Scuba Diving in Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga (Tongan: Puleʻanga Fakatuʻi ʻo Tonga) is an island state located in Polynesia. It is comprised of more than 170 islands in the Pacific Ocean. The coastline of 400 km where every corner fascinates with its unique underwater landscapes. The archipelago has a volcanic and coral origin, which attracts divers.
Humpback whales migrate through Tongan waters from July to November, but the best time to watch them here is in August and September. These months are the peak mating season for the animals, which swim all the way from the Antarctic to raise their offsprings.
The islands of the archipelago are surrounded by wonderful corals with a unique ecosystem. There are several species of sharks, barracudas and huge schools of tuna in the coastal waters. The average diving depth is 30 meters and visibility in winter reaches 40 meters.

Reasons to Visit

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Humpback whales, which come here from the Antarctic, are rightly considered a distinctive feature of the underwater world of Tonga Islands. Their mating season lasts from July to November, and in August you can see their calves. At this time adult animals prepare the youngsters for the long journey. It is recommended to visit Vava’u to meet these mammals.
Tonga Islands are not overcrowded with tourists, so divers may dive and sweam freely. This part of the Pacific Ocean is rich in exotic life: there are peculiar coral reefs, colourful seaweed, caves with sea snakes. The diversity of the underwater world is represented here by schools of small tropical fish and large deep-sea dwellers, such as sharks, turtles, and rays.
Due to their coral and volcanic origin, the deep water landscapes of the Tonga Archipelago are full of natural formations. For example, the caves in Tongatapu, Vavau, Haapai, and Eua. There are also tunnels, volcanic craters and lava fields. A lot of underwater valleys and banks are situated around the islands.
Coastal waters of the Tonga Archipelago are very clear and the visibility is good. In summer it is 30 meters, and in winter it reaches 40 meters. These numbers are record-like for most of the tropical countries, considering that diving depth is not more than 30 meters. Beginner divers do not need to dive deep to reach the bottom.
In the depths of the Tonga Islands, you will see a real pirate ship: the British privateer Port-au-Prince, which sunk near Foa Island in 1806. It was thought to be lost for many years until a local diver discovered it in 2012. It is believed that the ship could contain treasures including items made of gold, silver, and copper.

Diving Destinations in Tonga

The Tonga Archipelago includes over 170 islands, each of them offering exciting and unforgettable experience to divers.
You should go to Eua Island because of its coral reefs, possibility drift diving and cave diving.
In the west of Haapai Island, you can observe a range of underwater volcanoes surrounded by lava fields, and take part in night diving.
The waters of Vavau Islands are famous for their caves with walls covered with soft corals. It is also a habitat for unusual types of fish.

Memo Notes
Currency TOP - Tongan pa’anga
Languages English, Tongan
Timezone UTC +13
Phone code 676
Emergency Help 911
Electricity

Type I - 240 V, 50 Hz

Dive Shops in Tonga

Local dive shops offer equipment rentals and training with a certified instructor. On Tongatapu Island, you can book a tour to coral reefs, and on Haapai Island offers tours to underwater volcanoes and lava fields. There is a Dive-Vavau Resort in Vavau Island.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

The average air temperature in spring (from September to November) on Tonga Islands is +28-29 ˚С, and the water temperature varies from +25 to +26 ˚С. November brings the season of tropical rains and storms, which often cause destruction.

Summer

February is the hottest month on the archipelago. The air warms up to +30-32 ˚С, and the water temperature reaches +28-29 ˚С. This is the wettest time of the year. The humidity is also at its highest.

Autumn

In Autumn (March and April) tropicl rains and storms continue. The air temperature reaches +25 °C, and the water temperature sits between +27-29 °C. In May, the rains stop and the weather becomes relatively dry.

Winter

In winter (July and August) The air temperature on the archipelago is a little lower and fluctuates between +28 and +29 ˚С. The water temperature stands around +24-26 ˚С. The weather is mostly dry with southeast trade winds.

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The Best Dive Sites

Tuungasika Island is surrounded by beautiful coral gardens which go down up to 40 meters deep. The underwater caves became a home for the silvertip sharks.
The wreck of the Clan McWilliam cargo ship lies on the bottom of Neiafu Bay at 22 meters deep. Its length is 128 m.

Health & Safety

The healthcare services in Tonga are quite poor. Medical facilities in the capital provide qualified medical service. Village dwellers prefer being treated by shamans. Tourists must get vaccinations against cholera, hepatitis B and Japanese encephalitis before the trip.
The crime rate in the country is rather low. Grave crime is very rare here, most locals don't lock their houses.

Dangerous Marine Life

Be extremely careful with whiptail stingrays. They often bury themselves in the sand or hide among rocks and in rock fissures. The ray never attacks humans first, but if disturbed, it may attack in defence.

Eat & Drinks

Tongan cuisine is a mix of English, Chinese, and Latin American traditions. It is based on seafood, roots, and coconuts. Tourists should try ufi, which is a mashed backed yam (sweet potatoes) which is pre-soaked in coconut milk. Locals serve it with seafood, such as squid or octopus in foke sauce. The most popular meat dish is ika (spiced pork backed in a ground-oven).
For dessert try cassava — backed tapioca with coconut milk, honey and bananas. Tap water can be dangerous here, so it is better to consume only bottled water.