This uplifted coral island is spectacularly beautiful and hilly—more typical of South Pacific islands than Tongatapu. Accommodations are not luxurious, but it's rewarding for those who want to see the real South Pacific.
While there, shop at the local market, meet the people, lie on the beaches, rest and take at least one of the local boat trips into the fjordlike bays (make sure to get one that stops at Swallow Cave, where you can swim into the cave while swallows dart above). It's also possible to charter a yacht for several days to get to some of the uninhabited islands nearby. Whale-watching trips are offered at Vava'u from July to October, and it's sometimes even possible to snorkel in the company of humpback whales. 150 mi/240 km north of Tongatapu.
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