How did we end up in this little piece of heaven? Eue’iki is a private island in the Tongan archipelago of Vava’u, home to the Treasure Island Eco Resort. A few days back, when we were wrapping up our time in French Polynesia, we started looking into places to spend the last days of our round-the-world trip, and we stumbled upon this one. We booked it without expecting much and we got lucky: it is as close to paradise as it gets.
We arrived to Vava’u in the late afternoon, after spending an epic 24 hours discovering the wonders of Tongatapu. We were picked up at the airport by a local driver sent by the resort, and transferred to the pier of the capital Neiafu, where we met Veronica and Marc, the resort owners. On Marc’s boat, and with our welcome cocktail in hand, we cruised to the island as it got dark. We couldn’t appreciate the beauty of the surroundings that night, but we got a hint at it when we jumped off the boat onto the beach, and felt the ridiculously soft sand under our bare feet. The accommodation on the island was one of my favorite things about it. There were 8 fales, traditional Tongan thatched homes, very simple but large, comfortable and with a lot of neat details. It was the perfect balance between adventure and luxury.
In the morning, we loved our fale even more, when we realized that we were right in front of the ocean. Unfortunately, the day broke grey and windy, an unpleasant weather that would persist for most of our stay. Because the tide was low, we set to circumvent the island. It was a bit like snorkeling without getting in the water hehe… We walked over the coral reef, careful not to damage it, spotting navy blue sea stars, shells, giant sea cucumbers, crabs and fish.
We ran into a local woman called Nunia, who had just caught an octopus. She lived in the village across the lagoon, and apparently was fishing for a feast we would be attending the next day… yum! We continued walking clockwise, very slowly, and extremely relaxed, marveling at the eroded rocks, colorful corals, flying fish,…
The walk around the island took us about 1 hour and ended at the wharf, where the main beach stretched in front of the reception and dining hall. The sand was thin and white, and the water had all the shades of blue. We laid in the hammocks on the pier for a bit, and dozed between these and the sand for the whole afternoon, while the only other guests in the island, an Australian family, played beach volleyball with the staff.
For the following 3 days, we continued to enjoy our little island, isolated from the world. When the sun was out, the views were absolutely breathtaking. The shallow waters near the shore had an intense turquoise hue that turned dark blue with depth, creating a gorgeous contrast with the white sand and the green tropical forest. The only other place in the world that I remember being as beautiful is Palawan in the Philippines. We snorkeled in the reef to the west of the beach, which was amazingly full of life. We couldn’t use the free kayaks because of the strong winds, but I can only imagine how cool that would be. The main activity in these waters is swimming with whales, and I’ll cover our experience in a separate post.
Time flew, as we settled into this fantastic routine. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at home in a hotel, and that’s much to the credit of Veronica and Marc. What they’ve created in this island, which they acquired from the Tongan government 10 years ago, is truly exceptional. And they’ve done so in the most eco-friendly manner, running it on solar energy and rain water. The best part is that we were able to stay here on tight budget! Instead of booking one of their all-inclusive packages, we booked just the accommodation, and brought supermarket food with us. We still ate some of the meals they served, and they were so tasty and abundant that one meal a day was almost enough for us. They really treated us well. On our last night in Eue’iki, after one last magic sunset, we enjoyed a bonfire on the beach. The perfect way to say goodbye… or see you soon.