• NEW Kayaking in the Kingdom of Tonga's Secluded Ha'apai Islands

    Paddle with humpback whales and snorkel over pristine reefs by day—relax in your private eco-resort by night

    Join us for an MTS exclusive adventure for 7 glorious days of sun, sand and whales as we take a leisurely sea kayaking expedition among the Ha'apai Island.

    best times to go: July - September

    departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

    pricing: from $3,495 see detailed pricing

    The Pacific

    Easy to Moderate
Also great as a private trip. Call for details

Paddle with humpback whales and snorkel over pristine reefs by day—relax in your private eco-resort by night

Join MTS for the pleasure and privilege of kayaking through the Ha’apai Islands, a rarely visited, stunningly beautiful conservation area in the heart of Polynesia. For four days, you’ll paddle around the Lifuka and Uoleva archipelago, a virgin paradise of low-lying atolls, expansive white sand beaches, towering volcanoes and colorful lagoons teeming with tropical fish. Humpbacks migrate through Tonga’s waters every year from July-November, so you’ll have excellent chances to kayak and even snorkel with themthe experience of a lifetime!

This trip aims for the perfect balance between relaxation and adventure. Paddling happens mostly in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free for snorkeling over magnificent coral reefs, exploring lush tropical forests, and interacting with the friendly local villagers—papalangis, or foreigners, are rare here, so you’ll be welcomed with open arms! In the evening, you’ll return to your eco-resort, a tranquil hideaway where you can kick back under waving palms and enjoy spectacular sunsets and fine cuisine in true Polynesian style. No prior kayaking experience is necessary for this excursion—just a love of nature, beauty and serenity.

Activities

4 days easy to moderate sea kayaking

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Discover the pristine Ha’apai Islands by sea kayak—no prior sea kayaking experience necessary!
  • Snorkel over brilliant, rainbow-colored coral reefs teeming with tropical fish
  • Relax each night at your tranquil, charmingly rustic eco-resort on an uninhabited island
  • Visit remote islands, explore lush tropical forest, and learn about the traditional Tongan way of life
  • Kayak with humpback whales—the thrill of a lifetime—and spend a morning with a team of whale educators unraveling the mysteries of these gentle giants!

Duration: 7 days Start Location: Ha'apai End Location: Ha'apai

Download Detailed Itinerary
Itinerary
  • Ptk_itin_day_1
    Day 1 : Welcome to the Kingdom of Tonga

    After claiming your luggage at Salote Pilolevu Airport in Ha’apai, a Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside the
    baggage area of the airport and transfer you to your hotel,
    Matafonua Lodge. Meet with the group and tour leader for a trip orientation, at 4pm at the hotel.

    Spend the afternoon relaxing around the lodge, with its white sand beaches, warm climate and pricture perfect lagoon, Matafonua Lodge is the ultimate spot to start this adventure. The group will enjoy a welcome feast for dinner at the lodge.

  • Ptk_itin_day_2
    Day 2 : Let the Paddling Begin

    Today we have an early morning departure from the lodge to our launching site near Pangai. Here, the guides give a safety briefing before we depart for the first of 4 days of kayaking. Today we paddle along the leeward shores of Lifuka and Uoleva Islands skirting pristine reefs and beaches.

    Spend the afternoon snorkeling at the southern tip of Uoleva Island. Here we will find a magnificent coral ledge smothered in soft corals, which is a snorkeler's dream.

    Tonight's accommodation is at Serenity Beaches Resort, a small island hideaway situated on a narrow piece of land between the
    windward east facing beach and the crescent white sand beach on the leeward side of Uoleva Island.

  • Ptk_itin_day_3
    Day 3 : Uninhabited Island

    Weather permitting, today we paddle offshore to Luangahu, a tiny uninhabited island visited only by local fishermen. Whilst paddling, we may be fortunate to sight turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales, the latter of which migrate annually (July through November) to Tonga's warm sheltered waters to breed and calve.

    After a picnic lunch, we circumnavigate the island on foot observing makeshift fishermen's shelters and octopus drying trees. Those with sharp eyes may find remnants of whalebone in the sand dunes from Tong's whaling days.

    After a refreshing swim and snorkel, we paddle back to our resort in time for happy hour and watch the sunset.

    Paddling Time: 2-3 hours

  • Ptk_itin_day_4
    Day 4 : Coral reefs and Whale Watching

    This morning we join a whale team of whale educators to observe the impressive acrobatic displays of these magnificent mammals who migrate from Antarctica annually to breed, give birth and nurse their new-born calves in Tonga's sheltered, warm waters. Outside the whale watch season, we enjoy a day of snorkeling, picnicking and sightseeing in the beautiful Lifuka Archipelago.

  • Ptk_itin_day_5
    Day 5 : Uoleva Island

    Take advantage of today’s more relaxed pace to explore Uoleva Island or work up an appetite paddling, fishing, snorkeling and beachcombing for this evening's resort meal.

    In the cool hours of the morning we stretch our legs with a walk through low-lying bush to the windward side of Uoleva Island. Following lunch back at the resort, a short paddle to the southern tip of Uoleva takes us to a reef drop-off at the edge of Auhangamea channel. Confident swimmers may follow the guides on a drift snorkel along a spectacular coral wall. There are also lovely pockets of coral and reef fish closer to shore.

    We will enjoy a meal this evening at the eco resort and watch the sunset on the far reefs.

  • Ptk_itin_day_6
    Day 6 : Lifuka Islands

    On our final day of paddling, we paddle north along the leeward shores of Uoleva and Lifuka Islands back to Pangai township
    where we started our journey five days ago.

    From the kayaks we observe traditional village life in including fish nets and traps, pandanus soaking in the sea to soften and bleach it in preparation for weaving mats, and colourful commuter boats piled high with baskets of market produce and cheerful locals returning to their villages.

    From here, we transfer back to Matafonua Lodge in time for a celebratory meal. This meal is a great time to reflect on the trip and dream about your next Mountain Travel Sobek adventure.

    Paddling Time:3-4 hours
     

  • Ptk_itin_day_7
    Day 7 : Goodbye Paradise

    The tropical expedition finishes in the morning with a warm farewell from your guides before transferring to Salote Pilolevu Airport to catch your homeward-bound flights.

Download Detailed Itinerary

DATES: Best time to go: July - September Departures: No group departures scheduled. Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availablity. Call us for details.

PRICING:

2013 Prices

$3,495 (4-12 members)
$600 single supplement

Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.

photo credits:



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Activity Ratings

Easy

Many activities are optional and involve fairly easy travel. Trips may include short hikes of two to three hours or optional walks at low elevations. Includes less demanding sea kayaking and river rafting trips with Class I-II rapids.

Moderate

More active trips involving hiking over moderate terrain, usually - but not always - with vehicle support and at elevations less than 10,000 feet, or trips with long hiking days, multiple sea kayaking days, wilderness camping, or other invigorating activity. On many trips, you can elect to skip a day's activity, depending on logistics. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips and river rafting trips with Class III rapids.

Strenuous

Hiking and trekking over steeper or more rugged terrain or where elevations may exceed 10,000 feet - often several days in a row. Includes more demanding sea kayaking trips (4-5 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

Ultimate Challenge!

Our most demanding trips: trekking over steep, rugged terrain at high elevations (no vehicle support) or with substantial altitude gains and losses; trips to remote, extreme wilderness; mountaineering trips. Includes our most demanding sea kayaking (5-7 hours paddling a day) and river rafting trips with Class IV-V rapids.

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