The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©
The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga


Plan an Adults-Only Getaway to Tonga

The “adults-only island escape” is a travel trend you see more and more in the South Pacific. After all, who really wants their afternoons sitting in the sun and drinking cocktails to the soundtrack of child tantrums? Plus, with epic whale swimming and scuba diving experiences best suited to those who can, indeed, swim without armbands, it could easily be argued that for destinations like Tonga, you’ll probably make the most of it without little ones. On the flip side, if you’ve escaped your own little devils and aren’t too keen to be around other people’s, then there are several ways to enjoy a child-free stay in Tonga. We’ll guide you through it, island group-by-island group, in this adults-only travel guide to Tonga.

An Intro to Tonga

Location: Tonga is in the South Pacific in the continent of Oceania. Tonga is directly south of Samoa and two-thirds of the way between Hawaii and New Zealand. Find out more in Where is Tonga Located?

Size: Tonga has a land area of 750 km² (290 mi²) scattered over 700,000 km² (270,000 mi²) of ocean.

Climate: Daily average temperature – 26°C (79°F), yearly average rainfall – 1,600 mm (63 in).
Find out more in What is the Weather Like in Tonga?

Time zone: TST / GMT+13.
Find out more in What is the Tonga Time Zone?

Population: 100,179.
Find out more in Who are the People of Tonga?

Languages: Tongan and English.
Find out more in The Guide to the Tongan Language.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

How to Get to Tonga

What is the best way to get to Tonga? Tonga can be accessed by flight, cruise ship or private sailing yachts. The most popular way to get to Tonga is by international flight, so let’s start with that.

Flying to Tonga

Direct international flights to Tonga come from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa. If you’re coming from further afield, connecting flights can be made in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. See our guide, Which Airlines Fly to Tonga? for more advice on flying to Tonga.

Most international arrivals land at Fua’amotu International Airport on the island of Tongatapu, 21 km (13 mi) from the nation’s capital, Nuku’alofa. A limited number of flights also arrive at Lupepau’u International Airport in Vava’u, about 10 km (6 mi) from Neiafu. Find out more about these airports and the best one to fly to in our guide, Tonga Arrival Airports: Which Airport to Fly into Tonga.

Cruises to Tonga

Tonga is on the itinerary of several South Pacific cruises from New Zealand, Australia and French Polynesia. There are two ports of call in Tonga, one in Nuku’alofa on Tongatapu and the other in Neiafu in Vava’u. Find out about which cruise liners have Tonga on their itinerary in the 10 Best Cruises That Visit Tonga.

Sailing to Tonga

Tonga is situated at the centre of a Transpacific journey between the US and New Zealand. The yachting season is between May and October. Learn about the sailing formalities and the ports of entry in The Sailing Guide to Tonga.

A Note on Customs Declarations

Tonga has strict biosecurity measures at the border to stop unwanted pests and diseases from entering the country. Therefore, anyone arriving in Tonga has to declare any “risk items” they have packed in their luggage – even common items like food and sports gear. Be sure to read up on Arriving in Tonga: Airport Customs, Biosecurity & Arrival Process so you are prepared.

Check out our complete guide on How to Get to Tonga for even more tips on making your way to the islands of Tonga.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

When to Visit Tonga

Tonga is a tropical country and experiences warm temperatures throughout the year. It has two distinct seasons, a dry season that is drier and cooler, and a wet season that is hot and humid. Learn much more about the weather and climate by month in our guide to the Tonga Weather, Seasons & Climate + Tonga Weather by Month.

Dry Season (May to October)

The dry season is also known as the winter season in Tonga, although many would not describe it as winter with temperatures around 19-29°C (66-84°F). The rainfall per month is an average of 110 mm (3.9 in). The dry season is also the time for whale swimming and the clearest visibility for scuba diving.

Wet Season (November to April)

The wet season is hotter and more humid, with temperatures around 23-31°C (74-88°F) and an average monthly rainfall of 210 mm (8.3 in). This is also Tonga’s cyclone season, which means there’s a risk of cyclones (but only a risk).

So when is the best time to travel to Tonga? Check out our complete guide, The Best Time to Visit Tonga, which dives deeper into the subject.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

What to Pack for Tonga

The main thing you need to keep in mind when packing for Tonga is to have a tropical wardrobe that includes some more modest items of clothing for exploring Tonga’s towns and villages. A packing list for Tonga might look a little something like this:

  • 4 Singlets/T-Shirts
  • 2 Blouses/Shirts to cover the shoulders
  • 2 Shorts/Skirts to or below the knee
  • Dress/Skirt below the knee for church/impress at dinner, going to town or villages, etc. We recommend light fabrics such as the sustainable bamboo dresses and skirts by Moso Morrow
  • 1 Sarong (Lavalava) will be your best friend for hitting the beach and covering your swimwear in between swimming
  • 1 or 2 Light sleepwear if you’re against sleeping in your undies
  • 1 Light jacket/Cardigan/Pashmina for cooler evenings
  • 1 Light fleece jumper something to keep warm after swimming from a boat
  • 1 Sports shorts/Leggings for hiking/active activities, preferable to or below the knee
  • 1 Sports T-shirt/Singlet for hiking/active activities
  • 1 Outfit to travel between Tonga and home
  • 3 Bras including strapless, sports and comfortable bras
  • 6 Underwear
  • 4 Socks
  • 1 Bikini for resort beach/pool
  • 1 One-piece for watersports
  • 2 Boardshorts for guys
  • 1 Rash vest (we like sustainable Sharkskin rashies)
  • Sunhat
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip-flops/Sandals
  • Walking shoes/Sneakers
  • Reef shoes/Water shoes.

And that’s just the clothes! For a full packing list of everything to take, including accessories and toiletries, check out The Complete Packing List for Tonga.

Health Products

With questionable drinking water, high UV levels and the presence of mosquitos, certain health products are essential to take to Tonga. Tonga also has a fragile marine ecosystem so natural sunscreens and repellents are a must, while reusable water purification bottles are preferable to buying bottled water for obvious environmental reasons. See our health essentials packing list in What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Tonga, as well as tips for protecting the health of the environment in the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga.


The currency in Tonga is Tongan Pa’anga. You will need to be prepared to get by on cash for much of your stay as this is often the only payment method accepted. There are ATMs in the four main towns of Tonga. Get more money tips in What is The Best Way to Pay in Tonga?

Do You Need a Visa to Visit Tonga?

For citizens of around 70 different countries, the answer is no. You just need to arrive in Tonga with a valid passport. Citizens not of visa-exempt countries will need an Entry Permit. Find out more about Do You Need a Visa to Visit Tonga? and what other paperwork to prepare in What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Tonga?

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

How Long to Spend in Tonga

Tonga might make for an idyllic boutique resort getaway to simply relax for a few days  – and that’s fine; we all need to R&R from time to time. Most travellers, however, are here to explore and experience some of the most dramatic culture and wildlife experiences in the South Pacific. With that in mind, here’s what you can achieve in certain timeframes… (And don’t worry, we’ll get onto the destinations in the next few sections).

3 Days / A Long Weekend in Tonga

Over three days or a long weekend, you have enough time to see the highlights of Tongatapu. Check out our Tonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 3 Days for a long weekend idea.

5 Days in Tonga

Start by exploring Tongatapu, then head to one of the outer islands, such as the nearby ‘Eua, for a couple of days. See Tonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 5 Days for a complete itinerary.

7 Days / 1 Week in Tonga

Visit two island groups to experience two sides of Tonga. Flights and ferries connect the main four groups regularly so take your pick! Get some inspiration on what to do and where to go from Tonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 7 Days.

14 Days / 2 Weeks in Tonga

Adventurous travellers can visit as many as four major island groups of Tonga. See Tonga Adults-Only Itinerary: 14 Days for a whole list of exciting itineraries.

How Long Can You Stay in Tonga?

Visitors to Tonga can stay up to one month (30 days) or nationals from a Schengen member country can stay up to three months (90 days)! Visitor extensions are available, however, which you can learn more about in our guide, How Long Can You Stay in Tonga on a Visitor Visa?

The Adult-Only Guide to Tonga(c)

Where to Visit: Adults-Only Holiday to Tongatapu

Home of the capital and the arrival island for many coming to Tonga, Tongatapu is one of your best Tonga destinations should you be looking for an urban-based adults-only getaway. There is an adults-only boutique lodge in Nuku’alofa – no one under the age of 10/12. Alternatively, travellers could seek out one of Tongatapu’s holiday homes for an alternative private space.

Those staying in Nuku’alofa might be surprised to find that most of the major activities that Tonga is known for can be done from here. Swimming with humpback whales and scuba diving at the coral reefs can be done from boat tours departing from Faua Wharf on the capital’s waterfront.

In between the adventure, those on an adults-only getaway can enjoy some R&R too, whether it’s with an island-style massage at one of the city’s spas or wining and dining at the exciting range of bars and restaurants.

For more advice on planning a trip to the main island and capital, check out The Adults-Only Guide to Tongatapu and The Adults-Only Guide to Nuku’alofa.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Where to Visit: Adults-Only Holiday to ‘Eua

‘Eua is Tonga’s oldest and “wildest” island, sitting less than 20 km (11 mi) southeast of Tongatapu. It’s definitely an island for an active adults-only getaway, with the highlights here being the ‘Eua National Park, as well as whale swimming, spearfishing and freediving.

Although there are no adults-only accommodations on ‘Eua, there is the odd holiday home where guests can choose who they share the home with. So by all means, make it adults-only!

Ways to experience this ancient island include hiking, which has some guided and self-guided options around the island – don’t worry, the island is so quiet that you’ll rarely meet any one of the trails. Alternatively, there are 4WD land tours to see the natural sights, such as caves, giant banyan trees, natural coastal arches, rock gardens and island lookouts.

More adult-only adventures await on the water, especially with swimming with humpback whales in the whale season and spearfishing in the deep blue, while ‘Eua is home to one of the largest cave dives in the South Pacific.

Learn more about planning an adults-only getaway to this island in The Adults-Only Guide to ‘Eua.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Where to Visit: Adults-Only Holiday to Ha’apai

This less-visited central island group hardly needs adults-only resorts, but they are there if you need them, such as the budget-friendly Ha’apai Beach Resort and, the next best thing, the Sandy Beach Resort caters almost exclusively to adults by only allowing children to stay with special permission.

Ha’apai is an island group of 62 islands, most of which are uninhabited, boasting sandy shores, swaying coconut palms and tranquil lagoons. It’s a popular destination for yoga and wellness retreats at the many eco-resorts here, while it also is a special place for the kitesurfing crowd thanks to its consistent tradewinds and butter-flat lagoons.

The pristine islands are a good choice for couples on a romantic island getaway, with some experiences including private island picnics or private beach dinners. But don’t worry, you can still do the major Tonga activities in Ha’apai too, which offers an excellent place to swim with whales, scuba dive through coral arches, and even hop on a fishing charter.

Learn more about visiting Ha’apai in The Adults-Only Guide to Ha’apai.

The Adult-Only Guide to Tonga(c)

Where to Visit: Adults-Only Holiday to Vava’u

The northern island group of Tonga (excluding the far-flung Niuas, which we salute you for if you manage to get there), Vava’u is the place for underwater action and island getaway. Especially for adult groups and couples, you have the opportunity to stay at either the Dream Island Resort or TradeWind’s Sailing and Mandala Resort Package, both with minimum age requirements to stay at their stunning pieces of island paradise.

Vava’u is home to the largest array of whale swimming tours, while it’s also argued to have some of the best dive sites in Tonga. There are wreck dives, coral gardens, underwater canyons, caves and much more to explore exclusively for certified divers (at the time of writing, there are no intro dives in Vava’u). Vava’u is also renowned for its blue marlin fishery, making it a hotspot for bluewater game fishing.

Another claim to fame for these islands is their sailing grounds. A unique way to spend an adults-only holiday is by hiring a sailing yacht for a few days to explore the labyrinth of inlets and compact islands.

Get more inspiration for an adults-only getaway in The Adults-Only Guide to Vava’u.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

How to Get Around Tonga

Tonga might not have an overwhelming number of island groups but the distance between each is quite substantial with around 180 km (110 mi) between Tongatapu and Ha’apai and 130 km (80 mi) between Ha’apai and Vava’u. Not to mention, Tonga’s larger islands are well worth exploring in their own right. So how do you get around Tonga?

Domestic Flights

To get between island groups, flights operate daily except Sundays. They are the fastest and most comfortable way to get between islands, so naturally, the most expensive option. Learn more about flying between the island groups in The Guide to Domestic Flights in Tonga.

Interisland Ferries

Cargo-style boats and barge ferries travel between Tongatapu, ‘Eua, Ha’apai and Vava’u several times a week. They are cheaper than flying but trips can last several hours. See The Guide to Travelling in Tonga by Ferry to learn much more about this transport method.

Car Rental

Car rental is readily available in Tongatapu and Vava’u, but a little harder to find in ‘Eua and Ha’apai unless you know where to look. Find out everything you need to know about hiring in What You Need to Hire a Car in Tonga.


Taxis are available in Tongatapu and Vava’u. Ask for the going rate, as many don’t use meters. See The Guide to Taxis in Tonga for more tips.

There are a lot more ways to travel around Tonga between resort transfers, guided tours, bicycle rental and even multi-day kayaking tours so be sure to browse our Tonga Transport Guide: 15 Ways to Get Around Tonga for more advice.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Where to Stay: Adult-Only and Adult-Friendly Accommodations in Tonga

Tonga’s accommodations are “intimate” with the exception of one large hotel in Nuku’alofa. Beachfront resorts typically consist of only two to seven fales (beach bungalows), so “too many kids” is rarely an issue. Holiday homes, villas and even backpacker hostels are also available in Tonga, which tend to have little to no families.

Take a look at accommodation styles across Tonga in Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga or stick to the adults-only options in the 5 Best Adults-Only Resorts in Tonga with further advice found in How to Pick the Best Adults-Only Accommodation in Tonga for You.

Adults-Only Resorts

Tonga has a small selection of adults-only resorts across Ha’apai and Vava’u. They offer a range of activities both in-house and organised with external operators, as well as provide either a la carte or set meals at their on-site restaurants. Accommodation is in fales (beach bungalows) with a bed and ensuite bathroom. Learn more about resort facilities in How to Choose the Best Resort in Tonga for You.

Adults-Only Lodge

The Waterfront Lodge is a boutique hotel with guest rooms for couples featuring ensuite bathrooms and balconies/patios. The site also has a restaurant. Learn more about what to expect at this style of accommodation in How to Choose the Best Lodge in Tonga for You.

Learn more about these accommodations in the 5 Best Adults-Only Accommodations in Tonga.

Holiday Homes/Villas

For travellers seeking their own space and perhaps conveniences like self-catering facilities, choose one of the holiday homes or villa complexes in Tonga. Holiday homes can be cost-effective for adult groups, while villas tend to have everything needed for couples or families to enjoy a self-contained stay. Either way, both options tend to offer a bit more privacy than hotels, guesthouses and resorts, making holiday homes and villas a viable alternative for an adults-only holiday.

Check out How to Pick the Best Holiday Home in Tonga for You and How to Choose the Best Villa in Tonga for You for more details. Plus, be sure to browse the 20 Best Holiday Homes in Tonga and 10 Best Villas in Tonga.

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. All in all, it is best to keep an open mind.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Things to Do in Tonga for Adults

Tonga hooks most travellers with the prospect of swimming with humpback whales but there’s much more to this island nation. You never know, after browsing our 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List you might just realise that there are amazing experiences even outside of the whale season.

When it comes to experiences that are less likely to be disturbed by a more “enthusiastic” crowd, this is what you could be getting up to:

  • Swimming with whales – Take boat tours to snorkel with whales between July and October
  • Scuba diving – Choose from tens of dive sites, from coral formations to caves
  • Kitesurfing – Ha’apai and Vava’u offer flat lagoons and ideal trade winds for kitesurfing
  • Game fishing – The South Pacific’s largest pelagics can be caught on fishing charters in Tonga
  • Sailing – Tonga and especially Vava’u are some of the most iconic sailing grounds in the South Pacific
  • Surfing – Hit uncrowded reef breaks on Tongatapu and Vava’u or do some beach surfing in Ha’apai
  • Spa treatments – Visit a day spa or get a massage at your resort’s beachfront massage fale
  • Yoga – Experience wellness in paradise
  • Golf – Tee off in paradise
  • Nightlife – Discover Nuku’alofa or Neiafu’s party scene.

… And there’s a lot more where those came from in the 10 Best Activities in Tonga for Adults. Again, you’ll find much more inspiration from our 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List so get on there!

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Food in Tonga

Food is an integral part of the Tongan culture. Despite there being limited dining options outside of main centres like Nuku’alofa and Neiafu, accommodation hosts will ensure you won’t go hungry by either providing homecooked meals of Tongan fare or boasting their own restaurant with an international menu. Everything you need to know about food in Tonga can be found in The Food Guide to Tonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

Restaurants and Cafes

Tonga’s restaurants can be found in Nuku’alofa and Neiafu, as well as some of its resorts. They typically have international influences, such as Italian, American, British, Chinese and more, as well as local Tongan dishes. Check out our top dining picks in the 20 Best Restaurants in Tonga.


Self-catering is often an option with many accommodations offering some sort of cooking facilities. Travellers can pick up food from small supermarkets, fale koloa (convenience stores), and produce markets. Get advice on self-catering in our guide, A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Tonga.

Special Diets

With tropical vegetables and coconut cream being staple ingredients in Tonga, vegans and gluten-intolerant diners are usually doable in Tonga but you will struggle to find dishes on restaurant menus that cater to various diets. Those with dietary health issues should let accommodation hosts know about any dietary requirements before arrival. Check out Tonga for Vegans & Vegetarians + 10 Best Restaurants, as well as The Gluten-Free Guide to Tonga for more advice.

What Food to Try

And what are the foods worth trying in Tonga? Tongan food can be sampled at Tongan restaurants, cultural shows and buffets, locally-owned supermarkets, and markets and roadside stalls, particularly on a Saturday. Check out which meals to look out for in the 10 Unique Foods in Tonga You Have to Try, as well as drinks in the 10 Drinks in Tonga You Have to Try!

Food and Water Safety

Tourist accommodations in Tonga tend to have access to safe drinking water, whether it’s a jug of filtered water at reception or the option to buy bottled water. See Is the Water Safe to Drink in Tonga? for more advice. Food in Tonga is generally cooked to safe hygiene standards, but check out Tonga Safety Tips for precautions to take.

Want to know more about dining in Tonga? Head to The Food Guide to Tonga: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

The Child-Free (Adults-Only) Travel Guide to Tonga©

Typical Costs and Budget for an Adults-Only Trip to Tonga

We all travel very differently. Therefore, making a precise budget for everyone is, quite frankly, an impossible task. Nevertheless, you can work out your own needs, thus budget, by simply looking at the typical prices listed below or in our article, Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost?

The Cost of Accommodation

The Cost of Food

  • Main breakfast meal – TOP$9-$29
  • Main lunch meal – TOP$15-$30
  • Main dinner meal – TOP$22-$60
  • Dessert – TOP$10-$15
  • Cultural show and buffet – TOP$50-$100
  • Pint of beer – TOP$8-$12
  • Glass of wine – TOP$15.50-$19
  • Small coffee – TOP$5-$8
  • Soft drink – TOP$5-$7
  • Resort meal plan full-board/day – TOP$170-$290.

Grocery prices for self-catering can be found in What is the Cost of Food in Tonga?

The Cost of Tours and Activities

All activity prices are per person unless stated otherwise.

The Cost of Transport

  • Bicycle rental/day – TOP$0-$35
  • Scooter rental/day – TOP$50-$55
  • Car rental/day – TOP$50-$200
  • Public bus/trip – TOP$0.80-$3.50
  • Taxi/first kilometre – TOP$3.50-$4.10/
    Continuous km – TOP$1.20-1.40/km
  • Accommodation/airport transfers/person – TOP$0-$100
  • Ferry/ ‘Eua to Tongatapu – TOP$30
    Ha’apai to Tongatapu – TOP$70-$80
    Vava’u to Tongatapu – TOP$90-$100
    Tongatapu to The Niuas – TOP$150
    Vava’u to Ha’apai – TOP$80-$90
  • Boat charter/ Lifuka to Uoleva – TOP$250
  • Island resort airport transfer – TOP$50-$200
  • Flight/Tongatapu to Vava’u – TOP$340-$390
    Tongatapu to Ha’apai – TOP$240-$260
    Tongatapu to ‘Eua – TOP$100.

Again, check out our guide, Tonga Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to Tonga Cost? for more budget tips and costs.

Spending Money for Tonga

Here are a few averages for a daily budget for Tonga. These include food, activities, transport and miscellaneous expenses. Each price is per person per day:

  • Budget daily budget: TOP$150
  • Mid-range daily budget: TOP$295
  • Luxury daily budget: TOP$460+

We break down the budgets further in How Much Spending Money Do You Need for Tonga?

More About Planning an Adults-Only Trip to Tonga

That’s it for our complete adults-only travel guide to Tonga. For more tips ideal for adult groups, check out the following guides:

And if you simply can’t get enough Tonga wisdom, head over to the 30 Tips for Travelling in Tonga.

Happy travels and thanks for checking out this adults-only travel guide to 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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