We’ve provided the following basic information based on questions we are typically asked, but please feel free to contact us regarding any questions you may have. We are happy to help in any way!
At Sea Change Eco Retreat the health and safety of our guests and staff is the number one priority. Sea Change Eco Retreat and our location on Uoleva Island provides a very safe environment to relax and enjoy your holiday. The owners and managers of Sea Change have basic first aid training, and we do maintain standard first aid kits to treat most minor injuries and some minor illnesses. Upon arrival we will provide a safety briefing for all guests, including basic information such as local swimming conditions, the location of first aid kits, and the location & operation of fire extinguishers provided in each guest fale and our common areas.
We will also provide a safety briefing for all boat excursions including specific details on whale watching/swimming trips. Our boats provide recommended safety equipment including VHF radios, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), flares, life jackets and fire extinguishers. Our boat operators have all had advanced power boat operator training including swimmer rescue manoeuvres. We will not compromise on safety, so all boat excursions are subject to safe weather and sea conditions. If you plan on scuba diving while here, please ensure you bring any special medical clearance documents specific for diving activities.
We encourage guests to ask any questions regarding health and safety concerns, and to inform us of any special medical conditions ahead of making a booking and we can advise on the best way to handle this. The most important thing is to seek advice from your doctor regarding any medical conditions prior to making final plans. It is important to note we are on a small/remote island, isolated some 30 minutes from a small medical clinic (only capable of dealing with minor problems), so anyone with a pre-existing medical or surgical condition should have an updated supply of all their medications or other treatments, including any emergency management plans with them. We also encourage all guests to obtain a travel insurance which covers medical care including the cost of emergency evacuations. Most airlines and travel agents routinely provide this for overseas trips.
It is strongly recommended that you purchase travel insurance to provide financial protection in the event of unforeseen conditions which may impact your holiday. Various travel insurance packages are available that provide coverage for medical and travel related issues (including lost baggage, flight delays, weather conditions, sickness preventing travel, etc.). We encourage you to review your options for travel insurance which vary by the country of origin. Please note our payment terms and conditions which include a non-refundable deposit as well as a non-refundable payment in full within 60 days of your trip to Sea Change.
The paʻanga is the currency of Tonga. The value of the Tongan dollar does fluctuate daily, but in general 1 Tongan dollar is worth about US $0.45 or NZ $0.67. If you want to pay with cash in Tonga you will need to convert your local currency to Tongan dollars either before arriving or at a bank cash machine (ATM). There are cash machines at the international airport just outside when you exit, as well as mobile phone companies which sell Tongan sim cards. The typical fee for cash machine withdrawals is TOP $12 (no matter how much you withdraw), and the maximum withdrawal amount per day is around TOP $1000. Many restaurants and stores on Tongatapu (the main island) accept credit cards, but almost all include surcharge of around 4% to 5% for payment by credit card.
Details regarding various options of how to get to Tonga and Sea Change are provided on the Overview page. Basically you will fly to Tongatapu (the main island of Tonga) and then take a 30 to 40 minute connecting flight to Ha’apai where we will greet you. Air New Zealand, Fiji Airways and Virgin Australia all provide direct flights to Tongatapu from Auckland, Sydney and Fiji. Lulutai Airlines provides the connection to Ha’apai. You can communicate with them on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lulut...
To secure your booking at Sea Change we require an upfront deposit of 50%, and full payment by 60-days before you arrive. These payments are non-refundable which is why we encourage our guests to secure travel insurance to cover any travel disruptions due to weather, airlines, medical issues, etc.
On the premises at Sea Change we accept payment by bank transfer, credit cards and cash (in local Tongan currency). Credit card payments attract a surcharge of 4% on your bill due to fees we are charged by the local banks. To make your deposit, we only accept bank transfers. However we do use the online money transfer system of Transferwise which has very low fees. Please inquire if you would like to use this option.