Tonga: Money & Costs

Basic food and accommodation are more reasonably priced than in most South Pacific countries, but forget about upgrading your Roller, as Tonga’s not a great place to buy electronic goods, film, packaged foods or cars. They’re all imported and considerably more expensive than in the USA or Europe. If you’re really squeezing your budget you can get by on US$18.00 a day, but US$55.00 – US$70.00 will make your trip quite comfortable. If you like your creature comforts and top restaurants, you’ll need to budget for US$120.00 a day or more.
Tonga has four ATMs, which take Visa, MasterCard and Cirrus (ANZ and Westpac in Nuku’alofa and ANZ in Neiafu, Vava’u), and credit cards – generally Visa and MasterCard – are widely accepted. The currencies most commonly accepted for exchange are the US, Australian and New Zealand dollars, although the Euro, the Fijian dollar and yen are also fairly standard currencies of exchange. Banks are open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays, and and in Nuku’alofa and Neiafu they’re open on Saturday mornings as well. Several of the mid-range and more expensive hotels will also exchange currency, but at a lower rate than the banks.
Tipping and bargaining are not practised. According to custom a tip is seen as a gift and imposes an obligation on the receiver to return the favour. If a price is asked, that’s what the seller wants for it and it would be ill-mannered to suggest a lower price.
Tonga Currency is Pa’anga and it’s symbolized as PT or T$.