Tonga sailing holidays are of the highest quality The Vava'u group in the north has become something of a mecca for sailors around the world - it's deep channel waterways and protected bays are ideal for anchorage and offer excellent sailing conditions between May and October - the official sailing season. International yachts start to appear in April, the end of the South Pacific hurricane season and by the time they have all departed in October, some 300 yachts have put anchor here.
During these months the main town of Neiafu overlooking the stunning and protected Port of Refuge is awash with activity. The waterfront bars and restaurants are full and the VHF lines are busy with conversation.
There are so many protected bays and waterways with anchorage that rarely does the place feel overcrowded. Main attractions include secluded beaches, excellent snorkelling, and whale watching which visit Vava'u to coincide with the sailing season.
If you have not brought your own yacht, there are three commercial companies offering barefoot or skippered yachts from T$600 per day to over T$2000 per day depending on the yacht and plenty of private charters with more reasonable prices. Day sailing cruises are also available from Neiafu and are posted throughout town. Neiafu is a good place to find crew work, with yachts frequently visiting Fiji throughout and later on in the season, returning to New Zealand or USA.
Sailing is also available at the Royal Sunset Resort off the main island of Tongatapu where yachts can be hired to sail around the islands.
The Ha'apai Group has a few good anchorages and an official port of entry at Pangai on Lifuka, the main island of the group, but the dangerous coral reefs keep most yachts from exploring the region.
Official port of entries are at Nuku'alofa (Tongatapu), Pangai on Lifuka Island (Ha'apai), Neiafu (Vava'u) and Falehau (Niuatoputapu). There is no check in on weekends, so be sure to arrive on a weekday between 8.30 and 4.30pm. An anchorage fee of T$20-40 per month or part of is charged depending on the size of yacht.