The Adult-Only Guide to Vava’u(c) James Blackwood - Tonga Ministry of Tourism
The Adult-Only Guide to Vava’u

The Adults-Only Travel Guide to Vava’u

(c) James Blackwood – Tonga Ministry of Tourism

How to Plan an Adults-Only Holiday to Vava’u

Let’s get one thing straight about Vava’u, unlike other South Pacific destinations it’s certainly not crawling with kids! Nevertheless, for those craving a getaway with little disturbance, Vava’u is one of the best places in Tonga to provide, with two exclusive adult-only resorts and a wealth of experiences aimed at the more mature crowd (who are young at heart)! Let us help you find the perfect balance between adventure and relaxation in this adults-only travel guide to Vava’u.

Adult-Only Tours and Activities in Vava’u

Before we dive into this complete adults-only travel guide for Vava’u, here is a taste of the sort of experiences a kid-free getaway entails:

  1. Get out on the water on a fishing charter
  2. Drink and be merry at one of Neiafu’s bars
  3. Explore the underwater world on a scuba diving trip
  4. Hire yourself a private sailing charter
  5. Swim with beautiful humpback whales
  6. Reconnect with yourself in a yoga session
  7. Harness the elements in kitesurfing
  8. Relax at an adults-only resort
  9. Try the national drink, kava
  10. Enjoy a self-guided tiki tour around the main island.

For more information on each experience, see the full list of the 10 Adult-Only Activities in Vava’u.

The Adult-Only Guide to Vava’u(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

How to Get to Vava’u

Vava’u is Tonga’s northernmost island group (at least out of the islands that are the country’s most visited), lying approximately 300 km (185 mi) north of Tongatapu. Vava’u is connected to Tongatapu, Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa through its international airport, Lupepauʻu Airport. Otherwise, Vava’u is on the sailing itinerary of many cruise ships and private sailing yachts. Here are the best transport options for an adults-only getaway.

Vava’u by Plane

The most intimate way to get to Vava’u, appropriate for an adults-only holiday, is by taking the plane. Planes fly from Tongatapu’s Fua’amotu Airport every day except Sunday landing in Vava’u’s Lupepauʻu Airport. Allow at least a couple of days to fly to Vava’u as flights frequently get cancelled. Learn more in The Guide to Domestic Flights in Tonga.

Vava’u by Cruise

While there are no adult-only cruises that visit Vava’u, there are a number of other cruise liners calling at Neiafu, the main town of Vava’u. Check out the 10 Cruises That Visit Tonga for more details.

Vava’u by Yacht

Vava’u is a hugely popular destination to sail to on the Transpacific journey. Take a look at the clearance procedures and more in The Sailing Guide to Tonga.

How to Get Around in Vava’u

Vava’u’s main island, ‘Utu Vava’u and some surrounding islands, such as Pangaimotu, ‘Utungake, Koloa and Okoa, are well-connected by roads and causeways. Taxis and car rentals are available to get around these islands, while accommodations also provide airport transfers.

For those staying on the outer islands, boat transfers are mainly provided by your chosen resort or arranged with a local boat operator. We dive much more into detail about transport in Vava’u in the 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Vava’u.

The Adult-Only Guide to Vava’u(c) Tonga Ministry of Tourism

Activities on Vava’u for Adults

With Vava’u being an adventure tourism destination, you won’t find many of the activities “full of kids”. Most of the major attractions here are more hands-on and, therefore, directed at the grown-up crowd. Some suggestions include…

Whale Swimming

Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience swimming with enchanting humpback whales, available between July and October. Although there are more than 25 operators taking visitors out to see the whales, the Tonga Pocket Guide team only saw one child out when watching the boats depart for two whole mornings with the Tongan Government’s Whale Enforcement. So, chances are, you’ll only be sharing the experience with like-minded whale lovers! More private whale swimming experiences are available with Kiwi Magic and Blue Lagoon Resort by only allowing four passengers per boat. Find out more about operators in the 10 Best Whale Swim Tours in Vava’u.

Sailing Charters

Ensure you spend the day (or a few days) with like-minded individuals or the people you choose on a sailing charter! Vava’u is home to some of the most magnificent sailing grounds in the South Pacific, which you can only understand once you sail yourself. All-inclusive shared and private sailing charters are available, such as TradeWinds. Find out more about the experience in the 10 Best Boat & Sailing Tours in Vava’u.

Scuba Diving

With divers needing to be certified to go out with dive operators to Vava’u’s dive sites, scuba diving is not an experience with noisy kids! Vava’u is home to some wonderful scuba diving where hundreds of tropical fish, sharks, nudibranchs, soft coral and hard coral are seen on a daily basis (except for Sundays when tours are not permitted to operate under Tongan law). Divers also have the opportunity to do wreck dives, swim into caves, see magnificent drop-offs and more! Check out dive boats in The Best Dive Shops & Operators in Vava’u.

Fishing Charters

By this point, you’re probably starting to think that Vava’u has it all with amazing sailing, whale swimming, scuba diving and now amazing fishing?! Well, Vava’u does offer some of the best fishing in Tonga with excellent waters for catching marlin and giant trevally! Join one of the island group’s reputable fishing charters with passionate guides to show you the ropes for catching monsters in tropical waters! Compare your options in The Best Fishing Charters in Vava’u.

More Things to Do in Vava’u

For more inspiration, such as yoga sessions and self-guided tiki tours around the islands, head over to the 10 Adult-Only Activities in Vava’u. Alternatively, for experiences that don’t necessarily fall into the “adults-only” category but are arguably just as sensational, take a look at the 50 Best Things to Do in Vava’u.

The Adults-Only Vacation Guide to Vava'u©

Nightlife and Dining in Vava’u

Vava’u is a sailor’s paradise! With that in mind, there are plenty of places to drink like a sailor, whether it’s at the restaurants that team up as bars in Neiafu or one of the island resorts! As for dining, only the adults-only resorts can guarantee a child-free experience with meal plans either included or compulsory on these remote islands. Regardless, adults still gotta eat, so we’ve included some dining recommendations nevertheless.

Bars in Vava’u

Neiafu is a hub of restaurants with great bars, including The Basque Tavern (cnr Fatafehi and Falaeu Roads, Neiafu) on a hilltop, boasting awesome views of the Neiafu Harbour. The Mango Cafe (Fatafehi Road, Neiafu waterfront) is a popular spot with a full bar and restaurant right on the water’s edge. Le Galion (cnr Fatafehi Road and road to Halaevalu Wharf, Neiafu) has an uber-fun Tongan-style burlesque show once a week. Finally, check out the Bellavista Cafe & Restaurant (Guttenbeil Plaza, Neiafu) for its excellent wine and beer selection along with views over the harbour.

There are also some excellent resorts with bars open to casual diners and drinkers, including the Tongan Beach Resort (‘Utungake) and the Mounu Island Resort (Mounu Island) with its beachfront Moby Dick Bar. Learn more about the best bars across the Kingdom in the 10 Best Bars in Tonga and The Ultimate Guide to Nightlife in Tonga.

Dining in Vava’u

All of the bars that we have mentioned above are also highly recommended eateries. In addition, for European/American-style food done well, head to The Harbourview (Toula). Aside from the idyllic harbour views that give this restaurant and resort its namesake, the diverse breakfast, lunch and dinner menus (which you can choose from any and anytime, FYI) means that everyone in your party is likely to be happy – even the token vegan!

Other than experiencing an umu feast (see below), the dining scene doesn’t get more Tongan than the fabulous and locally run MJ Seafood (Halaevalu Wharf, Neiafu). As the name suggests, they only do seafood but they do it well, delighting diners with a range of curry/gravy-like Tongan dishes, such as their most popular kelevi ika, as well as notably non-greasy fish and chips.

Check out more dining options in the 15 Best Cafes & Restaurants in Vava’u.

More About Adults-Only Vacations in Vava’u

That’s it for our complete adults-only travel guide to Vava’u but by no means the end of our advice. Just take a look:

And finally, browse The Complete Adults-Only Travel Guide to Tonga for anything you might have missed.


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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