Published On: Sat, Mar 16th, 2024

The beautiful country with barely any tourists despite being a tropical paradise | Travel News | Travel

One beautiful tropical paradise could be the perfect destination for your next holiday, with hardly any tourists visiting it each year.

Tonga is made up of 170 islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It sees just 54,000 visitors each year – making it the world’s 21st least visited country.

But despite the low visitor numbers, the country boasts stunning white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforests.

The kingdom is nicknamed the ‘Friendly Islands’ and has 40 inhabited islands giving visitors plenty of choice on which place to visit.

As well as relaxing scenes, the islands are also home to a number of heritage sites dating back 3,000 years including Valu ‘Uta, the country’s first settlement, Lī’anga Huo ‘a Maui, a natural archway said to be created by the ancient Polynesian god Maui’s mother and the Fai’ana underground cave.

Tongan society is guided by four core values which aim to ensure visitors are welcomed. The values are mutual respect, sharing mutual obligations, humility and generosity, and loyalty and commitment.

Visitors can also witness traditional Tongan dance, and enjoy native dishes such as ‘ota ‘ika, which is raw fish marinated in lemon and coconut cream and lu pulu, made up of corned beef and coconut milk wrapped in taro leaves.

Tonga is also favoured by divers who love to explore marine life in the islands’ crystal clear waters to the soundtrack of murmuring whalesong from courting humpback whales.

For those who are unable to dive but would like to see the whales up close, there are a number of companies offering the opportunity to swim alongside them, with the islands’ tourist board telling travellers to only book with registered whale tour operators who have sustainable and humane practices.

For shopping fanatics, one of the islands’ main markets is Talamahu Market, which offers local handmade crafts and food produce, while the Tongan treasury offers some unique souvenirs including complete sets of the islands’ stamps and coins.

But one of the main reasons for Tonga’s low number of visitors is how difficult it is to reach.

Those wishing to travel to the islands from London will have to pay about £1,500 for a return flight from Heathrow which will take 31 hours stopping in San Francisco and Auckland before reaching the Tongan island of Tongatapu.

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