciated.
Right from the start, our daughter, Chloe, was drawn into the resort and shown to her own home-away-from-home, The Bula Club. While I could go on for days about the magic this place has to offer, I let Chloe do the talking.
Treat Your Kids to the Best Fiji Resort Kids Club
Chloe couldn’t stop reminiscing about her assigned “buddy,” Kele, who would chat about the daily activity offering each morning, then hear from Chloe about what she wanted to do. There wasn’t a day Chloe didn’t want to go directly from breakfast with us (with a menu updated daily) straight to the Bula Club with her buddy and her new friends. It’s a truly unbeatable value for families, allowing kids to wake up with their family, share breakfast together, then head off for morning check-in and a day of limitless fun. From snorkeling to playing mangroves to building a “tree hut” by the water, kids have an absolute blast.
The complimentary – yes, complimentary – and award-winning kids club is for children ages 6 to 12 (children 5 and under are assigned a dedicated “nanny” for the duration of their stay). Kids hang out in groups of five with their buddy, getting extra-special attention as they better understand and appreciate the natural world around them while learning how they can conserve and protect it. With Fijian cultural activities, music, short excursions from the resort, a swimming pool and waterslide, a zip-line, and art and crafts center and more, the Bula Club is a gem.
While Chloe was off having the time of her life at the Bula Club, we were free to explore the resort’s more adult-focused experiences. Among our favorites:
- Daily gentle-flow yoga, a highlight for grounding your day
- A private river kayak/waterfall/hike excursion, during which you can go at your own pace
- A private island experience at a little isle off the resort, with lunch delivered, and plenty of time for kayaking and hammocking
- Snorkeling at Namena Marine Reserve, 40 minutes from the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort by boat, and one of the top 10 dive sites in the world
- Plentiful snorkeling options right around the resort, particularly well suited for kids for whom the Namena excursions might prove to be too much
- Nighttime snorkeling with on-property Marine Biologist
Sustainability at the Core
Following Jean-Michel Cousteau’s example set long ago, the resort strives to impart experiences and memories that are enhanced by the knowledge that this is a vacation rooted in highly developed sustainability programs. With extensive ecological preservation top of mind, and educational programs provided by the resort staff to the local community, the resort continues Couteau’s legacy. Guests here become part of that heritage.
The eco-friendly resort is dedicated to preserving the pristine environment in which it sits, allowing for physical, mental and spiritual rejuvenation in a natural way.
Guests have choices when flying into Savusavu, Fiji, either the local airport that receives two flights a day, or into Labasa (LBS) from Nadi International Airport. The second option lands you in a large farming community about a 90-minute drive from the resort. If you have the extra time and patience, it’s actually a fantastic way to see more of the incredibly beautiful island and Savusavu Bay. In our case, the scenery thrilled our 8-year-old, getting her even more excited for the adventures that lay ahead at her new home-away-from-home.
The room rate at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort is inclusive of food, most non-alcoholic beverages and many daily activities (some more specialized activities are available for an added fee, i.e., diving). We especially appreciated the complimentary laundry service, great for families and anyone who wants things to be fresh after a warm afternoon on the water.
Inside Tip: Do not miss the beautiful spa – the beachside treatment bures transport you to another world. In that vein, be sure to ask about other hidden gems throughout the resort. With my expert advisor knowledge and connections, these are the types of only-in-Fiji experiences I can speak to and guide you on.
Your Virtuoso Exclusive Amenities
When we work together, I can guarantee these special perks at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort, which elevate every aspect of your stay:
- Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability (to next Bure category, excludes the Villa)
- Full breakfast daily
- $100USD equivalent resort credit utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
- Complimentary lunch or dinner for two people/room, once during stay, excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities (minimum 3-courses & value of $100USD)
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
The Final Word
For families seeking an active travel experience in a gorgeous natural setting, with a firm connection to the destination and a goal to preserve and protect it, there’s Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort. The idea of sustainability isn’t simply a buzzword here; it’s rooted in their ethos and what the name Cousteau is all about. If your family cares about this and wants to see a destination doing it well, come here.