Sail Tonga – Travel

We are full time sailors that put together awesome sailing flotillas for amazing people. On the side … we make travel suggestions, because we’ve probably been there. And if we come across a deal, we will email the group and update here.

Passports in order?  Six months validity is required to enter Tonga.  Visas are issued upon arrival.  US citizens get 31 days.  90 days for Schengen/Euro countries.

Dates & Location …
We have our yachts June 20-27, noon to noon.  The base is in the beautiful island group of Vava’u, outside the town of Neiafu.

Flights …
Your fly in airport is Vavaʻu International Airport (also known as Lupepauʻu), airport code VAV.  I usually start on flights.google.com but I see most flights to VAV are through Fijiairways.com.  I would book the LAX-VAV & VAV-LAX flights and then book my US flights to/from LAX.  Flying from LAX June 17, returning June 27 is currently $1800.  This gets you into Vava’u on the 19th (we cross the International Dateline).  Book a room for the night to get acclimated and ease into your wonderful sailing vacation.  See Rooms below.  

There is a flight that arrives just before our cats depart but we always recommend that you arrive a day or so early to chillax and soak up a little of the culture.  June 20, we leisurely board our cats by noon.  

It’s OK to book that flight out at 1230 on June 27.  We will be back at the dock early that day in plenty of time to catch that flight.  I’m not seeing another flight off the island until June 30 though there may be hoppers to other islands.  

We have been working with a nice travel agency in Tonga – Jones Travel, who can also be of assistance with air and rooms.  Www.jonestravel.com.to.  Our contact is patunia.tongotea@jonestravel.com.to.  See there quote attached at the bottom of this page.
Airlines serving VAV:  fijiairways.com, virginaustralia.com, airnewzealand.com.

Rooms …
I found some nice Airbnb.com options around Vava’u.  Remember your fly in airport is near the town of Neiafu.  The charter base is south of town, I will be staying down there somewhere.  Jones Travel recommends Tonga-travel.travel/hotels-in-vavau.
I have been in touch with a local eco resort on it’s own island nearby.  We have a happy hour planned there, more on that later.  They also offered rooms and excursions before and after our sail.  See more at Mandalaisland.com.  

More Info …
This site is great for all tourist info in Tonga.  www.tongaholiday.com.  Remember we are headed to Vava’u:  Tongaholiday.com/islands/vavau/.

Language tips …
Omniglot.com/language/phrases/tongan.php

Tongan currency …
The pa’anga, TOP is how you look it up.  1 pa’anga = 100 seniti.  US$1 = TOP$2.21

Telephones …
TCC and privately owned Digicel operate cellular networks. Pre-paid cel phones are an option.  Digicelgroup.com/to/en/mobile.html.

Entry …
US government info on Tonga …
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/tonga.html

Jones Travel Air Quotes …
FLIGHT QUOTE SFO-LA-VAV JUNE 2018
They have provided roundtrip rates out of LAX or SFO for a June 20 arrival, June 30 departure around $1700.  If ‘stuck’ in the area for a couple of days, I would look at spending the layover in nearby Fiji – NAN.  And some routes go through Aukland – AKL.

Tonga Flight Routes

Tonga Flight Routes

Other Tips …
There are flight options into the other island group, airport TBU by Nukualofa on Tongatapu .  We haven’t discovered reserveable travel options (ferries & hoppers) from there to VAV where you need to be.  Realtonga.to does interisland flights.  Catamaran ferry info:  www.fisa.to.

Sail Tahiti …
If you are joining Sail Tahiti just afterward, consider these flight tips …
The route is VAV-NAN, NAN-AUK, AUK, PPT, then a hopper to RFP (or HUA). We are hoping a more direct option pops up but for now via google.com/flights, click Multi-city, put in VAV and NAN on Jun 27. Click Add a flight, put in NAN and PPT on Jun 27. This gets you to PPT for about $1,000. Book an airport hotel in Auckland for Jun 27. Book an airport hotel in Papeete (I like the one across the street, Tahiti Airport Motel). Get on one of the morning flights to HUA or RFP, booked thru AirTahiti.com.

Captain Woody

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