Take a Boat Cruise in Tonga
Visiting all 170 islands of Tonga is a bit of a mission, but at least you can make a start on it by hopping on a day cruise in Tonga. Tonga’s array of small boat tours provide an intimate small-group experience where you’ll get to do some island-hopping, as well as some snorkelling in those hard-to-reach places. There are some fantastic day cruises in Tonga in the island groups of Vava’u, Tongatapu and Ha’apai that we can’t help but share with you in the list below.
1. Hakau Adventures
A go-to for boat tours and seeing the on-water sights of Vava’u, Hakau Adventures is a day cruise in Tonga worth considering. Suitable for all ages, Hakau Adventures is a good way to visit a few uninhabited islands in Vava’u, as well as visit snorkelling spots and enjoy some reef viewing. You’ll learn about the history of Tonga as you travel between the four snorkelling spots visited on the cruise. Lunch and snorkelling gear are provided. See more like this in the 10 Things To Do in Vava’u with Kids.
2. Taufatahi Charters
Offering full-day cruises (and half-day cruises outside of the whale season), Taufatahi Charters is a good cruise option in Tongatapu. Swap the hustle and bustle of Tonga’s main island for its surrounding ocean with uninhabited islands, turquoise waters and sandy beaches. The tours include snorkelling (snorkelling gear is provided), as well as swimming, beachcombing and lunch.
3. Tuna Moana
Another fantastic option in Tongatapu is Tuna Moana, which also offer snorkelling tours around the coral reefs and uninhabited islands in the north of Tongatapu. All of the snorkelling gear is provided on this 6-7-hour tour, so you can relax and enjoy the journey and the action. Lunch is also provided on this tour, which you’ll get to enjoy on one of the tiny picture-perfect islands. Check out their whale swimming tours too in 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu.
4. Treasure Island Eco Resort
Guests at the fabulous Treasure Island Eco Resort in Vava’u have a wide range of island-hopping adventures to choose from. Choose from either a customised island-hopping or cave-swimming tour by boat, or try their “Historical Adventure in Paradise Snorkel Tour” where you’ll visit a neighbouring island to see a historical site and snorkel in the island’s amazing caves. The tour lasts approximately 3-4 hours. Check out more snorkelling tours in the 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Tonga.
5. Riki Tiki Tours
A laidback tour with island-hopping and snorkelling, Riki Tiki Tours is the no-frills but all-action cruise around Vava’u. Take your snorkelling gear and Riki will take you to the best snorkelling hotspots for the conditions. He might have a few island transfers to do along the way, so you’ll get to check out some islands and visit villages as you travel around the archipelago.
6. Ono Sailing
Vava’u is praised as some of the best sailing grounds in the South Pacific, which you can experience for yourself in a day cruise with Ono Sailing. You’ll be picked up from your Vava’u accommodation any time after sunrise to set sail on Pukuri to check out some snorkelling spots and/or fishing spots across the islands. Lunch and snacks are provided. The team can work with you on an itinerary if there’s anything specific you want to see. Check out more sailing options in The Best Tours for Sailing in Vava’u.
7. Ha’apai Beach Resort
The less-visited Ha’apai islands in the centre of Tonga are well worth exploring, especially since the majority of them are uninhabited! The Ha’apai Beach Resort on Lifuka Island offers island trips where you take a boat cruise around some of Ha’apai’s deserted islands and beaches, stopping for a picnic and having the opportunity to snorkel along the way. They also offer combo trips, for instance, island-hopping and scuba diving. Find out more about the resort in the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai.
8. South Pacific Sea Adventures
Another sailing charter in Vava’u offering day sails is South Pacific Sea Adventures, formerly Melinda Sea Adventures. Charter one of their two sailing yachts for the day to explore some of Vava’u’s stunning outer islands, which includes lunch and snorkelling. In the whale season, the sailing charter is also licensed for you to swim with whales if the opportunity arises.
9. Whale Swimming Tours
Finally, a good way to experience a cruise in Tonga would be to do a whale swimming tour. If you somehow didn’t already know, Tonga is one of the world’s top destinations for swimming with humpback whales with a multitude of boat tours taking you out to watch and/or swim with these majestic creatures. Whale swimming tours usually also include stopping by coral reefs for snorkelling or uninhabited islands for lunch. Check out some whale tours in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Tonga.
[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.]
For more Vava’u adventures, join Explore Vava’u for their “Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Islands” tour. You’ll cruise around the less-explored islands of Vava’u, stopping off for a short hike on an island’s clifftops, see Vava’u’s only blowhole, walk across a pristine sand cay, and learn more about the geology and shallow reefs of Fetoko Island. Tours depart from Neiafu and the Mandala Island Resort.
More Day Cruises in Tonga
That’s it for the best day cruises 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.