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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. See there quote attached at the bottom of this page.
Airlines serving VAV: fijiairways.com, virginaustralia.com, airnewzealand.com.
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.
Local resorts include Tonga Beach and Mystic Sands, both not too far from the base.
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/.
12 volt power is available onboard, bring your car adapters.
Tonga land runs on euro 240 volts. If you read your US power plugs you’ll find most of our chargers operate on both 120 and 240v. But you will need an adapter. Tonga used that crazy 3 prong where the 2 are slanted. The Austrailia/NZ adapter.
Language tips …
Tongan currency …
The pa’anga, TOP is how you look it up. 1 pa’anga = 100 seniti. US$1 = TOP$2.21
TCC and privately owned Digicel operate cellular networks. Pre-paid cel phones are an option. Digicelgroup.com/to/en/mobile.html. The is not one of the US Tmobile free countries; data $15.00/MB, text sending $0.50, receiving text sounds free, calls $1.79/min. Local calls add +676. I suggest you leave your phone in airplane mode and only use wifi as phones can consume a ton of data in the ‘background’.
Electronic charts …
The app iSailor and their Pacific Ocean South Part Offshore chart is the best I found for Vava’u. I also have an app cruising guide called Tonga Cruising Guide.
US government info on Tonga …
Info from the Base …
Full country name: Kingdom of Tonga
Area: 465 sq. mi.
Capital City: Nuku’alofa
Official Languages: Tongan, English
Ethnic groups: Polynesian, Europeans
Religion: Christian (Free Wesleyan Church claims over 30,000 adherents)
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Industries: tourism, construction, fishing
Tipping: Tongans do not expect tips, though no offence will be caused if special service is rewarded in this way.
Electricity: The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 110v or 220v, you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter. Please note that inverters are only to be used for charging batteries on cell phones and laptops.
Time: UTC/GMT +13 hours
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.