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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.