The Complete Guide to Kayaking in Tonga©
The Complete Guide to Kayaking in Tonga

The Complete Guide to Kayaking in Tonga


Everything You Need to Know About Kayaking in Tonga

Gliding across turquoise waters, close encounters with spinner dolphins, turtles and glimpses of whale flukes in the distance, visiting uninhabited islands, stopping off for a snorkel… There’s no better place to kayak than the islands of Tonga (then again, we are quite biased here at Tonga Pocket Guide).

If you dream of paddling in this South Pacific paradise, then your best options for kayaking in Tonga are either kayaking from one of the many resorts with watersports rental or taking it to the next level on a guided kayaking tour. We go into detail on both options in this guide to kayaking in Tonga.

5 Quick Tips for Kayaking in Tonga

Before we get into the details of planning a getaway with plenty of kayaking in Tonga, here are a few quick tips to get you started:

  1. Most waterfront resorts offer kayak rental for guests for free. If you are not a guest, you can often still hire a kayak for a fee
  2. Some accommodations don’t have children’s lifejackets, so be sure to inquire before you leave home without one
  3. If hiring a kayak from a resort, ask staff for the best places to explore by kayak (they’ll also probably inform you of places to avoid too)
  4. The ocean is a powerful force that can be unpredictable. For this reason, it’s never a good idea to go kayaking alone, especially if you’re a beginner.
  5. Check the weather before you head out. If there are large swells and strong winds, then this can make kayaking very difficult and possibly unsafe. Fog and heavy rain can impair visibility, which is a pretty scary thing if you can’t see land!

The Guide to Kayaking in Tonga(c)

The Best Places to Kayak in Tonga

Due to the archipelago nature of the Vava’u and Ha’apai island groups, combined with waterfront resorts providing kayak rentals, these two island groups provide the easiest and most interesting destinations to explore by kayak.

Kayaking in Vava’u

One of Tonga’s northern island groups, Vava’u is one of Tonga’s most popular island groups to visit. There are regular flights and ferries to the islands, even from overseas should you want to do a bit of South Pacific island-hopping. Speaking of island-hopping, the network of inlets and islands makes Vava’u a top destination to explore by kayak, whether from its island resorts or on a guided kayaking tour. Learn more about Vava’u in The Complete Travel Guide to Vava’u.

Kayaking in Ha’apai

The central island group of Tonga, Ha’apai is made up of around 62 islands most of which are uninhabited and a wonder to explore by kayak. While most will experience kayaking from one of its island resorts, the island group is also home to multi-day kayaking tours should you want to explore further afield. Learn more about Ha’apai in The Complete Travel Guide to Ha’apai.

To compare these island groups beyond kayaking, check out The Best Islands to Visit in Tonga.

The Guide to Kayaking in Tonga©

Resorts with Kayak Hire

One of the simplest ways to enjoy kayaking during your getaway to Tonga is by staying in accommodation that offers kayak hire for guests. Almost all of Tonga’s beachfront resorts offer kayak hire for guests free of charge, giving you no excuse but to explore the surrounding coast. Ask your hosts for the best spots for kayaking from the resort.

Accommodations on Tongatapu with Kayak Rental

Resorts in Ha’apai with Kayak Rental

Resorts in Vava’u with Kayak Rental

For more information about the accommodations with the best places for kayaking, check out the 10 Best Resorts for Kayaking in Tonga. The best of the rest will be listed in The Top 25 Resorts in Tonga.

The Guide to Kayaking in Tonga© Friendly Islands Kayak Company

Guided Kayaking Tours in Tonga

If you want to paddle further than the shores of your resort, then your best and most enjoyable option is to do a guided kayaking tour. Tonga certainly doesn’t overwhelm you with options when it comes to kayaking companies but the selection certainly doesn’t disappoint, with a fantastic variety of tours from Vava’u and Ha’apai.

Friendly Islands Kayak Company

Choose your adventure with Tonga’s most comprehensive kayaking tour company, the Friendly Island Kayak Company (FIKCO). Most of their options come out of Vava’u with both day tours and multi-day excursions available, while multi-day tours in Ha’apai are also an option.

They have tours to suit most tastes, whether you want to experience camping on Tonga’s scattering of islands or stay at a resort, combine the experience with scuba diving or whale swimming, or simply enjoy snorkelling.

For more information on these experiences, take a look at The Best Kayak Tours in Tonga.

The Complete Guide to Kayaking in Tonga©

Kayak Rentals in Tonga

If you are not staying at an accommodation with kayak rentals and you’re not quite ready to make your holiday all about kayaking on a multi-day kayaking tour, then your options haven’t dwindled just yet. Kayak rentals are still available in the island group of Vava’u.

Kayak Rentals at Cafe Tropicana

The cafe in Neiafu that has rentals for just about anything also offers kayak rentals in Vava’u! Cafe Tropicana (Fatafehi Road) hires single kayaks with reasonable rates for eight hours and 24 hours. All rentals include a life jacket, a dry bag and a portable VHF. The cafe also has mountain bike rentals – see Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga, and car rentals – see The Best Car Rentals in Tonga.

More About Water Activities and Kayaking in Tonga

That’s it for the guide to kayaking in Tonga. For more about watersports in Tonga, take a look at the following:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete 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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