10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com
10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga

10 Best Boat Tours & Day Cruises in Tonga

© TongaPocketGuide.com

The Best Boat Trips in Tonga

In a nation of 170 islands, no wonder most of the action in Tonga is out on the water. That’s why it would almost be a sin to visit Tonga and not take one of the spectacular boat tours and day cruises available. If you’re not on a boat trip to swim with whales, scuba dive or go fishing, you’ll instead be island-hopping and snorkelling among stunning coral and caves. There are some fantastic day cruises and boat tours in Tonga, across all of its main island groups, that we can’t help but share with you in the list below.

1. Riki Tiki Tours (Vava’u)

Go with the flow and enjoy a Vava’u island-hopping and snorkelling tour with Riki. One of the few activity providers in Vava’u that is open all year round, Riki Tiki Tours offers boat trips 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, the Coral Gardens and/or one of the other snorkelling spots in the right conditions. 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, Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

2. Ha’apai Beach Resort (Ha’apai)

If you’re looking for boat trips in the central island group of Ha’apai, then you have a few good options with the Ha’apai Beach Resort. Located on the island of Lifuka, the Ha’apai Beach Resort takes eager travellers out on an epic snorkelling adventure to the thriving outer reefs or a mix of whale swimming and snorkelling on whale-watching tours during the whale season. The resort is one of the few that’s open all year round in Ha’apai. Learn more about their snorkelling tours in the 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Tonga and whale swimming in the 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai.

Location: Trips depart from Taufa’ahau Wharf, Pangai, Lifuka, Ha’apai.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© Ha'apai Beach Resort

3. Deep Blue Diving (Tongatapu)

Your go-to for getting out on the water on Tongatapu is Deep Blue Diving. Whale watching is on the cards between July and October, while outside of the whale season, Deep Blue Diving offers snorkelling and scuba diving tours to the breathtaking ‘Atata Island within the island group’s inner reef. Tours with Deep Blue include all the gear that you’ll need for snorkelling, as well as snacks and a homemade cooked lunch in reusable containers (a rarity in Tonga). See more whale watching opportunities in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Tonga, as well as diving in 5 Best Dive Shops & Operators in Tonga.

Location: Faua Wharf, Vuna Road, Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

4. Whale Discoveries (Ha’apai and Tongatapu)

Departing from either Tongatapu or Ha’apai, Whale Discoveries’ SV Wildlife sailing liveaboard is a unique experience in Tonga. The fast-sailing catamaran will be your base for a seven to eight-day excursion sailing across the islands of Tonga where the main mission is to enjoy multiple whale swims from the yacht during the whale season or harnessing the elements with an emphasis on kitesurfing, windfoiling and paddleboarding between May and July. The experience includes three meals a day and three professional crew to make sure your holiday and whale swimming experiences run smoothly. The yacht has three double cabins available. Note that this sailing charter is only available between May and October. Check out more experiences like this in the 5 Best Sailing Charters in Tonga.

Location: Ha’apai or Tongatapu. Tours typically include transfers from the local airport.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

5. Kiwi Magic (Vava’u)

Troll for game fish species with skipper Keith McKee and his local deckhand aboard the Kiwi Magic. The long-established game fishing operator in Vava’u has all the set-up for an awesome day on the water. A light lunch of noodles, cake, fruit and drinking water is also included. If you have a good time on the boat with Keith, you might also want to join Kiwi Magic for his small-group whale swimming tours during the season. Check out whale tours over at the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u, while more about fishing can be found in the 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga.

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, Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

6. Blue Water Retreat (‘Eua)

Whale swimming, sports fishing, spearfishing, freediving and snorkelling tours; there’s nothing this resort on ‘Eua doesn’t do! They have three boats at hand, meaning that you can often do any of the activities that they offer at any time of the year (apart from seasonal whale swimming, of course). With a very professional and ethical approach to whale swimming, as well as expertise especially in freediving and spearfishing, Blue Water Retreat is the boat trip of choice for something more specialised. Learn more about what they do in The Best Whale Swim Tours on ‘Eua and The Complete Guide to Spearfishing in Tonga.

Location: Tours depart from Nafanua Wharf, ‘Ohonua, or from Blue Water Retreat, Tufuvai, west coast of ‘Eua.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

7. Friendly Islands Kayak Company (Vava’u and Ha’apai)

A different type of boat tour, the Friendly Islands Kayak Company (FIKCO) offers day tours and multi-day tours of Vava’u and Ha’apai 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 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 or Ha’apai Airport, while meeting points are arranged for day tours.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© Friendly Islands Kayak Company

8. Puataukanave Hotel (Vava’u)

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 in Vava’u 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, Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

9. Sea Change Eco Retreat (Ha’apai)

Also offering a variety of boat tours, depending on the month, Sea Change Eco Retreat is well worth considering for your water antics in Ha’apai. Between May and June, join one of their half-day fishing charters or snorkelling tours from their base on the idyllic Uoleva Island. From July to October, the focus switches to whale watching and swimming, giving you more reasons to head out on the island group’s turquoise waters. There’s lots to unpack, so learn more about Sea Change by checking out The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Ha’apai, 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai and 5 Best Fishing Charters in Tonga.

Location: Uoleva Island, Ha’apai. Boat transfers to the island are arranged by the resort.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. TradeWinds (Vava’u)

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, Vava’u.

10 Best Boat Trips in Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

More Boat Tours and Day Cruises in Tonga

That’s it for the best boat tours and day cruises in Tonga. For more like this, check out the following:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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