The Best Tonga Boat Tours for Exploring the Islands and Snorkelling
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 trips 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. The latter is what we’ll go over in this list of boat trips in Tonga.
1. Taufatahi Charters
Another fantastic option for cruising around Tongatapu is Taufatahi Charters. They offer full-day cruises year-round, half-day cruises outside of the whale season, and private charters. Escape the hustle and bustle of Nuku’alofa for the Tongatapu waters with its uninhabited islands, turquoise waters and sandy beaches. The tour includes snorkelling gear, which you’ll get to use profusely, as well as swimming, beachcombing and lunch.
2. Hakula Lodge
In Vava’u, one of the accommodation providers offers their own boat tours; Hakula Lodge, just out of Neiafu. Sports fishing and whale swimming might be the main focus of Hakula Lodge, but the team also offers scenic cruises of Vava’u. As long as the boat is available, Hakula Lodge can offer tours of the islands, visiting popular attractions like the Japanese Coral Gardens, Swallows’ Cave, Port Mourelle and Nuku Island beach. Learn more about the accommodation in the 8 Best Luxury Accommodation in Vava’u.
3. Beautiful Ofu Island Backpackers
For a budget accommodation with its own boat tour, check out the Beautiful Ofu Island Backpackers also in Vava’u. Their “5 Island Tour” is not only one of the most affordable boat tours in Vava’u, but it also gives you the opportunity to be shown around by a local (something pretty hard to come by on other boat tours in Vava’u). The day includes visiting various different islands in eastern Vava’u, stopping for some snorkelling and indulging in a Tongan lunch. Note that a minimum of two people needs to be on the tour in order for it to go ahead. Check out their accommodation in the 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Vava’u.
4. Ha’apai Beach Resort
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 you around some of Ha’apai’s uninhabited islands and deserted beaches, stopping for a picnic and having the opportunity to snorkel along the way. They also offer combo trips should you want to combine the experience with scuba diving or, well, more snorkelling. Find out more about the resort in the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai.
5. South Pacific Sea Adventures
Formerly known as Melinda Sea Adventures, South Pacific Sea Adventures offers two stunning sailing yachts to explore the sailing grounds of Vava’u. As well as multi-day excursions, they also offer day sails with visits to snorkelling hotspots, islands for lunch, and they are even certified to do whale swimming in the whale season. Guests have the opportunity to get involved in the sailing if they like, otherwise, it’s Ok to relax. Learn more about sailing in Vava’u here.
6. Riki Tiki Tours
Go with the flow and enjoy a Vava’u island-hopping snorkelling tour with Riki. One of the few activity providers in Vava’u that are 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 and/or one of the other snorkelling spots in the right conditions.
7. Tropical Yacht Holidays
If you can’t get enough of boats, then perhaps you want to make your entire trip based on a luxury sailing yacht with Tropical Yacht Holidays (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). They offer seven-day all-inclusive yacht charters all year round in the stunning islands of Vava’u. The week-long trip involves sailing from island to island, spending days snorkelling, indulging in fine food, hiking to magnificent island viewpoints, visiting traditional Tongan villages and more.
8. Whale Swimming Boat Trips
Finally, the most popular type of boat trip in Tonga is whale swimming boat trips. Between June and October (or July and October in Ha’apai and Vava’u) each year, humpback whales migrate to Tonga’s waters to mate a calve. Tonga is one of the very few countries in the world where you can swim with these majestic creatures. Because there is so much to say about whale tours, take a look at The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga for more information.
9. Tuna Moana
If you’re spending some time on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, how about joining Tuna Moana for one of their snorkelling tours? Explore the coral reefs and uninhabited islands around Tongatapu where you’ll get all of the snorkelling gear is provided on this 6-7-hour tour. You’ll also stop off for lunch at on one of the tiny picture-perfect islands. Plus, check out their whale swimming tours too in 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu.
[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.]
In the island group with the most options for boat tripping, Explore Vava’u offers a stand-out tour with their “Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Islands” tour. Cruise around the less-explored islands of Vava’u, stopping off for a short hike for stunning views from an island’s clifftops, check out an impressive blowhole, walk across a pristine sand cay, and explore some interesting geology and shallow reefs of Fetoko Island. Tours depart from Neiafu and the Mandala Island Resort.
More Boat Trips in Tonga
That’s it for the best boat trips in Tonga. 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.