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Tonga Travel Guide

Islands off Lifuka: Uiha

'Uiha Island (population 750), south of Lifuka, is more slow moving than Pangai, but there are things to see, accommodations, and fairly regular access by boat. The official burial ground of the Tongan royal family was on 'Uiha until the move to Nuku'alofa.

To be seen in front of the church in the middle of 'Uiha village is a cannon from the Peruvian slave ship Margarita, which was sacked off 'Uiha in 1863. A second cannon inside the church serves as a baptismal font.

Also visit the Makahokovalu, an ancient monument composed of eight connecting stones at the north end of 'Uiha Island. Uninhabited Tatafa Island, between 'Uiha and Uoleva, can be reached from near here on foot at low tide.

'Esi-'O-Ma'afu Beach Homestay is on the beach at Felemea village, a 15-minute walk south of the boat landing at 'Uiha village. The three Tongan fale with shared bath are dark and rundown but low budget priced. Meals can be ordered or you can cook for yourself. An outrigger canoe can be borrowed. Not a lot of people stay here so check that it's really open before going to 'Uiha.

'Uiha is fairly easy to get to on small open boats departing the beach at Pangai, but at best the service is only once a day, so you'll have to spend the night. The boat fare is more expensive for one person than two or more. When they're not too busy, the folks at Fins n Flukes dive shop in Pangai can take you over to 'Uiha Island for a few hours of sightseeing and bring you back for a fixed charge--worth considering if you can get a small group together.

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