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The Green Lagoon

by Jason Kessler

On a remote island in Fiji, sustainability is all part of the plan

The dream of visiting a private island can fade quickly once the word “resort” gets involved. At Turtle Island, though, every effort is made to give you an authentic Fijian experience while still providing the comforts of an all-inclusive property that charges upward of $2,000 a night. That means your outdoor shower dispenses natural rainwater, your salads come from the extensive organic gardens on property and the bulbs that light the way back to your spacious bure (traditional Fijian dwelling) are powered by the island’s rich array of solar panels.

Turtle Island was the set of the 1980 movie The Blue Lagoon, and the ideal of living in a shipwrecked paradise still exists there today (minus the shipwreck). The total experience may not match similarly priced resorts in terms of amenities, but for those interested in peace, quiet and privacy, the lack of luxury pampering is more a selling point than a negative. After all, it’s rare to find a destination where you get to choose your very own private beach each day.

Sustainability is paramount at Turtle Island. The island relies on 968 solar panels to meet 75 percent of its energy needs, and the goal is to get closer to 90 percent as soon as possible. Collected rainwater is recycled and used for laundry and other purposes.

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The property collects rainwater to feed its organic gardens

The water is also used in the resort’s extensive organic gardens, which provide everything from sweet corn to coconuts to bok choy. At multiple gardens all over the island, staff members tend to the various crops and harvest them for use in the meals served both in the communal dining room and at romantic private dine-outs held on beaches, docks and cliffs that overlook the calm waters floating through the Yasawa Island chain. While meats and non-indigenous produce are regularly flown in via seaplanes, the majority of the fruits and vegetables served come directly from the island.

Turtle Island exists as a counterpoint to the high-end luxury options in more developed locales. It’s an effort to showcase Fijian life at its most ideal: friendly, community-focused and—most importantly—respectful of the land itself.

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