Nestled in the heart of the Polynesia – only four hours away from New Zealand, five hours from Australia and three hours from Fiji – lies beautiful Samoa. Known for its pristine beaches, lush gardens, majestic mountains, breath-taking waterfalls, powerful blowholes and stunning seascapes, the islands of Samoa celebrate the gifts bestowed upon it by Mother Nature.
The main islands are Upolu, home to over two thirds of the nation, and Savaii, the largest island in Polynesia. The other eight smaller islands include two of which are inhabited. The gateway and thriving capital Apia on Upolu is full of island charm and home to 40,000 Samoans. Its historic and deep water harbour has been shelter to countless explorers, naval warships over the centuries. Although life on Samoa is scenic and tranquil, Apia is lively; lined with bustling markets selling all things from traditional crafts to the catch of the day. The city is the hub of Samoa’s social life, with many restaurants, bars and even nightclubs.
A ferry ride away is Savaii, the largest of the Polynesian islands – called ‘the big island’ – is even more unspoiled. This island teems with wildlife, its jungle ecosystem humming with tropical fauna, perfect for nature lovers seeking their own adventure! The southern tip of Savaii is blessed with the Tafua Peninsula, now a rainforest reserve and also home to beautiful turquoise lagoon of Si’ufaga beach, Aganoa beach, the Tafua volcanic crater and is close to the stunning and thundering Afu Aau Falls.
Samoa’s happy and welcoming people are governed by a unique 3,000 year old tradition called Fa’a Samoa – The Samoan Way. Fa’a Samoa is the Polynesian culture at its purest, celebrating and protecting traditional values of family, hospitality, respect and service. The key three elements of Fa’a Samoa include the matai (chiefs), aiga, (the extended family) and the church. There are 362 nu’u (villages) found throughout the islands with a total of 18,000 matai.
The people see it as their duty to protect and preserve the blessings given to them by nature. Visitors can enjoy the creative expression of this tradition by attending a Fia Fia night organised once a week by most hotels and resorts on the islands. Alternatively, guests can visit the Samoa Cultural Village in Apia, to get to grip with Samoa’s rich culture and heritage. Here, visitors can experience traditional Samoan “siva”, or dancing, and food cooked on an “umu”, a hot earth oven made from volcanic rocks.
Fresh, succulent and bursting with flavour Samoa’s cuisine features coconut at its heart and is surrounded by the bounty of fish the ocean provides. Fruit and vegetables are in abundance, taro, tropical fruits and fresh vegetables add to the freshness of the meals.
This ideal tropical holiday destination caters to all travellers offering a mixture of relaxation and adventure. Take in the beautiful surroundings and dive, surf, snorkel or siesta in a Samoan-style open air fale or get amongst the locals at a market. Visitor’s favourites include:
The waters of Samoa are perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving, reef breaks make it an exciting destination for the more experienced surfer while those who seek slower pursuits can swim with the turtles at their natural habitat around Namua Island. To Sua Ocean Trench is a 30 metre deep swimming hole, only accessible by ladder and surrounded by tropical gardens. Skilled divers can swim in the trench’s cave, leading to the sea.
15 miles from Apia, fun for all ages can be found on Mother Nature’s very own waterslides at Papase’ea Sliding Rocks, formed from thousands of years of running water. Alofaaga Blowholes on south-west Savai’i propel a roaring jet of water hundreds of feet up into the air. They are particularly worth watching when locals throw coconuts into the holes and these are blasted into the air!
For those seeking a less adventurous holiday, there is much opportunity for unwinding at the beautiful beaches and relaxing resorts. Tourists can visit the house of author Robert Louis Stevenson which is now a museum dedicated to his works and final years of his life he spent on the islands. Visitors can also pay their respects to the author of their favourite classics by visiting the burial site on Mount Vaea which can be found within the property grounds.
Alofa is the Samoan word for love, and many have fallen in love at first sight with our islands. Visit Samoa and see why the heart of Polynesia is the perfect holiday destination and ideal to combine with a trip to Australia or New Zealand.
For more information, visit www.samoa.travel