Located in the heart of the Pacific islands, Samoa is a gorgeous and wonderfully vibrant nation. While there is a strong tourism industry, Samoa is much more quaint than other, comparably beautiful beach holiday destinations such as Bali or Thailand. For a more chilled out holiday, with just as much (if not more) natural extravagance and the same opportunities for cultural immersion - Samoa is the place for you. Here are five reasons why.
1) The water
Chances are you've already seen pictures of Samoa's beaches. As the country consists of six islands, there is certainly no shortage of spots one can only describe as "paradise". Tanu and Lano are two of the most magnificent beaches on Savai'i. Tanu, to the north of the island, is usually particularly quiet and promises undisturbed relaxation. Lano is on the eastern side of the island, and has the dream-like combination of white sand, palm trees and water of the clearest blue.
Lalomanu in Upola might be the picture perfect tropical getaway. The west end of the beach is undeveloped and the natural, untouched glory is hard to overlook. Many tourists in Samoa get stuck here, purely because it's too beautiful to leave! Salamumu in the south of Upolo is a hotel beach with wonderful gardens - another great spot to stretch out, relax, and enjoy island life.
There are diving and snorkeling spots all across Samoa, each offering life-changing experiences for beginners and hobbyists alike. The clean, clear waters, abundant shallow lagoons, and a myriad of wildlife. Located between Savai'i and Apolima, The Rock is a key spot for divers and snorkelers - like jumping into an aquarium. We recommend all visitors spend at least one night on the beach in a fale - a small, open building decked out with pillows, mosquito netting and of course, blinds for privacy. Let the night air cool you and the gentle rhythms of the surf lull you to sleep.
2) The land
Samoa has no shortage of fantastic hiking trails. On Upola, keen outdoors types should check out the O Le Pupu-Pue and Lake Lanotoo national parks - the coastal rainforests, waterfalls, and ancient caves will call your inner explorer. For instance, you could climb to the top of Mount Vaea for amazing views of the Apia harbour. On Savai'i, we recommend traversing the old lava fields and rainforest of the Tafua Peninsula. The Falealupo Rainforest Preserve is another site with an incredible trail - this time in the form of a treetop boardwalk.
You should always take swimwear whenever exploring the islands of Samoa, as there are many wonderful lagoons and waterfalls hidden inland. The To Sua Ocean Trench is one in particular - a swimming hole of the clearest turquoise formed by a unique volcanic land formation in Upola. Over on Savai'i keen explorers will be delighted to find the Afu Aau Falls - an impressive waterfall that leads to a freshwater pool, which in turn feeds into three smaller pools.
3) The locals
Witnessing a native culture is one of the greatest parts of travelling, and Samoa has no shortage of character. There are many facets of traditional Samoan culture that are still visible on the islands. The markets are notable part of everyday life in Samoa. Whether buying fresh fish and produce or browsing the flea markets, there's plenty to investigate. The traders offer locally made goods from clothing and jewellery to carvings and other handcrafts. Taste something delightfully fresh and new, or simply pick up some gifts to take home to your family.
There are also a number of cultural villages you can visit to see how Samoans lived in times gone by. The village and community living is an important part of Polynesian culture and this is a great way to find out more. Whether you're experiencing a slap dance performance or witnessing the age-old art of Samoan tattoo, there is so much to learn and admire about Fa'a Samoa - "The Samoan Way."
4) The food
Western food is popular in Samoa and is regularly available. Even so, foodies and adventurous eaters visiting Samoa should do everything they can to seek out traditional dishes. The umu is a traditional cooking pit - where hot stones are placed in the earth, covered in carefully prepared edibles, and then buried. The process cooks the food - everything from green bananas to a whole pig - slowly and wonderfully, with the most amazing baked or smoked flavours you might ever taste. An umu is not to be missed.
Oka is a dish involving raw fish, lemon juice, coconut cream and onion. Often it comes in a salad-like form, and as the fish has often only just been hauled out of the sea, this dish is always fresh and delicious. Palusami is made of taro leaves and coconut cream and is often prepared in the umu. One of the most quintessentially Samoan dishes, palusami is something all visitors should try. There are many variations to these foods, as well as huge amounts of fresh crayfish, octopus and other undersea delights prepared in numerous ways. If you like to eat, Samoa has all the ingredients for an exquisite trip.
5) It's convenient for Australians
Australian citizens require no visa, and can stay for up to 60 days provided their passport is valid for that time. The dry season is from May to October, yet the temperature is warm and welcoming all year round. Finally, Samoa is much cheaper than the more traditional holiday locations of Bali or Thailand. With that in mind, what are you waiting for?
Get in touch with Hoot to organise your Samoan holiday today.
- Posted in Samoa