Fantastic sea fans five times your size wave rhythmically, clinging to the healthy coral reefs. Diving in Ha’apai is surreal, with awe inspiring sights around every coral head.
Tunnels, walls, and drop offs all await divers, as well as the stellar reefs. There are myriads of pretty reef fish congregating around colorful corals. You can even check out a pirate ship’s anchor!
The fantastic Arch dive showcases what is said to be the largest arch formation in the Pacific. This arch is huge, and dates as far back as the last ice age.
Swimming with Humpback whales is an incredible experience to have during your trip to Tonga. Diving with the whales is against Tongan law, but you are more than welcome to swim beside these majestic creatures. More than 2000 come through the area between July and October.
Humpback Whales are certainly the biggest draw for visitors. Often, you can hear them vocalizing while you swim with them, a truly epic experience.
Lobsters and eels cozy up in crevices, and fusiliers and leopard sharks hang out in the channels. Ha’apai is also a great place to see nudibranchs of all different types. You may even run across a tiger shark or a ray. Sometimes, in the shallows turtles will even come out to play.
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Ha’apai was once named the Friendly Islands in 1777, and while the name didn’t stick, the meaning still does. A subset of Tonga, Ha’apai, consists of 51volcanic islands that offer up unreal scenery. There are only around 7,000 people spread through the 17 inhabited islands. Most of the locals live in Lifuka, the capital of Ha’apai. Foa is another populous city, about half as large as Lifuka.
Coral islands make up the most of western most isles of Ha’apai, while the much of the east come from volcanic origins. There is an active volcano on Tofua, and a dormant one on Kao.
Entrenched in vivid culture, the islands of Ha’apai embrace their past. There is even an ancient monument and burial grounds on the island of Uiha.
Other than swimming with whales, snorkeling, and nature watching on the islands of Ha’apai, there’s plenty of things to do in the area. Nearby Tongan islands have tremendous blowholes, sandy beaches, and fascinating churches adorn the landscape.
Don’t miss out on the unexpected Anahulu Cave on Haveluliku. You can swim underground, here, which is a surreal and otherworldly experience.
There are small domestic flights that come into Ha’apai from nearby Tongan islands, as well as a reliable ferry service.