Situated midway in the Pacific Ocean between Tahiti and Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga is comprised of 60 islands in four distinct groups: Tongatapu, Ha′apai, Vava′u, and Niuas. 

Nuku′alofa on the main island of Tongatapu is the capital of this constitutional monarchy. The jewels of the exotic cruising grounds of a Tonga sailing vacation are the hilly and wooded coral islands of Vava′u. Miles of white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and crystal clear waters make Tonga one of the world’s top snorkeling and scuba diving venues. Visibility is often 150 feet. The abundance of snug anchorages, more than 40 of them, combined with the close proximity of the islands to one another is very similar to cruising in the British Virgin Islands. The reefs assure calm waters while the trade winds assure excellent sailing virtually every day. It’s no surprise, then, that Vava′u is a sailor’s paradise, where the delights of a Tonga yacht charter inspire fond memories that last a lifetime.

Wondering how to sail from The Moorings’ partner bases in Tonga? Select a destination and charter type below to plan your next vacation.

Due to current regulations, Tonga charters may not start or end on a Sunday. Also, in observance of King Tupou VI's birthday and the Crown Prince's birthday, the base will be closed on July 4th and 17th. If those dates fall on a Sunday, the holidays will be observed the following Monday. Regrettably, our base will be closed these two days and will not be open as a charter start or end day.

Cruising in Tonga

A Tonga sailing vacation offers some of the easiest and best cruising in the South Pacific. Southeast trade winds average between 15 and 25 knots May through September and northeast trade winds average between 10 and 20 knots in the summer. Navigation is line-of-sight from one island to the next, though a watchful eye on the chart is necessary because of the numerous reefs. The tidal range is a bit over three feet. Tidal and wind-driven currents are typically weak except in narrow channels. A Tonga yacht charter is well within the reach of sailors who have basic skills in coastal navigation. The beauty and unique character of these exotic waters lures less experienced and veteran sailors alike to return time after time for more adventures. Year-round temperatures hover around 75°F.

Tonga Highlights

Tonga’s beauty is known throughout the world. The wooded and often hilly coral islands are fringed with pristine white-sand beaches ideal for snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing. Picturesque anchorages well protected from ocean swells are usually no more than a couple miles apart, but there’s also clear water for South Pacific sailing at its best. The kingdom has a handful of resorts and restaurants on the islands as well as on Vava′u in the main town of Neiafu. Among Tonga’s principle attractions are its welcoming people, who cherish hospitality and engender a sincere desire to make visitors feel at home. Tonga has been nicknamed the Friendly Islands since 1773, when British captain James Cook used the term to describe the Tongans he met. The honorary title is still well deserved.