Tonga’s Best Resorts for Snorkelling from Shore (+ Snorkelling Tours)
Anyone who knows anything about Tonga knows about the incredible underwater experiences that The Kingdom has to offer. Although Tonga’s holiday accommodations are spread far and wide across its 170-odd islands, there are only some resorts that offer fantastic snorkelling from its shores and/or snorkelling tours to get to the best spots. We go through some of the best resorts for snorkelling in Tonga in the list below!
Note that Tonga is an ever-evolving country with some services that accommodations provide changing with little notice. While we try to keep our accommodation listings up-to-date, know that some services may have changed. If you have an update, feel free to reach out.
1. Matafonua Lodge (Ha’apai)
Isolated at the sandy tip of Foa Island in the less-visited Ha’apai Group, Matafonua Lodge offers a tranquil yet stunning snorkelling holiday. The snorkelling is superb thanks to the marine reserve at their house reef. Explore some 400 m (1,310 ft) of reef that extends within swimming distance from the resort and is easily identified by a buoy. What’s more, snorkelling gear is free for guests to use. As for the accommodation, stay in one of the attractive elevated free-standing fales (bungalows) with shared (but stylish) bathroom facilities. More on the resort’s inclusions can be found in The Top 30 Resorts in Tonga.
Check Matafonua Lodge out:
2. The Reef Resort (Vava’u)
One of the most luxurious stays in Tonga, The Reef Resort is a top choice for those looking for modern comforts and sensational cuisine. Five bungalows are scattered among the gardens and directly on the beach of Kapa Island in Vava’u, providing a tranquil retreat for guests. Dining is easily the main event here as European Polynesian cuisine is prepared by decorated German or Swiss chefs, but the snorkelling here is also noteworthy. Make use of the kayaks, a clear-bottom kayak, SUP boards and a Hobie cat to explore the surrounding waters and nearby Japanese Coral Garden – see the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Vava’u.
Check The Reef Resort out:
3. Sea Change Eco Retreat (Ha’apai)
On the uninhabited (apart from a few boutique resorts) island of Uoleva in Ha’apai, Sea Change Eco Retreat offers a sustainable stay and a true Robinson Crusoe experience. Whether you stay in one of their eco-friendly fales in the forest or one of their glamping tents, you’ll definitely want to spend time discovering some of the snorkelling spots just off the beach. The resort offers free use of snorkelling gear, as well as boat trips to the outer reefs if you want to amp your snorkelling sessions to the next level. Learn more about this resort and others in the area in our guide, Where to Stay in Ha’apai: The Best Accommodations.
4. Mounu Island Resort (Vava’u)
Escape to this 6.5-acre (2.6 ha) coral atoll in the southern reaches of the Vava’u Group where the snorkelling is sensational. There are excellent snorkelling spots in front of most of the Mounu Island Resort’s fales, while you can also take a walk around the island to find more. Otherwise, the staff at the resort are usually happy to take you to one of the outer reefs by boat (when not being used for whale swimming, that is), as well as provide snorkelling gear for your stay if needed. There are only four fales on the island, providing a tranquil stay in a modern bungalow with some traditional touches. Check out more resorts nearby in our guide, Where to Stay in Vava’u: The Best Accommodations.
5. Mala Island Resort (Vava’u)
Snorkelling is kind of the main thing to do at the Mala Island Resort in Vava’u, apart from sunbathing and beachcombing. There is good snorkelling off the beach in various locations around the small island, where there is a limited number of snorkelling gear available for guests to use (so you might want to bring your own). The island is also near the Japanese Coral Gardens. Your stay will be in Tongan fales with woven panel decor, giving the real island feel. Learn more about the resort in the 10 Best Resorts in Vava’u.
Check Mala Island Resort out:
6. Tongan Beach Resort (Vava’u)
Easy to get to on ‘Utungake Island, which is connected to the main island of Vava’u by a causeway, the Tongan Beach Resort has good snorkelling off its beach. Check out the fish and urchins feeding on the seaweed and look out for the resident turtle. The resort has a restaurant on the beachfront, as well as 12 guest rooms all with beach views. There are double and family rooms available each with their own verandah so you can enjoy the sunset over the Port of Refuge harbour in the evening. For information about the accommodation, check out The Top 30 Resorts in Tonga.
Check Tongan Beach Resort out:
7. Katea Retreat (Tongatapu)
Lining the southernmost tip of Tongatapu, Katea Retreat not only provides great snorkelling from its private beach but also features photo-worthy cliff formations such as an archway right across its golden sands. The boutique beach resort offers five contemporary bungalows featuring a queen bed or two queens, a kitchenette with a gas stove, an ensuite bathroom and a balcony overlooking the breathtaking beach and reef below. Free airport shuttles are available, while cultural shows and medicine walks are also on offer. See more options for staying on Tonga’s main island in Where to Stay on Tongatapu: The Best Accommodations.
8. Serenity Beaches Resort (Ha’apai)
There’s plenty to explore on both sides of Serenity Beaches Resort, the only resort on Uoleva Island to have direct access to two beaches. The accommodation provides snorkelling gear, kayaks and SUP boards, along with a real castaway vibe in this quiet corner of Ha’apai. Enjoy snorkelling from the southern side of the resort at any tide and at mid and high tide on the northern side. As for accommodation, choose from unique open-air or fully-enclosed fales each nestled in a private section of forest and each with an outside garden bathroom. Check out more Ha’apai snorkelling spots in The Best Snorkelling in Ha’apai, while more information about Serenity Beaches can be found in the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai.
Check Serenity Beaches Resort out:
9. Diana Beach Resort (Ha’apai)
Diana Beach Resort, also on Uoleva Island, provides more great snorkelling just off the beach at the eastern end of the accommodation (where the dark patches are). Stay in one of the basic but traditional fales here and enjoy snorkelling where it’s possible to spot all sorts of colourful fish and the occasional turtle. Bring your own gear if visiting during the whale season, as the snorkelling gear could well be on the resort’s whale-watching boat. The resort’s beach is also a good place to watch whales from shore. Check out the 5 Best Budget Resorts in Tonga to learn more about this accommodation.
10. Ha’apai Beach Resort (Ha’apai)
On the main island of the Ha’apai Group, Lifuka, you will find some good snorkelling opportunities at the Ha’apai Beach Resort. Not only does the resort provide snorkelling boat trips to some of the best nearby outer reefs, but the resort also has a house reef right on its doorstep (you’ll need to paddle to it, however, because, as you can see from the photo, the snorkelling is not good immediately outside of the resort). They also offer guided snorkelling boat trips outside of the whale season should you want to take your underwater exploration a step further. Snorkelling gear is available for guests. More about the accommodation can be found in The Top 30 Resorts in Tonga.
More About the Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Tonga
That’s it for the best resorts for snorkelling in Tonga. For more advice on where to stay, as well as how to get the most snorkelling in on your Tongan getaway, take a look at more of our guides:
- 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Tonga
- 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga
- The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga
Finally, see more amazing stays in Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga. Plus, get even more trip-planning tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.