Island-Hopping Cruises in Vava’u
Let’s be honest, most of the action in Vava’u is out on the water. If you’re not doing scuba diving, whale swimming or a fishing charter then at least head out on the water on one of the amazing boat tours of Vava’u!
Some of Vava’u’s most impressive natural features are on and in the water surrounding the islands, including the Japanese Coral Gardens – a superb snorkelling spot, Mariner’s Cave where you dive underwater to emerge in a cavern, and Swallows’ Cave home to impressive schools of fish. Some boat tours will also take you to have lunch on uninhabited islands, visit local villages and more. Check out our top recommendations in this list of the best boat tours of Vava’u.
While you’re here, you might also be interested in The Complete Guide to Vava’u.
1. Hakau Adventures
Cruise the islands and hit the snorkelling highlights on a day cruise with Hakau Adventures. The six-hour trip takes you from Neiafu to explore the real Vava’u, hitting spectacular spots like the huge Swallows’ Cave to swim with the schools of fish that reside inside. You’ll also head to Mariner’s Cave and few “secret spots” along the way. Snorkelling gear is provided, as well as refreshments after every swim and a full lunch. This is a recommended option for families, as seen in the 10 Things To Do in Vava’u with Kids.
2. South Pacific Sea Adventures
Also known as Melinda Sea Adventures, South Pacific Sea Adventures offer two stunning sailing yachts to explore Vava’u. As well as multi-day excursions, they also offer day sails including visits to top snorkelling spots, stopping off somewhere for lunch and they are even certified to do whale swimming in the season (July to October). South Pacific Sea Adventures offers guests the opportunity to get involved in the sailing if they like, otherwise, you’re free to relax. Learn more about sailing in Vava’u here.
3. Riki Tiki Tours
Go with the flow and enjoy an island-hopping snorkelling tour with Riki! The year-round activity provider offers boat tours for snorkelling, scuba diving and island resort transfers. With that in mind, you could be sharing the boat with a group of different people doing different things, which often takes you to interesting spots around the islands! Those wishing to do a bit of snorkelling will get the opportunity at Swallows’ Cave, as well as Mariner’s Cave if you’re up to the challenge of diving through the underwater entrance! See more about scuba diving with Riki Tiki Tours in the 7 Best Scuba Diving Tours in Vava’u.
4. Hakula Lodge
Sports fishing and self-contained accommodation might be the main focus of Hakula Lodge, but the team onboard the Monu’la also offer scenic cruises of Vava’u. As long as the boat isn’t being used for sports fishing or whale swimming, Hakula Lodge can offer tours of the islands, visiting popular attractions like the Japanese Gardens, Swallows’ Cave, Port Mourelle and Nuku Island beach. Learn more about the accommodation in the 8 Best Luxury Accommodation in Vava’u.
5. Port of Refuge Villas
Another accommodation provider offering in-house boat tours is the Port of Refuge Villas. Join them for an authentic locals tours of Vava’u, including a stop at Swallows’ Cave, the Japanese Gardens and Nuku Island beach – all for a swim and snorkel in these incredible natural attractions in Vava’u. The tour is a full-day tour and requires a minimum of four people for the trip to go ahead. Learn more about the Port of Refuge Villas in the 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Vava’u.
6. Beautiful Ofu Island Backpackers
Join a local for a tour of their back yard at the Beautiful Ofu Island Backpackers! The budget resort on Ofu Island offers an excellent “5 Island Tour”, which is one of the most affordable boat tours in Vava’u. The day includes visiting various different islands in eastern Vava’u, stopping for some snorkelling and a Tongan lunch. A minimum of two people needs to be on the tour in order for it to go ahead.
7. Friendly Islands Kayak Company
A different type of boat tour, the Friendly Islands Kayak Company offers day tours and multi-day tours of Vava’u by kayak! Their multi-day offerings go from three-day tours to 10-day missions, with different kinds of packages available. Some tours include whale swimming, diving, sailing and/or mountain biking, while all tours include some snorkelling. Discover the joys of gliding over Vava’u’s sheltered waters, visiting remote island villages, sleeping under the stars and trying authentic Tongan food.
8. Treasure Island Eco Resort
This eco-resort on the remote Eueiki Island offers whale swimming tours in the season and a “Historical Adventure in Paradise Snorkel Tour” out of the season. The boat tour takes you out to a neighbouring island where you’ll see the tomb of a Samoan princess. Learn about the Tongan legends as you hike around the island, seeing awesome caves and forest, before stopping at some sea caves for a snorkel and a swim. Lunch is also included in this three to four-hour tour. Learn more about the Treasure Island Eco Resort in the 5 Best Eco Resorts in Vava’u.
9. The Moorings and Sunsail
Finally, for a multi-day luxury sailing excursion, turn to The Moorings and Sunsail. Operating out of the Mango Cafe in Neiafu, The Moorings and Sunsail has a large fleet of modern yachts to take you across Vava’u exploring different islands. Skippered charters and bareboat charters are available. See more activities like this in the 10 Luxury Activities in Vava’u.
[UPDATE] Explore Vava’u
[Update: Explore Vava’u no longer offer the tour described below. See 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u to learn more about their whale swimming tours.]
Explore Vava’u offers a wide range of land and water tours from the wharf near the Mango Cafe, as well as from the Mandala Resort. Join their Eastern Islands Boat Tour where you’ll visit remote islands for island hikes, see Vava’u’s only blowhole and surround yourself in pristine sand as you walk on a sand cay. Explore Vava’u also offers a couple of different snorkelling tours, either to visit three different caves or to snorkel the less-visited reefs of the eastern islands. Learn more about their snorkelling tours and others in Vava’u here.