Foreign and international driver's licenses are not accepted in Tonga, so before renting a car you must first visit the Traffic Department at the Central Police Station on Salote Road to purchase a Tongan driver's license. You must queue up several times—once to get the form, another time to pay, then again to get a stamp—so allow at least an hour. This is strictly a revenue-generating operation and no practical test is required.
The speed limit is 40 kph in town and 65 kph on the open road. Speed limits are strictly enforced on Tongatapu by police with hand-held radar, and on-the-spot fines are routine. Some drivers use radar detectors to spot them.
Avoid hitting a pig, as heavy compensation will have to be paid. Watch out for very slow drivers who force you to pass in dangerous places. Also beware of being hit from behind when you stop. Never drive a car in Tonga unless you're sure the insurance is valid, otherwise you'll have big problems in case of an accident. Driving is on the left.
Avis, in Fund Management House on Taufa'ahau Road, rents cars with unlimited mileage. Some insurance coverage is included and it's possible to pay a daily surcharge to reduce your liability further. Weekend rates are available. Avis will obtain your Tongan drivers license for you at the normal fee if you give them a photocopy of your passport.
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