Where to Snorkel in Tongatapu
Tropical getaway: that has to mean some snorkelling?! Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, offers a good selection of options for snorkelling even if there are fewer options than in Tonga’s other island groups. Nevertheless, you’ll find some fantastic snorkelling beaches along the western side of the island, while the best snorkelling is arguably around the outer islands and lagoon accessible by boat from Nuku’alofa. Find out more about the top snorkelling spots in this list of places to snorkel in Tongatapu.
And for more places to snorkel around Tonga, check out the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga.
1. Malinoa Island
A likely stop on a snorkelling boat trip or a whale swimming tour, Malinoa Island is a piece of Pacific Island paradise. The small sandy island with a tuft of vegetation in the centre is a photo opportunity in itself, but surrounding the island offers fantastic and safe snorkelling. Explore the coral bommies protruding from the sand and admire the array of coral and fishy residents. Malinoa Island is a popular stop on tours listed in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours on Tongatapu and the 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu.
2. Tau Island
Another island that is a likely stop on Tongatapu boat and whale swimming trips is the quaint Tau Island. This is a slightly smaller island than Malinoa but provides more options for snorkelling among the coral and tropical reef fish.
3. Fafa Island Resort
Available to stay for a resort holiday or simply take a day trip from Nuku’alofa, Fafa Island Resort offers fantastic snorkelling. Accessible from shore is the island’s very own protected marine reserve, where the coral and marine life is left to thrive for years to come. The day tours to the island typically include lunch at the resort too. Check out the day tour to Fafa Island Resort on Viator or Tripadvisor.
4. Pangaimotu Island Resort
Another island resort you can stay at or take a day trip to, the Pangaimotu Island Resort is well worth considering for snorkelling. Pangaimotu Island Resort’s day trip is one of the cheapest from Nuku’alofa and an excellent option for Sundays in Tongatapu when there are more boat rides between the island and Faua Wharf in the city. Snorkel gear can be borrowed from behind the bar if you don’t have your own. Reef shoes are recommended. Check out the day tour to Pangaimotu Island on Viator or Tripadvisor.
5. Ha’atafu Beach
Located on the northwestern tip of Tongatapu island, Ha’atafu Beach is not only a great surf spot, but it has fantastic snorkelling too. The beach is another marine reserve in Tongatapu, allowing the marine life to remain beautiful. There are a few accommodations lining the beach, should you want to grab lunch or even stay in the area, including Ha’atafu Beach Resort, Heilala Holiday Lodge, Holty’s Hideaway and Teukava Beach Oasis.
6. Kanokupolu Beach
Next door to Ha’atafu Beach, Kanokuplou Beach might be in the marine reserve’s shadow but it’s still a fantastic beach for snorkelling and even spotting whales in the distance between June and October. If staying at one of the accommodations, such as the Blue Banana Beach House or Vakaloa Beach Resort, then snorkelling gear is available for guests. Otherwise, just rock up with your own gear and enjoy. Check out more amazing beaches on the island in the 10 Best Beaches on Tongatapu.
7. The Royal Sunset Island Resort
Yes, more island day trips await in Tongatapu with another option being The Royal Sunset Resort. Of course, you can always stay at the resort too, where resort staff are usually happy to take you out to great nearby snorkelling spots by boat. Otherwise, the resort has a pool and a sandy beach to enjoy. Check out the day trip to The Royal Sunset Island Resort on Viator or Tripadvisor.