Top hotels in Tongatapu Island
Reviewed on 11 Mar. 2020
Reviewed on 26 Jan. 2020
Top activities in Tongatapu Island
Tonga Holiday Villa Island Tours - Fixed Prices BEST VALUE
Tonga Best of Eastern
Culture & Island Tour 1-5 pax
Tongatapu Island Holidays
Tonga’s main island is a treasure trove of ancient burial mounds, stunning coastal scenery and colourful markets selling tropical fruits. No sooner do you arrive on Tongatapu Island than you slip into the slower, more relaxed Tongan pace of life. Here you can spend your days snorkelling at pristine beaches, visiting the tombs of ancient kings or chatting with locals in the markets or restaurants.
Tongatapu, which translates as “Sacred South”, is the largest of Tonga’s islands and the place where most visitors to the country will land. Trips to the exotic outer islands await, but it is well worth exploring this fascinating part of Tonga as well.
Stay in the capital, Nuku’alofa. Here you can shop with locals at Talamahu Market where pyramids of colourful tropical fruit make for some great photographs and tasty snacks. Head to the harbour to see the Royal Palace, a wooden structure built in 1867, still home to the island’s king.
The island is one of the Pacific’s most significant archaeological sites and much of its history can still be seen today. Head to Mu’a, the island’s second city, to see the burial tombs of ancient Tongan kings. The burial mounds are known locally as langi and are arranged in terraces on hillsides. Another fascinating historical site is Ha’amonga a Maui, a trilithon structure made of coral thought to date back to the 13th century.
Rent a car or scooter and you can easily get around the island in a day. On your way around stop off at the beauty spots of the Anahulu Cave, on the eastern side of the island, and the Mapu'a 'a Vaca Blowholes, which are located on the southern coastline. History buffs will also want to see the landing sites of the explorers Abel Tasman and James Cook.
Get to Tongatapu by flying into the Fua’amotu International Airport. Catch a taxi or arrange for a hotel shuttle bus to take you to Nuku’alofa, which is located 21 kilometres (13 miles) northwest of the airport.
Once you have explored Tongatapu, take a trip to one of the many outer islands where untouched white-sand beaches and pristine waters await. Pangaimotu Island is one of the most popular.