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TONGA: HUMPBACK WHALE PARADISE

Swim with whales and their calves in crystal clear ocean

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The remote islands of Vava’u are very possibly the most mesmerising place you will ever have a chance to visit. Deep blue water, empty white-sand beaches, and green rain forests. It’s a paradise where humpback whales come to give birth and raise their calves, and you can swim with them. 

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Location
Duration

Vava'u

8 days

4400 USD

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Price

Available dates 

AUGUST 19 – AUGUST 26    2025   - FULL

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About this Trip

About this trip
  • For: max 6 guests to ensure respectful encounters with the whales. Swimming with whales is highly regulated in Tonga. Only certified vessels may put swimmers in the water and no more than 4 clients can be in the water with one pod of whales. We will rotate in our small group of 6 guests.

  • Duration: 8 days

  • Boat: Day trips on private 10 meter express style boat

  • Number of days in the water: 5 days (7 hours/day)

  • Food: breakfast, local organic lunches on whale swim days, and snacks included

  • Conditions: Perfect snorkeling conditions: calm and warm ocean,  with water temperature around 27°C and amazing visibility 

  • Skill requirement: Good swimming skills 

  • Pick-up location: Vava’u International Airport (VAV)

  • Accommodation: 

    • Beautiful Tongan beach-front hotel with a pool.

    • Possibility of kayaking and snorkeling

    • Hotel has its own pier where we will pick you up with our boat each morning

    • You can do whale watching directly from your room! 

    • Rooms for 2 with sea view and ensuite bathroom, king or 2 single beds (private room on request)

    • ACCOMMODATION GALLERY

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Expedition Highlights

Wildlife Highlights
  • Enjoy the “anga fakatonga” - the Tongan way of life. People here are connected by unity and a respect for tradition that you simply won’t find anywhere else

  • Witnessing unique and fascinating behavior of the beautiful humpback whales:

  • Swimming with humpback whale mother resting, with her calf playing around

  • Witnessing the first breaches of humpback whale calves

  • Watching the male heat runs

  • Listening to the males singing their songs to the female whales

  • Observing the mating rituals of humpback whales

  • Witnessing the humpback males escort the mothers and calves, waiting for the opportunity to mate before heading back to the Antarctic waters

  • You will obtain an album of professional underwater photos of you, the whales and your interactions after the expedition

  • Opportunity to learn about the whales‘ biology and body language from our guides and a local whale guide with over 12 years of experience

  • Our conservation activities are our top priority and we fund them through expeditions like this, and if you join us, you will help us move our vision one step further

ITINERARY:

Itinerary

Day 1

Vava'u – Meeting and accommodation

We will pick you up at the airport and we will drive to the accommodation. Vava'u group of islands lies some 250 kilometers north of the main island of Tongatapu. The group is comprised of coral atolls,  small sandy islets, and larger uplifted limestone formations. The ocean around them changes its colors from mesmerizing turquoise to deep blue. These reef-protected waters are the place that humpback whales choose to give birth to and raise their calves. 

In the evening, we will give you a briefing about the whale behavior that you will be able to observe from up close in the following days.

Accommodation: Tongan beach resort, premium beach-front room

 

Days 2 

Sunday - relax, beach and snorkeling

It is a local law that we are not allowed to swim with the whales on Sundays. Sunday is a day where all business activities cease and most Tongans spend the day attending church services, resting and spending time with family. This day will be dedicated to relax, exploration of the small island your resort is situated on, and snorkeling in the crystal clear, turquoise ocean accessible from the resort’s beach. Here, you will be able to start to feel far away from the noise and clutter that technology, industry and busy lives brings. 

Accommodation: Tongan beach resort, premium beach-front room

 

Day 3 - 7 

Swimming with whales

Each morning, we will jump on a private speedboat and look for the best interactions with humpback whales and their calves. Humpback whales migrate here from the Artics. They come to the Polynesian calm and warm waters to mate and give birth to their calves. There are three different types of behavior that we will be looking for:

* The first one is witnessing the special bond between the mother and her calf relaxing close to the ocean surface. This is the time when she can decide to make eye contact with you, slowly close her eyes in a sign of trust, and let you play with her calf.

* The second is observing a heat run of more than four males chasing the female.

* The third is admiring the beautiful mating rituals of whales, listening to the males' beautiful songs, and watching them breach from the water to impress a possible mate.

Your private guide will explain to you all about the whales' behavior, rituals and biology and take professional underwater photos of your interactions.

In the afternoons, you will return to your resort that is nestled on the beachfront of the island of ‘Utungake. Vava'u is in the middle of the Pacific, and the stars in the night are unbelievably bright, thanks to very little light pollution.

Accommodation: Tongan beach resort, premium beach-front room

Day 8

End of expedition

Local flights in Tonga can be very unpredictable with dates and times. Please wait for our detailed information for this trip and instructions for booking your flight back home. 

Vava'u is a remote island and only local airlines operate here. The flights here can be canceled due to the logistics of the airport or bad weather. We will keep the communication with the airport and take care of everything to make your departure from Vava'u as smooth as possible. We will help you with finding accommodation in Vava’u, in case of a delay of your flight. 

 

 

How do you get to Vava'u?

We strongly recommend having at least two days extra before your flight to and from Vava'u. There are 2 ways how to get to Vava'u

 

  • Flying to Vava'u from Fiji NADI : Fiji Airways flies direct from Nadi to Vava’u. This is the best option for those coming from the US. 

  • Flying to Vava'u from Tongatapu Tonga’s main island:  REAL Tonga, the domestic airline of Tonga unfortunately went into liquidation in 2020 and the government replaced this with Lulutai airlines. You can´t find these flights online but we are in contact with LULUTAI and can provide you with assistance with booking of the flights. 

GALLERY

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TONGAN BEACH FRONT RESORT

Accommodation
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