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Tonga Travel Guide

Islands off Lifuka: Foa

A causeway links Lifuka and Foa (population 1,500). Weekdays from early morning until around 1600, and also on Saturday morning, buses leave Pangai intermittently for Faleloa, Foa's northernmost village. Continue 20 minutes on foot to Foa's northern tip to look across to Nukunamo Island, owned by the royal family. The beach is beautiful here and the snorkeling is fine at slack tide.

Outboard motorboats bring villagers from Ha'ano Island to the wharf at Faleloa, and you can go back with them most afternoons for a small charge.

Happy Ha'apai Divers between the resorts on Foa handles scuba diving.

The German-operated Sandy Beach Resort opened in 1995 near the north end of Foa Island, 1.5 km from Faleloa. The 12 upscale beachfront bungalows have a ceiling fan, fridge, 24-hour electricity, porch, and private bath. Meals and airport transfers cost extra. Cooking facilities are not provided for guests, and children under 14 are not accepted. Like the accommodations, the fancy food in the restaurant is geared to a far more upscale clientele than the backpacker places on Lifuka.

The weekly Tongan cultural show is good too. Dolphins swim offshore. The swimming and snorkeling are fine, even at low tide, and snorkeling gear, bicycles, kayaks, and canoes are loaned free. Paid activities include bareback horse riding and boat trips. Resort facilities are for guests only.

The newer Matafonua Lodge at the northern tip of Foa Island has four double bungalows and six larger family bungalows. Because the accommodations are simpler and the bathrooms are shared, the cost is less than half what's charged at the Sandy Beach for a comparable experience. Meals are extra and whale watching, scuba diving, kayaking and bicycling are available at additional cost. Children are welcome here.

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