About This Trip
- Spend 5 days snorkeling alongside humpback whale mother-calf pairs in Vava’u, Tonga.
- Spend 5 days exploring the 190-km of shallow coral reefs in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji, and support local conservation efforts.
- Improve your fish ID skills and participate in coral restoration efforts.
COVID-19 update (April 2021): This is a small group expedition (8 guests max), that is also ideal for a family or group of friends. Procedures will be in place to assure COVID safety based on the situation at the time of the expedition. For information about flying safely during COVID-19, and click here for general information about COVID-19 and Oceanic Society expeditions.
Explore two of the best ocean destinations in the South Pacific on this one-of-a-kind itinerary. This two-week snorkeling odyssey will have you swimming with humpback whale mother and calf pairs in the blue waters of Tonga and then plying the vibrant, shallow water coral reefs of Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon. You will have ample opportunity in both countries to also explore the rich cultural heritage that each location has to offer, and your participation will directly benefit our conservation partners in both Tonga and Fiji.
During our stay in Fiji you will also have the unique opportunity to go out in the field with researchers from the Beqa Lagoon Initiative and learn about the work they are doing with local communities to restore mangroves and reduce marine plastic pollution. In the evenings the researchers will offer lectures on fish ID techniques and coral reef ecology. Flights between the destinations (and the U.S.) are easily arranged on Fiji Airways.
Read our naturalists' reports for more details about the types of activities we may enjoy in Tonga & Fiji!
Notes on Trips Costs and Expectations
Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.
Note: Good swimming skills are required for the Tonga portion of this expedition.
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Dates & Prices
Day 1: Arrive in Vava'u
Fly to Vava'u, Tonga (crossing the International Date Line), transfer to hotel.
Days 2–7: Whale Watching and Snorkeling
We will spend 5 days whale watching and reef snorkeling on boat- and shore-based outings. Typically we will head out at 9:00 am and return around 3:00 pm. We should be able to observe a variety of whale behaviors, from mother and calf interactions to the sometimes combative behavior of mature bulls. Humpback whales are the most acrobatic whale species, and will often perform spectacular displays of breaching, lob-tailing, spy-hopping, and fin-slapping. During times when we are not whale watching, we will have plenty of opportunities to snorkel along the nearby reefs. The sheltered waters of Vava’u offer a variety of snorkeling sites. Soft coral walls, large sea fans and an abundance of tropical fish and colorful invertebrates are found in these clear, warm waters. Set against the lush tropical coastline, we will also search for birds such as brown boobies, noddy terns, great frigate birds, and herons.
Read our 2018 naturalist's report for more details about the types of activities we may enjoy in Tonga.
Day 8: Vava'u, Tonga - Nadi, Fiji - Beqa Island
Today we will say goodbye to Tonga and board a short flight to Nadi, Fiji (note: although this flight is not included in the trip cost, it can be easily arranged on Fiji Airways, and we will assist you in making your flight arrangements). Once in Fiji, we will take a boat ride to idyllic Beqa Island and check in to our hotel.
Days 9–13: Snorkeling Beqa Lagoon
We will have 5 full days to snorkel in the beautiful reefs surrounding Beqa Island. Just a short boat ride from the resort in the tranquil, crystal clear water is an incredible diversity of marine life, chock-full of soft corals, sea fans, garden eels, orangutan crabs, rays, bull sharks, tiger sharks, and various fish species. Each day, after breakfast, we will be picked up and head out on the water to go to multiple snorkeling sites. We will then take a short break to eat a packed lunch before going to more sites. We will go back to the resort mid-afternoon and have the rest of the afternoon to relax on the beach under the palm trees. Following dinner, your naturalist may give a presentation about the coral reef ecosystems and the global issues that impact them. There will also be opportunities to enjoy Meke, a traditional Fijian song and dance, while we drink kava out of coconut cups.
See our naturalist's 2018 Fiji snorkeling expedition report for more details about the types of activities we may enjoy in Fiji.
Day 14: Beqa Island - Nadi - Fly home
In the morning, transfer by boat to Pacific Harbor, then take a scenic (2.5 hour) drive to Nadi International Airport. You will have the rest of the day to explore Nadi on your own, before your evening flight back home.
In Tonga, participants will stay in double-occupancy rooms at the highly-rated, beachfront Tongan Beach Resort. This small resort, known for its great staff, features 12 guest rooms and 180 meters of beachfront. All rooms are only steps away from the water’s edge and are fitted with electric ceiling fans with open entrances allowing for a natural sea breeze if desired. Each room has its own covered decked balcony with table and chairs to relax on. Daily excursions will be made by private boat or vehicle.In Fiji, we will stay at Beqa Lagoon Resort. This highly-rated hotel is situated in a lush, tropical garden setting and is known for its outstanding service. This comfortable resort is ideally located for our daily outings, offering easy access to Beqa Lagoon's best snorkel sites.