Where to Snorkel in Vava’u
The 50 islands of Vava’u provide some stunning snorkelling in Tonga. For those who want to discover the underwater world through the ease of snorkelling, then you’re bound to be amazed by the dramatic caves, coral bommies and reefs in the island group. From snorkelling from shore at your resort to taking a snorkelling boat tour, there are plenty of ways to get your snorkel on in Vava’u. Check out this list of places to snorkel in Vava’u to be inspired for your next snorkelling destination.
1. Swallows Cave
Arguably the most popular snorkelling spot in Vava’u, Swallows Cave is a must-do! It’s almost a guaranteed snorkelling spot on any snorkelling trip taken from Neiafu, where you’ll swim into the entrance of a huge sea cave not only lined with tropical reef fish at the entrance but harbouring a huge school of fish inside the cave. The light displays beaming through the cave entrance also makes this an awesome underwater photo opportunity.
2. Japanese Coral Gardens
Located just off Mala Island, the Japanese Coral Gardens or just “Japanese Gardens” is another spot that many snorkelling tours will take you to. Swim along the many coral bommies with its own little community of fish species living in harmony. You might even be able to spot clownfish swimming into their anemone.
3. Mariner’s Cave
Inside Nuapapu Island, Mariner’s Cave is a fun place to discover if you’re a super strong snorkeller/swimmer. The entrance of the cave is through a short underwater tunnel which you’ll need to dive through to emerge inside the airtight chamber. Some snorkelling tours will take you here on request if you prove to be a strong enough swimmer.
4. Coral Gardens
Some snorkel tours in Vava’u will take you to the wonderful Coral Gardens, home to a variety of fish and diverse coral. It will feel as if you are swimming through valleys of coral as the current drifts you along.
5. Nuku Island
Admittedly, this is not the best snorkelling spot in Vava’u, but it’s a cool place that many snorkel tours show to guests. The beautiful spot has a small beach, as well as a few fish to check out when snorkelling. Look out for elusive eels that can sometimes be spotted in the sand.
6. ‘Euakafa Island
For guests staying at the Treasure Island Eco Resort, you have the opportunity to take a snorkelling tour to the neighbouring ‘Euakafa Island. The tour gives you the opportunity to snorkel in the caves of the island – definitely one of the least-visited snorkelling caves in Vava’u so you’re likely to have this piece of paradise all to yourself. Learn more about the resort in the 10 Best Resorts in Vava’u.
7. The Beach House (Shell Garden)
Those staying at The Beach House on Fofoa Island have safe snorkelling within the lagoon right by the accommodation. There, it’s possible to spot rays, turtles and a variety of fish. Confident swimmers can make their way to the fringe of the reef to see amazing coral displays. The accommodation also offers boat trips to explore Swallows Cave and Mariner’s Cave and is 10 minutes away from the Coral Gardens.
8. Mounu Island Resort
For more excellent snorkelling straight from the resort, try Mounu Island Resort which has good snorkelling straight off the beach from just about any fale on the island where it’s possible to see a range of fish and coral. The resort can also arrange boat tours for snorkelling at some of the snorkelling spots already listed in this article.
9. Tongan Beach Resort
The Tongan Beach Resort offers some of the best snorkelling from the main island in Vava’u, ‘Utu Vava’u, which is worth a visit as a casual visitor but is great if you’re a guest! Straight off the beach, you’ll likely see large schools of fish swimming among the kelp, as well as the resident turtle if you’re lucky.
10. Mala Island Resort
Finally, those staying at Mala Island Resort are not only a short boat ride away from some of the other snorkelling spots we’ve mentioned, but there’s also great snorkelling right off the beach. Hire a kayak and borrow some snorkelling gear from the resort and head out to explore the amazing underwater world around this island.