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A Port of Refuge in the Islands of Tonga

Updated on November 13, 2015
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Ruth, aka Elayne Kongaika, was raised in the orchard town of Orem, Utah. She married a Polynesian boy and has had amazing travel experiences

Swallow's Cave
Swallow's Cave

My favorite place in the entire world is Vava’u, Tonga. Why would I say that? Because I have never relaxed as much as I did while I was in Vava'u. Life is still simple there so rushing is not allowed nor recommended.

The beautiful harbor named fittingly “Port of Refuge” encases yachts visiting from all over the world.

Many visitors testify of the call of the siren that exists in Vava’u. There are rolling hills covered with tropical forests, including coconut trees, mangos, breadfruit, pineapple, guava, passion fruit and vanilla bean plants. The ocean is unpolluted and mesmerizing.

Copyright Elayne Kongaika
Copyright Elayne Kongaika

For us ocean lovers, there are sea-level caves, white sandy beaches and even whale sightings.

I took a small boat out to Swallow’s cave, and I was astounded at the beauty of the cave. It had a small opening, just enough for a small boat to cruise in. You can look upwards to see the light coming through from above.

You can also go swimming, snorkeling and deep sea diving.

If you are looking for high-rise buildings and wild nightlife, this is probably not the place for you, but if you are looking for the perfect place to chill out and paint, write or just contemplate the goodness of life, Vava’u is calling.

Vava’u is miles away from the other main islands that make up the kingdom of Tonga, but the people are fun loving, happy and respectful.

One of my favorite places on the island is the Paradise Hotel. It serves delicious multi-national cuisine and includes a swimming pool and magnificent views of the harbor.

The capital of Vava’u is Neiafu. You can shop for beautiful handicrafts made by the Tongan people. They pound and paint tapa cloth which is used for everything from clothing to wall decorations.

The locals are also very talented weavers. You can also watch as they make beautiful bowls and transform carved wood into rare beauties.

There is also a local food market. Here you can purchase papayas, mandarins, mangos, pineapple, and other tropical fruit as well as locally grown vegetables and root crops. They also sell fresh fish and other sea delicacies at the market.

Vava'u and the other 40 odd islands that make up this stunningly beautiful group, in the north of the Kingdom of Tonga archipelago, is a very special piece of paradise.

The islands of Vava'u are easily accessible from Tongatapu, Fiji and Samoa. To its advantage, Vava'u still remains off the beaten track of mass tourism.

This is a place where you can be free to be yourself. Pressures are washed away by the gentle lapping of the sea on stunningly beautiful white coral sand beaches.

The whisper of the trade winds blow through lush green coconut plantations.

I’ll never forget my glorious time in Vava’u, Tonga and hope to return again soon.


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  • GetitScene profile image

    Dale Anderson 5 years ago from The High Seas

    Tonga has long been on my list of places to sail to so this hub really was wonderful for me.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hope you can visit some day Charlinex. It will be a real treat.

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    Charlinex 7 years ago

    Wow, now I am tempted! Thanks for sharing!

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    I appreciate that drbj. Probably what makes it so much a paradise is that it is quite isolated from the rest of the world, but Vava'u is worth the long trip there. Aloha!

  • drbj profile image

    drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

    Hi, elayne - just based on your beautiful description, Vava'u can soon expect an exodus of tourists from other countries seeking refuge in that apparent paradise.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Hope you can visit some time Nellieanna. I love the movie of South Pacific too.

    Aloha Danny - Glad you stopped by and left your thoughts.

  • profile image

    DANNY KONGAIKA 7 years ago


  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

    This all sounds like Paradise! Thank you for bringing it to this landlubber! "South Pacific" is still my first favorit Broadway musical. But I'd much prefer the real thing -

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks dallas93444. Would love to hear more of your adventures. Thanks for your comments.

  • dallas93444 profile image

    Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

    I enjoy the Tonga "natives." The men do not need fins to swim in the ocean. Their feet are huge! I too lived in Hawaii. I worked underground in Kunia (Joint chief of Staff-Far East). My son is going to teach there.. I attended University of Hawaii and graduated from Chaminade University. I moved on a motorcycle from Waipahu to Barbers Point. My wife held a plastic garbage can filled with our "stuff" behind me. It did not take very many trips to move!

    Fiji is also a great place to relax. I built 50' bamboo raft there and attempted to sail to Sydney - another story...

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    @diogenes - I'm not sure as I have not been to Harlow. I have been to Fiji, but Vava'u had one up on that experience.

    @Hello, hello - Glad you liked it. It is so beautiful in Vava'u.

    @LianaK - It is definitely a laid back place and worth visiting.

    @Pamela99 - Maybe we can go together. I would love to return too.

  • Pamela99 profile image

    Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

    Elayne, I am ready to go as you convinced me. What a beautiful place. Wonderful hub.

  • LianaK profile image

    LianaK 7 years ago

    Yes--beautiful place and wonderful memories. Thank you for sharing :). Love it!

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

    Thank you for a great hub and sharing these wonderful memories. Tha pictures are awesome.

  • diogenes profile image

    diogenes 7 years ago from UK and Mexico

    Yes, but is it really nicer than Harlow!?

    I spent time in Fiji many years ago and loved that tropical ambience and the genuine friendliness of the people. Bob