You appear to be visiting from UNITED STATES. Please visit our US website for our USD prices and US terms and conditions.

Check Availability


Tonga Yacht Charter

Essential Information

Address & Map


Sunsail Tonga
Neiafu Waterfront
Kingdom of Tonga


Our Tonga base is located some 1500 miles northeast of New Zealand at about 18 degrees, 36 minutes south of the equator Vava'u in the northern sector of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Neiafu is the official port of entry for cruising yachts coming to Vava'u. A string of islands and reefs along the eastern edge of the group shelters the area from strong winds and ocean swells


Base Opening Time

Hours of operation: Monday - Friday: 8am - 5pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 12pm
The base is closed on Sunday and on Christmas Day
The Tongan government recently approved that King Tupou VI and the Crown Prince official birthdays be declared and observed on the 4th July and 17th September of every year, except when falling on Sunday, which will be observed on the following Monday. Regrettably, we will be forced to observe these two days and will not be able to keep the base open for charter starts/ends.

Base/Shore Facilities

Base Facilities include:

  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Showers
  • Provisioning
  • Gift shops
  • Restaurants
  • Accommodation
  • Laundry

Neiafu is the administrative centre of the Vava'u group and has government offices, banks, schools, a police station and a hospital.

Back to top


Arrival & Departure

Time Difference

GMT +13 hours


Vava'u, Lupepa’u Airport
International flights arrive into Fua’amotu Airport on Tongatapu (TBU). There are flights at least once a day (ex. Sunday) by Chathams Pacific Airlines to Vava'u, but the planes are small and space is limited.
This commuter flight takes 1 hour and 15 minutes. You should check-in on the domestic flight, in the Domestic Terminal next to the International lounge.

Note: Due to airline scheduling, this may sometimes entail an overnight stop in the Tongan Capital, Nuku’alofa. The cost of a taxi from Nuku’alofa Airport into Nuku’alofa is T$10 to T$12.
Facilities at Fua’amotu airport include: inbound and outbound duty free, cafes, gift shops and currency exchange.  Facilities at Vava’u airport are very limited.
No tax is to be paid upon your departure from Tonga as it has been prepaid with your airline ticket.


It is essential that you advise the base of your arrival and departure times and flight numbers.
Vava’u Airport transport to the base takes approximately 15 minutes and costs TOP 25 round trip per person. Please note that taxis are limited and sometimes not present at the Vava'u airport, so we advise all guests to pre-book transfers with the base.


We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

Passport and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least 6 months beyond your stay. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.  If your child is not already included on a valid British Passport they are required to hold their own passport.

Visas are not necessary when visiting Tonga, as long as the visit is for less than 30 days and providing that you have a valid passport, onward sea or air ticket, and proof of adequate funds and relevant health certificates (Typhoid and immunisation shots). South African passport holders need a VISA.

Non-British passport holders should check with their local Consulate direct.

It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details. The Tonga Visitors Bureau website - has excellent information to assist you.

Customs and Immigration

You will need to clear Customs & Immigration before leaving the airport. A landing card will be issued on the plane, along with a Customs declaration form. You may enter Tonga for a period not exceeding 30 days, providing that you have a valid passport (expiration date must be no earlier than 6 months after your planned return), an onward sea or air ticket, proof of adequate funds and relevant health certificates, i.e. up-to-date Typhoid and immunisation shots. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by Customs.

On Arrival

Due to enforced government regulations in Tonga, we cannot allow any charters to start/end on a Sunday.
Embarkation time at 1400 hrs or around flight schedules. Turnaround days are from Monday to Saturday.

Chart Brief

The chart briefing describes the cruising area and any potential hazards.
The yacht briefing introduces you to your yacht, its systems and rigging. It is carried out individually for each yacht. It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood. Briefings are mandatory.

Out of hour’s arrival procedure

If you arrive out of office hours our base staff will meet you.  You will then settle on board and have a full briefing the following morning.   You will be located on a mooring buoy in the harbour.

On departure

Disembarkation time is at 1000 hrs.
Before departing your boat you will need to collect a debrief form from reception.

The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip. This enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and fridges of food and throw away, return snorkel gear and any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge you for boats left less than shipshape.

Back to top



Sailing Information

Tonga is a Level 3 sailing area
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

Sailing Licences

Although no sailing licences are required for cruising in this area, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on holiday with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police. If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing CV to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sailing in this region.

Cruising Permits & Taxes

Cruising permits are not required in Tonga.

Night Time Sailing 

Night Sailing is not permitted; you must be anchored or docked by sunset at all of our locations.

Cruising Area Limits

Cruising area for this base is limited to the Vava'u Group (which is a very large area!).
We ask that you stay away from the windward (east side) of the Group.

Restricted Zones

This information is covered in the chart briefing.

Mooring Fees and Taxes

All moorings in the area belong either to restaurants, charter companies or similar and are usually for their clients. As a guest you may use them free of charge but please call the owner to ask for permission. You may be asked to pay a small fee. In most places of sailing area you will be at anchor.

Area & Sailing

More information on the sailing in this area.

Charts & Pilot Book

All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.  

Charts and pilot books can be purchased from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting them direct on 02380 634911 or

Skippered Charter Information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00pm to 12:00pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6:00pm to 6:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared head sand size of the cabin. If you expect him to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper.

For one-day check out skipper’s it is your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter Options.



Your yacht comes with water. You may wish to top off the water tanks prior to leaving the base. We recommend bottled water for drinking.


The only place that clients can fuel the boat and refill their water tanks is at the base.  At any stage throughout the cruising ground, clients will be no further than 20 miles from the base; therefore returning to the base to refill the fuel and water tanks will not be a problem.
The cost of fuel is $3.00 Pa'anga per litre - 1GBP

Cool Boxes

Cool Boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign for these and return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

Back to top



Banks & Money Exchange


Tongan Pa’anga (T$) - divided into 100 Senti.


Banks are available for changing money. There is a 24 hour ATM in Neiafu town

Credit Card Information

Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) are accepted at a few restaurants in Neiafu town. In general, the shops in Neiafu do not accept credit cards so it is best to have Tongan Pa’anga for use at restaurants, local villages and bars and for shopping in town and at the local markets.

Post Office

A Post Office is located in Uturoa, 5 KM from the base.  
Monday to Friday: from 7.30 am to 3.00 pm during the week and from 8.00 am to 10.00 am during weekends.

Back to top



General Information


The official languages are Tongan and English


Vava'u enjoys a tropical climate with average daily temperatures of 29ºC in January and 24ºC in June. The is warm and generally sunny throughout the year. November to April, the is more humid and thunderstorms are more frequent, but the water is warmer for swimming. There is still excellent visibility for diving, and quieter winds for sailing. The best time to visit is during the driest season, April – November. Trade winds blow year round. A light sweater may be needed for evenings.

Tongatapu is 3ºC cooler than Vava'u and not as humid.

Cost of living in Tonga

Prices vary between areas and from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference:

  • A bottle of wine costs about T$10 to T$19 (£4 to £7) in a supermarket and from T$19 to T$44 (£7 to £16) in a restaurant.
  • A bottle of beer costs about T$3 to T$6 (£1.00 to £2.10)
  • A cheap snack can be bought for about T$3 (£1.00)
  • A three course meal is likely to cost T$35 (£12.25) per head

There are resorts on a few islands and plenty of restaurants around Neiafu Harbour and the islands. Clients may also come across Beach Feasts, Smorgasbords and markets and the local Tongans willing to sell their produce. Most restaurants have ship-to-shore VHF radio so passing yachts can order food or book a table.

Traditional Tongan food regularly consists largely of root vegetables and fruit, usually boiled with coconut cream. A feast is incomplete without Tonga’s delicacies such as roasted pork and seafood. A seafood speciality is ‘ota ika’ (raw fish marinated in lemon and coconut cream). Another favourite is ‘lu pulu’ – corned beef and coconut milk wrapped in taro leaves and cooked in a traditional underground oven (‘umu).

Neiafu Town:

  • Mango Cafe, situated right on the water - alongside the base (Visa & Mastercard accepted)
    Has a mango coloured roof. A modern waterfront restaurant with a large deck over the water. Claims to have the best selection of wine in Vava’u.
  • Bounty Bar (Visa & Mastercard accepted)
  • Café Tropicana
  • Aquarium Bar and Rooster Bistro (Waterfront)
  • Basque Tavern (Across from the Boathouse)

Restaurants located on Outer Islands:

  • Tongan Beach Resort - Located on the beach South of Anchorage Number 5 (Visa & Mastercard accepted)
  • La Paella - anchorage number 11 - Tapana (Payment in Tongan Dollars)
  • Blue Lagoon - anchorage number 14 - Foeta Island (Payment in Tongan Dollars)
  • Mounu Island Resort - anchorage number 41 - Mounu (Visa & Mastercard accepted)
    Reef Resort - anchorage number 6
  • Fatoko Island - anchorage number 27

Tongans do not expect tips, though no offence will be caused if special service is rewarded in this way.


The nearest supermarket is located in Uturoa village
There are no shops or stores on any of the outer islands.
There a large range of handicrafts available including traditional tapa cloth and tapa crafts, woven crafts from Pandanus leaves, Tongan jewellery, wood carvings and more, all made locally and reflecting the proud culture and heritage of the Kingdom.


Below is a list of hotels in the Nuku’alofa and Vava’u area. There is also website which is very informative.



  • Tongan Beach Resort:
  • Mounu Resort:  Private
  • The Basque Tavern:
  • Hilltop Hotel:
  • Twin View Hotel
  • The Boathouse apartments – booked  through the Sunsail Auckland office
    Offers 4 apartments in Vava’u, Tonga It is located right across the street from the base. Available for one-night (or longer) stays for Sunsail guests.
    The rooms are spacious, nice, clean and brand new. Apartment style rooms each room offer a full-sized fridge/freezer.

Back to top



Electrical, Phones & Music


The standard voltage of electricity in Tonga is 220 volts. The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. Please bring your own inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter or you request to hire one from the base (TOP $5.00 per day).

Mobile Phones

Using a local Sim card will work almost throughout all of the sailing area. Some anchorages are too protected to receive the signal but you should find somewhere satisfactory. There are 2 cell phone providers Digicell and Tonfon.

WiFi connection – is available at the Mango restaurant in front of the base. It's good for the boat while docked or moored, but won’t work once you set sail. So you can only connect in Neiafu harbour. You will be able to get online in Tongatapu & Neiafu town.


All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your IPOD whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.

Back to top




Car and Jeep Hire

You will need to visit the Police Station on Tu’i Road to arrange a Tongan driving license. They are open from 8.30am-4.30pm Monday to Tuesday and 8.30am-12.30pm Wednesday to Friday
Driving is on the left hand side of the road at 40km/h in villages and in town and 60km/h between villages.
Pasifika Rental, Neiafu - 70 781 or 7512 628
Avis Rental, Neiafu - 70 873


Visibility is excellent and the diving is great. Lots of dive sites, offering hard and soft corals, sea fan grottos, wall diving and magnificent caves. Equipment can be rented and diving tours arranged.
Padi Courses, Diving Trips, Whale Watching

Huib Kuilboer
Beluga Diving Limited
PO Box 70 Neiafu, Vava'u
Kingdom of Tonga
Located at Fangafoa Marina, Neiafu, Vava'u.
Tel: +(676) 70 327
Beluga Dive Vavau has been owned and operated by the original owner for 15 years. Also, Dive Vava’u, and Dolphin Pacific Diving.


Tonga enjoys world class surfing year round with 2 very distinct seasons: the Summer North Swell (November to March) and the Winter South Swell Season (April to October).

Whale Watching

From June to November humpback whales calve and mate in the calm waters. It is not only the sight that is fascinating: the male whales sing. Whale songs vary according to location: each year the song at each location changes.
Tonga is one of only 3 locations in the world where it is legal to swim with whales or snorkel with whales. This amazing experience can be managed so it is safe for both humans and animals.


No Fishing permits are required
Vava’u offers Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish and Short-billed spearfish, as well as pelagic species such as Yellow Fin Tuna, Dog Tooth Tuna, Mahimahi, Wahoo and Giant Trevally.

The Ika Lahi Lodge – Game fishing Lodge with restaurant and bar on Ika Lahi is right on the foreshore inside Hunga Island Lagoon.  The outer Hunga reef offers exciting land based fishing or snorkelling for those whom wish to try something a little more adventurous.


There are some great beaches throughout Vava'u. Snorkelling and reef viewing opportunities abound
We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring your own.

Kite Surfing

Kite Vava'u
Matt Mulligan
Tel: + (676) 59220 Email:
Kite Vava’u offers a solid range of kites and boards for rental or hire for students who reach the appropriate level of experience and also for riders who travel without their kit from overseas.

Kayaking Tours to remote islands are available between May and December You may run into turtles, porpoises, whales, flying foxes and many seabirds.
Friendly Islands Kayak Company
The Adventure Centre,
Toula, Vava'u
Tel: +676 70173  

Kart Safaris

Imagine hopping behind the wheel and driving yourself, while following your guide, for 40kms of bush trails on a small jeep-like kart, through villages, plantations, out to lookout points and along ridgelines of Vava’u


There are several good walks from Neiafu including the climb up Mt. Talau (131m) which has excellent views over the harbour. Toafa Church on the west point of Vava'u has good views of the cliffs of Hunga Island and other islands.

Back to top




Provisioning is available in this location.  More information on provisioning.

Back to top



Health & Safety

Illness or Injury

Proof of a current Typhoid injection is needed in Tonga. Immunisation is recommended for protection against Hepatitis A and Polio. Immunisation against Yellow Fever is essential if arriving from an infected country. For up-to-date authoritative advice on health protection, we recommend that clients consult their family doctor.

If you are taken ill and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip contact a member of Sunsail staff as soon as possible on either a lead boat or at a Sunsail base or Club.

If you need to make a claim for curtailment due to illness, ask the base manager for assistance and contact your insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.

Your insurance company will assist with travel arrangements, advice and payment of bills.  Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets harnesses we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn. We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck. Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

Back to top