These full and frank independent reviews are from travellers who have booked directly through Responsible Travel. They are not edited by us or any of the companies we work with. Find the real story, from real travellers below.
Dominique Baal review 4 Aug 2010
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
It was perfectly beautiful, and relaxing as expected.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
Take double the mosquito repellent you think you need.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?
Very much so, as regards the individuals, but with some reservations as regards the community as a whole. The water in the wood obviously seem to be compromised by extra building activity in the bay and surrounding area. Presumably this is due to increased demand. There seems to be much untreated sewage and general garbage that ends up in the sea.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
Read the operator's response here:
Thank you for getting back to me. I am giving you a very full reply as I’m sure you can imagine this is a serious issue for us and we have had to look into it thoroughly. So, I have now had a chance to speak at length to Porridge, our manager, and Steve, the owner, both of whom were there at the same time you were. They are baffled by your comments about untreated sewage as they have never experienced such a thing in here.
Steve and Porridge both feel frustrated that you didnąt discuss this with them at the time when they could have gone with you to the beach to see first hand what you were concerned about. Since then, they have thoroughly investigated and found no signs of sewage. It is also important to note that we have had hundreds of guests staying since it opened in 2003 and we have never had anyone report that they have seen untreated sewage.
Regarding rubbish, it is certainly true that the beaches are a mess during any festivals or local parties. The Heritage Festival was on while you were there (your last weekend) and it often takes a couple of days to clean up. This happens about four times a year. This last time, the rubbish was cleared up more quickly than ever before. The government pays a team of people to keep the beaches clean and there has sometimes been some criticism that they have not done their job as well as they might but, generally, our beach, as a working and tourist beach, stays remarkably clean.
Further, with regard to your concerns, heavy rainfall and landslides occur during the rainy season (as during your stay) and there is a massive runoff from the rainforest into the rivers and the four culverts that have been built to handle this output. This fresh water brings with it silt, sediment and material from the rainforest. If recent building work has taken place, a certain amount of aggregate (sand, gravel, crushed stone) may end up in this rush of water. Overall, as a result, the bay is discoloured and smells earthy and it takes a day for it to clear if the weather remains calm. None of us (Steve, Sue, Porridge, Jeanell, myself, my husband or any staff) have ever seen untreated sewage or garbage flowing into the sea at this time.