The Best Tonga Resorts Operating Whale Tours
Between July and October, there’s usually only one thing on travellers’ minds when visiting Tonga; swimming with whales. Once a year, humpback whales make a magnificent migration from Antarctica to the tropical waters of this island archipelago to mate and calve. With that, amazing encounters can be had with these gentle giants – very often only a short boat ride from a glorious island resort. We’ll show you some of the best resorts to base yourselves for optimum whale encounters in this list of the best resorts for whale swimming in Tonga.
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. Blue Water Retreat (‘Eua)
The closest thing to a resort on the southern island of ‘Eua, Blue Water Retreat offers a small selection of ocean-view ensuite bungalows; four with a queen/twin bed with double and single occupancy rates and three family bungalows. Not to mention, they run a very ethical and fun whale swimming operation during the whale season! For more about their whale swimming tour, check out The Best Whale Swim Tours on ‘Eua.
The bungalows are recently renovated and feature a private deck where you can watch the sunset and see whales on the horizon. Also in the mix are elegant glamping tents atop an elevated private deck and kitted out with tasteful furniture.
Ferry/airport transfers are included in the accommodation rates, while whale watching, spearfishing and island tours, as well as creative buffet-style meals at the onsite restaurant, can all be organised with the resort for an effortless stay. For more places to stay on the island, check out our guide Where to Stay on ‘Eua: The Best ‘Eua Accommodations.
2. Diana Beach Resort (Ha’apai)
Enjoy tranquillity, culture and a beautiful beach setting at Diana Beach Resort (formerly Taiana’s Resort) on Uoleva Island. The resort in Ha’apai has three Tongan-style fales which are simple but add to the island adventure! Each fale is lined with beautifully woven walls and contains a double bed, mosquito net, a box to put food in, and a bedside table with a solar lantern – think of it like beach glamping! Guests share a shower and toilet in a separate block, while there’s also a communal kitchen and dining room building where you can also charge your devices. Families can stay too thanks to the resort also offering a larger beach house. Backpackers have the option to camp on the grounds in one of the tents available if the other fales are occupied.
As for entertainment, well, you better enjoy snorkelling, lazying on the beach and whale swimming with Ha’apai’s only Tongan operator! Breakfast and dinner are also available to order, so give your hosts notice. Airport/ferry transfers to the island are also offered (and mandatory to get to the resort) for a fee. Learn more about their whale tours in the 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai.
3. Treasure Island Eco Resort (Vava’u)
Get the real island experience in the heart of whale territory at Treasure Island Eco Resort. The resort on Eueiki Island in Vava’u has 48 acres (19 ha) of private island for its guests, offering an off-the-grid experience with solar power and a rainwater filtration system. Enjoy unique whale swimming experiences from the resort’s outrigger or enjoy complimentary use of kayaks, snorkelling gear and volleyball equipment. Meals are available as part of a meal plan at the on-site restaurant, and note that children under 12 are only allowed under special arrangements. The resort is open for the whale season until November. Learn more about this resort’s whale tours in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.
4. Kitesurf Tonga (Ha’apai)
As you might have guessed, Kitesurf Tonga has a thing for kitesurfing, considering they have some amazing kitesurfing grounds right on their Ha’apai doorstep on Uoleva. However, the kitesurfing opportunities only begin to scratch the surface of what this resort has to offer. Here, you’ll be staying in one of the five timber fales only a short boat ride from the whales, to which the resort owners can offer a safe and ethical encounter on their reputable small-group tour – see 5 Best Whale Swim Tours in Ha’apai.
As for accommodation, you’ll have a few luxuries, including memory foam beds and a very spacious ensuite with hot solar showers. Snorkelling from the shores, making use of the stand-up paddleboards and kayaks, dining on creative cuisine using produce grown at the resort… It’s also all on the cards at “Kitesurf”. Note that the resort is open from April to November. For more off-the-grid experiences, check out the 10 Best Eco-Resorts in Tonga.
5. Ha’apai Beach Resort (Ha’apai)
Conveniently located on Lifuka Island between the Ha’apai Airport and Pangai, yet still on the beachfront, Ha’apai Beach Resort is a more affordable offering for a whale swim-and-stay well worth considering. Their whale swimming tours pride themselves on a respectful approach to the whales while giving guests a fun time.
Whether you’re a couple, solo, a family (no under 12s) or a group, there’s a bungalow set-up to suit. Each of the five bungalows has either double rooms with a private bathroom or single rooms sharing bathroom facilities. Breakfast is included and served at the communal fale each morning (including barista-style coffee – a rarity in Ha’apai), while an a la carte menu is available for lunch and dinner and free WiFi is available. Borrow the bikes to get into town or explore Lifuka, hit the water in the kayaks or simply relax.
6. Mounu Island Resort (Vava’u)
Get the private island experience at the Mounu Island Resort. The island in Vava’u features vivid white coral sands and is surrounded by a coral reef ideal for snorkelling, kayaking and kitesurfing. There are exclusively four fales to choose from, each with its own piece of private waterfront. Each fale is made from timber and with a shingle roof to be in harmony with the natural environment.
Whale watching is also available from the island through the island’s own operation, Whale Watch Vava’u, which is one of the pioneering whale tour operators in Vava’u and has provided a ton of research to various institutions over the years. Learn more in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.
7. Matafonua Lodge (Ha’apai)
Scattered with elevated wooden beach fales (huts) and offering a huge array of experiences, Matafonua Lodge is the go-to for jam-packing your getaway with adventures. After a hard day’s swimming with whales, scuba diving with their PADI-affiliated instructors, kitesurfing or perhaps horse riding, retreat to either a double or family fale nestled in beachfront vegetation. Bathroom facilities are in shared blocks with rainfall showers and attractive tiling that feel as good as private. Dine at the on-site cafe open for breakfast, lunch and dinner or use the complimentary bikes to ride across Foa and Lifuka islands to get food in town. Airport transfers are available and don’t require the extra cost of a boat transfer. Get yourself adjusted to this island group using our guide on Where to Stay in Ha’apai: The Best Accommodations.
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8. Serenity Beaches Resort (Ha’apai)
A tranquil retreat on Uoleva Island, Serenity Beaches Resort is an idyllic choice in Ha’apai. Choose from unique open-air or fully-enclosed fales each nestled in a private section of forest and each with an outside garden bathroom. Either way, guests spend their time here doing yoga in the pavilion, dining on healthy meals made from fresh local ingredients in the homely dining fale, and making use of SUP boards, kayaks and snorkelling gear to explore the wonderful underwater world from beaches accessible from the front and back of the resort. Not to mention, the resort also operates whale swimming tours in the season, but your most frequent encounter with the whales will most likely be seeing them from the beach! See more romantic stays like this in the 10 Most Romantic Accommodations in Tonga.
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9. Blue Lagoon Resort (Vava’u)
Stay in one of the four overwater beach huts at the Blue Lagoon Resort. Each beach hut is unique being either a bungalow or split-level and most have a private deck. Whatever you choose, your simplistic yet quirky abode on a private island in Vava’u is fully powered by solar and wind energy. The resort caters to couples, families and groups, where time can be shared swimming with whales on their own reputable whale-watching tour, watching whales from the beach, kayaking and snorkelling. Food is served as part of a meal plan at the on-site restaurant. Note that the resort is only open from July to October (the whale season). For more ideas of places to stay nearby, check out our guide, Where to Stay in Vava’u: The Best Accommodations.
10. Sea Change Eco Retreat (Ha’apai)
Escape from the modern world and worries and experience an alternative lifestyle at this off-the-grid resort on the uninhabited Uoleva Island. Sea Change Eco Retreat might be known across Ha’apai for its fantastic whale swimming tours, but it also offers a boutique resort experience staying in either safari tents with a comfortable double bed or a large wooden fale with an outdoor shower. Each accommodation is in its own little area of forest with various pathways leading straight onto the beach. Then straight from said beach, you can snorkel, kayak or paddleboard! Other activities on offer include yoga in their dedicated yoga shala, spa treatments in their beautiful massage fale, and sports fishing in May and June. There’s a choice of vegetarian or meat/seafood dishes in their compulsory meal plan, while drinks are available to purchase at the bar. Note that the resort is open from May to October. For more stays in this island group, check out the 10 Best Resorts in Ha’apai.
More About the Best Resort for Whale Swimming in Tonga
That’s it for our list of the best resorts for whale swimming in Tonga. For more about swimming with these gentle giants, take a look at the following:
- 20 Best Whale Swim Tours in Tonga
- The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga
- The Best Place to Swim with Whales in Tonga
Finally, if you’re still trying to find the perfect place to stay, start from scratch with Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga. Plus, get even more advice for planning your trip in our 30 Tips for Travelling in Tonga and The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.