Tonga: Swim with the Whales

Experience the exhilaration of an underwater encounter with an ocean giant…

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9 days from £2,380 pp sharing

  • Includes accommodation, activities, meals, and all transfers to and from Va’Vau airport
  • Deposit £890 pp. Single supplement £510 pp
  • Maximum group size 12 people
  • Excludes international and domestic flights

Please download tour brochure for advice on booking your flights

Download our 2013/14 Tours Guide for information on booking your flights and FAQs about our tours

The beach at The Tongan Beach Resort, Neifau

For a few months a year, the crystal clear waters of Tonga’s Vava’u Islands are home to the majestic Humpback Whale. These pristine islands provide a sanctuary for hundreds of whales to mate and give birth after their 5,000 mile journey from Antarctica. Secluded island lagoons, crystal clear water, white sand beaches, underwater caves, and traditional Tongan hospitality make this a dream destination.

For those lucky enough to experience it, snorkelling next to a Humpback Whale is a life changing experience – nothing prepares you for the site of an ocean giant beneath you. This tour combines the comfort of staying at a beach resort with 7 planned days on the water to look for and hopefully swim with the Humpback whales. Our resort provides excellent access to the whale nursery and all the comforts you need after a day on the water.

To ensure that the welfare of the whales is protected at all times, we work with the most respected operator in the region and follow very strict guidelines on how we interact with the whales.

  • Snorkel with humpback whales, including mothers, calves, and groups of boisterous males.
  • Listen to the whales sing beneath the water.
  • Stay at the wonderful Tongan Beach Resort and experience the best of Tongan hospitality.
  • Explore the luminous white sand beaches and rock pools of a paradise island.
  • Snorkel and swim the crystal clear coral reefs of around 50 different islands.
  • Enjoy a traditional Tongan feast and the warmth and hospitality of the local people.
  • Snorkel the imposing dark blue waters of Swallows Cave.
  • Travel with a local operator who works strictly within the ‘Whale Watching Guidelines of Tonga and Nuie’.
  • Have incredible photography opportunities in the water and from your boat, as inquisitive Humpback whales approach.
  • Travel in small groups, allowing you maximum time in the water and ensuring less impact on the marine environment.

Days 1
On arrival in Vava’u you will be met by one of our team and transferred to the town of Neiafu. You are free to have breakfast, explore the town, and visit the local market before meeting at 12.00pm for a welcome lunch and briefing. Our guides and crew will carefully explain the schedule for the coming days and then transfer you to the Tongan Beach Resort. The rest of the day is yours to relax, swim, or snorkel.

Days 2 to 9
Following a thorough briefing on how to interact and swim with the whales, we set off on our island quest from the jetty at the resort. Once the whales are located, we gently snorkel into a position and wait for the encounter. There is nothing like dipping your head below the water and seeing a 40 foot long humpback whale beneath you! Nothing can prepare you for this moment. If we are lucky, the inquisitive whales and calves will approach, keen to investigate and engage with us.

During your days on the water, our experienced team of crew and guides will ensure you have everything you need. Delicious lunches on board the boat, opportunities to snorkel reefs and the famous Mariners and Swallows Caves, and beach combing along palm lined, white sand beaches, are all part of our relaxed itinerary when out at sea.

Just some of the wild Tonga you may encounter:

  • Humpback Whale
  • Hammerhead Shark
  • Spinner Dolphin
  • Sailfish
  • Manta Ray
  • Clownfish
  • Parrotfish
  • Moorish Idol
  • Orange-spotted Filefish
  • Pipefish
  • Damselfish
  • Sea Urchin
  • Pufferfish
  • Triggerfish

Many of the photos you see on this site were taken by amateur photographers on our tours.

No online reviews for this tour. Please contact the Encounter the Wild team for a review or testimonial.

Encounter the wild are privileged to work with and support the Ocean Alliance.

Led by Dr. Payne and Chief Executive Officer Iain Kerr, Ocean Alliance collects a broad spectrum of data on whales and ocean life relating particularly to toxicology, behaviour, bioacoustics, and genetics. They advise educators and policy makers on responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans. Please read our tour brochure for more information on how your participation can make a difference.