Which Islands are Best for Scuba Diving in Tonga?
Tonga might be a small and remote island nation but it still has 170 islands! When it comes to choosing a place to scuba dive, it can be more than a little overwhelming. However, Tonga’s small number of dive centres with nearby dive sites helps narrow things down a little, which happens to have you diving in clear waters typically around 30m visibility and with warm temperatures that harbour diverse coral, fish, whales, sharks and more. We’ve listed some of the islands in Tonga with the best dive sites nearby, as well as dive operators in the area to sort out the logistics. Check them out in this list of the best places to scuba in Tonga!
1. Foa Island, Ha’apai
One of the must-visit islands in the Ha’apai group, Foa Island is home to a PADI dive resort, Matafonua Lodge. The resort’s beach is lined with a 400m (1,300ft) reef which has been established as a marine reserve to preserve the beautiful coral and marine life here. The dive resort offers affordable shore dives from here, or you can hop on their boat to one of the outstanding dives sites that we list in the 5 Best Dive Sites in Ha’apai. Certified divers will have the chance to dive among stunning underwater caves, pinnacles and even an ancient coral archway formed during the last ice age.
2. Tu’ungasika Island, Vava’u
This island is surrounded by amazing dive sites, such as Split Rock, China Town and Sea Fans – to name a few. The underwater formations here are mesmerising, not to mention the marine life which is as diverse as they come. Any of the dive operators in Vava’u are likely to take on trips to the waters surrounding this island, so check them out in the 5 Best Scuba Diving Tours in Vava’u. Plus, check out more amazing dive sites in the 10 Best Dive Sites in Vava’u.
3. Neiafu Harbour, Vava’u
Another one in Vava’u, a top dive site is located right by the heart of the island group in the Neiafu Harbour. The Clan MacWilliam Wreck is an accessible wreck dive at 30m deep, which is stood upright and attracting an array of amazing marine life. Admire the colours of soft and hard corals, as well as the reef fish and even a few Stonefish and Scorpion Fish hiding in unusual places.
4. Lifuka Island, Ha’apai
Tonga’s only SSI dive centre is located on Lifuka in the Ha’apai group. The Ha’apai Beach Resort offers an array of dive experiences, from shore dives to night dives to boat excursions among some of Ha’apai’s amazing dive sites, such as the Arch of Ofalanga and J-Caves. Being located on the main island of the Ha’apai group, Ha’apai Beach Resort is an easy go-to for diving in Ha’apai and experience some of Tonga’s uncrowded dive sites.
5. ‘Eua Island
When it comes to dive sites in Tongatapu and ‘Eua, Cathedral Cave is the one to go for. The giant sea cave at 100m (330ft) long, 50m (165ft) wide and 30m (100ft) deep is nothing short of awesome. Amazing light displays beam through holes in the ceiling as you explore this dramatic underwater cave. What this space, Cathedral Cave was only discovered in 2001 and has ranked in listings for the best cave dives on the planet, so it won’t stay uncrowded for long! Check out operators who dive at Cathedral Cave in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours on Tongatapu and 5 Best Scuba Diving Tours in Vava’u.