Plan an Adults-Only Getaway to Ha’apai
The great thing about Tonga’s central island group is that there isn’t really a need for “adults-only” resorts. All of the accommodation here is boutique, either offering rooms exclusively for couples, solo travellers and groups of three, with usually just one fale (beach hut) for families or simply none at all! Ha’apai is certainly an off-the-beaten-track destination, where being “surrounded by kids” will be the least of your worries. What’s more, the experiences here are aimed more toward adults, whether it’s swimming with whales in the open water or honing your kitesurfing skills. We’ll guide you through all the advice for an adults-only escape with this adults-only travel guide to Ha’apai.
Adult-Only Tours and Activities in Ha’apai
Before we dive into this complete adults-only travel guide for Ha’apai, here is a taste of the sort of experiences a kid-free getaway entails:
- Explore the unspoiled reefs in a scuba diving trip
- Glide across the shallow lagoons in kitesurfing
- Surf awesome reef and beach breaks straight from your resort
- Catch some big ones on a fishing charter
- Try the national drink, kava
- … Or enjoy some sundowners are one of the island’s bars
- Indulge in a relaxing island massage
- Join a yoga class or a yoga retreat
- Treat your loved one to a private island picnic
- Explore the islands by bike.
Find out more about each experience in the 10 Adult-Only Activities in Ha’apai or simply continue reading…
How to Get to Ha’apai
Ha’apai is the central island group of Tonga covering an area of 110 km² (43 mi²). The more intimate way to get there on an adults-only holiday is by flight from Tongatapu. Otherwise, ferries are available from Tongatapu and Vava’u. See how to get to both Tongatapu and Vava’u from overseas in How to Get to Tonga.
Ha’apai by Plane
The best start to an adults-only holiday to Ha’apai is by taking a 50-minute flight from Fua’amotu Airport on Tongatapu to Salote Pilolevu Airport on Lifuka Island, Ha’apai. Flights typically run two times a day except on Sundays. Find out everything you need to know about flying to Ha’apai in The Guide to Domestic Flights in Tonga.
How to Get Around Ha’apai
With the islands of Ha’apai being so remote with limited infrastructure, most travellers rely on their chosen accommodation for transport. Resorts will pick you up and drop you off at the airport, which needs to be arranged before arrival.
Car rentals are also available in Ha’apai to explore the islands of Lifuka and Foa, which are connected by a causeway. Some resorts on these islands also offer bicycle rentals for guests.
Should you want to visit one of the outer islands, boat charters can be arranged. Learn more about getting around Ha’apai in the Ha’apai Transport Guide: 5 Ways to Get to & Around Ha’apai.
Ha’apai Activities for Adults
Whale swimming excursions, private island picnics, fishing charters, kitesurfing, surfing, island hikes and more… There are plenty of amazing experiences directed at adults on Ha’apai. Here are just a few ideas.
Ha’apai is home to uncrowded and unspoiled hard coral bommies, soft coral gardens and awesome underwater tunnels all with a magnificent array of tropical marine species. With children having to be at least over 10 years old to take part in scuba diving in Tonga, rest assured you’ll only have this experience with your group or other like-minded travellers. Even so, once you’re in the water, you feel like you’re in a world of your own among the ever-intriguing underwater world. PADI scuba diving courses and day trips are available with operators listed in The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Ha’apai.
Considering you need real strength to reel in wahoo, mahimahi, giant trevally and tuna, almost all fishing charters in Ha’apai just have adult clientele (or, families tend to hire the whole boat to themselves). A fishing charter is an epic way to get out on the water, see the islands and engage in an exciting sport! Whether you’re a newbie or an experienced angler, Sea Change Eco Retreat has the expertise and the equipment for an epic morning out on the water with specialised fishing packages available in the months leading up to the whale season (May and June).
Admittedly, the kitesurfing in Ha’apai is suitable for most ages. However, almost everyone out on the water (which doesn’t tend to be many) is an adult. Resorts like Kitesurf Tonga offer instruction to up your game. If you want to more exclusive kiteboarding experience, they offer day trips to a “secret spot”. Other resorts near fantastic kitesurfing waters include the Sea Change Eco Retreat and Matafonua Lodge – the latter also offering week-long instruction should you want to learn from scratch.
A surefire way to enjoy an adults-only experience in Ha’apai is by enjoying a spa treatment. Resorts, such as Serenity Beaches Resort and Sea Change Eco Retreat offer soothing island massages, from head to full-body to shoulder treatments. Learn more about their massage fales in Where to Get a Massage in Tonga.
Aside from relaxation through massages, Serenity Beaches Resort and Sea Change Eco Retreat also offer regular yoga retreats in their exercise pavilions. If your visit doesn’t coincide with a retreat, guests are welcome to use the yoga mats available at these resorts and guide their own yoga and meditation, rejuvenating the mind, body and soul in a stunning location nestled in the forest. Learn more about retreats in The Wellness & Yoga Retreats Guide to Tonga, while more information on the yoga aspects of these resorts can be found in the 5 Best Yoga Resorts in Tonga.
More Things to Do in Ha’apai
From private island visits to cycling around the islands, there are plenty of more ways to experience Ha’apai undisturbed. Get more inspiration from the 10 Adult-Only Activities in Ha’apai. And for experiences that don’t necessarily fall into the “adults-only” category but are just as enticing, check out the 20 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai.
Nightlife in Ha’apai
Ok, so there isn’t really a nightlife scene on Ha’apai like you would find in Tongatapu or Vava’u. However, visitors can enjoy a few drinks at selected island resorts and try the national drink, Kava.
Bars in Ha’apai
Sandy Beach Resort offers a spectacular upmarket restaurant and bar exclusively for guests, pouring a range of beers, wine, soft drinks, coconut water and “Juergi’s Coconut Cocktail”!
There’s also a great bar at the Ha’apai Beach Resort providing a cool and airy place to hang out, use the free WiFi and enjoy a few drinks with your mates.
Kava Drinking in Ha’apai
For a more cultural experience, why not try kava? Kava is a slightly narcotic drink made from the ground-up root of a pepper plant grown across the South Pacific.
Accommodations like Serenity Beaches Resort, Diana Beach Resort, Fanga ’o Ipu Lahi Resort and Lindsay Guesthouse are the best ones to go to help organise this experience for you. And just so you know what you’re drinking, kava is a slightly narcotic drink made from the ground-up root of a pepper plant grown across the South Pacific.
If you’re joining a faikava in a village, such as Pangai for example, it’s customary to bring some cash (TOP$50) or kava to contribute. Learn more about aspects of the Tongan culture in The Guide to the Tongan Culture and Traditions.
Dining in Ha’apai
Although you won’t necessarily find “adults-only” dining in Ha’apai, there are a few eateries on Lifuka and Foa islands, while those staying on Uoleva will be provided with meals at their chosen resort.
Restaurants on Lifuka and Foa Islands
Ha’apai’s main centre, Pangai, has a couple of eateries including Lucky Pot Restaurant located at the Pangai Market. They specialise in pele dishes made with a local spinach, as well as fast food. Head there on a Friday for pizzas and burgers. They are open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 8:30 am to 3 pm.
For Chinese cuisine, check out Tiger Inn located nearby at the Taufa’ahau Wharf, Pangai. Sweet and sour chicken is their most popular dish out of a wide menu of well-priced chicken, beef, pork, seafood and vegetable dishes. They are open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 8 pm.
Nestled among coconut palms of the beachfront approximately 400 m (400 yards) south of Hihifo, Leleno ki Moana meaning “Run to the Ocean”, is a quirky beach hut restaurant serving quality meals for an affordable price. Delight in fresh fish and chips, burgers, authentic curries, Tongan dishes and more, all lovingly presented on timber boards and banana leaves. You’ll hardly get a more island vibe! Find them open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 9 pm and Wednesday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Finally, call ahead for Matafonua Lodge‘s (Foa Island) burgers, seafood tacos and, most famously, their pizzas. They are open to non-guests for lunch and dinner outside of the whale season or will accept non-guests who call and order ahead during the whale season.
Meals at Uoleva Island Resorts
Those staying on the uninhabited Uoleva Island only have their chosen resort’s meal offerings for dining. Meals are typically a set menu each day, which you’ll either pay as you go or are included in your resort rate as a compulsory meal plan. It is fundamental that you advise your resort of any dietary requirements prior to arrival. Diana Beach Resort and Serenity Beaches Resort have kitchens for guest use.
For more about dining and meal plans, head to The Food Guide to Ha’apai: Places to Eat & Food Tours.
More About Adults-Only Vacations to Ha’apai and Tonga
That’s it for our complete adults-only travel guide to Ha’apai but by no means the end of our advice. Just take a look:
- The Ultimate Guide to Nightlife in Tonga
- The Guide to Retreats in Tonga: Yoga, Wellness & More
- 20 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai
And finally, browse The Complete Adults-Only Travel Guide to Tonga for anything you might have missed.