The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga(c)
The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga

The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga


Everything You Need to Know About Snorkelling in Tonga

If your mantra is making things no harder than it needs to be, then snorkelling is a fantastic way to explore the underwater world in Tonga. With just a snorkel, mask and flippers, you’ll have everything you need to admire the amazing coral seascapes and variety of tropical fish found in Tonga’s waters. From resorts with amazing beaches for snorkelling to guided tours exploring sea caves and outer reefs, there are many options for snorkelling in Tonga. So start planning your snorkelling sessions in the Kingdom with this guide to snorkelling in Tonga!

Quick Tips for Snorkelling in Tonga

  • While many resorts and tours have snorkelling gear, it’s usually best to bring your own for comfort
  • Snorkelling with whales is only available between June and October
  • Be sure to book snorkelling tours in advance during the whale season, as many of the snorkelling boats also run whale tours
  • Snorkelling tours often have minimum numbers to go ahead. If there isn’t enough in your group, try joining a dive boat that might have space for snorkellers
  • Some of the beaches have sharp coral in the shallow water, so reef shoes are recommended.
The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga(c)

The Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga

Snorkelling can be enjoyed all across Tonga, as 750,000km2 (290,000sq mi) of islands and ocean gives you a lot to work with! However, when it comes to snorkelling in Tonga at places you can actually get to, where are the best places to snorkel? We go over some of our top picks in our various region articles:

The Best Resorts for Snorkelling

Some resorts and accommodations offer fantastic snorkelling straight on your doorstep. The best accommodations for snorkelling include:

See the 10 Best Resorts for Snorkelling in Tonga for more information on our top picks.

The Best Beaches for Snorkelling

While there is far more beaches ideal for snorkelling than what’s included on this list, here’s a list of the top beaches that most travellers tend to be able to get to.

  • Ha’atafu Beach, Tongatapu
  • Kanokupolu Beach, Tongatapu
  • Houmale’eia Beach, Ha’apai

Other Snorkelling Hotspots in Tonga

Snorkelling in Tonga is by no means reduced to the beaches and what’s available at resorts. There are many amazing coral reefs and caves to explore via snorkelling boat trips. Some of the highlights include:

  • Swallows Cave, Vava’u
  • Mariner’s Cave, Vava’u
  • Japanese Coral Gardens, Vava’u
  • Coral Gardens, Vava’u
  • Outer islands and reef, Tongatapu

Learn more about these snorkelling spots and more in the 10 Best Places to Snorkel in Tonga.

The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga(c)

Snorkelling Tours in Tonga

If you want to amp up the snorkelling experience, then snorkelling boat tours are well worth considering. Boat tours take you to untouched outer reefs, bommies and caves that you can’t otherwise reach to allow you to snorkel among surreal seascapes. There are snorkelling tours available in the island groups of Tongatapu, Ha’apai and Vava’u.

Snorkelling Tours in Tongatapu

Some of the snorkelling boat tours in Tongatapu include Tuna Moana and Taufatahi Charters, both departing from Faua Wharf in Nuku’alofa. They take you out to the stunning outer islands of Tongatapu, stopping for snorkelling and lunch on one of the islands along the way. Check out The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours on Tongatapu for more information.

Snorkelling Tours in Ha’apai

There are a couple of resorts in Ha’apai that offer snorkelling boat tours, including the Ha’apai Beach Resort on Lifuka and Sea Change Eco Retreat on Uoleva Island. Both take you by boat to some of the less-visited snorkelling spots in the Ha’apai islands. Check out The Best Snorkel & Scuba Dive Tours in Ha’apai for more information.

Snorkelling Tours in Vava’u

Undoubtedly, Vava’u has the widest variety of snorkelling spots within close proximity, so a snorkelling tour here means you’ll get to experience a few different snorkelling spots. Operators like Dive Tonga, Hakau Adventures, Riki Tiki Tours, Whale Song Tours, Endangered Encounters and more can take you to see highlights like Swallows Caves and various coral gardens. Take a look at the 9 Best Snorkelling Tours in Vava’u to see your options for tours.

To see our top picks for snorkelling tours across the Kingdom, take a look at the 10 Best Snorkelling Tours in Tonga.

More About Snorkelling in Tonga

That’s it for the complete guide to snorkelling in Tonga. 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 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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