Tonga — Transportation
Tonga Taxis and Car Rental
Considering Tonga comprises of 176 islands, albeit only 52 of which are inhabited, you will need to consider further options than road transportation for getting around, such as scheduled flights. Taxis are available on Tongatapau, although the rest of the islands are too small to offer such service, with locals preferring to walk or having their own transportation. Some hotels offer transportation services and sightseeing packages.
It is possible to rent a car on the main island of Tongatapau, although before doing so you will need to purchase a local Tongan driver’s license to supplement your home country license. Roads are in good condition around the capital city, but deteriorate the further you travel out of the city. The speed limit in Tonga is 25mph, which most locals stick to. This keeps the accident rate low, but makes travel around the island slow.
Even though Tonga is an island nation, the islands are too spread out to accommodate scheduled and regular passenger ferry services. If you are intent on island hopping, you will need to consider making use of scheduled flights in light aircraft, which are common. Another option is to travel by private boat. There is currently one scheduled ferry service in operation, between Tongatapau and ‘Eua. It leaves Nuku’alofa on Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 p.m., and returns from ‘Eua on Wednesday and Friday mornings at 5:00 a.m. The journey takes around 2 hours, 30 minutes each way.
Tonga Trains and Buses
There are no rail services in Tonga. There is a limited bus service on the largest island of Tongatapau, although this does not run to a specific schedule. It is mainly used by locals for getting to and from work. There are no bus services around the islands. In many cases, you will be able to walk to where you want to go or you can ask your hotel for a free transfer.