How to Camp in Tonga
Zipping open your tent on a pristine beach and popping your toes in the sand is what most of us imagine when camping in Tonga. But can you actually camp in Tonga? While you might not be allowed to camp just anywhere, there are accommodations with campsites, camping tours, as well as glamping experiences. We go through all of your options for camping in Tonga in the guide below.
Are You Allowed to Camp in Tonga?
You can only camp in Tonga with the permission of the landowner. It is illegal to camp on public land and reserves.
The best way to camp in Tonga is to stay at accommodation which has tent sites, at a resort that offers “glamping”, or to partake in a tour that offers camping where the appropriate permissions have been sought on your behalf. We go through all of those ways of camping in the guide below.
Learn more about the do’s and don’t’s in Tonga in our guide, Tonga Etiquette: Tonga Customs & Traditions.
Camping Accommodation in Tonga
There are a few accommodations around Tonga that allow guests to bring their tents (or they can sometimes be supplied) and camp on their grounds. Needless to say, there is a fee to camp at these accommodations, which gives you access to the accommodation’s communal facilities.
Some of the accommodations in Tonga which offer camping include…
Diana Beach Resort
A budget beach resort in Ha’apai, Diana Beach Resort (formerly Taiana’s Resort) offers an idyllic stay on Uoleva Island. The resort has three Tongan-style fales which are simple but add to the island adventure! Each fale is lined with beautifully woven walls and contains a double bed, mosquito net, a box to put food in, and a bedside table with a solar lantern – think of it like beach glamping! Backpackers have the option to camp on the grounds in one of the tents available if the other fales are occupied.
Guests share a shower and toilet in a separate block, while there’s also a communal kitchen and dining room building where you can also charge your devices.
As for entertainment, well, you better enjoy snorkelling, lazying on the beach and whale swimming during the whale season! Breakfast and dinner are also available to order, so give your hosts notice. Airport/ferry transfers to the island are also offered (and mandatory to get to the resort) for a fee.
Tukulolo Grounds & Treehouses
Tukulolo Grounds & Treehouses might be known for its unique treehouse accommodation, but the forest retreat Tongatapu also occasionally offers tent sites depending on the season and availability. The property is a joy to explore between the communal lodge, fire pit, carved sculptures and suspended bridges leading to your fairy-light-lit abode. Watch the forest come to life at night with a fire show!
While a light breakfast is included in the rate, breakfast and dinner are available to purchase should you not want to venture the 35 minutes it takes to get into Nuku’alofa. Note that there are children and dogs on the property.
Learn more about the accommodations mentioned above in The Top 25 Resorts in Tonga.
Tours with Camping in Tonga
Another way to experience camping in Tonga is on a guided experience. This means that permission has been acquired by local landowners from your tour operator. Camping gear is also included in the tours. A couple of camping tours in Tonga include…
Friendly Islands Kayak Company
The Friendly Islands Kayak Company (FIKCO) offer multi-day kayaking trips in the island groups of Vava’u and Ha’apai. Many of their tours involve camping each night of the trip, whether it’s in a Tongan village or on the beach of a glorious uninhabited island.
A tent, groundsheet and foam air mattress are included in the tour. Their tents have two doors for ventilation and mosquito screening and are seam-sealed against the rain. Guests will just need to bring a summer-weight sleeping bag. Learn more about their kayak tours in The Best Kayak Tours in Tonga.
Glamping in Tonga
Forget about “roughing it”, there’s also the option to do glamping in Tonga. There are a couple of resorts that have safari tents set up on elevated decks and kitted out with bedroom furniture to provide a more comfortable camping experience.
Sea Change Eco Retreat
An eco-resort on Uoleva Island in Ha’apai, Sea Change Eco Retreat offers glamping in large safari tents which are more than 2 m (6.5 ft) tall. Each tent is set in its own private space in the coastal forest and is kitted out with a queen-sized bed and solar lighting, while the deck it is elevated on has a table and chairs. There is also a private bathroom with hot showers and a composting toilet near the tent site. Note that the resort is only open between May and November.
Blue Water Retreat
On the island of ‘Eua, Blue Water Retreat offers a small selection of ocean-view ensuite bungalows. But for something truly special, be sure to book one of their glamping tents. These elegant tents are set atop an elevated private deck and kitted out with tasteful furniture, including a double or twin beds, bedside tables and lights, an open wardrobe and homely rugs.
Ferry/airport transfers are included in the accommodation rates, while whale watching, spearfishing and island tours, as well as creative buffet-style meals at the onsite restaurant, can all be organised with the resort for an effortless stay.
Again, more information about the accommodations mentioned above can be found in The Top 25 Resorts in Tonga.
More About Camping in Tonga
That’s it for the guide to camping in Tonga. For more about staying in Tonga on the cheap, take a look at more of our guides:
- 20 Ways to Save Money When Travelling in Tonga
- 20 Best Budget Accommodations in Tonga
- Tonga Budget Itinerary: 14 Days
Finally, if you’re still trying to find the perfect place to stay, start from scratch with Where to Stay in Tonga: The Best Accommodations in Tonga. Plus, get even more trip-planning tips in The Budget & Backpacking Guide to Tonga.