The Kingdom of Tonga consists of 176 coral and volcanic islands, 36 of which are inhabited. It is located east of Fiji, south of Samoa, and north of New Zealand. The country is divided into 4 main groups of islands…the southern Tongatapu Group, where the capital city of Nuku’alofa is located, the Ha’apai Group, a group of low coral islands that surround soaring volcanoes, the Vava’u Group, known for its pristine islets and numerous waterways, and the isolated Niuas, where a traditional lifestyle still thrives. Each island group offers its own unique scenery, activities, and attractions. Tourists typically fly in through Fua’amotu International Airport, located on Tongatapu Island.
Most of the diving occurs in Vava’u, a short domestic flight from Tongatapu. You’ll enjoy healthy coral reefs, stunning underwater caverns and cave systems, walls of soft coral, large sea fans, mandarin fish, seahorses, nudibranchs, moorish idols, grouper, crinoid shrimp, banded sea snakes, blue ribbon eels, leaf fish, leopard sharks, and more. Tonga is also one of the few places in the world where you can snorkel with Humpback Whales, an experience not to be missed.
Thousands of Tongans have emigrated, mostly to New Zealand, the US, and Australia, in order to support their large families. In fact, the country’s primary source of income is money remitted from Tongans living abroad. Because there are so many Tongan expatriates, flights during the holidays are commonly sold out many months in advance.