Tonga is an archipelago of 171 islands which are divided into three island groups.
Tongatapu in the south, Ha'apai in the centre, and Vava'u to the north. The capital Nukuʻalofa is located on the main island, Tongatapu Island. Among the many islands in Tonga, a huge two-thirds are uninhabited. Tonga offers travellers stunning beaches, great diving, whale watching, and a uniquely preserved culture.
Tonga is the only remaining monarchy left in the Pacific and the country has retained much of its culture and customs. Around 700 years ago, Tonga ruled this region of the Pacific and historians refer to that period as the 'Tongan Empire'. Left over relics from this time include the Trilithon on Tongatapu Island which has an ancient stone archway similar to Stonehenge, but on a smaller scale. Nearby is Esi Maka Faakinga a flat stone that was part of the king's throne.
Top 10 places to visit
Tongatapu Island: The main island is the location for the capital, great beaches, caves, blowholes, and best examples of South Pacific archaeology.
Nuku'alofa: The capital city maybe small, but is the biggest town in Tonga. It has more restaurants, travel services, markets, and shops than anywhere else in Tonga.
Mapu a Vaea: is a 5 km (3 mi) stretch of the Tongatapu coastline. Big waves crash against volcanic channels where water spouts as high as 30 metres, (nearly 100 ft).
Anahulu Cave on Tongatapu Island is a stalactite cave with a artificially lit up walkway down to a large freshwater swimming hole suitable for swimming.
Eua Island. A neigbouring island to Tongatapu, has pristine isolated beaches, stunning cliffs, giant banyan trees, rainforest treks, coral gardens, a lagoon, and whale watching.
Fafa Island: Small outlying island from Tongatapu. Spectacular beaches, coral, palms, and one resort offering good meals and refreshments.
Pangaimotu Island: Small outlying island from Tongatapu with nice beaches, excellent snorkeling, and a half-submerged wreck for diving.
Atata Island: Small outlying island from Tongatapu with nice beaches, a resort, a small settlement, and plantations.
Ha'apai Group. This archipelago has volcanic islands, small islets, coral reefs, sand bars, and diving in canyons, caverns, tunnels, and vertical walls.
Vava'u Group: This archipelago of over 40 islands has the second largest city/town in the country with the one of the most beautiful harbours in the world. It also has volcanic islands, diving at the drop off and along walls, wreck diving, coral gardens, and humpback whales.