Snorkelling and Scuba Diving on Tongatapu
After landing on Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, you don’t have to travel far to be in the midst of mesmerising marine life. Tongatapu offers amazing dive sites and snorkelling spots among its five marine reserves and two island parks protecting marine life. Jump on a dive boat or a snorkelling tour to experience the tropical underwater world for yourself. Alternatively, snorkel and dive operators from Tongatapu also offer trips to one of Tonga’s oldest islands, ‘Eua, to explore their underwater caves. Learn more about how you can experience it all for yourself in this guide to the best snorkel & scuba dive tours on Tongatapu.
Quick Facts About Snorkelling and Diving from Tongatapu
- The water temperature is 25-29°C (77-84.2°F) year-round for comfortable snorkelling and diving
- All snorkel and dive tours depart from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa
- Getting a scuba dive in between July and October is a little more challenging when the following operators also do whale swimming tours – be sure to book well in advance during these months
- Sights on Tongatapu dive trips include hard and soft corals, turtles, manta rays and sharks among the 1,500 species of fish
- Diving and snorkelling are also available at ‘Eua island from Tongatapu, featuring caves and underwater canyons.
Learn more about diving in Tonga with our Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga.
Deep Blue Diving
Join a long-established dive operator in Nuku’alofa for a scuba diving expedition in tropical waters. Deep Blue Diving operates dive tours from Tongatapu on one of the largest dive boats available on the islands, the MV Kiunia, which runs at a relaxed and comfortable pace with plenty of room to get divers ready. In the high season, July to October, when this boat is more likely to be used for whale swimming, divers are likely to be in their smaller aluminium boat.
Deep Blue Diving offers two-tank dives with all equipment hire, as well as lunch and refreshments throughout the day. The team offer outer and inner reef dives, including intro dives for beginners and bubble maker courses for ages 8-12 to learn how to breathe with a regulator underwater.
Cave and reef dives are also available around the island of ‘Eua with Deep Blue Diving.
Head out to the uninhabited islands surrounding Tongatapu with Tuna Moana. They offer great-value island snorkelling trips where you’ll get to experience a few different islands with vast sandy beaches and clusters of palm trees. Surrounding the islands are lively coral reefs, which you’ll get to explore with snorkel, mask and fins provided.
The tour lasts approximately 6-7 hours and includes lunch on one of the islands. Note that a minimum of four people need to be booked on the tour in order for it to go ahead.
Tuna Moana also offers whale snorkelling tours between July and October. Find out more in 8 Best Whale Swim Tours on Tongatapu. They also boast an eco-friendly philosophy, for instance, operating a single-use plastic-free boat.
Blue Water Explorer
For something a little more specialised, check out Blue Water Explorer. The freediving specialists are the only ones to offer freediving excursions to the underwater caves of ‘Eua island. Calm and clear, the Cathedral Cave dive site has ideal conditions for experienced freedivers.
Alternatively, Blue Water Explorer also offers snorkelling trips to the offshore islands of Tongatapu. You’ll be taken to the best place for snorkelling off the islands, assessed on the weather and your abilities.
The operator has two small custom-built charter vessels for fast travel between the islands and a dive ladder for easy manoeuvring in and out of the water.
Blue Water Explorer also offers whale swimming and spearfishing trips. Learn more in The Best Fishing Charters on Tongatapu.
Whale Swim, Fish & Dive Tours
[UPDATE] Due to a major safety incident this operator has seen its license revoked and is no longer operating. If you have booked a tour with this company, please consider one of the other options mentioned in this article.
Whale Swim, Fish & Dive offer two dive regions to explore from Nuku’alofa. Explore the healthy and vibrant reefs surrounding Tongatapu with just a short boat ride to get to the best spots. Alternatively, there’s the option to do cave dives around ‘Eua Island, taking approximately one hour to get to – a minimum number of four divers are required for this trip.
The team operates within PADI limits, such as having only up to four divers with one guide. Although dives usually last up to one hour, they don’t impose strict time limits on your time in the water – whatever is the safest option.
Two dive boats are used for Whale Swim, Fish & Dive’s tours, including the small fast aluminium “Malinoa” and the 8.5m inflatable “Tongatapu”. They both have safety equipment on board, as well as a toilet.
Snorkelling trips are also available with Whale Swim, Fish & Dive, checking out some of the beautiful reefs surrounding Malinoa Island. The tour lasts approximately two hours.