Tonga travel information

essential information

Back to Tonga


Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Tonga. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.

Plan

Before you go

Address
Sunsail Tonga
Neiafu Waterfront
Vava’u
Kingdom of Tonga

Our Tonga base is located some 1500 miles northeast of New Zealand at about 18 degrees, 36 minutes south of the equator Vava'u in the northern sector of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Neiafu is the official port of entry for cruising yachts coming to Vava'u. A string of islands and reefs along the eastern edge of the group shelters the area from strong winds and ocean swells.

Please note that this base is operated by one of our Franchise partners.

Base hours
Mon-Fri from 8am-5pm

Saturday from 8.30am-12pm

Season: This destination closes for the month of February.

Due to current regulations, Tonga charters may not start or end on a Sunday. Also, in observance of King Tupou VI's birthday and the Crown Prince's birthday, the base will be closed on July 4th and 17th. If those dates fall on a Sunday, the holidays will be observed the following Monday. Regrettably, our base will be closed these two days and will not be open as a charter start or end day.

Language
The official languages are Tongan and English.

Cost of living
Prices vary between areas and from restaurant to restaurant, however the following is a guide for your reference:

A bottle of wine costs about TOP 28 (GBP 8.40) in a supermarket and from TOP 45-60 (GBP 13.4-18) in a restaurant.

A bottle of beer costs about TOP 4-8 (GBP 1.20-2)

A cheap snack costs about TOP 3 (GBP 1)

A three-course meal is likely to cost TOP 60 (GBP 18) per head

What to bring

Passport and visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your arrival date in Tonga. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid. If your child is not already included on a valid British Passport they are required to hold their own passport.

South African passport holders need a visa.

It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs + immigration
You will need to clear customs and immigration before leaving the airport. A landing card will be issued on the plane, along with a customs declaration form. You may enter Tonga for a period not exceeding 30 days, providing that you have a valid passport (expiration date must be no earlier than 6 months after your planned return), an onward sea or air ticket, proof of adequate funds and relevant health certificates, i.e. up-to-date typhoid and immunisation shots. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by customs.

Sailing licences
Although no sailing licenses are required for cruising in this area, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on vacation with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police. If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.

Luggage + packing list

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. 

We would highly recommend packing insect repellent, prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht.

What's on board

Coolers
Cool boxes are available at the base on a first come, first serve basis at no additional charge. Please sign for these and return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

Mobile phones
Using a local SIM card will work almost throughout all of the sailing area. Some anchorages are too protected to receive the cell phone signal but you will get reception on the phone in most areas. There are two cell phone providers: Digicell and Tonfon.

Free wireless Internet access is available at the Mango restaurant in front of the base. Diginet is a paid service available with coverage across most of the Neiafu harbour, A Diginet connection is also available outside the Tongan Beach Resort when on one of the resort moorings or ashore at the resort bar/restaurant. Diginet vouchers are available for purchase from Digicel in Neiafu or from the base.

Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a stereo and most have iPod outlets. We suggest that you bring applicable cables to ensure that you are able to connect your iPod to the stereo.

Drone

The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit https://uavcoach.com/drone-laws-in-tonga/

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 & laptops. 

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Sail

About the marina

Marina facilities
Base Facilities include water, fuel and ice. Mango restaurant is located next to the base.

Dock facilities
The only place that clients can fuel the boat and refill their water tanks is at the base. At any stage throughout the cruising ground, clients will be no further than 20 miles from the base; therefore returning to the base to refill the fuel and water tanks will not be a problem.

The cost of fuel is TOP 3 per litre (GBP 1).

Sailing licences

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 2

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  

Get more information on Tonga's sailing conditions.

Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area. Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
The skipper’s time is booked from 2pm-10am. The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6pm-6pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover, anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are the responsibility of the client. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared head sand size of the cabin. If you expect him to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper.

For one-day check out skippers it is your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15-20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.

Sailing area restrictions

Cruising area for this base is limited to the Vava'u Group (which is a very large area!).
We ask that you stay away from the windward (east side) of the Group.

Night sailing
Night sailing is not permitted; you must be moored at least one hour before sunset at all of our locations.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.

Moorings fees + taxes
All moorings in the area belong either to restaurants, charter companies or similar and are usually for their clients. As a guest, you may often use them free of charge but please call the owner to ask for permission. You may be asked to pay a small fee. In most places of sailing area you will be at anchor.

Health + safety

Illness or injury 
For up-to-date authoritative advice on health protection, we recommend that you consult your family doctor.

Safety 
All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets and harnesses. We leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

Swim Safe 
For your safety and for environmental reasons, the feeding of fish is not recommended and may be prohibited in some destinations.

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Shop

Around the base

Accommodations
Boathouse Apartments 
Adjacent to the Sunsail base
Neiafu
Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga
Tel: + 676 70016
Email: [email protected] 
www.boathousetonga.com

Tongan Beach Resort
Vava’u
Tel + 676 70380/8746400
Email: [email protected]
www.tonganbeach.com

Currency
Tongan Pa’anga (TOP), which is divided into 100 Senti.

Banks
Banks are available for changing money. There is a 24-hour ATM in Neiafu town.

Credit card information
Credit cards (Visa and MasterCard only) are accepted at a few restaurants in Neiafu town. Please note that as with all the establishments in Tonga, a five percent credit card surcharge applies. In general, the shops in Neiafu do not accept credit cards so it is best to have Tongan Pa’anga for use at restaurants, local villages and bars and for shopping in town and at the local markets.

Post office
A post office is located opposite the wharf. The red building behind the police station.

Opening hours are Mon-Fri from 9am-4.30pm.

Currency can be exchanged at local banks.

Shopping
There are no large supermarkets in Neiafu, only a handful of small stores. There are no shops or stores on any of the outer islands.

There a large range of handicrafts available including traditional tapa cloth and tapa crafts, woven crafts from Pandanus leaves, Tongan jewellery, wood carvings and more, all made locally and reflecting the proud culture and heritage of the Kingdom.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

Choose Sunsail

20+
Stunning Sailing Destinations 
14
Flotilla routes
48
Types of yachts
44 yrs
Creating holidays
4 hr
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