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Swimming with Humpbacks + Island Adventure in Tonga

Visit our hidden island paradise in the heart
of the Vava’u islands whale sanctuary.

7 Days, 6 Nights

Matador Trips: Tonga

Per Person

This trip includes everything but your flights and beachside beers! Leave the details to Matador Trips and join us on a full-service adventure swimming with whales on our own stretch of island in Tonga. All accommodation, transfers, activities, and food are included.

Dates & Guides
Aug 17th-23rd, 2022
5 spots left
Aug 24th-30th, 2022
6 spots left
Flexible booking, 100% refund guarantee

Join Matador Trips visiting one of our favorite, most hidden gems of destinations, tucked into a whale sanctuary in Tonga. Here you can spend hours swimming with humpback whales in the open sea.


What you'll do

  • 1

    Tonga is one of only two countries in the world where you can swim with humpback whales in their natural habitat. Even if you arrive with high expectations, this is a supernatural experience that will literally blow your mind.

  • 2

    We’ll be staying on a remote island camp with basic yet charming overwater bungalows and surrounded by raw, untouched nature. 

  • 3

    Our small groups allow for maximum time in the water with the whales. Our guides are locals to the island village and their families have been living lives connected to Humpback whales for generations.

  • 4

    Since most boats looking for whales are coming from Vava’u (a 45-minute speed boat from our location), we have a jump on the day every morning and a distinct advantage over other groups, since our island camp is literally in the middle of whale activity. 

  • 5

    Whether you are a pro photographer or just enjoy taking cool shots with your phone/GoPro, our Matador photo instructors will work with you during informal photo walks and mini-workshops to take your photography to another level. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn about underwater and nature photography.

  • 6

    Our professional in-house filmmaker will be documenting our adventure on a daily basis, and we will give you the video of this trip so that you can relive the adventure and share it with friends and family on social media.

  • 7

    We aim to travel as consciously as possible. This trip supports green renewable energy from wind and solar power.

    The Tongan word Faka’apa’apa means respect for the whales, and this experience is created to respect the whales, the natural way of life on the island, and preserve the whale habitat.


Scott Sporleder

Scott Sporleder, Matador’s long-time Creative Director, has spent over 10 years shooting and directing photo and video projects, as well as award-winning original films, all over the world. He will lead fun and inspiring workshops in travel photography and filmmaking that show how each journey can become a story.

Instagram @SpoArt

we’re going

Trip Details

  • What's my itinerary?
    • 5 days of 6-hr whale-watching tours.
    • Village visits, snorkeling, kayaking, trekking, and other island adventures.
    • Traditional and fresh Tongan food.
    • Kava ceremonies, education about Humpback whales in Tonga, and other cultural experiences.
    • Relaxation on your own private section of paradise.
  • What’s included?
      • 8 nights lodging in an overwater Blue Lagoon eco-lodge.
      • 5 whale watching excursions in a semi-private 4-person boat with Matador Trips and transportation provider Blue Lagoon.
      • Snorkel gear.
      • All freshly prepared meals, snacks, and beverages (coffee, tea, water).
      • Airport transfers to and from Lupepau’u airport to Neiafu harbor and then boat transfer to the private lodge.
      • Private, pristine beaches.
      • On island activities including snorkeling, trekking, village tours, botanical gardens, remote and private beaches, and more.
      • Photography training with a focus on underwater photography.
      • Videographer and a video of the trip you can take home at the end.
  • What’s not included?
      • Your flights.
      • Perfect weather.
      • Alcoholic beverages.
      • Top-rated activities are offered on the island for an additional fee including deep sea fishing, diving, sailing, kayaking, and more.
  • What’s the sleeping situation?
      • Accommodations are in unique, private overwater fale (the Tongan word for overwater house) bungalows. Each fale sleeps two people comfortably. Mosquito nets and fans are provided.
  • Who is this trip for?
      • This trip is suitable for anyone, such as solo travelers, families, and large groups. Whether you crave ocean sport activities or relaxing the days away while listening to the waves of the ocean, there is something for everyone. Whale watching is suitable for all ages, and to enter the water with whales you must be able to swim. 
  • What makes this destination so special?
    • Vava’u, Tonga, is one of very few places in the world where small groups (four at one time with a whale) are allowed to enter the water and truly engage with this unique species. Being located so close to the whale activity, our boats are often the only boats out in the early morning, allowing full and unfettered access to private whale encounters.
  • How do I get there?
    • Fua’amotu International Airport in Tongatapu is the main entry point for most visitors into Tonga. There are direct flights to Tonga from Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Virgin Blue, Air New Zealand, and Fiji Airways are the three main airline choices. To get to Vava’u from Tongatapu, we suggest flying with Tongan domestic airline, Real Tonga, which is approximately a 60-minute flight.
  • Health and safety update (coronavirus)

    All tour operators, hotel rooms, transport providers and third party vendors adhere to strict COVID health precautions and safety measures.

    All Matador Trips are in small groups and we work to limit exposure in all activities.

    Traveler’s insurance is strongly recommended for all travelers. Ask for recommendations if you do not have a preferred provider.

    US Travel advisories have the most up to date COVID information for any traveler.

This adventure is not for everyone

Before applying to take part in this experience, it’s important to understand that this is not a tour or a luxury travel experience. This is a trip to the most remote islands in Tonga.

If you cannot survive without Wi-Fi or social media, this is not for you.
If you will be miserable being woken up by the sound of wildlife, this is not for you.  
If you need air conditioning, this is not for you.  
If you are terrified of mosquitos and jellyfish, this is not for you.  
If you need to be connected to work, this is not for you.

But trust us,

if you can take on these challenges with us, then welcome to one of the greatest experiences of your life!

Matador Trips

Swimming with Humpbacks + Island Adventure in Tonga

$4,200 USD / Person
Flexible booking,
100% refund guarantee
Flexible booking,
100% refund guarantee

COVID-19 update

We believe that all of the above trips will happen as planned, but we realize this is a time of uncertainty. To address these concerns and make you feel comfortable scheduling a trip with us, we are offering the following COVID cancellation policy:

  • If Matador or a Matador travel partner needs to cancel a trip due to COVID, the canceled trip will be rescheduled and travelers will be offered the option of a 100% refund.
  • If a traveler must cancel due to the COVID pandemic (including quarantine, canceled flights, or a positive test result), the traveler will have the option of 1) a 100% refund or 2) applying the purchase price to a future trip.

Any questions please contact:

Best of the Best

We scoured the Earth to
bring you the best

Photo Education

Learn photography tips
from a professional

New Friends

We curate groups of
open-minded travellers

Video of Your Trip

We’ll create an epic
video of your trip

Best of the Best

We scoured the Earth to
bring you the best

Matador Network has been around the world and back reporting on the best destinations and experiences for over a decade. It’s time to share the stoke and bring you along for the adventure, guided and curated by Matador staff.

Photo Education

Learn photography tips
from a professional

Every Matador Trip is led by a professional travel photographer, there to capture the best shots of your trip to share with your friends and to train both amateurs and skilled photographers in their methods!

New Friends

We curate groups of
open-minded travellers

Matador led and curated Trips attract a special breed of people. Let’s make some lifelong friends and have unforgettable experiences together.

Video of Your Trip

We’ll create an epic
video of your trip

We provide a complimentary video documenting the adventure for you to take home at the end of the trip!
Shutterstock images used on the Matador Trips website are under license from

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