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By No owner — last modified Nov 19, 2017 10:11 PM

 Tonga - General Info

Time Zone

UTC +13. Tonga is situated east of 180° but the International Dateline makes a detour to include Tonga west of the line. Take account of this in navigational calculations.

Yachting Essentials

Voltage: 240 V

Frequency: 50 Hz

Money

The Tongan dollar (T$) called Pa'anga has 100 seniti.

Communications

See Pacific List of Radio Nets

International Dialing Code for Tonga is +676.

Tonga Phone Cards Store offers the following International dialing choices: Tonga prepaid Satellite Phone with FREE Incoming Calls, FREE Incoming E-mail, FREE Incoming Text Messages; prepaid International phone cards; cell phone calling cards; call USA from Tonga call abroad phone cards; low cost, high quality special dialing services such as toll free dial around to Tonga with free minutes and no fees; prepaid PC to Phone; discount long distance phone services, and call USA from Tonga worldwide callback service to dial the US from Tonga or to call the world from Tonga.

If you plan to buy a SIM card for a phone from another country, the only place where you can have the network unlocked is in Tongatapu.

Wifi in Tongatapu is broadband. This is due to be rolled out to the rest of the islands in 2015. Elsewhere internet speeds vary influenced by how many users are online etc.

Couriers

Couriers are not cheap or quick. All except NZ Post couriers service is charged as far as Nuku’alofa. If you give a Vava’u address you will be charged for domestic freight from Nuku’alofa to Vava’u on top of whatever you pay to the overseas agent.

DHL, Fedex, UPS -  7 to 10 days, normally expensive.

NZ Post 10 to 14 days, normally not so expensive, check at Post office every time a ferry comes in.

Yacht in Transit require the following paper work to the courier company, NZPost you must employ a customs agent to clear the items. Courier companies charge a handling and clearance fee.

It is recommend sending the following to the agent as soon as you get the tracking number:
-Health Practique
-Skippers passport – colour copy!
-Ships registration paper

Last updated September 2017.

DHL ONLY – please contact Agent first
Tel:+676 27700
Tongatapu agent:e-mail and phone listed.
Vava’u agent Mapa: phone +676 7512363.
  Yacht in Transit - Yacht name (plus yacht email address)
c/- DHL Tonga (Vava’u destination)
Vuna Road
Nuku’alofa
Tongatapu
Kingdom of Tonga: attn Silei
Fedex ONLY - Western Union, Nuku’alofa
Vavau Linda
Tel:+676 70215
Yacht in Transit - Yacht name (plus yacht email address)
c/- Fedex Tonga (Vava’u destination)
Hala Taufa’ahu
Nuku’alofa
Tongatapu
Kingdom of Tonga
Matson Shipping (fortnightly shipping from NZ)
Contact: Rhys Tracy Inglis. Obtain shipping way-bill FIRST, then they will get you an address as the waybill reference has to be used to be accepted by the agent.
NZ Post ONLY
Please advise cafe Tropicana FIRST. Their private bag costs $95 annually, so a donation would be appreciated. Every time a ferry comes in please check at the post office.

Yacht in Transit - Yacht name (plus yacht email address)
C/- Cafe Tropicana
Private Bag 34
Neiafu
Vava’u
Kingdom of Tonga +676 71322

UPS ONLY
Nukualofa: phone +676 30221
Vava’u: phone +676 70422   Yacht in Transit - Yacht name (yacht email address)
c/- EM jones Logistics Tonga
(Vava’u destination)
Hala Taufa’ahu
Nuku’alofa
Tongatapu
Kingdom of Tonga

Transport

Tongatapu is host to the International Airport.

Real Tonga Airlines
Operate Monday through Saturday. 
Telephone:
Vava’u +676 71115
Ha’apai +676 7765452
Nuku’alofa +676 23777
Niua Toputpu +676 7585813
E-mail: bookings@realtonga.to
http://www.realtonga.to

Eua - Flight time: 20 minutes from Tongatapu - Twice daily
Ha’apai - Flight time: 30 minutes from Tongatapu or Vava’u - Daily from Tongatapu
Vava’u - Flight time: 55mins from Tongatapu or 30 mins from Ha’apai Frequency: Daily or twice daily from Tongatapu
The Niua’s - Niuafo’ou and Niuatoputapu - Flight time: Please enquire. Frequency: Once a week departing from Vava’u for both destinations.

Diplomatic Missions

Events

Vava'u Festival, first week in May

Ha'apai Festival, first week in June

Heilala Festival, first week in July

Vava’u Blue Water Festival
Annual Regatta & Festival, held at the end of September/beginning of October. Dates for 2016 are October 1st to 8th, 2016. A week of fun activities, races, information on spending the cyclone season in Tonga, passage planning, quarantine and destinations in NZ (NZ Biosecurity/Quarantine and Customs officers are present for queries and assistance).

Emergencies

Police - Dial 922 or (676) 70 234
Fire - Dial 999 or (676) 70 089
Hospital - Dial 933
Any Emergency Assistance - Dial 911

Publications

IMRAY AND ADLARD COLES PILOT BOOKS are available at a discounted price for Noonsite.com users via World Cruising Club

Sail Tonga Cruising Guide
By Island Cruising Regattas Ltd.
A downloadable app (Version 1.1 2016)
from itunes store.
Designed to fill in the gaps between GPS charts and LOCAL KNOWLEDGE, this fully interactive guide to cruising the waters of the Tonga Archipelago provides drill-down charts, routes, waypoints, detailed descriptions of anchorages (with waypoints).

The Pacific Crossing Guide
By Kitty Van Hagen
3rd Edition October 2016
See The Pacific Crossing Guide 3rd Edition

Tonga-Samoa Handbook
By David Stanley
Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; illustrated edition (6 Oct 1999)
ISBN-13: 978-1566911740
Tonga-Samoa Handbook covers the two Samoas, Tonga, and Niue, a stimulating touring region now easily accessible on direct flights from Auckland, Honolulu, and Los Angeles. All four countries included in the guide are closely linked by air, and you can also get around much of the region by ferry. This book presents all the varied transportation, tour, and accommodation options at your disposal, letting you select those best suited to your budget or taste while avoiding expensive miscalculations. The main sporting activities here are outlined in detail: snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, and hiking. Tonga-Samoa Handbook grew out of my South Pacific Handbook, presently in its 7th edition. South Pacific was the first practical guide to Tonga and the Samoas, and for the many years it has been the only travel guide to Niue

Ken's Comprehensive Cruising Guide for the United Kingdom of Tonga
Publisher: Kenneth Hellewell; 1st edition (January 15, 2003)
ISBN-13: 978-0972749213
Complete cruising guide for the Kingdom of Tonga. Made by a cruiser for cruisers, it features lay flat binding, logically arranged charts and information including waypoints and anchorages. Included in the guide are over 90 anchorages, provisioning information, customs procedures and details relating to officialdom. Every anchorage page includes a picture, corrected chart and a description of conditions and items of interest. The author spent three seasons sailing the entire chain and researched, recorded and documented every single anchorage and waypoint included in the book.

Cruising Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga
By Ken Hellewell
Publisher: Imray - Edition: 1st printed 2002
ISBN: 0972749217
A comprehensive cruising guide to the Kingdom of Tonga including over 90 anchorages.

Landfalls of Paradise: Cruising Guide to the Pacific Islands
By Earl Hinz and Jim Howard
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press; 5th Revised edition (May 2006)
ISBN-10 9780824830377
The fifth edition of this sailing standard includes updated charts and text reflecting changes in regulations and facilities for most countries and specific ports of entry. New appendices include procedures for entry to Australia, which are more exacting than most Pacific landfalls, and an extensive list of information sources: cruising guidebooks, important general tourist guides, chart suppliers, and key web sites for the countries covered by "Landfalls of Paradise".

Cruising Guide to the Vavau Island Group in the Kingdom of Tonga
By The Moorings
Publisher: Imray,Laurie,Norie & Wilson Ltd; Pap/Map edition (Dec 1996)
ISBN-13: 978-0944428177

South Pacific Anchorages
By Warwick Clay
Publisher Imray,Laurie,Norie & Wilson Ltd; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Mar. 2001)
ISBN-13: 978-0852883563
Details of harbours and anchorages in the pacific south of the equator between New Guinea and South America.

www.vavau.to
Online Tonga Cruising Guide now in its 5th edition for all of Tonga (Tongatapu, Vava'u, Haapai, Niu's) which is a free download and includes Vava'u anchorage guide, Weather guides, Activities etc.

www.vavau.to/marineguide
Free cruising information Niu, Vava’u, Ha’apai, Tongatapu

www.tongamazing.com

Online Guide for everything to do and see in Tonga

www.vavauisland.eu

Portal of the Island of Vava'u for latest information

The Tonga Compendium
http://svsoggypaws.com/files/
A Compilation of Guidebook References and Cruising Reports put together by SV Soggy Paws with updates from cruisers who have used it. Lots of good information if planning on cruising Tonga and many other notes for other Pacific cruising areas on the site too.

www.marinetraffic.com
Cafe Tropicana is now hosting an AIS Receiver on behalf on
www.marinetraffic.com. Expected range is 40nm to 50nm from Neiafu. Data can be seen on the website free.

Photos: Tonga's New Island
In 2015 a volcanic eruption in the Pacific changed the geography of Tonga and gave birth to a brand new island. Article by Cruising World Magazine.

Update History

October 2017: Immigration updated with feedback about 90 days visas on arrival.
September 2017: Customs and Couriers updates from Greg of Tropicana Café and Kate of The Boatyard.
December 2016: Customs procedures updated and confirmed by Tonga Customs with assistance from The Boatyard.
November 2016: Immigration section updated to reflect new one-way ticket requirements
March 2016: Clearance updated and publication added with information from SV Star Blazer.
June 2015: Publications checked/updated.
September 2014: Total revision of all Tonga information by SY Adina with the assistance of Greg of Tropicana Café and Craig Airey from Ha'aipai.
May 2013: Clearance and Fees updates from s/v Cordelia, Roy and Gail Greenwald.
January 2013: Web addresses checked/updated.
December 2012: Updates from Greg Just.

Noonsite welcomes information and updates especially regarding clearance, customs and immigration procedures from cruisers visiting this country.
Please E-mail noonsite with any new information, updates or corrections. Even just a short email confirming that the current data is accurate would be most helpful.

Share |
Alita
Alita says:
Nov 15, 2017 07:37 AM

It is Europeans within the Schengen treaty, who get a 3 month visa on entry.

Ptadd
Ptadd says:
Oct 02, 2017 10:49 PM

Some people are getting 90 day visitor visas on arrival for free it is worth asking for it. For most people you then won't need to renew.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 26, 2017 11:12 AM

Statement provided today from Vava'u Tourist Association, The BoatYard and other local businesses:

The individual within the Customs Department who raised this issue again has been a problem for us over the past few years, however today it was confirmed that he has resigned and that the situation has returned to normal with extensions now being granted.

This individual's decisions were not based on any government policy that we know of. Now that he has left the post, this issue shouldn't raise its head again, but to make sure of that the Vava'u Tourist Association and us at The BoatYard, along with the other local businesses are taking this further to secure the industry and to let the cruising public know that contrary to the actions of this one man, Tonga is open and welcoming to yachts.

We hope this helps to alleviate any concerns and we look forward to welcoming yachts here in Tonga for many more years to come.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 24, 2017 09:39 PM

Feedback from Peter Bould:
There has been a change in the allowed time a visiting boat may stay in Tonga. They are refusing extensions beyond 4 months.
There is considerable upset both from local businesses and from visiting boaters about this.
It is possible the reverberations arising from this change may result in the policy being reversed back to what it was, which was about one year with extensions.
Watch this space.

davesaggs
davesaggs says:
May 28, 2017 10:41 AM

North and South Minerva Reefs. Drone video including entrances:
https://youtu.be/zRSloJHOXPs
https://youtu.be/bgEP0OwwyzI

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 04, 2017 11:10 AM

Confirmation from Tonga Customs:

As per the normal procedure, you have to apply for your yacht temporary import permit after 4 months and it can be granted for up to 12 months total stay at the discretion of customs.

Re. leaving your yacht in Tonga unattended, as temporarily imported yachts are technically under customs control (as in most countries) Tonga customs department are working out a system to be able to have a better way of keeping track of these boats.
There are currently two options for leaving your boat in Tongan waters unattended:
1) Leave your yacht on a managed mooring (cyclone rated if in cyclone season) and sign a standard 'Master in Charge' letter with the owner of the moorings so that someone has responsibility for the boat while they are overseas.
2) Haul your boat out of the water and sign a standard 'Master in Charge' letter with the managers of the boatyard.

For more information see the Customs section under Formalities.

Franklin Gray
Franklin Gray says:
Dec 20, 2016 09:05 PM

New Customs rules: First entry you get 4 months. If you want to stay longer you must apply 2 weeks before that is up and you will only get 3 months and then will have to apply again. Also, if you plan on leaving the boat for any period of time you must have a non-Tongan on it or put it on the hard.

domander
domander says:
Oct 07, 2016 09:01 PM

Anyone who is arriving into Tonga on a one way airline ticket such as joining crew need to know the old advice about having a refundable ongoing air ticket from Air New Zealand may NOT be sufficient to allow a smooth entry into Tonga. A crew member arriving to join Prince Diamond in Tonga in September 2016 had such a ticket, but was required to buy another ticket (changeable but not refundable) all the way back to her home in Toronto, Canada before she would be allowed entry. And it was still required that the captain (me) type an email to Air New Zealand proclaiming that we would definitely be leaving Tonga by boat before they would issue a refund on the Tonga to New Zealand air ticket!

The correct procedure for entering a crew member into Tonga on a one way ticket is to type an email to tongapermit@gmail.com no more than one month before arrival proclaiming the incoming crew will be leaving by boat on a specific date and giving the following information:

Crew name
arrival date
date and booking number of flight into Tonga
passport number and date of expiry
full name and date of birth
Captain's name
Boat owner's name
Boat name, registration number, country and port of registry

There are probably other details required which I have forgotten. Just put the kitchen sink into that email!

A letter will be issued to be carried by the traveler. The cost is $34.50 TOP payable on arrival. As I said the letter is valid for one month. This procedure is a pain in the neck but is in the end the easiest way to do the entry. We had a real problem trying to get the refundable ticket refunded, as they would cancel the refundable ticket, but not refund the money!. And in addition the extra ticket back to the home country may not be usable for you depending on your situation. In our case we WERE returning home from New Zealand, so it worked out for us. Comments and questions welcomed.

BBeer
BBeer says:
Oct 28, 2016 03:04 AM

Allen, I'm sorry that you're so upset with your experience with internet access here at beautiful Hunga Haven. As you may recall, in order to ensure you enjoyed your stay here and left on a good note, I offered to give you back the little extra cash that I requested for the extra data usage. However, for some reason you refused and became very angry.

To be fair I just wanted to clarify a few things from my perspective. I was trying to invoice you for extra data usage over the maximums indicated on our Splash Page, the page you use the password to sign in. Some how either you or your computer were able to get into our system without authorization. We have since put a password on that section also, so that this will never happen again.

Our Internet Management System certainly does NOT monitor or record your account information or passwords, nor does it install spyware on your computer. That would be an invasion of your privacy, illegal and something we would never do. This same system is used in hotels, hospitals, restaurants and internet cafes around the world and to make such an accusation is very upsetting and unwarranted.

nautinauti
nautinauti says:
Oct 07, 2016 03:58 AM

Beware of bad operators in Vava'u. We had a very bad experience at Honga Haven, anchorage #13. My wife signed up for and received a password for 2 hrs. on Oct 6, 2016. He charged us for 3 hrs., 2 hrs as stated and an extra $10.00 for the previous day. We did not have a password for the previous day, Oct 5, 2016, we did not use any internet. They also monitor which sites you are on. Now I feel I must change each and every account and password I have. I have no way of knowing what spyware he may be using and what harm he may cause.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 20, 2016 08:54 AM

Posted on behalf of Clare Sudlow:
Vava'u Bluewater Festival
Calling all South Pacific Cruisers! – Don’t miss the 2016 Vava’u Blue Water Festival! A fun filled week in Vava’u, Tonga from October 1st- 8th.
Enjoy the friendliest of welcomes & a week of local festivities, parades, informative talks & parties centered around a mid week fun cruisers race day.
For full info visit: www.vavau.to/bluewaterfestival

Heatwave
Heatwave says:
Aug 02, 2016 08:35 PM

Theft in Vava'u.
We had cruised through Tonga, taking our time and enjoying the friendly atmosphere and of course the low crime rate. Unfortunately when our family flew out of Vava'u their flight was delayed so they came back to Neiafu for a few hours rather than spending this time at the airport. They left their bags with the taxi driver. When they arrived in Nuku'alofa they discovered that several items of men's clothing were missing from one of the bags. The taxi driver was the same size as one of the guys. Just wanted to let you know to be aware, not everyone in Neiafu is as honest as they seem. Apart from this isolated incident everyone else has been fantastic and we had a great time there.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Apr 15, 2015 09:50 PM

Re: Hunga Tonga volcano - From Wiki
20° 34′ 12″ S, 175° 22′ 48″ W
Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai is a volcano located about 30 kilometres (19 mi) south-southeast of Fonuafoʻou (also known as Falcon Island). A new eruption began at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai on December 19, 2014. The eruption continued into 2015, with a tall ash cloud rising 3 kilometers (9,800 ft) into the sky on January 6, 2015. The eruption entered a new stage on January 11, 2015, when the volcano began sending ash plumes as high as 9 kilometers (30,000 ft) into the sky. An ash plume reached 4.5 kilometers (15,000 ft) on January 13, and the large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus released underwater caused an explosion in the growth of algae causing a red tide. Officials identified two vents, one on Hunga Haʻapai and another about 100 meters (330 ft) offshore and underwater. By January 16, a new island had been formed by the explosion, although geologists said the new island would probably exist only a few months until ocean waves wore it down. Tongan officials declared the eruption at an end on January 26, after observing no new gas, ash, or rock emerging from the island vent. By this time, the island was 1 to 2 kilometres (0.62 to 1.24 mi) wide, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) long, and 120 metres (390 ft) high. The island had joined with Hunga Haʻapai, and was about 200 metres (660 ft) away from joining with Hunga Tonga. Locals visiting the island said seabirds were nesting.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 24, 2014 12:45 PM

Posted on behalf of SV Estrellita
We’ve renewed our visas twice now and the fee as of October 2014 was 69TOP per person per month for the visa extension. We paid $138TOP for the two of us each time we went in.

Tonga
Lifuka (Ha'apai)
Neiafu (Vava'u)
Niuafo'ou Island
Niuatoputapu Island
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South Pacific, Tonga - Online Travel Guide Launched  (19 Aug 2011)

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Pacific: Minerva Reef - Sailors Warned Away  (17 Jun 2011)

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Trouble in Paradise  (11 Feb 2011)

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Cyclone Rene Pounds Tonga, Major Damage in Capital   (20 Feb 2010)

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Pacific Tsunami: Countries Hit  (30 Sep 2009)

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Tonga, Neiafu - Cruisers' Paradise Suffers Second Big Fire  (19 Dec 2008)

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OceansWatch: Reef Check Training in Tonga  (30 Nov 2008)

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Warning to Sailors Visiting Suwarrow Atoll in South Pacific  (31 Jul 2003)