Against a backdrop of steep, green hills and dense forest lies the breathtaking Port of Refuge. Esquisite coral waters of aqua and turquoise glisten against the darker, inky depths. Palm clad, coral islets with deeply undercut cliffs almost seem to float above the crystal waters. Villages straggle down green hillsides have hidden cave, the subject of many books and legends, can only be reached by diving. The cathedral like Swallows Cave which is lit by shafts of multicoloured rays of light, can be entered by launch.


Apart from “loto Neiafu” the middle of town, there is little to do on Vava’u proper except to enjoy the sunshine, the sea, local people and culture. The main island of Vava’u is separated from 50 smaller islands by numerous narrow channels with an amazing harbour approach bringing sailors from the deep waters of the Pacific.

Target One in Vava'u

For yachters, there’s no place like Vava’u. For Vava’u residents, there’s definitely no place like Vava’u. Very parochial, the Vava’u populace ensure the rest of Tonga know they believe they have the best and biggest of everything. If stereotypes are to be placed on a people, then people from Vava’u could be stereotyped as the Americans stereotype some of Texan behaviour where “everything is bigger and better in Texas.” Vava’u residents are colorful, cheeky people always trying to get the better of their fellow country men, and never accepting that they just might not be as good as some of their brothers from the other islands.

Anthony Perez records how he found Vava’u