Experience the Real Tonga on these Village Tours
Immerse yourself in the Polynesian culture of Tonga on one of these village tours in Tonga. What Tonga lacks in mock-up villages for tourists it makes up for in authentic village experiences where you are welcomed to see a slice of the island life. Admittedly, there isn’t a large selection of village tours in Tonga, but the ones that are available will give you an authentic experience, seeing traditions being played out as part of everyday life.
For more ways to see the culture of Tonga, take a look at the 10 Best Ways to Experience the Tongan Culture.
1. Ha’ano Cultural Tour
Get an authentic Tongan village experience on the Ha’ano Cultural Tour in the islands of Ha’apai. Available through Matafonua Lodge and the Sandy Beach Resort, the Ha’ano Cultural Tour is hosted by the women’s group of Kauvai island where you are picked up from one of the mentioned resorts by boat and transported to the island where you are formally greeted by the villagers. In between being shown around the village and island, you’ll get to see local handicraft demonstrations, traditional singing and dancing from the local school children and indulge in a Tongan lunch feast. They’ll be time for a quick snorkel at the island before you’ll be transported by to Matafonua/Sandy Beach. All of the cost goes to Ha’ano village.
2. Sea Change Eco Retreat Tours of Local Villages
Another resort in Ha’apai offering village tours is Sea Change Eco Retreat. Although the eco-friendly resort might not be on an inhabited island, there are a few adjacent islands to the resort with Tongan villages. The team at the resort can organise boat transfers and a tour to these villages including attending a Tongan church service on a Sunday. Learn more about this resort and others in the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai.
3. Ano Beach Cultural Experience
A cultural experience in the island group of Vava’u, the Ano Beach Cultural Experience offers visitors the chance to taste island-style cooking in an underground oven called an “umu” and even take part in a kava ceremony followed by traditional Tongan song and dance. You’ll also get to watch live demonstrations of Tongan handicrafts, such as tapa-making, mat-weaving and more – all in the stunning setting of Ano Beach.
4. Friendly Islands Kayak Company Kayaking Tours
While not exclusively a village tour, the Friendly Islands Kayak Company does give adventurous travellers the opportunity to visit various Tongan villages on their multi-day kayaking tours in Ha’apai and Vava’u. For instance, on the 11-Day Ha’apai Tropical Expedition, you’ll explore the quaint fishing village of Felemea, while on the 5-Day Vava’u Special, you’ll paddle to the village of Matamaka to experience village life on the islands through the local school or at the weaving group at the community hall. Learn more about this kayaking experience and more in The Best Kayak Tours in Tonga.
5. Royal Sunset Island Resort Day Trip
While not a guided village tour per se, the Royal Sunset Island Resort Day Trip (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) in Tongatapu does offer the chance to visit an island fishing village on its island day trip. You’ll take a boat from Nuku’alofa out to Atata Island and the base of the Royal Sunset Island Resort. You’ll get the time here to do what you wish, whether it’s snorkelling or following the walking trail to the island’s village where you are free to explore the welcoming village. Check out more island day trips in the 7 Best Island Day Trips from Nuku’alofa.