How to Pick the Best Boat Stay in Tonga for You(c)
How to Pick the Best Boat Stay in Tonga for You

How to Choose the Best Sailing Liveaboard in Tonga for You


Advice on Choosing a Boat Stay or Sailing Charter in Tonga

Tonga is about exploring the ocean just as much as it is about exploring the islands, where a boat stay gives travellers a unique chance to make the ocean their accommodation. Admittedly, Tonga’s sailing charters are quite limited but the ones that are available provide you with a way of island-hopping while having a place to stay all in one neat package. What’s more, during the whale season, some of Tonga’s boat charters offer guests the chance to swim with whales – you can even hear the whale song while you’re snoozing in your cabin. So learn a little more about choosing a sailing liveaboard in Tonga in the guide below.

5 Things You Need to Know About Staying on Sailing Liveaboard in Tonga

  1. All of Tonga’s boat stays are in sailing yachts, while multi-day kayaking holidays are also available
  2. Sailing charters can only offer whale swimming if they have a licence
  3. Most overnight sailing charters are booked per cabin but private charters are available on request
  4. Most sailing charters in Tonga are on catamarans which tend to not cause motion sickness but it’s a good idea to bring seasickness remedies just in case
  5. Charters cannot begin or end on a Sunday as per Tongan law.

How to Pick the Best Boat Stay in Tonga for You©

What are Sailing Liveaboards Like in Tonga?

How can you stay on a sailing yacht in Tonga? One option for a boat stay is multi-day sailing yacht holidays. In most cases, sailing liveaboards can be booked on a per-cabin basis, reducing the cost of a yachting holiday. Chartering the entire yacht is also an option.

Sailing liveaboards are on the move during your stay, where you’ll visit various islands and attractions throughout your stay. Activities such as snorkelling and stand-up paddleboarding are often included in the experience, while licenced operators also offer swimming with humpback whales during the whale season. Some charters also specialise in wind sports, such as kitesurfing and foiling.

Guests stay in private cabins with an ensuite bathroom, while sharing a communal saloon (lounge) with a dining area and kitchen area. Sailing liveaboards have meals included in the stay, apart from bareboat charters where you only hire the boat.

Learn more about the sailing charters and boat stays available in the 5 Best Liveaboards & Boat Stays in Tonga.

How to Pick the Best Boat Stay in Tonga for You©

Location and How to Get There

When comparing sailing liveaboards in Tonga, it’s a good idea to compare locations where the charter departs from and how to get there. Sailing charters in Tonga currently have departures in Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u. We recommend planning a few days before your charter to experience your chosen island group, as you’ll be spending most of your time on the water during your charter. Choose an island group destination by comparing the following guides:

How to Get There

Once you have chosen your desired island group, it’s time to figure out the best way to get there, weighing the ease and your budget. Check out the following articles for advice:

How to Pick the Best Boat Stay in Tonga for You(c)

Price and Inclusions

As you may have figured out, the sailing liveaboards in Tonga are about the whole experience including its activities, rather than just the accommodation itself. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to compare the inclusions of your boat charter to make sure you’re getting the experience you want.

Inclusions to Compare

In Tongan sailing charters, these are the activities and services that are often available to compare:

  • All meals
  • Alcohol and soft drinks
  • Watersports activities (kayaks, SUP, kitesurfing and wind foiling)
  • Docking fees
  • Airport transfers
  • Island excursions
  • Cultural shows
  • Whale swimming
  • Resort packages.

How Much Does a Sailing Liveaboard Cost in Tonga?

Sailing liveaboards in Tonga typically come as 7-night packages, costing approximately TOP$12,500-$15,000 per cabin or approximately TOP$80,000-$100,000 for a private charter.

More on How to Choose a Sailing Liveaboard in Tonga

That’s it for how to choose a sailing liveaboard in Tonga. If you need more advice, how about tips from our other accommodation selection guides?

Now with a bit of research behind you, you can start selecting the perfect accommodation for you with Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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