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While not as frequented by tourists as some other islands in the South Pacific, there are a ton of things to do in Tonga to make an amazing getaway. There are a lot of natural wonders in Tonga, such as beautiful beaches, the opportunity to swim with nature’s giants and a ton of cultural activities.

Read on to see the best things to do in Tonga.


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1.     Get up Close and Swim with the Humpback Whales (left) Rich Carey / (right) jacojvr


Tonga is one of the few places left in the world where you can have a magical experience of swimming with the humpback whales. If you plan your trip between July and October, you get to watch and swim with the magnificent humpback whales.

There are several popular places to enjoy the magical moment including Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai among other islands. The islands have tour companies that offer excellent services to their visitors.


2.     Explore the Anahulu Cave in Tongatapu

Located in the eastern side of Tongatapu, Anahulu Cave is made up of a network of large limestone caverns. The limestone caves feature underground freshwater swimming pools. Managed by a tour company, there is a guide posted to switch on the generator that provides light in the cave.

Once the cave is lit, you will be able to walk down the stairs into the 8-meter deep fresh swimming pools. Besides the stunning beauty of the caverns, the caverns also offer plenty of jumping and diving platforms into the refreshing pools.


3.     Enjoy a Full-Day Trip to Pangaimotu Island Resort

A ten-minute boat ride from Tongatapu, Pangaimotu Island Resort is a great way to unwind. Apart from its pristine beach where you can bask in the sun and relax, the resort also offers snorkeling and diving for lovers of deep-sea swimming.

If you just want to stay on the beach, rope swings are also available for some fun splashing of the water. For sports lovers, friendly volleyball games are available and you can play with your friends, fellow visitors, and the resort staff. What more, you can top all these fun activities with a delicious lunch at Big Mama’s yacht club while overlooking the Ocean.


4.     Take Exceptional Photos at Ha’amonga ‘a Maui

Ha’amonga ‘a Maui is a coral gate covering 700,000 square kilometers in Tongatapu island. Being one of the most visited sites on the island, the gate is 5 meters tall with the crossbar being 6 meters in length. Standing in a completely desolate place among palm trees, the gate leaves many people in awe as to why it is there.

Although it has never been fully explained who built it, there are some theories that try to explain its existence. The most popular one is that it used to be an entrance to the king’s territory yet there are no other structures around it. Others claim it was the throne of the god of the sons of Tuitatui while some say it was built by the demigod Maui.

However, no matter how unclear on who built it is, the gate is still a nice place to take amazing photos.


5.     Visit Mapu a Vaea Blowholes (Whistles of the Nobles)

Mapu a Vaea is natural blowholes on the island of Tongatapu in a small village of Houma. The blowholes are incredible as they occur on a large stretch of Tongatapu coastline. When waves crash into the reef, natural channels in the volcano rock enables the water to forcefully blow through and send flume like-geysers into the air.

There are two ways you can take in the spectacular views; one is walking along the edge of the track or from a distance lookout point. Note that, to be able to experience this phenomenal moment, you should visit the blowholes on a windy day.


6.     Stroll for Hours at Talamahu Market

If you want to see the best of Nuku’alofa, then you can take a stroll through Talahamu market. The market is famous for large handicraft stalls that sell carved jewelry, woven mats, original Tongan handmade arts, and crafts.

Also, there are various traditional and cultural handcrafts also in the market. The crafts are usually sold by crafters that come from all over Tonga. With sellers and buyers from all over the country, the market is full of life, especially on Saturday morning.


7.     Go on a Hiking Tour at Eua Island

Eua is the oldest island in the country of Tonga.  Mostly covered with hills and lush rain forest, it is the only island that has the largest national park making it ideal for hiking. Therefore, for lovers of adventure and eco-experience, this is the best Island to visit.

Although the rain forest is covered with trees and plantation, there are well-marked trails crisscrossing the unique forest. Apart from walking between the plantations, you will be able to walk through the Eua natural arch. In the air, there are several birds flying above the forest with the rarest one being a red-breasted parrot called Koki.


8.    Visit Ene’io Botanic Garden

To be able to learn more about Tonga’s culture and history, you can take an amazing guided tour on the only botanic garden in Tonga. Ene’io Botanic Garden is a 22-acre garden developed in 1972 by a veteran agronomist to save and preserve endangered plant species. With this noble act, the garden has managed to save many plant species and is home to 550 different plant species and 150 plant families.

In addition to the educative tour, the hosts offer a Tongan Feast and Cultural Dancing. This is done on the weekends with Friday offering local dances and salivating roast pig. On Sunday you will get to eat mouthwatering cuisine, local taro chips, fish and much more.


9.   Bask on a Sunny Day at Ha’atafu Beach

Found in the main island of Tongapatu, Ha’atafu Beach is considered the best beach in Tonga. Because it is not crowded like other beaches in the world, it is a nice place to bask in the sun and relax for hours without any disturbance. Since the sand is mostly crushed coral/seashells, you can walk along the shores of the ocean barefoot.

Furthermore, snorkeling is also permitted on the beach and also sheltered swimming. If you want to enjoy a beach sunset before heading back to your hotel, there are restaurants or bars along the seafront that will give you a great view of the Ocean.



10.  Escape the Life Buzz to Luahoko Robinson Island

Luahoka Robinson Island is located in Foa Island. The Island is ideal for nature lovers who want to get away from the entire buzz of civilization and enjoy some serenity. Being purely natural and secluded, the island is home to thousands of birds and insects. Since it’s a secluded island, there is no electricity, no internet, and no bath or toilet facilities. For nourishment; you will need to carry food and water to last you throughout the days you will be spending on the island.

Furthermore, there is only a typical open wooden house on stilts with walls and roof made of palm fronds. The house has only two joined beds with comfortable mattresses. Note that, if you go there as a large group, you can carry sleeping tents or openly sleep on the beach and enjoy staring upon the stars.


11.   Walk on the Stunning Hufangalupe Archway

Also known as Pigeon’s state, Hufangalupe archway is a natural land bridge on Tongatapu Island. It was formed when the roof of a sea cave collapsed. To have a daring experience, walk over the bridge and peer into the pit to see the ranging ocean beneath you. However, since there are no fences protecting you, you need to be careful as you take the steps on the bridge.

Note that, although the bridge is a popular place to visit, it can be hard to find the bridge on your own. Therefore, to ensure you find the place easily, visit the place with a guided tour. Nonetheless, if that is not possible, you need to make sure you get clear instructions on the exact place of the bridge or use google map before venturing out.


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Written by Lexi
Lexi is a South Pacific expert. She writes guides on cruises, honeymoons and independent travel in the South Pacific.