Some of the many small islands off Tongatapu's north coast bear small tourist resorts that are favorite day-trip destinations for tourists staying in Nuku'alofa, especially on Sunday.
Pangaimotu Island tends to cater to budget or independent travelers, while Fafa Island is more upmarket, and Atata Island is set up for packaged tourists from New Zealand.
Scuba diving is possible upon prior arrangement, but these are mostly picnic places where you go to get some sun and have a day at the beach.
The various day trips to offshore islands are cheap, and a leisurely boat trip to one of the island resorts described above is recommended.
The Pangaimotu Island boat leaves daily at 1000 and 1100 with different prices for transfers only or the trip with lunch. Children under 12 pay half price.
Fafa Island also does excellent day trips daily at 1100 and the price includes a good lunch. When enough guests are present, Fafa Island Resort offers a romantic dinner cruise with a Polynesian floor show departing Nuku'alofa at 1730.
Royal Sunset's day trip departs Sunday at 1000 and includes a snorkeling trip by boat and an excellent barbecue lunch.
All these leave from Faua Jetty near Nuku'alofa's fish market, and bookings can be made at Teta Tours, Friends Tourist Center, or at the International Dateline Hotel tour desk (no booking required for the Pangaimotu Island shuttles). Provided the weather cooperates, they're an excellent way to pass Nuku'alofa's pious Sunday, and you'll have a better chance of meeting interesting people if you go that day.
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