Tonga Islands Kayaking

South Pacific Tonga: (ZZ-SKEC-20)

South Pacific Tonga
Resort-based Kayaking Adventure
The 7-day Tonga Islands Kayaking package is a great choice for non-campers and families as well that do not have 10 days to spend. Paddle the lee side of the Lifuka Archipelago to Serenity, an Eco-resort situated on picturesque Uoleva Island, renowned for its expansive white sandy beaches. Island walks, whale watching, snorkeling and a day paddle to offshore Luangahu Island feature in this resort based package.

Situated approximately halfway between Vava'u and Tongatapu, the Ha'apai Islands are everything you might imagine of a tropical island paradise.
On our Tonga sea kayaking expeditions we strive for a healthy balance between relaxation and adventure. We generally paddle in the mornings leaving the afternoons free for snorkeling amidst colorful coral and inside legendary marine caves; exploring lush tropical bush; and, observing the traditional village lifestyle. The pace of life in Vava’u is slow and relaxed - much like it was a century ago.


You will be spending 2 nights at Evaloni’s Guest House or Lindsay Guesthouse and 4 nights at Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat.

Accommodation Itinerary - subject to changes based on availability
Night 1: Evaloni’s Guest House or Lindsay Guesthouse in Pangai (Ha'apai Island)
Night 2, 3, 4 & 5: Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat on Uoleva Island
Night 6: Evaloni’s Guest House or Lindsay Guesthouse in Pangai (Ha'apai Island)

Evaloni’s Guest House – Pangai (Ha'apai Island)
The guesthouse is located in only a two minute walk from the center of Pangai and has 8 clean rooms (some ensuite and some with shared facilities) and 2 ensuite fales (Tongan for “house"). All rooms have mosquito nets, fans and power plugs. Single and double rooms are available at this property with the possibility to add one extra bed in each room, for bigger group or families. No wifi available. Cold water only.

Lindsay Guesthouse – Pangai (Ha'apai Island)
It is a place full of pleasant surprises and is a ten minute walk from the center. It has 12 quaint, clean rooms (8 with shared facilities and 4 with private facilities). All rooms (single, double and triple rooms available) have power plugs and mosquito nets and fans are available on request. The big sitting area and airy veranda create good relaxing spots. No wifi available. Cold water only.

Serenity Beaches Resort - Uoleva Island
This charming rustic eco resort offers 11 fales, each with an ocean view,  porch,  separate area with a queen-sized bed and ensuite bathroom. A hot solar shower bag is delivered between 4:00 and 5:00pm daily.
Electricity is collected from the sun. Wifi is available free of charge

Sea Change Eco Retreat - Uoleva Island
The fales have been carefully designed and well-spaced to provide privacy while being only meters away from the beach. We offer two different types of fales:
-          Our spacious safari tent fales are approximately 3.6 metres wide by 2.7 metres long and more than 2 meters tall. Each tent fale comes with a queen size bed as standard. Or two XL single size beds can be requested instead if available. They also include a private bathroom with instant hot water showers, basin/sink and a composting toilet – and solar lighting within the tent and bathroom.
-          Our new large wooden fales have a very large interior living area of 4 by 6 metres, large wooden decks and private bathrooms with basins/sinks, toilets and showers. Bedding arrangements come with a queen size bed plus a king single which can be arranged for families with children.
Although we are located on a remote island, we offer wifi access (complimentary 100mb per day for guests staying here), and there is mobile/cellular access. However we encourage our guests to try and “unplug” as much as possible, and we are happy for you to say to others that you cannot be reached while on your holiday!

Single occupancy:
Tour package accommodation is based on double occupancy. A single supplement applies to those who prefer a private fale/room or who cannot be paired with another single participant.

Extra nights
If you plan to extend your stay in Tonga and/or need to overnight in Tongatapu, please advise us of your accommodation requirements in advance and we will be happy to book on your behalf.

All meals stated in itinerary are included and eaten at the accommodations. When, on an excursion, lunch is picnic-style.

Food is usually homegrown and you will get to try home-style dishes. Most of the food is sourced from local farmers and fisherman, and healthy meals are prepared from fresh, unprocessed ingredients.

Alcohol is not included but guests can purchase some at the hotel restaurant or bar.

The tap water in Tonga is treated well water with a high mineral content, giving it a metallic taste. While the tap water is potable, for people unaccustomed to the local water, it is advisable to drink rainwater. The drinking water at the resorts is fresh, clean water from collected rain stored in cement holding tanks. We have never encountered a problem on tour with water-borne diseases or infections.

Special Diets
The resorts can cater for a range of dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan and gluten intolerance. Please let us know well in advance of the tour of your dietary needs.


Whilst no experience is required for our sea kayak tours, a moderate level of physical fitness and a sense of adventure are important. A typical day entails two to three hours of paddling interspersed with rest stops. The guides endeavor to balance the group by pairing slower paddlers with stronger, more experienced paddlers. However, the slower paddlers always dictate the pace. Base camps offer the luxury of paddling empty kayaks or a lay day for exploring and relaxing. Paddling into southeasterly trade winds of 12-18 knots requires extra effort and can make the distance we travel feel longer. Those who engage in regular exercise such as walking, cycling or swimming tend to derive more enjoyment from their adventure. Physical conditioning exercises and camping experience are recommended.

A minimum of one Tongan professional guide accompanies all of our trips. Depending on the group size, there is an additional guide (guide: guest ratio = 1:6). The guides are responsible for making safety decisions, coordinating logistics and activities, preparing meals as well as interpreting the natural and cultural features of Vava’u. Our guides lend invaluable local knowledge and cultural flavour to the experience and also offer outdoor safety, first aid and risk management expertise.

The concept of sea kayaking is still new to many people, who may have visions of paddling in small unstable kayaks typically used on river trips. In contrast, we use stable, seaworthy double kayaks (Necky Tofino) especially suited to novices and the ocean environment. No previous kayaking experience is required, but a moderate level of fitness is necessary. Non-swimmers are welcome since everyone is required to wear a life vest. The issuing of single kayaks (Necky Arluk III, Quality Kayaks Southern Aurora and Puffin) is at the guides’ discretion as this depends not only on the paddler’s ability, but also on weather, sea conditions and group composition.
Your guides cover boat handling basics; paddling strokes; use of the foot controlled rudder; boat entries and exits; and rescue procedures in the protected warm waters of the Port of Refuge. They also cover trip safety and carry a cell phone and flares for emergency use. Sea kayaking is a very safe sport when conducted properly. The expedition always paddles as a group, but there is still ample opportunity for individuals to enjoy their personal space on land if so desired. Certain rules of sea kayaking must be agreed to and observed by all trip participants to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. We discuss these rules and why they are necessary as well as contingency plans. We do everything reasonable to minimize the risks of this outdoor pursuit to ensure your safety and expect you to do the same.

From July to October Tonga’s warm sheltered waters are annual breeding and calving grounds for the southern ocean humpback whale. Join our preferred whale watch operator for a fun, educational day on the water. Their knowledgeable guides provide interesting facts and anecdotes about these amazing mammals, once on the brink of extinction. Witness the whales’ acrobatic aerial displays and, with the aid of a hydrophone, listen in on their mystical songs. You might also see spinner dolphins and seldom-sighted pilot whales. You will have the opportunity to snorkel in Vava’u’s spectacular underwater world. Confident swimmers who elect to swim with the whales do so at the skipper’s discretion and at their own risk. From November to June when the whales have returned to their Antarctic feeding grounds, join our preferred sailing operator for a relaxing day of sightseeing and snorkelling in the beautiful Vava’u Archipelago. Both excursions include snorkelling gear, wetsuits and lunch.

Experience diving at its best in warm clear waters where visibility is often up to 40 metres. The distinctive landscape of Vava’u creates a unique diving environment with dramatic drop-offs, caverns, and swimthroughs. Explore the myriads of reefs with colourful hard & soft coral, sea fans, abundant reef fish, sharks, manta rays, nudibranchs,
crustaceans, pipefish and more. In winter you might even hear the humpback whale song! Time permitting, enjoy a swim or snorkel from a pristine outer island beach. Includes full equipment, snacks and water.

Enjoy a relaxing day with our preferred operator sailing and exploring the myriads of reefs in warm crystal clear waters. In winter the average water temperature is 25 degrees Celcius and in summer up to 29 degrees. Snorkel directly from the vessel and/or from pristine beaches. A perfect way to discover the stunning Vava’u Archipelago and learn about the flora, sea birds, and marine life along the way. You might even see southern ocean humpback whales in season (July – October). Snorkelling gear, wetsuits and lunch included.

Every trip participant must provide an accurately completed medical form. Participants aged 65 years and over must also provide a medical certificate. 

Although your guides will be carrying a comprehensive first aid kit, all tour participants are encouraged to bring a basic personal first aid kit including the
following items:
- Medication (pain relief, anti-inflammatory, mild anti-nausea drugs)
- Antiseptic swabs and cream
- Anti-histamine cream (for insect bites)
- Antibiotic cream or powder (powder is best in the humid tropics)
- Fabric plasters (more waterproof than plastic plasters)
- Lip sunscreen (SPF30+ or zinc)
- General sunscreen (water resistant; SPF15+)
- Insect repellent (DEET is the most effective)

Personal travel insurance is not included in the trip cost and is a pre-requisite for trip participation. We recommend you purchase a policy that includes airfare, trip cancellation (in particular cancellation owing to severe weather), and medical coverage.


Sample Itinerary - subject to changes

Note that the following itinerary is a sample only and is subject to alterations.
It is possible that route or itinerary changes and/or delays may become necessary for reasons of safety or enhancing the quality of the trip. These disruptions could be due to inclement weather, acts of God, delayed transport, political or cultural considerations, government restrictions, participants’ limitations, or any other cause. If we are unable to paddle, we will endeavor to offer alternate activities (e.g. snorkeling, bush walks, land tours, village tours).
The trip participant shall be responsible for any additional expenses such as accommodation, meals, transport, prepaid airline tickets, fees for visas, etc. in connection with changes and/or delays to a route or itinerary.
If possible, ensure some degree of flexibility in your travel plans. A sense of adventure and tolerance for the unexpected are essential attributes when visiting developing nations such as Tonga where “Tonga Time” is synonymous with delays and waiting.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Day 1: Arrival & Orientation
A driver awaits your arrival at Salote Pilolevu Airport on Lifuka Island and transfers you to your accommodation. Situated in the quaint township of Pangai, locally owned Evaloni’s and Lindsay Guesthouses offer clean accommodations with a Tongan flavour. Shortly after check-in, your guide welcomes you and confirms the time (normally 4:00pm) and venue for this afternoon’s 45-minute orientation talk. It is important that all participants attend this informative talk. Dinner this evening will be at either your guesthouse or at a local café.
Meals: D.
Accommodation: Evaloni’s Guest House or Lindsay Guesthouse (subject to availability).

Day 2: Kayaking to Uoleva island
Transport departs early this morning (exact time is tide-dependent) from your accommodation property to our launching site near Pangai township. Here, the guides give a safety briefing before launching our kayaks. Today we paddle along the leeward shores of Lifuka and Uoleva Islands, skirting villages and beaches. Our base for the next 4 nights is Serenity Beaches Resort, a small island hideaway situated on a crescent white sand beach on the leeward shore of Uoleva Island. An eco-resort, Serenity features fresh rain water, solar and wind generated electricity, natural foods and private showers open to the stars. In the event that Serenity is fully booked, our accommodation will be Sea Change Eco Retreat featuring beachfront wooden fales and elevated luxury tents with decks, hammocks and private bathrooms.
Accommodation: Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat (subject to availability).
Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Uoleva Island.
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

Day 3: Kayaking to Luangahu Island
Weather permitting, we paddle offshore to Luangahu, a tiny uninhabited island visited only by local fishermen and nesting sea snakes! Whilst paddling, we may be fortunate to sight turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales, the latter of which migrate annually (July through October) to Tonga's warm sheltered waters to breed and calve. After a picnic lunch, we circumnavigate the island on foot observing makeshift fishermen's shelters and octopus drying trees. Those with sharp eyes may find remnants of whalebone in the sand dunes from Tong's whaling days. After a refreshing swim and snorkel, we paddle back to our resort in time for happy hour.
Accommodation: Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat (subject to availability).
Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Luangahu Island.
Paddling Time: 2-3 hours.

Day 4: Whale Watching (July to October) or Snorkeling (November to June)
At 10:00 this morning we depart for a day of whale watching (July-October) and or snorkeling (November-June). A team of whale educators discusses humpback whale migration, mating, surface activity and song. From July through October we can observe the impressive acrobatic displays of these magnificent mammals who migrate from Antarctica annually to breed, give birth and nurse their new-born calves in Tonga's sheltered, warm waters. Outside the whale watch season, enjoy a day of snorkeling, picnicking and sightseeing in the beautiful Lifuka Archipelago.
Accommodation: Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat (subject to availability).
Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Lifuka Archipelago.
Excursion Time: 5-6 hours.

Day 5: Lay Day
Today, Sunday, is by Tongan law a day of rest and worship. Tour operators are not permitted to conduct guided physical activities anywhere within the Kingdom on a Sunday. Take advantage of today's more relaxed pace and explore Uoleva Island. In the cool hours of the morning we stretch our legs with a stroll through low-lying bush to the windward side of Uoleva Island. Following lunch back at the resort, a short walk to the southern tip of Uoleva takes us to a reef drop-off at the edge of Auhangamea channel. Confident swimmers may drift snorkel along a spectacular coral wall. There are also lovely pockets of coral and reef fish closer to shore. Reading, eating and socializing are also pleasant diversions on this enforced lay day.
Accommodation: Serenity Beaches Resort or Sea Change Eco Retreat (subject to availability).
Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Uoleva Island.

Day 6: Kayaking to Lifuka island
On our final day of paddling, we paddle north along the leeward shores of Uoleva and Lifuka Islands back to Pangai township where we started our journey 5 days ago. From the kayaks we observe traditional village life including fish nets and traps; pandanus leaves soaking in the sea to soften and bleach in preparation for weaving mats; and colourful commuter boats piled high with baskets of market produce and cheerful locals. From Pangai, we transfer by taxi back to your accommodation and, later on, enjoy a sumptuous farewell dinner!
Accommodation: Evaloni’s Guest House or Lindsay Guesthouse (subject to availability).
Meals: B, L, D.
Destination: Lifuka Island.
Paddling Time: 3-4 hours.

Day 7: Departure
The trip concludes today with transfers to Salote Pilolevu Airport.
Meals: B.

Rates and Dates for Tonga Islands Kayaking

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals, Transfers from/to Salote Pilolevu airport, 45-minute orientation talk, Kayaks and accessories, 3 days kayaking with professional guide (guide to guest ratio is 1:6) & 1 day whale-watching (July-Oct) or snorkeling (Nov-June)

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescriptionNZ$ ~US$
    20247-day eco-resort kayaking$4995$3000
The US Dollar Rate is Based on Exchange Rate of 0.6
Minimum Deposit: ~$1,750.00 per person

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy

Transfer and Other Charges:

2024 Transfer from/to Salote Pilolevu (Ha'apai) included
2024 Single supplement- please inquire

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2024 06/26 - 07/02 7d / 6n 7-day eco-resort kayaking 4 /16 Reserve
A 2024 07/31 - 08/06 7d / 6n 7-day eco-resort kayaking 4 /16 Reserve
A 2024 09/11 - 09/17 7d / 6n 7-day eco-resort kayaking 4 /16 Reserve

Dates Note:

Rates do not include:

Beverages with exception of complimentary farewell drink, Expenses incurred as a result of delays due to inclement weather, delays of scheduled aircraft, logistical delays, and resultant changes to the itinerary, Gratuities, Personal travel insurance (mandatory), Airport taxes & Excess baggage fees.

Other Info
Meeting: Salote Pilolevu Airport
Airport: Salote Pilolevu Airport
Transfer: Salote Pilolevu Airport

                                        Pangai area














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Source: NOAA

The climate of Tonga is very pleasant, being slightly cooler and less humid than most tropical areas.

From June to November the mean humidity hovers around 74%; and the southeasterly trade winds average 12-18 knots - ideal weather for paddling and camping. May through January is the best time for kayaking in Tonga.

During the wetter summer months (December to May) the weather is hotter, more humid and changeable with an increased risk of tropical cyclones. Most cyclones either brush past Tonga leaving little or no damage or miss Tonga altogether.

Special note – insects
We try wherever possible to camp in breezy spots as wind tends to keep mosquitoes at bay. They are only a nuisance after a rainfall and or when there is little wind. A good mosquito repellant is an effective prophylactic for the majority of people. However, if you are especially sensitive to mosquitoes it would be wise to wear long sleeves and pants in camp. Wasps are generally not a nuisance. Our guides carry oral anti-histamine and an anaphylactic shock treatment kit, but if you know that you are allergic to wasps it is a good idea to bring your own personal supply.

What To Bring:
Women are advised to dress conservatively (i.e. high necklines, covered shoulders, loose skirts, dresses or pants) in the villages. Lowcut tops, sheer and/or tight clothing should be avoided. Swimsuits are acceptable on the beach; covering up with a lava-lava (wrap-around cloth) is a polite gesture to approaching villagers. Men should wear long shorts in the daytime; long pants or a lava-lava at night-time. Men are also required by law to wear a shirt in public except when on the beach. Footwear is removed before entering a Tongan fale (home).

List of things to bring:
We recommend bringing your own snorkeling gear to ensure a good fit.
Lightweight cotton or quick-dry clothing is recommended for Tonga’s warm tropical climate. Long-sleeved shirts with a collar offer good sun protection. Lava-lavas (2 meter wrap-around cloth) may be purchased in Tonga. It is a good idea to bring along two lava-lavas, one for wearing over shorts or a swimsuit when entering villages and a clean one for other occasions.
If you have any questions about clothing or equipment, consult your local canoe or outdoor equipment retailer or contact us. Any excess baggage can be left at our base in safekeeping.

--  Passport,
 --  Travellers’ cheques, small notes (pa’anga)
 --  Basic first aid kit
 --  Toiletries
 --  Toilet paper (preferably unbleached)
 --  Sun screen (SPF30+)
 --  Lip screen (SPF30+)
 --  Insect repellent
 --  Sun hat (stiff brimmed) with chin strap
 --  Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with neck strap
 --  Pack towel (viscose or polyester / polyamide)
 --  Drink bottle (1-2 litres)
 --  Cotton-lycra swimsuit, sports bra & briefs
 --  Lightweight rain jacket with hood
 --  Lightweight fleece jacket (i.e. Polartec 100)
 --  Cotton T-shirts (long & short sleeved)
 --  Quick dry shorts & pants
 --  Calf-length skirt/dress
 --  Lava-lava (can be purchased in Tonga)
 --  Cotton socks & underwear (for duration of trip)
 --  Heavy-duty rubbish bags (for lining stuff sacks)
 --  Waist pack
 --  Ziploc bags (medium & large)
 --  Flashlight/headlamp, spare batteries, lighter

Optional Items
 --  Binoculars
 --  Hand sanitizer, handy wipes
 --  Talcum powder and/or Vaseline (for preventing chafing)
 --  Camera, film, spare batteries
 --  Favourite snacks, drink crystals
 --  Fishing lures & hand line
 --  Pocket knife, sewing/repair kit
 --  Reading & writing materials
 --  Small brush (for sandy feet)
 --  Summer weight sleeping bag/quilt /blanket (June-Sept)
 --  Half wetsuit 3mm (June-Sept)
 --  Cycling gloves (without fingers)
 --  Lightweight quick dry top (e.g. polypropylene)
 --  Reef shoes or old running shoes
      (for intertidal walks)

Theft is not common in Tonga. However, in a culture where “what’s mine is yours” and items are “borrowed” indefinitely, unattended personal belongings and valuables are at risk. We recommend you bring your passport and airline tickets in a dry bag on the kayak trip so that, in the unlikely event of evacuation, your guides can readily access these documents.

Photographic opportunities abound in Tonga! Tongan people are very photogenic and enjoy having their photo taken (except when they are eating). Asking their permission first is a polite gesture. Fujichrome Velvia professional film does justice to the tropical blues and greens of the water and foliage. We recommend that all film be processed in your home country for best results. A zoom lens is handy especially for photographing whales. However, bear in mind that the humidity and salt water can damage camera lenses and electronics. For this reason, some prefer to leave their expensive camera at home and bring an inexpensive disposable or waterproof camera instead. If you do decide to bring an expensive camera, store it in a dry bag or waterproof case with silicon packs and insure your camera. Bring plenty of spare film and batteries.

Owing to the shape of a kayak, space inside the watertight hatches is limited so please try to restrict your gear to a minimum.
Large dry bags, duffel bags and backpacks cannot be accommodated in the kayak hatches. Please bring no more than 2 medium sized (20L-25L) dry bags per person - one for clothing; the other for miscellaneous items - plus one small (10L) dry bag per person for items you need to access in the cockpit (e.g. wallet, documents, sun screen etc.). A mesh bag containing your snorkelling gear is additional to the above
items. Nylon stuff sacs lined with heavy-duty rubbish bags are a more affordable option if you do not already have dry bags. However, a dry bag for the cockpit is essential. Camera and optical equipment should be waterproofed and insured.

Quick-dry clothing is recommended for Tonga’s warm tropical climate. Long-sleeved shirts with a collar offer good sun protection. Lava-lavas (2 metre wraparound cloth) may be purchased in Tonga. It is advisable to bring along two lavalavas (wrap around skirts), one for wearing over shorts or a swimsuit when entering villages and a clean one for other occasions.
Any excess baggage can be left at your own risk at our base, which is unoccupied overnight.