We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Vava'u or Ha'apai?

Auckland, New...
1 post
Save Topic
Vava'u or Ha'apai?


My partner and I will be visiting Tonga in April for 8 days. Planning to spend 4 nights in Tongatapu and would like to spend another 4 nights on wither Vava'u or Ha'apai. What are the highlights of theses 2 islands? Can someone tell us their experience? We would ideally like a quiet and relaxing holiday with some culture, beach time and hopefully remoteness.

Would love your feedback.


2 replies to this topic
Ballina, Australia
Level Contributor
939 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Vava'u or Ha'apai?

HI Emily, a really difficult question to answer. Either island offers what you are looking for. In my opinion, Ha'apai has the better beaches yet cultural interaction for us was easier on Vava'u.

Interesting to note that Lonely Planet recently voted Ha'apai into their top ten destinations. I'm with them but my wife preferred Vava'u. Good luck

Level Contributor
2,566 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Vava'u or Ha'apai?

Although of course they are both Tongan island groups, Ha'apai and Vava'u have a lot if distinct differences in terms of the types of islands, their political histories and their current "vibe" and the attractions for a visitor.

You will find a lot more palangi (Western) influence in Vava'u, due to the yachting and billfish communities and more recently to the proliferation of whale-watching and swimming tour operators. There are some wonderful centres of living Tongan culture that you can visit there, though, like 'Ene'io Botanical Gardens.

Neiafu has a spectacularly beautiful harbor, and the necklace of islands of various sizes that comprise Vava'u are breathtaking.

I think it's easier to get closer to the culture in Ha'apai – there are several Tongan-operated small "resorts" that give you the feeling of living with a Tongan family, and that's an experience you'll never forget. The offshore snorkeling and diving there is some of the best in the world.

There are beautiful beaches in both island groups, and, of course, the wonderful people of Tonga. You might end up choosing one island group or the other due to finding a particular place to stay that really appeals to you.

The one thing you'll want be sure to do is book a night in Tongatapu before your flight out of the country. It's never a good idea to plan to make an international flight on the same day you arrive from Vava'u or Ha'apai, due to the frequent schedule changes of flights inside Tonga.

Edited: 24 December 2013, 06:30
Reply to: Vava'u or Ha'apai?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted
Get answers to your questions about Vava'u Islands