Tongans are a very friendly and welcoming people. Accommodation is easy to find in the many resorts around the islands owned by locals and foreigners who have settled in the country. Most of the food, accommodation, tours, and transportation are affordable. Be prepared for a simple and laidback way of living, as Tonga has not yet been spoiled by commercialism and too much tourism.

When to Go

It is mainly subtropical with a cooler climate from May to December. Mostly it’s hot and tropical, but with sea breezes.

Getting There & Away

Direct flights to Tonga are available in Auckland and Los Angeles with Air New Zealand. There are also many private yachts taking world cruise routes that stop over the country. A boat or a yacht is used to go from one island to another. Within the islands, most of the areas are walkable. You can take a taxi or a hired car to get around.

Health & Safety

There’s little to be worried about in Tonga when it comes to general health and safety. You should bring insect repellents though because the mosquitos (namu) there are nasty. Also, watch out for centipedes (molokau), as they seriously sting.

Itineraries

Three days in Nuku’alofa
Two days in Neiafu
Two days in Vava’u

Additional time
Two days in Ha’apai

Highlights

Mt. Talau: is part of a small national park that provides a great view of Neiafu, the islands of the Vava’u, and the scenic Port of Refuge harbor.

Island resorts: floorshows in which local songs and dances are performed by the locals are common in resorts.

Nuku’alofa market: located in the capital city, this market sells souvenirs and island fruits. The best time to go there is Saturday morning.

Vava’u Islands: these are a group of uninhabited Islands. You can rent a small boat for a day to explore them and be the only one some of them.

Anahulu cave: this is an underground cavern filled with stalagmites and stalactites. It isn’t going to be fun exploring it if you don’t bring your own flashlight. And a spare!

Royal Palace: this is the official residence of the Tongan monarchy. It is a wooden structure that can be easily seen from the waterfront. It’s not open to the public, however.

Activities

Feasting: a trip to Tonga is not complete without experiencing a big Tongan feast. Tongans eat big so take what you want on the first round because there may not be any left for seconds.

Snorkeling: go snorkeling along the small islands near the main island of Tongtapu. The water there is so clear you’ll be able to see some colorful fish.

Sailing: around the inner islands and make friends with the yachties. Join a sailing safari for a guided tour of the islands.

Whale watching: go whale watching in the islands of Vava’u in the company of a tour guide and a tour group.

Drinking: try the local Kava, which is something similar to liquid novocaine – need we say more! Local brews and imported beers are also available.