- A once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel with humpback whale mother-calf pairs and explore coral gardens off the coast of Vava'u Tonga.
- Observe unique whale behaviors from above and below the surface, including courting adults and playful calves.
- Explore Tonga and experience authentic Polynesian culture.
- Our 2018 departure is guided by renowned underwater photographer and whale expert, Doug Perrine.
This trip was named one of National Geographic Traveler's "50 Tours of a Lifetime" in 2009!
>> Read our 2017 naturalist's trip report including photos, recordings of whale vocalizations, and more!
Tonga's tropical waters are the mating and calving grounds for endangered humpback whales who migrate here annually from their feeding grounds in Antarctica. From July through November, the cows remain in Tonga to allow their newborn calves to grow in strength and stamina in preparation for their journey to summer feeding grounds in the south. The whales' prolonged presence in Tonga's calm, tropical waters creates a unique opportunity to observe and even snorkel with these gentle giants, and our expedition is designed around these experiences.
Off the beautiful coral formed island of Vava'u, we immerse ourselves in whale watching above and below the water's surface. From our comfortable beachfront accommodations we make daily excursions by private boat to snorkel with and observe the whales and other colorful marine life. We also take time to explore the unique island of Vava'u, to meet with local conservation groups, learn about local culture and natural history, and we enjoy a day of relaxation by the beach.
This is an unforgettable and intimate experience available in just a few places on Earth.
The focus of our trip will be to see and snorkel with the humpback whale mother and calf pairs that reside here for several months each year. We will have the opportunity to observe many whale behaviors and may also hear the whales' beautiful songs.
We'll also take time to snorkel the beautiful and relatively untouched coral reefs that surround Vava'u, where we'll see a colorful array of invertebrates, fish, and corals. On land, we will learn about Tonga's unique plant and bird diversity, which includes some endemic and endangered species, like the Tongan Whistler.
Trip Dates & Cost
2018: September 26 – October 5 | October 6–16. $4,995 per person.* Note: There is just one space remaining on each of our 2018 departures, for solo male travelers willing to share a room.
2019: August 24 – September 4. $5,595 per person.*
* Single supplement $1,200. Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions. Take $500 off your total booking cost when combined with our Fiji snorkeling expedition.
Doug Perrine earned a master’s degree in marine biology from
the University of Miami and worked as a marine biologist, naturalist, and scuba instructor before taking up nature photography and
writing as a full-time profession. Doug is now widely regarded as one the
world’s foremost marine wildlife photographers. His photographs have been
published in thousands of magazines (including National Geographic, Time, BBC
Wildlife, etc.), books, calendars, and other graphic products. He is the author
of seven books and numerous magazine articles on marine life. His images
have been displayed at the Smithsonian Institute, the British Museum of Natural
History, and numerous other prestigious institutions. His photographs have won
a number of awards, including the grand prize in the prestigious international
Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition in 2004. He has continued to be
involved in marine science, including 20 years as a volunteer with the Hawaii
Whale Research Foundation, studying humpback whales. Perrine currently lives in