“Best Accommodations, Best Boats, and Best Crew!
This is a trip of a lifetime! Go to Tonga and swim with whales! You will not regret swimming only a few feet from majestic humpback whales and their curious calves.
We can recommend booking with Humpback Swims without hesitation. Nadia, the owner is focused on her guests having an incredible experience. We booked the 8-day trip and are glad we did the longer stay. We had multiple close whale encounters on 7 of 8 days. The one day we didn’t have many swims we found a “singer” whale so I wouldn’t call it a disappointing day.
The land arrangements made by Nadia of Humpback Swims were comfortable and the best you can find in Tonga. Remember it is a remote and poor country so you will not find 5-star resorts. We found the locals to be extremely nice and genuine with their kindness. We were well taken care of by the owners and staff at Mystic Sands. They provided breakfast every morning and would take any shopping requests for items needed from town. We loved the delicious Bento box dinners that made it so easy to stay on the property and eat dinner at Mystic instead of having to travel to town. If we needed to go to town, they would drive us 15-20 min to go to a restaurant, pharmacy, or bank.
With Humpback Swims, the boats were practically new, all aluminum purpose-built for whale swimming. With only 6 guests per boat, we were not crowded. Lunch was prepared and packed for us every day on the boat and was usually very tasty. We were very pleased to have our boat captain and guide for the entire trip and we became very close to them. They went out of their way to find good whales for swimming opportunities. It was a bit sad to say goodbye on that last day.
There were great photo & video opportunities every day. If you don’t have an in-water camera, I recommend getting one for this trip so you can capture some of these moments. I captured some incredible images on a GoPro.
We have no regrets about booking our Tonga trip with Humpback Swims. Nadia was a great host and an excellent tour operator. She has the best accommodations, the best boats, and the best crews available. You will not be disappointed!”
“This was truly the trip of a lifetime!! My family and I had the most magical time both in the water and out. We met friends that we will keep for a lifetime -- including Nadia! It is clear how much this team cares about the whales and how much they want everyone to have an incredible experience. I cannot recommend this enough.”
“Best Trip Ever!
I don’t even know where to begin.
I booked this trip specifically because it was set up by Nadia Aly and I was already a fan of her incredible photography and YouTube videos.
Ethical encounters with whales was my most important criteria. It takes an intelligent, experienced person with strong moral character to realize the importance of ethical interactions and to keep that criteria at the forefront of the expedition. Nadia is that person.
As whale swims become more popular, there are growing pressures on guides to cut corners, or bend rules in order to accommodate new customers with unrealistic expectations. It takes genuine effort and self determination to stand up to these pressures and continue to always give the whales the respect they deserve.
Nadia made it look so easy! She has the experience and strength to give us the encounters of a lifetime while keeping the well-being of the whales as priority number one!
She has built a team of likeminded local experts who she can trust to make every trip as incredible as possible. Life changing encounters are not something that a guide can guarantee, but it happened for me time and again! All of the guides that I went out with were absolutely top notch, ethical, and responsible team members who work together with the entire whale watching “Tongan Community” to give us the encounters that we have dreamed of, while minimizing the impact that we whale lovers can have on these animals. I could go on and on about my time in the water… but I’ll wrap this review up by saying that the experience of my Tonga trip was effortless, comfortable, safe, and highly enjoyable. Before I even contacted Nadia, I knew what to expect. She has hours of YouTube videos that let me know exactly what I was getting into. I booked pre-pandemic and had issues arise over the years. My emails were always returned promptly and communication was very clear. Once I was on island, I felt completely taken care of. I can be a little high maintenance, with all of my gear and personal preferences… but all of my needs were met without exception. Maybe I had a high needs group, but we asked for help with car rentals, computers, batteries, inter-island flights, late departures, extra water days…. you name it… all of our needs were met each and every time.
I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with whales, and I’ve come to care for them greatly. I highly recommend Nadia’s trips and I will absolutely be joining her for future adventures.”
“I went with my sister Vitoria in august, and it was the best trip we ever did, totally worth it. Words can not describe what we felt and saw in Tonga. A special thank you to Nadia, our crew in the boat and the crew in Mystic Sands, you all made us feel at home”
“Don't hesitate for a minute—book a trip with Humpback Swims to see the whales of Vava'u, Tonga for yourself! Humpback Swims runs a top-notch operation out of Vava'u, with comfortable, safe boats, knowledgeable guides, capable captains, and great lunches on the boat.
On an 11-night/8-day swim tour, we got in the water with whales all but one of the days. Our last day on the boat was one of my most spectacular in-water days ever, and I've been a scuba diver for over 20 years. We were in the water for almost two hours with a mama, calf, and escort—incredible! Honestly, the trip couldn't have been better. Thank you, Humpback Swims, for an experience I'll remember for a lifetime!”
“5⭐️+ Nadia has this trip dialed in, every detail, from the booking process thru the return to the airport. The trip exceeded my expectations in every way, the 🐋, Mystic Sands accommodations, morning breakfast, evening dinners, boat crews and Captains!”
“Sept 2023 trip: There are really no words to describe our experience swimming with humpback whales in Vava'u. This is an experience to be felt. There's so much excitement, inner peace, and gratitude towards not only swimming with the whales, but the beautiful island that Tongans call home. Nadia, thank you for organizing this amazing and unforgettable trip. Humpback Swims is an amazing, reputable company and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the trip.”
“Truly once in a lifetime!
Swimming with the humpback whales of Tonga has been a dream; the interactions are intimate, on nature's terms, and each opportunity is a gift to cherish!
Humpback Swims is a best-in-class operation from logistics, crew expertise and professionalism to knowledgable guidance on any need one might have in a remote place like Tonga.
Sept, 2023 - 5 water days - Flying Annie”
“Humpback Swims exceeded our expectations. Nadia, the owner, is truly dedicated to providing her guests with both safety and an unforgettable experience. We opted for the eight-day trip, and every single moment was absolutely worthwhile.
Our overall experience with Humpback Swims was overwhelmingly positive. Swimming with these majestic creatures is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and Nadia's focus on providing an incredible adventure is evident. We had multiple close encounters with humpback whales on all 8 days, and even on the one day with fewer swims, we found a "singer" whale, which made it far from disappointing.”
“This was a trip of a lifetime. We booked an 11 night / 8 swim day trip and every day in the water with the whales was different and epic! Our whale experiences far exceeded anything we could ever have imagined. Nadia runs a first class operation with the best boats on the water, incredible boat captains and guides, super organized and she is super fun and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed staying at Mystic Sands which is on the water and opted for the bento box meal plan which was perfect after all day on the boat. We highly recommend booking with Nadia.”
“So hard to find the words to describe the experience, but epic, majestic, magical and breathtaking all come to mind! Our captain and guide were top notch and made sure we had the best experiences with the whales while keeping us safe and knowing our abilities. Nadia came by Mystic Sands every day to check on us and made sure we had dinner plans if it wasn't a bento box day (those bento boxes - OMG! If you're at Mystic Sands, definitely get them!).
Swimming in such close proximity to such massive creatures was absolutely incredible, and the small group configuration gives each swimmer such an intimate experience with the whales. We hope to be back soon!”
“Our boat and guides swimming with whales are the best offered in Tonga. Nadia has done a masterful job of bringing in Mystic Sands resort and prepared food for an epic adventure. If you want to have the best whale experience in Tonga hire Humpback Swims. We came all the way from Nantucket for our family journey and enjoyed every minute.”
“Humpback swims, is absolutely amazing. Nadia and her team are fantastic. Very knowledgeable, very thorough and took care of everything we needed. I would, without a doubt, book with them again. We stayed at Mystic Sands and could not have been taken care of any better. Anything we needed they were on it. For Nadia and her team to do what they do when traveling halfway around the world and to make things so smooth is Phenomenal. We had originally booked in 2018 for the 2020 slots... Well with Covid shutting everything down we were very concerned about how everything would work out. Nadia stayed in touch and gave updates when anything changed or came up. We finally were able to take the trip this September. The whale swimming experience was so extremely magical and life-changing. After going and seeing the other options of companies and lodgings I am very pleased that we used and stayed with Nadia and the people of Mystic Sands. They have the best boats and guides. I could go on and on about how great our experience was. If you are questioning to book this trip, just do it, you will not regret it..... I would also only ever book with Nadia. She will make sure you have everything you need to have an epic trip!”
“This was my SECOND trip with Nadia Aly, and this is because she is not only a great human being (and quite fun!) but she also has one of the smoothest operations in this field out there. You MUST know who you are traveling under and MUST know their ethics. Some people just want to cash in on people signing up and have a poorly run trip. Others will jump in right in front of you and use the trip to get their own photos at your expense. And some pay no attention to/enforce the local rules and do not respect the wildlife. You need this to matter to your organizer because when systems flow well and properly, your trip is enjoyable. Nadia is on top of her game, on top of the local rules, on top of the local culture and doesn't tolerate anything aside from professionalism w her crew and honestly, from her customers. She chooses great captains and guides, solid boats and excellent (no scary surprises ever--and thank you Nadia for this) lodging. The food is always tasty and the water always safe. If you have questions pre or post trip--she responds ASAP. And she will always help make your trip smoother if something arises. She's got you. She always does. Trust me. And if you have questions regarding photography, she is a baller photographer--and an excellent resource. You are covered all around always w Nadia and your money is well-spent. I loved Vavau. And I loved the humpbacks. My wish is that in the future the boats are staffed with only 4 people instead of 6 bc Tonga only allows 4 at a time in the water (but I think that may be the 2024 plan ). She pays attention to all of her customers and is really excellent at what she does. When I had a travel issue, she troubleshot the issue for me and made it all seamless. I pretty much feel like if you book a trip w Nadia, you will get results and you will get quality. Every single time. You rock, lady.”
“Best trip of our entire lives!!! Nadia runs an extraordinary program! Her team is the finest in Tonga and she has thought of everything. Don’t miss the chance to swim with these gentle giants. Their song, gaze and playfulness are hypnotic… memories to last forever”
“Wish I could rate this higher than a 5. Humpback Swims is a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime adventure that exceeds expectations from start to finish. It is clear Nadia has gone the extra mile to arrange the best boats, crews, and support staff to enhance the experience and everyone I interacted with was beyond friendly and accommodating. Thank you Nadia!”
“Truely Awesome, I went on an eighth day whale swim with Humpback Swims hoping that I would get two or three good days, but all eight days were awesome. The crew were friendly and professional. Great food and fantastic accommodation. I loved every minute. Thanks Nadia”
“Without a doubt, one of the most memorable, exhilarating and inspiring trips of my life! Nadia's organization and care throughout were faultless, the crew on the boats and the staff at the hotel were very professional and lovely and the island is beautiful.
I've traveled almost all my life and the experience of swimming so close to humpback whales and observing their behaviors and interaction is one of the most soul-stirring things I'll probably ever do. There were tears on the boat... I cannot recommend it enough!”
“From beginning to end the experience was outstanding !! Nadia offers great video’s and information to prepare you for the trip, what to expect in Vava’u, Tonga, what to expect on the Whale swim days, information about the boats and how to swim with Whales. This information is truly valuable and leverages the extensive Whale swim and Tonga experience Nadia has.
We stayed at Mystic Sands which was awesome, gorgeous place, run by incredibly hospitable, friendly, and professional people. Wonderful experience !!
Now what we were there for…. Whales… absolutely incredible encounters !! Our captain and guide were brilliant, friendly, skilled and worked hard to find the Whales and wonderful experiences for us. The weather was a bit rough and windy on some days and this all part of the experience, while Nadia and her team delivered amazing outcomes, they can’t control the weather : )
If you have ever wanted to swim with Humpbacks, then I would highly recommend HumpbackSwims… Nadia and her team are incredible and made sure we were well looked after and had incredible encounters with these amazing, majestic, magical, awesome creatures.
Unforgettable experience !!”