If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences, then look no further then Ha’apai, a central island group consisting of 62 islands. Isolated, uninhabited and undiscovered, this tropical paradise is filled with shallow lagoons, deserted beaches, vibrant reefs, giant volcanoes and breaching whales. Travellers can fill in their day with endless activities such as hiking, snorkelling, kayaking or even horseriding along the white sandy beaches.
Only 17 of the 62 islands within Ha’apai are inhabited, with a population of approximately 8,000 people in 30 villages. The four largest islands are the only ones who run on electricity, but not all of them have television. In 1773 Captain Cook first visited Tonga, starting in Tongaputa and departing from the Ha’apai island group. After a warm reception and befriending some of the locals on Ha’apai island, Captain Cook ended up dubbing the Kingdom of Tonga “The Friendly Islands”.
This name has now stayed throughout the Kingdom and a warm welcome is felt as soon as you step foot onto one of the islands. Tongan locals want their visitors to enjoy their beautiful surroundings and the diverse experiences on offer, but most of all, they want you to sit back and relax … because you’re on island time.