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Tonga Travel Guide

Islands off Lifuka: Uoleva

From the south end of Lifuka, 3.5 km from town, you can wade across the reef at low tide to sparsely populated Uoleva Island, which has super snorkeling off its southwest end. Check tide times at the Visitors Bureau in Pangai and don't set out if the tide is about to come in, since it takes at least 30 minutes to cross. Rubber booties or reef shoes will be required to protect your feet. Crossing this way involves a slight risk, because the currents can be unexpectedly strong. Sunday is a good day to go, as you won't meet any copra cutters.

The low budget Daiana Resort, also known as Taiana Beach Resort, on the northwest side of Uoleva, offers a real South Seas experience. There are four fale with mosquito nets and mattresses on the floor. Meals and transfers from Lifuka cost extra but it's a good value. You should bring some food with you because nothing can be purchased on the island, although water is supplied.

The long white beach is fabulous and you'll share this sizable, coconut-covered island with only your fellow guests, the occasional local who comes to work his/her garden, and free-ranging cows, goats, and pigs. Enjoy the sunsets off their beach, the stars in the sky, and the utter tranquility. They usually light a bonfire on the beach later on.

The budget-priced Captain Cook Hideaway, 200 meters south of Taiana Resort on Uoleva, has four rooms in two basic duplex units. Breakfast, dinner, and the boat from Pangai are additional.

Uoleva's newest and nicest place to stay is medium-priced Serenity Beaches Resort with five open fale with mosquito netting and shared bath. Meals cost extra and are priced several times higher than what's charged at the other resorts on the island. On the other hand, it's unlikely you'll complain about the food. Unlike the other Uoleva resorts, luxuries like electricity, satellite phones, and running water are provided and there's even yoga and massage. It's idyllic.