How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga©
How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga


Advice on Choosing Eco-Friendly Accommodation in Tonga

Having a low impact when we travel is something more and more of us have on our minds, especially when travelling in the South Pacific, often dubbed as being on the frontline of climate change. Plenty of resorts, holiday homes and beach huts in Tonga show us that we can live a minimalistic yet beautiful lifestyle with eco-policies of renewable energy, rainwater collection, composting toilets, etc. while offering unique chances to interact with the wildlife we wish to protect, such as seabirds, coral reefs and, of course, humpback whales. So, learn more about choosing a more sustainable accommodation in Tonga in the guide below.

3 Things You Need to Know About Staying in Eco-Accommodations in Tonga

  1. All of Tonga’s eco-resorts are on remote islands, so be prepared to be away from essential shops and services
  2. There are other low-impact (and cheaper) accommodation options, such as holiday homes using renewable energy and guesthouses
  3. Consider other methods of having a low impact on your visit to Tonga, as suggested in the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga©

Types (and Cost) of Sustainable Accommodations in Tonga

What type of accommodation can you stay in in Tonga without making too much of an environmental impact? Eco-resorts are becoming increasingly popular, providing a complete island getaway experience with modern amenities and luxuries presented in a low-impact way. But much to the annoyance of those who try to pick the most eco-friendly options, this means that these resorts tend to be the most expensive. Nevertheless, eco-friendly holiday homes, beach huts with less luxuries, and locally-run guesthouses offer a cheaper alternative.


Eco-resorts are resort-style accommodations which implement an eco-friendly policy through using renewable energy and other environmentally-friendly features like composting toilets, serving locally sourced meals, renewable energy sources, etc. Eco-resorts offer accommodation, food and activities, usually in idyllic locations such as uninhabited islands with beaches. Eco-resorts range from TOP$300-$600 per night for a fale.

See some examples of eco-resorts in the 10 Best Eco-Resorts in Tonga and see what to expect from Tonga’s resorts in How to Choose the Best Resort in Tonga for You.


When it comes to supporting local businesses, staying at guesthouses is a more ethical and environmentally friendly accommodation than a larger hotel or resort. These small-scale accommodations are not only run by locals but tend to host a larger number of people per square metre. They also tend to use much fewer resources per guest, with shared bathrooms, a kitchen and a lounge. What’s more, they are the cheapest type of accommodation available in Tonga, costing around TOP$70-$90 for a private double room with a shared bathroom, approximately TOP$100-$120 for a private double room with an ensuite, and TOP$120-$180 for a family/triple room with a shared or private bathroom.

Check out the 20 Best Guesthouses in Tonga for examples of this style of accommodation, as well as How to Choose the Best Guesthouse in Tonga for You to learn more about what to expect.

Eco-Friendly Holiday Homes

There is the odd low-impact holiday home in Tonga, such as the Green Lodge Holiday Homes in Tongatapu exclusively using renewable energy. This type of accommodation is conveniently located on a developed island and is more suitable for families and groups with three- to four-bedroom houses available starting from TOP$450 per night.

Learn more about holiday homes in the 20 Best Holiday Homes in Tonga and How to Choose the Best Holiday Home in Tonga for You.

Accommodation Standards in Tonga

It’s important to set a few expectations straight before checking into your accommodation in Tonga. Tonga is a developing country with a younger tourism industry and, in turn, less expertise than some of the more developed tourist hubs of the South Pacific. Some accommodations can be pretty basic, and not all of your usual facilities are provided. Tonga is more basic, so it is best to keep an open mind.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga©

How to Tell if an Accommodation is Sustainable

As a developing nation, Tonga does not prioritise sustainability. With that, at least you don’t run into a minefield of resorts and hotels with greenwashing marketing strategies, as in many other South Pacific countries. Regardless, travellers should always be able to understand why an accommodation is claiming to be an “eco-resort” or “green”. If an accommodation can’t state any specific practices on how they are being more sustainable (other than the classic “we won’t wash your towels to save the planet; not because we want to save on our power bill – promise!”), then they are probably not that sustainable.

Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Practices to Look for When Choosing Accommodation in Tonga

If you want to make sure that an accommodation is more sustainable, look for a range of environmental and social initiatives that they do (not just one), such as:

  • Housekeeping uses non-toxic cleaning agents and laundry detergents
  • Uses renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power – the more they rely on renewable energy than the grid, the better
  • Rooms have composting toilets
  • The construction of the accommodation has been made with more sustainably sourced or local materials
  • Greywater recycling programs are in place, such as reusing water for landscaping, laundry, etc.
  • Rainwater catchment
  • Treated and filtered water is available for guests
  • Solar-heated water for showering
  • They have airy room designs so there’s less need to use the air-conditioning
  • Night lighting is minimal to not disrupt views of the night sky
  • Promoting recycling for their own waste and guests’
  • Offer vegan and vegetarian options in their restaurant and/or use locally sourced ingredients
  • Meal ingredients are sourced from an on-site garden
  • Accommodation is open year-round; not just for the whale season.

The accommodations that use some of these initiatives can be found in the 10 Best Eco-Resorts in Tonga. Hopefully, more of Tonga’s current accommodations will take on more of these initiatives in the near future.

Other Facilities to Consider

Once you’ve ticked off the sustainable factors the accommodation provides, you’ll also want to make sure the accommodation offers the appropriate facilities that you are looking for to complete your holiday. For instance, the use of kayaks or paddleboards, snorkelling gear, whale swimming tours, etc., might be important factors to you.

Check out How to Choose the Best Resort in Tonga for You for more advice on the subject.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga©

Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?

Of course, a major consideration is where the eco-stay is located. Guesthouses are just about the only eco-accommodations near essential shops and services. All of the other eco-resorts in Tonga are on uninhabited islands, far from any shops, so finding a place “near” essentials is often a non-factor in choosing an eco-stay. Now it makes sense why they have to be self-sustaining!

With that in mind, choosing a location for an eco-stay in Tonga should be more focussed on what island group you would prefer to visit. Tonga’s eco-resorts are only located in Ha’apai and Vava’u, which comes with the extra carbon cost of getting to. Check out what these islands have to offer in The Complete Guide to Ha’apai and The Complete Guide to Vava’u.

All of Tonga’s eco-resorts offer boat transfers to their islands, as well as airport/wharf transfers. You may want to compare the cost of these services between the resorts if you are on a budget. Typical costs can be found in our guide, Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost?

As for what is nearby, eco-resorts don’t tend to have much nearby other than stunning beaches and islands. They essentially provide entertainment, such as whale swimming tours, snorkelling, kayaking, kitesurfing and more, so you might want to compare what experiences they offer to complete your desired holiday experience.

How to Choose Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga©

What’s Included in Your Stay?

We all have different needs which require different amenities. Where an eco-resort’s shared meals of set menus with other guests sound kind of cool to some, others might prefer to still dine from a resort menu and have some alone time, for instance. Furthermore, the type of eco-policy they have may be of importance, as some eco-conscious travellers may think that simply using renewable energy is not enough when other resorts are using composting toilets, promoting recycling and more.

We’ve also touched on the activities available at the resort, but you still should compare the experiences and their associated prices so you can stick to your budget while having the holiday you envisioned.

Finally, some eco-friendly resorts have compulsory meal plans with set menus, while others have restaurants with more choices. Eco-friendly holiday homes and guesthouses have self-catering facilities, so consider what is your preferred style of eating when comparing eco-resorts.

More on How to Choose More Sustainable Accommodation in Tonga

That’s it for our guide on how to choose more sustainable accommodation in Tonga, but that’s by no means the end of our eco-advice! Check out our other guides to help you make more sustainable choices when holidaying:

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.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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