10 Best Boat Tours of Vava’u(c) tongapocketguide.com
10 Best Boat Tours of Vava’u

10 Best Boat & Sailing Tours in Vava’u [2024]

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Boating, Sailing, Kayaking and Island-Hopping Cruises in Vava’u

Let’s be honest, most of the action in Vava’u is out on the water. Vava’u is renowned across the South Pacific for its amazing sailing grounds with interesting harbours, inlets and islands to explore. What’s more, the waters hide a number of amazing snorkelling and scuba diving sites, while whale swimming and fishing charters offer more ways to get out on the water. Discover some of the best in this guide to boat and sailing tours in Vava’u!

1. Riki Tiki Tours

Go with the flow and enjoy a 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, Coral Gardens, as well as Mariner’s Cave if you’re up to the challenge of diving through the underwater entrance! Note that it’s best to head down to the wharf to book face-to-face (before 9 am or after 4 pm) or with one of the local accommodations when you arrive, as he doesn’t check his emails. See more snorkelling tours in the 5 Best Snorkelling Tours in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Fangafoa Marina (near Mango Cafe), Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava’u(c) tongapocketguide.com

2. TradeWinds

Experience the joys of sailing among some of the most famous yachting grounds in the South Pacific with TradeWinds. Offering all-inclusive sailing and sailing/resort packages at Mandala Resort, there’s scope to cater the experience to your preference. After boarding your luxury class catamaran in Neiafu – available for shared or private charter, you’ll spend a night anchored in the sheltered bay of Port Mourelle, swim at Swallow’s Cave, explore the vivid Hunga Lagoon, stop at a village to enjoy a Tongan feast and cultural entertainment, and delight in delectable cuisine and cocktails along the way.

Location: Tours depart from Fangafoa Marina (near Mango Cafe), Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

3. Friendly Islands Kayak Company

A different type of boat tour, the Friendly Islands Kayak Company (FIKCO) 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, either camping on remote island beaches and villages or staying in the comfort of a resort. Whatever you choose, discover the joys of gliding over Vava’u’s sheltered waters, visiting remote island villages, sleeping under the stars and trying authentic Tongan food. Learn more about these tours in The Guide to Kayaking in Tonga.

Location: Multi-day packages usually include airport transfers from Vava’u Airport, while meeting points are arranged for day tours.

10 Best Boat & Sailing Tours in Vava'u [2023]© Friendly Islands Kayak Company

4. Vaka & Moana Co.

Our first whale swimming experience out of many in Vava’u, enjoy an educational and inspiring day out on the water with Vaka & Moana Co. Aufono Havea is the only female captain in Tonga who has been operating Vaka & Moana Co. since 1993. Vaka & Moana operates the small and comfortable Koko Belle (and soon a traditional-style canoe/vaka) with all your essential whale swimming gear included, as well as lunch packed in reusable containers. Perhaps the only downside for independent travellers is that Vaka & Moana Co. only accept group bookings. See more tours like this in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Fangafoa Marina (near Mango Cafe), Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com


5. Kiwi Magic

Operating in Tonga for more than 25 years, Kiwi Magic offers spectacular fishing charters, as well as small-group whale tours with Keith, the owner, experienced angler and certified whale-watching skipper, and Teau, a local deckhand and whale guide. The company is named after their 10 m (34 ft) boat called Kiwi Magic, which has a hot shower onboard and has plenty of room for angling and getting in and out of the water for whale swimming, especially considering only four guests are allowed per whale swimming tour (yes, that also means it is always your turn to swim with the whales in accordance with the four-swimmers-per-whale rule). Learn more about their fishing charters too in The Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from the Kiwi Magic private jetty, just south of Hakula Lodge, Toula (approximately 1.8 km/1.1 mi south of Neiafu town centre), ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

6. Vava’u Sport Fishing Charters

Another fishing option in Vava’u, join the crew of Vava’u Sport Fishing Charters on either the Fighting Lady, a Pelin custom-built 30 ft boat with 8,000 horsepower, or their smaller sport fisher, each fitted out for some serious sport and game fishing. Fighting Lady is designed for two to four anglers, while your skipper/guide has years of experience on Vava’u’s waters, previously operating Blue Marlin Magic. In short, you have the perfect set-up in place to have a stellar experience out on the water. To make your holiday all about fishing, make it easy by staying at the base of Vava’u Sport Fishing Charters; Billfish Holiday Apartments where trips depart straight from the private jetty. Learn more about the accommodation in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Billfish Apartments, signposted in Toula, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Beluga Diving/Flying Annie Moa

Taking visitors on a wealth of adventures over the years in Vava’u, Beluga Diving and Flying Annie Moa join forces in the whale season to solely focus on providing epic whale swimming experiences, and also offer two-tank scuba diving trips and the occasional snorkelling charter outside of the whale season. The Tongan-Dutch owners with a Tongan crew offer whale swimming and scuba diving experiences on one of their four sturdy vessels with inside cabin areas to get out of the chill. What’s more, they also operate accommodation at the Flying Annie Moa, where whale swim and accommodation packages are available. More on each of their experiences can be found in The Best Dive Shops & Operators in Vava’u10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u, and 10 Best Guesthouses in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Fangafoa Marina (near Mango Cafe), Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

8. Treasure Island Eco Resort

Guests staying at Treasure Island Eco Resort during the whale season are lucky enough to be right in the heart of whale territory, saving on lengthy boat trips to get to the best spot. Departing from their resort on the remote ‘Euaiki Island, the Tofua’a Moana is an 11 m (37 ft) traditionally-inspired vaka with plenty of room to enjoy throughout your day out on the water. Treasure Island is all about combining your whale swimming experience with a full holiday package, staying in one of the private island’s thatched beach fales (bungalows) and dining on delectable meals. Even from the resort, guests often see whales breaching from shore! Learn more about this resort in the 5 Best Luxury Accommodations in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Treasure Island Eco Resort on ‘Euaiki Island (airport transfers are available for guests).

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© Tonga Ministry of Tourism

9. Puataukanave Hotel

Whale swimming in the whale season: that’s a given! Outside of the whale season, Puataukanave Hotel runs snorkelling and island-hopping tours. Their boat tours hit the hotspots like Swallows’ Cave and Nuku Island, while also taking you to a few “hidden treasures”. They also offer island picnics and the option to do some longline fishing along the way, so be sure to let them know if you want to experience these additions. Snorkelling gear, including wetsuits, can be provided. What’s more, their modern boats are some of the most comfortable on this list, with luxuries like a toilet and shower onboard.

Location: Tours depart from outside Puataukanave Hotel, on the waterfront between the small boat marina and Fangafoa Marina, Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. 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, Hakula Lodge can offer tours of the islands, visiting popular attractions like the Coral Gardens, Swallows’ Cave, Port Mourelle and Nuku Island. Learn more about the accommodation in the 10 Best Self-Catering Accommodations in Vava’u.

Location: Tours depart from Hakula Lodge, Toula village just south of Neiafu, ‘Utu Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Tours of Vava'u© TongaPocketGuide.com

More About Boat and Sailing Tours in Vava’u

That’s it for our list of the best boat and sailing tours in Vava’u with a bit of kayaking too. For more ways to spend your time in paradise, check out the following:

Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in The Complete Travel Guide to Vava’u.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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