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 is 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.
And what do guesthouses in Tonga look like? Take a look at the 20 Best Guesthouses in Tonga to get a good idea.
5 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 sometimes even hot water, are not always available even if stated that they are
- Guesthouses in Tonga are only located in the main towns, such as Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu), Neiafu (Vava’u) and Pangai (Ha’apai). On ‘Eua, guesthouses are the main type of accommodation scattered across its central villages
- Most guesthouses in Tonga only accept cash as payment.
What is a Guesthouse in Tonga?
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 bathrooms, a kitchen, lounge and laundry facilities. Some guesthouses may also have separate self-contained units with an ensuite and cooking 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.
As the cheapest type of accommodation found in Tonga, guesthouses are favoured by backpackers, as well as local and international travellers on a budget.
Room types typically consist of double rooms with a queen bed. Some guesthouses have “family rooms”, which almost always means one double bed and one single. 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.
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 guesthouses are very basic, and not all of your usual facilities are provided, such as towels, toiletries, tea/coffee or even hot water. Tonga is more basic, so it is best to keep an open mind (and bring a travel towel).
Location, How to Get There and What is Nearby?
Tonga has guesthouses in the main towns of each island group, i.e. in:
Towns like Nuku’alofa, Pangai and Neiafu have multiple guesthouses, while the island of ‘Eua mainly consists of guesthouses scattered across the island but particularly within the central villages.
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? Compare island groups in The Best Islands to Visit in Tonga or 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
How to Get 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. For more information about getting around, see the following articles for advice:
- 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Tongatapu
- 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) ‘Eua
- 5 Ways to Get to (& Around) Ha’apai
- 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) 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. Check out the links below on where are accommodations are located and what’s nearby, as well as a compilation of guesthouses based on location:
- Where to Stay on Tongatapu and 10 Best Guesthouses on Tongatapu
- Where to Stay on ‘Eua and 5 Best Guesthouses on ‘Eua
- Where to Stay in Ha’apai and 5 Best Guesthouses in Ha’apai
- Where to Stay in Vava’u and 10 Best Guesthouses in Vava’u.
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. As for typical rates, check out Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost? for up-to-date rates.
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.
- In-room fridge
- In-room kettle
- Meals (extra fee)
- WiFi (usually paid)
- 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.
More on How to Choose a Guesthouse in Tonga
That’s it for how to choose a guesthouse in Tonga. If you need more advice, how about tips from our other accommodation selection guides?
- How to Pick the Best Budget Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Resort in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Family-Friendly Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Foodie Accommodation in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Lodge in Tonga
- How to Pick the Best Backpacker Accommodation in Tonga
Now with a bit of research behind you, you can start selecting the perfect guesthouse for you with Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga.