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TONGA WHALE ENCOUNTERS

GREAT VALUE
Price from
US$2,559
(per person)
Duration
9
Days
Tour Type
Small Group

HIGHLIGHTS

Swimming with humpback whales, Snorkelling, Scuba-diving options, Cultural shows and feast, Island tours and ancient history
COUNTRIES : Tonga

This amazing Tonga tour gives you a once in a lifetime chance to swim with humpback whales as they visit these islands to breed, give birth and socialise in the beautiful clear waters. The tour includes 3 whale swimming safaris, a local island tour, and time to relax and snorkel on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The whales visit Tonga during a specific season between July and October and we run several group departures during this period. We can also arrange private and tailor-made tours on request if our group dates or itinerary don't work for you.

Upon arrival in the Kingdom of Tonga our driver will meet you at the airport to transfer you to a local hotel. The rest of the day is free. 

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Tongatapu hotel
  • EXTRAS:
    Single room supplement (TOSGWS), Extra day in Tongatapu - pre-tour

After breakfast you will be transferred to the domestic terminal for your scenic flight to the beautiful and remote islands of Ha'apai. The Resort team will be waiting at the Ha'apai airport to transfer you 1.3km to your beachfront fale, home for the next 6 nights. The rest of the day is free to settle in, explore, try some snorkelling off the beach and attend an informative whale briefing in preparation for your excursion tomorrow. In the evening, watch the sunset from the Ocean view restaurant and bar, just meters from the sand.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we board our traditional Tongan fishing vessel at 9am for a 6-hour trip on the water. Your professional guides are eager to introduce the majestic Tongan Humpback whales. Our aim is to take you into the water for memories that will last a lifetime. Lunch is served onboard and all equipment is provided. Arriving back at around 3pm allows time to relax and look at your photos, take a walk along the beach and enjoy a cold drink from the bar. BBQ dinner served just after sunset.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

King George Tupou I pledged The Kingdom of Tonga and its people to heaven making Sunday a strict day of rest in the kingdom. It is actually illegal to work on the Sabbath. You can chose to begin your day by visiting a local church to hear the angelic voices of the choir or simply enjoy a day of your choice. The resort is open all day and swimming, snorkeling, cycling, kayaking, eating and drinking are all options for this restful day in Tonga.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast we head out for our second day into the crystal clear waters of Ha'apai to join the Humpback whales for further adventures and memories of a lifetime. Excellent food is provided in our ocean front restaurant as we share our experiences of the day.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast we head out for our final day into the crystal clear waters of Ha'apai to join the Humpback whales for further adventures and memories of a lifetime.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a guided tour around the island with a local guide. Learn the whole truth about coconuts and their uses. Hear the local history of the island including Captain Cook, Mutiny on the Bounty and the Port of Prince. Visit historical and special spots around the Island. For the remainder of the day; ride a bike, hire a car and explore the island's resorts, other snorkeling spots, beaches or the local cafe. Or you may simply relax at the resort - scuba diving, sea kayaks or snorkel the reef in front of the resort are options. Dinner tonight is enjoyed at the local Mariners Cafe.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner

Your day is free today to relax on the beach, go cycling or kayaking, scuba diving or snorkelling. We also keep today free in case poor weather or other reasons have meant we need to reschedule one of our earlier whale safaris.

Excellent food is provided in the resort's ocean front restaurant and a farewell bonfire is lit as the Milky Way falls across the night sky.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Ha'apai Beach Resort
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner

This morning we fly back to the main island of Tongatapu before enjoying a rich and informative 3.5 hour island tour. We'll learn more about Tongan lifestyle, culture, heritage and traditions, see demonstrations and learn about the customs and stories of the old times and visit the busy Tongan Market where the locals throng to purchase and sell their produce. The market provides a great opportunity to purchase handicrafts, local fruit and take photos. Our day also includes a scenic tour of the Royal Tombs where the late King George IV is laid to rest, along with the Royal Palace. From there we will head to the Eastern Side of Tonga to Captain Cook's Landing then through to the Ancient Burial Tomb's. We will head towards the Ha'amonga Trilithon, a stone arch which was said to have been built 1200AD, an impressive movement of 80 tonnes of stone and a story of a warrior king.

In the evening you will be taken to the renowned Ohelei Beach for a feast, cultural show and live music to make you feel right at home in with the Tongan culture and history. Finally, return to the hotel.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    Scenic Hotel
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast, Dinner

Free time until transferring to the airport for your international departure flight. You may wish to revisit the main Tongatapu market today, as Saturday tends to be the busiest time of the whole week, a great chance for a final taste of Tonga and some souvenirs.

  • OVERNIGHT:
    N/A
  • MEALS:
    Breakfast
Included:
  • Meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Domestic flight tickets
  • 2 nights accommodation at the 4-star Scenic Hotel or similar
  • 7 nights accommodation at the Ha’apai Beach Resort - in basic fales 
  • 3 boat trips to swim with the whales 
  • Wetsuits & snorkelling equipment
  • Island tours as stated in the itinerary
  • 24-hour return airport transfers

Excluded:
  • International flights (available on request)
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not included in this Itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses
  • Any tips or gratuities for your tour leaders/guides
  • Any other items not mentioned above
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
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Local rating
Our rating
Scenic Hotel
Tongatapu, Tonga

Boasting an outdoor pool, free airport transfers and free Wi-Fi in public areas, Scenic Hotel Tonga is just 10 minutes' drive from Fua'amotu Beach. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony overlooking the gardens.


Boasting an outdoor pool, free airport transfers and free Wi-Fi in public areas, Scenic Hotel Tonga is just 10 minutes' drive from Fua'amotu Beach. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a private balcony overlooking the gardens.

Tonga Scenic Hotel is just 2 minutes' drive from Fua'amotu International Airport. Nuku'alofa, the Tongan National Museum and the popular Mapu 'a Vaea Ocean Blow Holes are each a 20-minute drive away.

All rooms have a refrigerator and tea and coffee making facilities. Each room has cable TV, a desk and a private en suite bathroom.

The tour desk can book whale watching, diving, snorkelling and trips to local attractions including Oholei Beach, Hina Cave and Fua'amotu Beach. The hotel also offers a 24-hour reception and laundry facilities.

Heilala Restaurant features an à la carte menu, which blends flavours from local and European cuisines. You can enjoy an evening cocktail at Siale Bar, which also offers an outdoor courtyard.

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Local rating
Our rating
Ha'apai Beach Resort
Lifuka Island, Tonga

Nestled in a lush tropical garden overlooking the white sandy beach on Lifuka Island, Ha'apai Beach Resort is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and enjoy the true island experience.


Nestled in a lush tropical garden overlooking the white sandy beach on Lifuka Island, Ha'apai Beach Resort is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and enjoy the true island experience. Located halfway between the airport and Pangai,  the resort offers a completely tranquil retreat with  the convenience of being close to town.

Enjoy quiet days on the beach, snorkel the reef or discover the local wildlife - Ha'apai Beach Resort offers a truly relaxing tropical holiday. Swing yourself into one of the hammocks for a relaxed day in the shade, spend your day on the water scuba diving, whale swimming or hire a bike or sea-kayak to explore the island at your own pace. Refresh yourself at the beachfront bar and savor the meals in our restaurant. Guests enjoy clean, serviced rooms, free wifi while our business services help the business traveler stay in touch. You can even catch the big games on SKY channel.

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Single room supplement (TOSGWS)
Price from
US$209
per person



Single room supplement (TOSGWS)
Min numbers: 1 person

This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. Room shares may be available but the supplement is payable if a room share cannot be arranged.


This option books a single room in all the accommodation throughout the tour. If you are a single traveller and would be happy to share a room, let us know and we will see if we can pair you up with another single traveller of the same sex. If a room share is not available when you book then we will add the single room supplement to your booking and it will be payable with your balance payment unless we have arranged a room share for you by then. If a room share is arranged after you have paid the supplement then we will refund it to you. Room shares are arranged in order of booking.

Note: The price shown is a low season price. Slightly higher prices may apply during high and peak seasons - the exact price for your dates will be shown on the online booking form and is always available on request.

 Extra day in Tongatapu - pre-tour
Price from
US$84
per person



Extra day in Tongatapu - pre-tour
Min numbers: 1

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour. Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing. Single supplements apply.


This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing. Single room supplements apply.

 Extra day in Tongatapu - post-tour
Price from
US$84
per person



Extra day in Tongatapu - post-tour
Min numbers: 1

This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself. Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing. Single supplements apply.


This option adds an extra day to the end of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport departure transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing. Single room supplements apply.
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Tonga Whale Encounters tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

Accommodation is based on twin, triple or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning. All couples will be given a private double room. Single travellers may choose to pay a single room supplement to guarantee themselves a single room throughout the tour. Alternatively, they may choose to share a room with another travellers of the same sex if available. If a same-sex room share is not available then you will need to pay an additional single room supplement.

Tongatapu - Scenic Hotel
The Scenic Hotel Tonga (previously called the Royal Tonga International Hotel) is a comfortable mid-range hotel located near the Kingdom of Tonga's capital Nuku'alofa. The hotel is situated on approximately 16 acres of beautiful Tongan countryside, surrounded by native flowers and trees to create a relaxing atmosphere. It is close to sandy beaches, limestone caves and dramatic cliff walks. The picturesque drive to the capital, Nuku'alofa, takes about half an hour.

Ha'apai - Ha'apai Beach Resort
Ha'apai Beach Resort is a year round destination nestled right on the beach, overlooking the turquoise waters and surrounding islands. You can experience a unique and special slice of paradise - the real and remote Tongan Islands. Ha’apai Beaches were voted in the top ten beaches to visit by Lonely Planet in 2014.

Ha’apai Beach Resort offers friendly, basic and comfortable, beach-front accommodation conveniently located on Lifuka Island, only 5 minutes from Pangai town and the airport. The beach houses are located in a lush tropical garden overlooking the white sandy beach at the former Niua'Kalo Beach Motel. Despite the proximity to town you have the tranquillity you expect from a beach holiday, a clean beach with a snorkelling reef on your doorstep and lots of wildlife to be discovered. The beach houses are perfect for those wishing to stay on the beach at a reasonable price without having to travel to a different island. All rooms are fully insect screened and furnished with comfy beds (queen size in double rooms), closets, power points, fresh linen and towels.  Cold drinking water and Wi-Fi access are included in the room price.

The resort has a small library with English and German books and magazines, a variety of games and lots of informational material on diving, the whales and Tonga. There is even a telescope to view the clear night skies.

Besides scuba diving, whale watching and snorkel trips, there is plenty to do to keep you entertained. The resort has bikes and snorkelling gear available free for guests and sea-kayaks for hire, allowing you to explore Ha'apai above and below the water on your own terms.  If you just wish to spend a relaxed day at the beach, swing yourself into one of the hammocks to enjoy that good book or treat yourself to a fresh green coconut.

Private vehicles are used for all airport transfers and other transfers. Domestic flights are included for the return journey between Tongapatu and Lifuka Islands. A fully licensed safari boat is used for the whale swimming trips.

The tour includes a 24-hour airport meet & assist service in Tongatapu airport, your arrival and departure airport-hotel transfers and all other transfers. 

You will be met on your arrival in Tongatapu airport, after you have passed through immigration and collected your luggage. Please exit the building and turn left where you’ll find a driver from the Scenic Hotel Tonga holding a board with your name(s) displayed. Please look out for them and introduce yourself. They will then transfer you on to your hotel. Please call the contact numbers on your voucher if you do not find them straight away.

On Day 2 you will be transferred back to the airport for your short flight to Ha’Apai where you’ll be transferred to the hotel for breakfast. We will send you your e-tickets and flight numbers for the Tongatapu - Ha'Apai flights; you will need to check in yourselves. Please be ready to leave the hotel 2 hours before your flight departure to Ha'Apai.

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you, and our ATOL (UK flight sales license) covers all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.

Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us.

Our Tonga tours start and finish at Fuaʻamotu International Airport on Tongatapu island (TBU). Air New Zealand flies to Tongatapu from Auckland 6 times per week and can be used to fly to Tonga from a wide range of international airports. Virgin Australia offer a limited service to Tonga from New Zealand and Australi, and Fiji Airways flies from Nadi to Tongatapu.

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! Also, in Tonga we need to restrict the number of people in the group to fit the size of the whale watching boat and to ensure that the whale swimming experience is managed responsibly for both whales and guests. This tour therefore has a maximum group size of 6 travellers (min 2).

A local guide is used for your island tour in Tongatapu. While on Ha'apai the owner/managers at Ha'apai Beach Resort will be your hosts and manage your time there. Matt Haling and Jodi Hawley originated from Australia and New Zealand and were drawn to The Kingdom of Tonga in 2012 by the humpback whales and the idyllic island lifestyle. These avid sailors sailed their yacht 2800 nautical miles from Australia to settle in the paradise that is Ha’apai. Matt began diving in 1989 and has a special understanding and bond with the marine life. He has taught underwater photography and video around the globe, spending over 6000 hours underwater, professionally filming and photographing its wonders. Jodi is a skilled sailor, amazing cook and a passionate whale guide who has an affinity with the whales. Their partnership makes for your perfect holiday experience at the resort and on the water as they welcome you into the island lifestyle.

Every year from mid July to mid October the serene islands of Ha'apai provide safe haven for one of mother nature´s most captivating creations - the majestic Humpback Whales. Tonga is one of only a few countries in the world where you are allowed to actually swim with Humpback Whales, and with our guides and the tropical paradise of Ha'apai it is simply the most beautiful and tranquil place to do it.  The whales come from the Antarctic to the calm warm waters of Ha'apai to breed, birth and socialise. Mothers spend the time until their departure, nursing their young and courting a potential mate. It’s a very important and sensitive time in their annual cycle and the most exciting time to watch and interact with them.

Every day of whale watching is different with a vast array of interesting behaviour to witness - from the "blow" shaped like a love heart, a graceful spy hop, powerful fin or fluke slaps to continual full body breaching and inquisitive approaches to the boat. Using our hydrophone (waterproof microphone) we can sometimes listen to their magical love songs even when they are out of sight. Swimming with the Humpback Whales is the ultimate marine experience, even life changing for some. So come with us, strap on your mask and fins and glide into the blue for your experience of a lifetime swimming with Tonga's Humpback Whales!.

Our whale watching trips depart at 8.30 am from the main wharf in Pangai. For your safety you will be informed about the vessel, whale behaviour and how we conduct swimming with the whales then begin our search for the playful giants. Depending on the events of the day, we will have lunch at anchor, allowing you to snorkel on one of Ha'apai's wonderful coral reefs, or on a beach of one of the many islands. The afternoon will be spent looking for more whales before we make our way back home around 2.30 pm.

We use a fully licensed and professional whale swim operator who strives to swim on every trip. However, be aware that whales are wild animals and you will be observing them in their natural environment. Swimming may or may not be possible depending on the whales' behaviour, their reaction to us and the weather conditions.

We are only visitors in their realm and their welfare is our primary concern, always adopting a soft, respectful approach during our encounters. If the whales show signs of being disturbed, we cease contact and continue our search for whales that are more in tune to interacting with us. That being said, our experience with the whales combined with our careful approach technique usually result in exhilarating in-water encounters that leave our guests with unforgettable whale moments in Ha'apai.

Each boat trip includes complete snorkelling gear, a fresh, home-made lunch, tea, coffee and refreshments, with trained professionals to make your day safe, informative and enjoyable.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation

Vaccinations:
Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:
Tonga: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus. Malaria is not present unless contracted abroad and brought into the country. Yellow Fever certificates are not required.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Health, Fitness & Dietary info:
You must be able to swim and be confident in the water to join this tour. However you do not need to be a strong swimmer.
You do need a reasonable level of fitness with the ability to climb a moving boat ladder with a maximum capacity of 120kg.
Ha'apai is a remote island with few medical facilities, a limited flight service and unpredicable electricity supply. Please inform us of any pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies, dietary requirements or physical disabilities that you may have. We can then advise you of whether we can accept your booking to visit the island. Our resort hosts' decision on accepting guests is final. Unfortunately vegan menus are not available due to the lack of available produce.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Most nationalities do not need a visa for tourist visits to Tonga for less than one month (including UK, EU, USA, CA, AU, NZ). Other nationalities may need to obtain a visa in advance. For further information on your visa requirements, please either contact us or your local visa agency.

The whale watching season in Tonga runs from late July to mid October. We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting on Thursdays throughout the season. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 2 travellers and a maximum of 6. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and on a separate dates & prices sheet available on request. We can also run this tour privately and customise the itinerary if you would rather not join a group or if our group dates do not suit you or are fully booked. Please contact us for more information and prices.

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You can pay your deposit or full balance online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Tonga is a place where you don’t require much in order to be comfortable. It is tropical, sunny and very relaxed, so you only really need to bring a few essentials:

  • Valid Passport – with at least 6 months left before expiry.
  • Light weight, casual, non-synthetic clothing (cottons and natural fibres are best) which appropriately cover the body, when in company of the local communities. (Please understand local customs and religious requirements relating to dress codes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be respectful)
  • Cool footwear (sandals are best). If you are interested in exploring the reefs, a pair of reef shoes is recommended to avoid injuries.
  • Swimming costumes – rash-guards/t-shirts are recommended for snorkelling to avoid sunburn.
  • Sunscreens, after sun lotions and personal hygiene products – Please adhere to 100ml restrictions for anything you wish to carry on hand-luggage on flights.
  • Prescription medications (if required) – please bring supporting documents.
  • Power adapter for phones, laptops etc – see Voltage section
  • Underwater camera with sufficient batteries and memory cards (swimming with whales is an amazing experience and its well worth being able to take photos. A waterproof compact camera with a wrist lanyard will generally manage colours better and is more versatile than a GoPro).
  • Sun hat (ideally with a chin strap to prevent them blowing off in the wind while on the boat)
  • Sunglasses (polarising sunglasses will reduce glare and help you see into the water)
  • Light spray jacket to keep out the wind
  • Dive certification card and log book if you intend to participate in SCUBA diving.

Luggage allowances:
Most international airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 23kg per person of checked in luggage to go in the hold of the plane. However, domestic flights between the main island and Ha'Apai n Tonga have lower personal luggage allowances of 15kg per person (allowances may be combined between 2 or more people if you are travelling on the same ticket - eg. two people could check in one 20kg bag and one 10kg bag).
Most international airlines allow between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Domestic flights within Tonga are restricted to 4.5kg.
For simplicity we recommend that you bring no more than 15kg per person of checked in luggage and 4.5kg per person of carry on luggage. All luggage must be labelled with your name & address.
Please ask us for details if you are unsure about luggage allowances on your tour. Any excess baggage fees will be your responsibility to cover.

Sockets are three flat pronged and 240 volts (Type I - the same as used in Australia and New Zealand). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The time in Tonga is GMT plus 13 hours. Daylight saving time changes are not applied.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial protection is also provided through International Passenger Protection for passengers not booking flights.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It’s important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.facebook.com/encounterstravel
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Know Before you Go' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Know Before you Go' campaign

Tonga Whale Encounters dates & prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

Start Date End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
06 Oct, 2016 15 Oct, 2016 US$2789 US$2559
Discounted
- Book now
27 Jul, 2017 04 Aug, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
03 Aug, 2017 11 Aug, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
10 Aug, 2017 18 Aug, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
17 Aug, 2017 25 Aug, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
24 Aug, 2017 01 Sep, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
31 Aug, 2017 08 Sep, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
07 Sep, 2017 15 Sep, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
14 Sep, 2017 22 Sep, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
21 Sep, 2017 29 Sep, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
28 Sep, 2017 06 Oct, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
05 Oct, 2017 13 Oct, 2017 US$3099 - - Book now
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Encounters Travel Reviews
Service

Product

Posted Feb 14, 2014
Service rating : I would have put excellent if the communication on the tour was better. I wish there was something between excellent and good.

Product : This may seem contradictory but the experience was so good it overshadowed the hiccups that we experienced. Elroy was an EXCELLENT tour guide, he made our trip so fun and tried hard to please everyone. The Country was beautiful and the activities were great! My only critique is the occasional lack of communication between our guide and the group which seemed to stem from last minute changes to accommodation that he had no control over. Instead of explanations about why we drove into one property then drove out to a new one, we were left wondering. This sparked frustrations especially since the placed were taken to was judged too harshly because of it's outward appearance (It was actually a lovely place to stay and on par or better than other places that we stayed). I knew the nature of the trip and I took the "you are in Africa, things can change" idea to heart so I rolled with the punches but others did not which may have affected how they viewed the entire trip. Overall I had a great time and I have already recommended the tour to others.
Service

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Posted Jun 17, 2014
Service rating : All hotels were good with great service

Product : The tour was comprehensive and the guide full of information
Service

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Posted Aug 14, 2015
Service rating : Allround excellence

Product : Amazing sights, a well organised tour!
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Posted Oct 28, 2015
An amazing experience! Great for the adventurous at heart! Was wonderful to see all of the sites, would have preferred a little less time on the falucca and perhaps Abu Simbel being included.
Service

Posted Aug 14, 2015
Very professional, easily accessible via web messenger & efficient service
Service

Posted Apr 15, 2016
Encounters took care of all the details and did a good job. I was disappointed in Anthony when he didn't send us our flight and tour vouchers until we asked for them -two weeks before the trip! At that point we had very poor seating choices on the airplane.
Service

Posted Feb 06, 2016
Service rating : I especially want to mention Mariska Knoesen, the ET representative who was excellent, very responsive, timely, resolved a couple of issues that were not directly related to ET, very pleasant. Would easily interact with ET and Mariska anytime. Hope to again.

Product : While this was a shoestring tour, I feel we had very capable guides, drivers, visited many sites, lodging and meals were fine, comprehensive tour. Cannot wait to go back!! Made many memories and met some wonderful folks from all over the world.
Service

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Posted Aug 17, 2015
Service rating : Excellent service! Very professional and well organized! No problems whatsoever!

Product : Awesome holiday! Fantastic experiences in a absolutely wonderful country. Truly enjoyed the people, their culture and history. *On this particular trip, I would advise taking in-country flights over rail travel for overnight transit based on price and amenities.
Service

Posted Aug 14, 2015
Haven't traveled with you yet, however your service in helping me get booked, questions asked and answered, payments made, has been just great!