How our Bliss Filters work

Your custom results ({[{ }]}) Return to previous page

Tonga: Secluded tropical hideaway in the South Pacific

Top things to do & see

On Tongatapu you'll find lots of interesting attractions, including ancient tombs, coastal blowholes and several beaches suitable for snorkeling. Most activities here reflect the nation's island culture, centering on diving, fishing, boat trips, kayaking and even kite surfing

Sightseeing highlights include the Royal Palace along the waterfront in the capital of Nuku'alofa, the Mala'ekula (Royal Tombs) and the Anahulu Cave, an underground cavern of stalactites and stalagmites. If you want a quick cultural hit, watch tapa cloth being made from mulberry bark and try a drink of kava, the traditional drink, which may give you a mild buzz. Like adventure? Try a self-drive kart safari on a four-wheel ATV and explore a rainforest on remote back road trails and along oceanside clifftops.


Take advantage of a Tongan feast if you can. Tour companies and hotels organize feasts, together with traditional dancing, on several nights of the week on Tongatapu.

Of note

  • The Centers for Disease Control has identified Tonga as an affected area of the Zika outbreak. Pregnant women are advised to be cautious as the virus can lead to birth defects. 
  • Tonga is a very conservative Christian nation. Over 90 percent of the population belongs to a Christian denomination or sect. In keeping with its conservative culture, male homosexuality is illegal.

Best time to go 

June to October is the peak season with stable weather, warm seas and waterside restaurants in full swing. 

November to March sees Tonga's warmer, rainy season, which is summertime in the South Seas. It's optimal for water sports.

April to August (wintertime) sees cool, dry and less humid weather. You'll see plenty of yachties. 

Fun facts

  • The ruling family of Tonga, the last remaining Polynesian kingdom, can be traced back more than 1,000 years.
  • Capt. James Cook dubbed the Kingdom of Tonga the “Friendly Islands” more than two centuries ago. 

When you arrive

Docking information

On the island of Tongatapu, cruise ships dock close to the city of Nuku'Alofa at the newly reconstructed Vuna Wharf.

Getting around

Taxis are readily available. To get around the main island of Tongatapu, Teta Tours and Toni's guest house offer day tours of all the main tourist sights.

Need to know

Documents: A valid passport is required for U.S. and Canadian citizens.

Language: The official languages of Tonga are Tongan and English.

Tipping: Tipping is typically not expected in Tonga. However, if you are satisfied with the service provided by a waiter, driver or guide, it doesn't hurt to leave a small tip.

Currency: The national currency is the pa'anga, or Tongan dollar. 

Safety: Tonga has a low crime rate but do take the usual precautions. Petty crime such as property theft does occur.

Your take

Have you visited Tonga? What was the highlight for you? Have any tips for newcomers? Would love to see your photos and hear about your experience.

Help improve this article! See anything wrong? What did we overlook? Be a co-creator!

Cruiseable team
The Cruiseable editorial team consists of award-winning travel writers, cruise bloggers and journalists.