Tongan Expeditions Dive & Whale Watching

Tongan Expeditions Dive & Whale Watching

Tongan Expeditions Dive & Whale Watching
5
Scuba & Snorkelling • Dolphin & Whale Watching
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7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
About
We carry out whale swim eco-tours in the pristine waters around Vava'u where the majestic humpback whales come every year to mate and calf. Our tours are carried out under strict guidelines with fully qualified and certified personnel to ensure minimal impact on these beautiful mammals. We are also a fully licensed PADI dive resort offering daily dive trips and all levels of diver training.
Neiafu, Tonga
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Tongan Expeditions Dive & Whale Watching
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
135 reviews
Excellent
124
Very good
5
Average
4
Poor
2
Terrible
0

Katie E
Chicago, Illinois2 contributions
Jul 2018 • Solo
I have returned for another trip and once again it was nothing short of amazing!
Great crew, amazing swims, and awesome memories to take home
It is a one in a million experience and Tongan Expeditions has proven once again to make sure that it is an incredible experience for everyone on board.
Although I have been last year, every experience is so unquie and breath taking and it's worth coming back over and over again.
I plan to return and use Tongan Expeditions again in the future!
Written December 8, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ain R
1 contribution
Jul 2018 • Friends
We had Ash take us out for 5 days of fully sick whale swimming. Made some epic memories and his knowledge of the oceans was second to none.
Written July 27, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

lucasdej0ng
Adelaide, Australia8 contributions
Aug 2016 • Friends
Nothing compares to swimming with whales. Nothing. Hiking with gorillas is close. Swimming with sharks is intense. But when a small group of whales shows as much interest in you as you do in them, it's an other-worldly experience.

Tongan Expeditions are a bunch of great dudes and dudettes, fun and friendly and professional. They have good, steady boats, a dedicated crew and always get you the best experience they can.

A word of caution: any one particular day can have variable whale experiences. I went with Tongan Expeditions for 5 days. 1 of those days ranks as the best day of my life. 2 more were fantastic, 1 more was good and the remainder was rather modest, though not uneventful. I would strongly recommend booking for a minimum of 2 or 3 days out on the boat.

Me? I think I'll be back for a week.
Written November 14, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

chickensofmystery
Courtenay, Canada57 contributions
Oct 2016 • Couples
The whales themselves are 5 star.

We went out with Tongan Expeditions three times on the Makaira (September and October 2016). The diesel powered boat was roomy but much slower than other boats. The skipper was, at times, gruff. One of the guides barely spoke English and none of them provided background insight into whale behavior like on other boats. On all three days, we found whales only by locating other boats that had found cooperative whales (I am sure there is an element of luck to it, but we covered half the ground that other boats such as Whales in the Wild did). So, we were always late to the party and had quite limited time with the whales, compared to boats who got there first.

There was 2 bottles of water provided for 8 customers and 2 crew, so we often ran out of drinking water by lunch time. The lunch was basic (we asked other people what they had on with other operators and ours was the bottom of the heap).

On 2 of the 3 days, we left whales and headed back to the office by 2pm. On the third day we were back by 3pm. It felt like a union shop (other operators stayed out longer on those days, and had faster boats to get back with). Overall, I didn't feel that the operator appreciated that we were spending a lot of money on the excursions. We shared the boat with other customers who had been out with other operators and they felt the same. I'd use another operator unless they were full.

But the whales were great!
Written December 2, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gordon S
47 contributions
Jul 2017 • Couples
We had rough weather going out: some rain but high seas. We found a whale right away but guide (Shauna) saw a bull shark there so we didn't dive there. She and the boat driver decided to go to the North Bay area in the open water. Given the bad weather, this was a bad decisions. We putted around for 3 hours in North Bay in high waves without seeing a whale at all.
We came back into the waters east of Hunga and found whales again but had wasted most of the day. My swim with whales was very cool but I had only a 10-minute experience with them. That's it! It was VERY COOL but I wish there was more for my time and money and expectations.
The lunch was really bare minimum: bread, one thin slice of meat, one tiny tomato slice and a couple of package cookies.
I think if they had not gone out to the open sea, we would have had a better experience.
Written September 7, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for rating the weather and complimentary light lunch that you were provided. Having certain expectations and zero expertise in this environment is more likely a huge error in judgement on your part, to be questioning experienced staff decisions and the safety of all guests on-board I find very narrow mined from you. I think for future (un natural) wildlife experiences you may be best suited to visit an aquarium or zoo. You feedback is highly welcomed and we wish you good luck for all future wildlife experiences.
Written September 8, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

delikiz
Jersey City, NJ76 contributions
Aug 2016 • Solo
They left a lot to be desired for me. I took their boat 5 days in a row and requested to be on a faster boat just for one day - but because it was just me - and I hadn't booked something more "special" with them I was treated like a collateral. AND I had booked this in March for August. I've asked Linda/Lisa(?) a couple of times and she said no she can't. It was unfair and unpleasant as I was watching 2 people move from the boat they were in with me the previous day to the faster one - because a couple didn't show up.
Here's why the faster one was important for me - with the slower boat it takes a longer time to get out to the whales and a longer time to get back. Meaning whales are usually spotted by other boats first - sometimes they'll get tired and leave by the time we get there. It also meant we had to leave the whales while the other boats could still get another 20-30mins because we had to be back in dock by a certain time.
To be fair - there wasn't a single day we didn't see whales, it would be practically impossible not to in the season.
The boat was unnecessarily out-dated. To the point the bathroom door needed to be held by somebody if you needed to use it, it wouldn't stay.
Their guides and captain are absolutely great though. Management isn't half as friendly as the other operators.
You will still have a great time, regardless, because the whales are just magical to experience. But with a management who's not willing to accommodate requests and be friendly I'd recommend to try one of the other Top 3 for the full experience. That is what I will be doing next time.
Written February 19, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi, I am very sorry to hear that your visit did not live up to your expectations. Let me start by clearing a few facts. Your original booking was with one of the other "top 3 operators" here but they could not accommodate you in the end so we took you, less than 4 weeks out from your arrival (Invoice date 4th July 2016). You also did not do 5 days straight whale watching but in fact booked 3 days whale and 2 days scuba. The day that you requested to be switched to our other vessel was a day in which it was booked out on a private charter and as you were not related to that family your request was rejected, out of my control unfortunately, but I did ask. What you also failed to mention was that on one of your scuba diving days we did manage to accommodate you in fitting you in on the whale boat again. In all the years that i have been here doing this speed has not been a thing, if anything having some vessels get out earlier helps as by the time a slower vessel gets out whales have already been found and can be time saving. Given that there are less than 20 vessels out on any day and an estimated 700-800 whales in the area I would like to think there is enough for everyone and you shouldn't have to rely on other vessels. The vessel that you were on is our most reliable and popular requested vessel, it is fully compliant and in current survey. It is now in its 12th year of doing this work and has proved to be a very reliant and capable vessel year after year. As for a hinge breaking on the bathroom door, I will give our engineer a slap on the wrist for not diagnosing that as nothing should ever break on a vessel. You also mentioned that it would be practically impossible to not have a whale encounter in the season, I can tell you first hand that I know operators here that were running a 50% success rate last season where we had had a 100% success rate. Having said all that, it is great to hear that you do indeed intend to come back again one day and experience the uniqueness of swimming with whales in Tonga. I know that trip will not be with our company which is fine as we truly want people that come here for the whales and not just a high speed boat trip. All the best
Written March 24, 2017
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Travelergal
Hamilton, New Zealand42 contributions
Sep 2015
We did two days on Sea Dog with Gary and Basa. We had amazing swims both days, nice lunches in sheltered areas, and Gary and Basa were a skilled, friendly and knowledgeable crew. I gave Gary a list, I wanted whales, sunshine and calm weather, and he got an A+ for all ;) awesome trips, would go again in a heart beat - something not to be missed. 10/10 Tongan Expeditions.
Written September 2, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cheryle M
Melbourne, Australia6 contributions
Aug 2014 • Solo
I was most impressed by the professionalism of PADI instructor and dive master Lisa Knowles. Lisa has years of experience and her teaching ability was fantastic, she was enthusiastic and encouraging. I thought I might have been too old to learn to dive but once I found myself in the open ocean under the expert tutelage of Lisa, my age wasn't an issue. After the PADI course I did a dive on the Clan McWilliam wreck and can't wait for my next open water dive.,. After my dive course I swam with Dion and Lo and had 6 whale swims, including whales that were mating (yep, underwater blue movies) and then 2 swims with a mother and calf. It was awesome. The staff were very considerate and responsible for both the whales and their swimmers and I highly recommend using Dolphin Dive and Tongan Expeditions. Lunch and snacks were included and damn good company
Written November 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hannah G.
13 contributions
Oct 2019 • Friends
We went out with Tongan Expeditions for 4 days and had an incredible experience! Our guide, Lome, did a great job! She was friendly, knowledgeable and put our safety and whales well-being first! Each day we had a great swims! We saw whales playing with dolphins, a pregnant female, the end of a heat run and several females and calves! It was breathtaking being in the water so close to such a large wild animal, words can’t describe it! Lome always checked to make sure the whales were interested in swimming with us and knew when it was best to leave them alone. I felt like the whales were respected and not over crowded. Lome should have her own GoPro!!
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Aug 2019 • Couples
We spent 5 days out on the water with these guys. Our guides were outstanding, balancing everyones desire for an incredible experience with the need to be respectful of the animals.

A truly unique experience, a beautiful part of the world and a great crew of people to show it to you.

What more could you want?
Written September 24, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Tongan Expeditions Dive & Whale Watching (Neiafu) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go