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1,100 miles from New Zealand and stretching for 500 miles, the 169 islands of Tonga pop up out of the Pacific from rising coral and ancient volcanoes.

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Here, flying fox bats are revered -- and so is rugby -- swimming with humpback whales is just another Tuesday, pigs "snorkel," and faithful blowholes still manage to surprise.

Beyond all that, you'll also want to explore underwater caves, search for the Hufangalupe (Pigeon's Doorway), and wander the Talamahu Market to scope out the real Tonga. If you can pry yourself away from the pigs and whales, that is.

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