FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Vava’u has a tropical climate with average temperatures up to 29ºC in January and down to 24ºC in June. It is sunny throughout the year. Between November and April, it is more humid and thunderstorms and cyclones occur. From May to September there are southeast trade winds but during the summer months the winds are from the northeast. For current weather conditions please visit Tonga meteorological services http://www.met.gov.to/
Banking and ATMs
There are two main banks in Vava’u, ANZ and Westpac. Both have ATMs that accept most international debit and credit cards. They also offer over the counter banking and currency exchange.
Provisioning in Vava’u is very easy. The vegetable market in town is a great source of fresh fruit and vegetables. There are many small shops and stores that supply all of the necessities of life and some of those first world essentials.
Cost of living
Overall the cost of living is low (a beer costs USD$1.50 in the local store or between USD$2.50 and $3.50 at bars and restaurants). Luxury foreign food items usually come at a bit of a premium, but local produce is very well priced.
Where can I get cooking gas?
Propane is available from Pacific Fuels situated at the southern end of the Neiafu harbour. The BoatYard offers a once weekly delivery and collection of propane bottles. If gas is required more urgently arrangements can be made at the office.
Where can we dispose of garbage?
Garbage collection facilities are available at The BoatYard. There is a recycling program here in Vava’u and all glass, cans and plastic bottles should be separated into the bins provided.
Are there laundry facilities?
There are a number of laundry services in town including several wash/dry/fold services and a self service facility.
Is the local water potable?
The town water is potable and available for a small fee. Rainwater is also available in some locations.
Is diesel bunkering available?
Diesel bunkering is available from Pacific fuels. A minimum order of 200L is required for the truck to deliver. Duty free bunkering is available after clearing out.
Are moorings available?
Moorings are available in Neiafu harbour and will also be installed infront of The BoatYard. Moorings in Neiafu are, for the most part, administered by Beluga Diving. A few are administered by other companies. All moorings are privately owned and their use should be by permission of the owner/operator.
Are there medical facilities in Vava’u?
Vava’u has hospital facilities in the main town of Neiafu. There is also a private doctor located at the fully stocked pharmacy in town.
The humpback whales migrate each year from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the warm, sheltered waters of Vava’u to mate and calf. A journey of some 5000+ miles. Please note there are heavy fines involved for yachts not following the regulations for yacht interactions with whales. You can download the Whale Regulation Leaflet for Yachts here.
CLEARING IN TO TONGA
There are five ports of entry into Tonga: Tongatapu, Lifuka (Ha’apai), Vava’u, Niuatoputapu and Niuafo’ou. In all ports, yachts must fly the yellow quarantine flag and be available for inspection.
In Vava’u, yachts clear at the main wharf in Neiafu Harbour and the yacht should be brought to the wharf. Office hours are from 8: 30 in the morning to 4:30 in the evening with a break between 12:30 and 1:30 for lunch. The office is open from Monday to Friday, yachts can clear on Saturday but an overtime fee of is charged. You will be boarded by officers from the Departments of Health, Agriculture, Immigration, and Customs.
Visitors receive a 30 day tourist visa on arrival. This may be extended on a monthly basis (TOP69 per person per month) at the immigration office in Nuku’alofa or Vava’u. You should prepare a crew list which includes the names and duties plus passport origin and numbers for each person aboard.
The usual restrictions on the importation of illicit materials apply. Firearms and ammunition must be declared and surrendered to the customs official. These will be returned to you upon your departure.