Is it Necessary to Purchase a Meal Plan in Tonga?
Resorts all over the world offer meal plans to guests, many making you feel tied into eating exclusively at the resort only to realise there are other options when it’s too late. But is it the same in Tonga? Well, in most cases where meal plans are offered, they are your only option for food, especially on Tonga’s less-developed islands. However, there are some resorts that offer meal plans, as well as a la carte menus and/or have proximity to other dining options which might be more suitable than committing to a meal plan. We go into further details into this guide to resort meal plans in Tonga.
What is a Resort Meal Plan?
A resort meal plan is pre-paying for your meals. Resorts that offer meal plans will usually have two options: full-board or half-board. Full-board meal plans are usually for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while half-board meal plans are usually for just breakfast and dinner. It also typically includes unlimited hot drinks, as well as sometimes afternoon tea and cakes. Alcohol and soft drinks are not typically included in meal plans in Tonga.
When to Choose a Meal Plan in Tonga
We recommend purchasing a meal plan for any resort in Tonga that is on an otherwise undeveloped island. In this case, it means that the resort will be your only option for purchasing food.
The Price of Meal Plans in Tonga
Each resort has its own prices for meal plans, but a ballpark figure would be TOP$80-$110 per person per day for half-board and TOP$100-$150 per person per day for full-board.
Learn more about the costs associated with resorts in What is the Cost of Accommodation in Tonga?
Full-board or Half-board?
When choosing between half-board and full-board, well, this comes down to personal preference. Much of the breakfasts on offer at resorts are very indulgent, often a much bigger breakfast than most of us have at home. With this in mind, many of us can make it through until dinner without feeling the need for lunch (but we recommend packing a few snacks, just in case you get peckish throughout the day). But if you know that you like your lunch, or you just want peace of mind that you will be well-fed, then full-board is a better choice.
When Not to Choose a Meal Plan in Tonga
Resorts that are on the same islands as other dining options, such as other resorts, restaurants or that offer self-catering facilities, don’t require you to purchase a meal plan. While resorts on more developed islands might still offer meal plans, we recommend paying for meals as you go with these resorts, e.g. dining “a la carte”, for two main reasons:
- You’ll have the flexibility to experience different dining options, as you won’t feel obligated to eat at the resort for every meal
- It’s often cheaper to pay-as-you-go if you keep an eye on menu prices and mix it up with dining at some cheaper restaurants/self-catering too.
Note that many accommodations that offer meal plans, still offer free breakfast for guests.
Other Dining Options in Tonga
When you’re not hooked into the meal plan of your chosen resort, where else can you eat?
In the towns of Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu) and Neiafu (Vava’u), you have a range of restaurants to choose from. Areas where resorts are close to each other, such as at Ha’atafu Beach (Tongatapu), resort restaurants are open to non-guests too giving travellers plenty of options here. Pangai (Ha’apai) has one restaurant, as well as nearby resort restaurants on Lifuka and Foa Island which you can access by bike. Check out Guide to the Best Eats & Restaurants in Tonga for recommendations.
Alternatively, if you’re staying in self-catering accommodation, you can pick up groceries from supermarkets, fale koloa (convenient stores) and markets in the villages around Tongatapu, Ha’apai and less-so in Vava’u and ‘Eua. Learn more about self-catering in The Guide to Food Shopping in Tonga.
More About Choosing a Resort Meal Plan in Tonga
- 10 Best Foodie Experiences in Tonga
- 10 Tips for Travelling Tonga on a Budget
- How to Pick the Best Foodie Accommodation in Tonga for You