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Lifuka Map 
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Lifuka Map, Tonga

The Haapai Group between Tongatapu and Vavau consists of 51 low coral islands and two volcanoes. Most ferries and flights between Nukualofa and Neiafu call at Lifuka Island, site of Pangai, the administrative and business center of Haapai. A causeway links Lifuka to Foa Island, and nearby Haano, Uoleva, and Uiha islands are accessible by small boat.

Fine white beaches surround these coral islands while coconut plantations cover the interiors. Tongan villages are found on all of the islands except Uoleva and Nukunamo. A couple of basic backpacker resorts on Uoleva accommodate those wishing to be close to nature at the expense of creature comforts.

The burial ground on the Tongan royal family was on Uiha Island until the capital moved to Nukualofa. The Makahokovalu, an ancient monument composed of eight connecting stones, is at the north end of Uiha. Several old canons salvaged from sacked Peruvian slave ships are in Uiha village.

During a 1777 visit to Lifuka, Captain James Cook coined the term "Friendly Islands" which is still used to refer to Tonga today. Cook was unaware of a plot by the Tongans to kill him. In 1806, the British privateer Port-au-Prince was boarded by Tongan warriors off Lifuka and the entire crew was murdered except for the captain's clerk, William Mariner, who later wrote a book about his four years in Tonga.

Lifuka map

A half dozen small guest houses are to be found in Pangai and there's also one in Uiha. A more upscale resort with scuba diving facilities is beyond Falefoa village on Foa. Aside from swimming and beachcombing, there are whale watching trips from Pangai during the humpback's migration from July to October.

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