The Vava'u archipelago in Tonga
A WHALE OF AN ADVENTURE

Cruise to Vavau (Neiafu), Tonga

Nestled in the islands of Vava'u — a group of more than 50 islands in the northernmost part of Tonga — lies Neiafu, the second largest town in Tonga. This sleepy island village is filled with happy people, living at peace with the natural world. Discover the natural splendor of Vava'u: Head out to Pangai, the second largest island in the group, where you can relax by the beach while birds circle the soaring cliffs, and snorkel along the coral reef teeming with colorful fish below. Cruise to Vavau and visit the Port of Refuge and head out for some whale watching — the waters around Vava'u are a natural breeding ground for humpback whales. Or explore Mount Talau National Park, where you can hike the rainforest trails to the summit of the flat-topped mountain with its sweeping views.
National Language English, Tongan
Currency Accepted Tongan Paʻanga (TOP)

Things To Do in Vavau (Neiafu)

A breaching humpback whale off the coast of Vava'u, Tonga

Vava'U (Neiafu), Tonga, Humpback whale

Gentle Giants

Gentle Giants

Every year, from June to November, humpback whales make their way into the protected Port of Refuge. These gentle giants give birth and then care for their young, waiting for them to grow. Witness this beautiful act of nature up close from a tour boat or a charter yacht.

A screwpine plant in Tonga

Vava'U (Neiafu), Tonga, Screwpine

Surf 'n Turf

Surf 'n Turf

The lush Ene'io Botanical Gardens are the only site of their kind in the whole of Tonga. Enjoy the emerald green tropical vegetation like screwpine trees as you walk through this groomed paradise. Ene'io Beach is just one minute away and the perfect place to snorkel with the fishes and cool down.

A cave on the coast of Vava'u, Tonga

Vava'U (Neiafu), Tonga, Coastal cave

Be a Cave Explorer

Swallows Cave gets its name from the hundreds of nesting seabirds up top. Access the cave via tour boat and dive or snorkel in quiet blue beauty. Schools of brightly colored fish dart around in the dappled light, and there are multiple levels of the cave to explore.

Ceviche on a white plate

Vava'U (Neiafu), Tonga, Ceviche

Local Cuisine

Restaurants and cafes around Neifau serve up a wealth of traditional Tongan fare. Try lu pulu, chicken or beef and onions marinated in coconut milk and baked in taro leaves in an underground oven. Feke is the seafood version of this dish, with octopus or lobster in place of (or in addition to) the meat. Cruise to Vavau to feast on local seafood like clams, lobster or ota, raw fish marinated in citrus.

Colorful handmade baskets

Vava'U (Neiafu), Tonga, Colorful handmade baskets

Shopping

Take a leisurely stroll through Utakalongalu Market Place and feast your eyes on the colorful array of goods. During your Tonga cruise, browse through gorgeous handmade shell jewelry, traditional wood or bone carvings and hand-weaved baskets made from pandanus leaves. Everything you see is made by locals living in Vava'u.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 Although taxis are available, most people walk or hire bicycles to enjoy the slower pace.
2 Chartering a sailboat is a picture perfect way to enjoy the beautiful ocean at your own pace.
3 Booking a tour group is the best way to see the humpback whales up close.

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