Advice on Choosing a Guesthouse in Tonga
Travelling to a new country, even if you’re an experienced traveller, means figuring out the new styles of accommodations. Guesthouses are one of the most common types of accommodation in Tonga, which are a good way to stay in the main towns of the islands on a budget. While there are often many guesthouses in the same area, how do you choose the right one for your needs? We go over how to choose a guesthouse in Tonga in the guide below.
Quick Things You Need to Know About Staying in a Guesthouse in Tonga
- Guesthouses are the cheapest type of accommodation in Tonga
- Guesthouses have a communal kitchen, lounge and bathrooms, although there are sometimes ensuite guest rooms available
- Tonga’s guesthouses are known for changing some of their services without updating listings online, in brochures, etc. With that in mind, be aware that some facilities, like air-conditioning, breakfast and WiFi, are not always available even if stated that they are
- Speaking of WiFi, if a guesthouse says it has WiFi, it usually means in the communal areas only
- Guesthouses in Tonga are only located in the main towns, such as Nuku’alofa, Neiafu, Pangai (Ha’apai), Pangai (‘Eua) and there’s even one in Hihifo in Niuatoputapu
- Most guesthouses in Tonga only accept cash as payment.
What is a Guesthouse?
While terms like “guesthouses” are used all around the world, they typically mean something different between countries. In Tonga, a guesthouse is usually a large former family home where different guests stay in private guest rooms and share communal facilities. Guesthouses tend to have a “homely” feel, much like a bed & breakfast (but not all of them include breakfast). Most guesthouses (not all) are owned and run by locals.
Guesthouses are the cheapest type of accommodation found in Tonga, making them suitable for backpackers up to older couples on a budget.
Room types typically consist of double rooms with a queen bed. Some guesthouses have family rooms, but check if this means three beds or four. Some guesthouses also have single rooms for solo travellers, while some guesthouses in Nuku’alofa and Neiafu also have shared dorms.
While most guest rooms will have a shared bathroom, there are many options for guest rooms with an ensuite shower room.
Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?
Tonga has guesthouses in the main towns of each island group, i.e. in:
- Nuku’alofa in Tongatapu
- Pangai in ‘Eua
- Pangai in Ha’apai
- Neiafu in Vava’u
- Hihifo in the Niuas.
Towns like Nuku’alofa, Pangai (Ha’apai) and Neiafu have multiple choice of guesthouses, while Pangai (‘Eua) and Hihifo only have one guesthouse.
When choosing a guesthouse, you need to start exploring options in the island group that you intend to visit. Don’t know which island group you want to visit yet? Check out the following guides:
- The Guide to Tongatapu on a Budget
- The Guide to ‘Eua on a Budget
- The Guide to Ha’apai on a Budget
- The Guide to Vava’u on a Budget
- The Complete Guide to The Niuas
How to Get to There
Once you’ve established the island group (or groups) you want to visit and you’re comparing guesthouses, it’s a good idea to compare how to get to your chosen guesthouse. The easiest way is through the guesthouse’s airport transfer, which most guesthouses offer. If not, taxis are available from the airport in Tongatapu and Vava’u.
As established, all guesthouses are in the main towns of each island group. However, if you won’t have a car while in Tonga, then it’s a good idea to check out what is within walking distance of your chosen guesthouses. Especially for Nuku’alofa, some guesthouses are quite a long walk from the city centre, which has both advantages and disadvantages.
What’s Included in Your Stay?
Inclusions at your guesthouse stay can turn a good holiday into a great one, as the little extras might just make your holiday much easier and therefore, enjoyable. When comparing guesthouses in Tonga, make sure you check what facilities are available, as well as what extra services are included.
Typical Facilities at a Guesthouse
What is the normal standard for facilities in a Tonga guesthouse? Here are some typical facilities:
- Kitchen with stovetop, microwave, fridge, cooking pots, crockery and utensils, toaster and kettle
- Car parking
- Shared bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet
- Insect screened windows or mosquito nets
Facilities and Services That Only Some Guesthouses Have
- Free daily breakfast
- Additional kitchen facilities, such as an oven, tea and coffee, toastie grill, rice cooker, etc.
- Meals (extra fee)
- WiFi (either paid or included)
- Bicycle hire (either paid or included)
- Car rental (extra fee)
- Airport transfers (either paid or included)
- Washing machine
- Air conditioning
- Outside deck or verandah
- Hot water
- In-house tours or cultural activities for guests.
What are the Best Guesthouses in Tonga?
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of our recommendations for guest houses across the most-visited island groups:
- 10 Best Guesthouses in Nuku’alofa
- 10 Best Guesthouses in Tongatapu
- 5 Best Guesthouses in Ha’apai
- 6 Best Guesthouses in Vava’u
For our top picks, see the 10 Best Guest Houses in Tonga.
More on How to Choose a Guesthouse in Tonga
- 10 Best Budget Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Budget Accommodation in Tonga for You
- 10 Tips for Travelling Tonga on a Budget