PHOTO: 'Ofu Backpackers
I finally had the opportunity to explore the Eastern Islands of Vava'u during the one week break in Tonga. Some PCVs and I stayed at 'Ofu Backpackers, in...you guessed it, 'Ofu island. Okay, your probably thinking that all I do is stay at resorts and eva--explore all the time, but the truth is YES you do have some down time in the Peace Corps. They actually encourage you explore your surroundings. Futhermore, some places like 'Ofu, Treasure Island, and Toka honestly is worthy of its own blog entry.
'Ofu Backpackers/island is a quick ten minute boat ride from the old harbour of Neiafu. It was actually really hard to book this place, since its a true hole in the wall. You literally have to ask around to see who knows the owner, since it's not available in the directory of Tonga (or at least we couldn't find it). Regardless, the number is 751-2461 and ask for Selu. I believe she is the sister of who actually owns the back packers and will arrange the boat transfer for you.
The backpackers runs $65 TOP a night for two people in a private room and I believe $35 per person for a single bed. There is a full kitchen for guests to use. I suggest you buy all the food you want in town before heading to 'Ofu. Although there is a small falekoloa--shop, it is very limited especially to palangis--foreigners. Moreover, kayaks are available for free and you can kayak to the surrounding islands nearby. I suggest visiting Kenutu and islands nearby it (absolutely breathtaking, but quite a workout).
Bring a torch or flashlight. Although, they provide some solar lighting and lanterns, it may be more convenient to have your own. With that said, the back packers runs on solar. You may be able to charge cellphones, but don't plan on watching movies all night with a laptop. In the end, 'Ofu is a really nice place to just relax. It is very different than the Southern islands of Vava'u as it far more "green" and "calm"--more sea grass and less corals unlike the Southern islands. Regardless, still worth to explore the different sides of Vava'u.