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Explore Vava'u

Features Animals
Neiafu, Tonga
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About Explore Vava'u
Enjoy an epic day out with Vava’u’s majestic Humpback Whales. Our purpose-built 9m boats are comfy, fast & have extra touches that make your day out an easy and enjoyable experience. Experience the joy of watching whales breach, spyhop, fluke and fin slap, and spout, all above the surface of the water. Slip into the water to snorkel with them and wonder at these majestic mammals. We follow all industry conservation guidelines and our crew are licensed and experienced. Join us!
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Explore Vava'u
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taffy2001 wrote a review Oct 2019
Chicago73 contributions121 helpful votes
We booked with them for our third whale watching trip. We were with one other couple so we knew we would still get maximum time in the water as it’s limited to four guests plus the guide. When they arrived to pick us up, I asked to confirm they were the correct company and they said yes. And very few other pleasantries were exchanged.  The guide asked if we had been out before and we told her it was day three. She told us that same rules apply, they have life raft, gps and cell phone. And we were off. Didn’t hear from them again until we found a whale and were told to get ready. The first several drops were with a pair that were running. We didn’t get more than a few seconds with them. We left them and another boat had a mom, calf and two escorts so we were going to join them. We had several drops with them. The guide was very fast and, with camera gear, I had trouble keeping up most times. On the last drop, she got me in right next to the mom, calf and an escort. We had the swim with the mom, calf and two escorts early in the day and spent another hour cruising toward the caves and then they landed us at a cave nearby our resort. They didn’t give us an option to look for more whales or do the cave (we were there to see whales so would have preferred to have maximum time looking for whales). While the previous company we were with kept us out for the full seven hours, we were back at the dock in about 5.5 hours on this day.  The captain and guide were very quiet so we never really interacted with them much as they would answer most questions with minimal effort.   The meal provided was excellent (rice, veggies, fruit, chips). They also had a little pig on board that they had found near one of the caves. He was actually a bit annoying as he tried to eat everything (bags, wetsuits, cameras, feet...).   Suggestions: feel comfortable snorkeling before you go on these trips. You don’t have to be a master swimmer, just don’t expect the guide to babysit you and teach you how to snorkel as this is not fair to everyone else.  Of the three companies we used, this one is third place, based solely on the boat, crew, service.  What we saw has nothing to do with the rating as we know they cannot control nature. 
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Ben K wrote a review Sep 2019
2 contributions3 helpful votes
Swam with whales and toured the backcountry on off road buggies with these great people! The guides were VERY good! We had a life changing swim, playing in the water with whales!
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Date of experience: August 2019
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16mercury wrote a review Aug 2019
Melbourne13 contributions10 helpful votes
We had the most wonderful day with Ashley and Mette. We lucked out with no wind, calm seas and sunshine..perfect weather. Our guides were not only informative and helpful but clearly loved their subjects. It was fun trying to spot the whales..like being on safari on the water. Our first encounter was musical. We could hear the whale singing from the boat...but the sound in the water was breathtaking. We then came upon a show off..leaping about and banging tails on the surface of the water. Eventually everyone on board swam with a mother, her calf and an escort. ...a couple of times. It's hard to describe how wonderful it was so see them close up...so very beautiful. We finished off the day with a terrific snorkel...which everyone loved. Couldn't recommend this more. It was fabulous! I was feeling unwell and didn't eat..but those who did were very happy with the meal provided. There was plenty of water to drink and tea and coffee provided. All on board agreed that we would have loved a beer after that last swim and on the way home.
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Minnesotatraveller6 wrote a review Aug 2019
2 contributions
I had a great time working with explore Vava’u. Captain Ashley and swim guide Mette were friendly, knowledgeable and made the day one to remember for life. Finding whales can be a test in patience, but the reward is sweet. We were able to swim with a mom and baby whale. Looking into Mom's eyes was magical. I would only recommend this trip for strong swimmers and strong stomachs. The trips go no matter the weather. I’m a decent lake swimmer, but was a bit overwhelmed swimming in medium waves to reach the whales. Overall a great experience!
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Date of experience: August 2019
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Response from mandalaresort, Owner at Explore Vava'u
Responded Aug 2, 2019
Thank you so much for going out with us, was a pleasure to have you along. Thank you so much for such kind words! :)
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Hoppos of Rarangi wrote a review Sep 2018
Blenheim, New Zealand12 contributions2 helpful votes
We booked for one day and it was a cracka- the boat, Lumi, skippered by Aki collected us early in the morning from our accommodation. The most scenic trip out to collect our guide, Annah and other keen whale swimmers and lunch! Annah’s safety briefing on point, Aki is our skipper I am the guide - as the day went on we recognised the importance of this relationship. A beautiful day and within 40 minutes our first 4 swimmers were in the water, Aki never let us down. Understanding being ready is important, no time to waste when Aki and Annah are onto whales. A snorkel at the coral gardens - beautiful coral and amazingly colourful fish life. We ended our day in a bay with a mum and an incredibly playful calf. Booked the following day at home that night, we enjoyed it so much. Day 2 not so great due to cloud, rain, wind, a hardy group on board and we enjoyed this day just as much as the first, we got wet we still got to swim with whales amazing. Lunch at Swallow’s cave, snorkel then home. We will return. Huge thanks Aki and Annah
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Date of experience: September 2018
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Response from mandalaresort, Owner at Explore Vava'u
Responded Sep 28, 2018
how wonderful to to read your review! thank you so much for going out with us, we were very happy to have you on board with us. Aki and Annah also really enjoyed you being there with them. thank you very much for such kind words! hope to see you again!
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