Diving in Tonga

Diving in Tonga is much more than just swimming with whales (which Tonga is well known for). I'm not going to cover that here, because if you Google "Diving Tonga", that is ALL you will find.

Tonga is an amazing warm-water dive destination with unique topography and many unique tropical Pacific species.  There is not much civilization, so the water is clear and the dive sites are virtually unspoiled.

We dove extensively in Vava'u, and for a few weeks in Ha'apai.  We did some diving on our own, and a lot of diving with several dive operators.  Dive Vavau  Riki Tiki Tours  Fins 'n Flukes

We are a cruising sailboat with all of our own dive equipment, including 6 tanks and a compressor, and it is much less expensive to dive on our own, but we have found that going out with a good professional operation is often worth the money.  So we like to do a combination of both.  Rather than blundering around unknown prospective sites, with unknown current, wave and wind conditions, the professional operations can take you right to good sites for the prevailing conditions, that match your interests and your experience level. They can also take you to sites that are otherwise impossible or impractical to reach from a yacht or dinghy.  To minimize costs, we have found it possible to get a group of divers together (like 4-6 divers from several boats), and then approach the dive operators for a 'package deal'.  This often can shave significant dollars off the published cost of a single dive trip, as they can afford to give a discount if they are assured of a full dive boat.  This works especially well in low-volume places like Tonga, or the off-season anywhere.

Other Dive Advice:  For cruisers looking for diving and snorkeling spots in Tonga, you should have a copy of the cruising guide Sailingbird Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga.  (available in Vava'u at the Megapode book shop near the Moorings base in Neiafu, or online from Amazon.com).  This book not only covers anchorages like a typical cruising guide, but also denotes the best dive and snorkel areas, with little icons on the chartlets.

Dive Sites in the Vava'u Group of Tonga
Jump to Ha'apai Sites

Below is a list of the most popular dive sites in the Vava'u area of Tonga, many of which are accessible by cruising boats. 

View Online in Google Maps

Each site is linked to a page with detailed info about access, dive profile, and pictures.

Site Name Latitude Longitude Description
Clan MacWilliam 1840.348'S 17359.351'W 400' Wreck in Neiafu Harbor 80-120 feet
Swallows Cave 1840.945'S 17402.845'W Nice cave for diving or snorkeling, near the Kapa/Port Maurelle anchorages
Mushrooms 1840.285'S 17403.403'W Just across the way from Swallows Cave
Sea Fans 1839.664'S 17404.040'W East side of Tu'ungasika Island, in the North Shore area
Split Rock 1839.488'S 17404.111'W NW side of Tu'ungasika Island, in the North Shore area
China Gardens 1839.462'S 17404.234'W North side of Tu'ungasika Island, in the North Shore area
Fotula Rock 1838.920'S 17404.064'W North Shore area
White Patch 1838.920'S 17404.064'W North Shore area
North Shore 1838.329'S 17403.968'W North Shore area
Rhino 1840.050'S 17403.425'W North Shore area
Caddy Shack 1840.263'S 17405.067'W North east tip of Hunga Island
Shark Tooth 1840.975'S 17403.932'W On the north tip of Kitu Island
The Gap 1841.296'S 17404.170'W North tip of Nuapupu Island
Mariner's Cave 1841.462'S 17404.494'W Northwest side of Nuapupu Island
Coral Gardens 1842.630'S
1842.971'S 1843.396'S 
West of Vaka'eitu (Anchorage 16).  Beautiful reef and wall in 8'-50'
Langito'o Island Reef 1843.668'S
South East of Vaka'eitu (Anchorage 16).  Nice reef in 5'-45'
The Pagodas 1843.990'S
17405.044 W
17404.911 W
South East of Vaka'eitu (Anchorage 16).  Nice coral structures in 10'-60'
Ovaka Wall 1844.668'S 17406.972'W  
Ovaka's Coral Canyons 1844.698'S 17406.626'W Beach dive at the west end of Ovaka, in a coral area
The Nursery 1845.328'S 17402.544'W Near Euakafa, Anchorage 32
Blue Coral 1845.927'S 17402.337'W Near Euakafa, Anchorage 32
Little Knob 18-43.504'S 174-00.148'W Near Tapana, Anchorage 11.  Coral mound.

Download a Google Earth KML File for these sites  (Right click link and 'save as' to your desktop)

Download an OpenCPN gpx File for these sites

Dive Sites in the Ha'apai Group of Tonga




We didn't spend nearly as much time diving in the Ha'apai as we did Vava'u.  But below are the sites we know about from our own dive experiences, and from others (friends and internet sources).  (and as of May 2012, we are still compiling our Ha'apai info)

<Map Coming Soon for Ha'apai>

Each site is linked to a page with detailed info about access, dive profile, and pictures.

Site Name Latitude Longitude Description
Atlantis Fins n Flukes Fins n Flukes A nice detached coral reef in 10-80 feet, west of Lifuka.  Diveable in fairly strong east winds.
Mariner's Patch Fins n Flukes Fins n Flukes High profile coral area.  Lots of fish life, nudibranchs, and an anchor from the Port au Prince.  Near Lifuka.

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