Samoa offers a landscape of rainforest-covered mountains that give way to quiet villages and a coastline fringed with near-deserted, white sandy beaches. Here are our top tips to ensure your family holiday in Samoa is unforgettable.
- Be sure to back plenty of insect repellent that is deemed suitable for a tropical climate, along with high-SPF sunscreen – preferably one that’s water-resistant. Rash tops and sunhats also provide much-needed protection from the tropical sun.
- The traditional Samoan version of a sarong, a lava-lava is an extremely useful and versatile item for a tropical holiday – use it as a cover up, a towel, a sunshade, a picnic blanket or even as evening wear. The Savalalo Flea Market is a great place to pick up a new lava-lava – or one for every day of your holiday.
- The coral reefs and crystal-clear waters of Samoa are ideal for snorkelling. Many resorts provide snorkelling gear and it’s also possible to hire it as you need it, but you may prefer to pack your own, especially for the kids.
- Reef shoes are a great idea for the entire family, as they protect the feet from sharp shells and coral, as well as any nasties that may be concealed on the sandy ocean floor.
Learn the lingo
Many kids get a thrill from exchanging greetings with the locals in a new language – here are a few basic phrases to get you started.
talofa – hello
tofa - goodbye
fa'afetai - thank you
loe – yes
leai - no
fa'amolemole - please
A taste of culture
A visit to Apia’s Samoa Cultural Village is a unique way to sample Fa'a Samoa, or the Samoan way, at this unique experience in the heart of Apia. Local guides breathe life into the traditions of the Samoan people through food, art and culture, and the kids can watch activities such as tapa cloth weaving, carving and print making.
A fiafia night is a fun way to sample an umu meal, which is a method of cooking food in an earth oven using heated stones, making for a unique and delicious smoky, natural flavour. It’s usually served as part of a buffet at a fiafia night, so there are plenty of alternatives for the pickiest of eaters. The entertainment for the evening combines graceful dancing, harmonious singing and plenty of fun. Best described as “Fa’a Samoa in performance mode”, it’s an unforgettable way to experience the best of Samoan music and movement.
Fresh coconut water is the ideal way to stay hydrated during your time in Samoa, and the thrill of sipping its cool, sweet taste directly from a green coconut is something many kids love.
Where to stay
Samoa offers a multitude of accommodation options ranging from full-service hotels and resorts that come complete with swimming pools and kids’ clubs, to traditional open fales. Often family-owned, they’re a great way to get to know the locals and experience a different side of Samoa to the more luxurious options.
Where to play
Papasee'a Sliding Rock is a large natural slide down a waterfall with a pool at its base, located just on the outskirts of Apia. There are four slides, the tallest of which is five metres high and best suited to adults, but kids will have a wonderful time sliding down the three smaller slides. It’s a great way to cool off on a hot day, and there are toilets and changing rooms at the car park.
Best beaches for families
There are many beautiful beaches in Samoa, most of which are owned by the local community and therefore requiring the payment of a small fee to gain access. It’s a good idea to take a t-shirt or lava-lava to cover up when you’re in your swimsuit – out of respect for local customs, and as protection from the strong tropical sun.
On the southwest coast of Upolu, roughly a 45-minute drive from Apia, you’ll find beautiful Lefaga, best known for its starring role in the 1950s movie, “Return to Paradise”. As well as a lovely sandy beach, there’s a large lagoon that’s very safe for swimming and snorkelling. You will need to pay an entrance fee to the local owners, but it’s well worth the small cost – pack a picnic and spend the day.
On the island of Savai’i, head for Manase at the northernmost point of the coast, roughly an hour’s drive from Salelologa, where the ferry arrives from Upolu. It’s an area known as the Sunshine Coast, and Manase is home to several beach fale operations so you’ll have several casual dining options. It’s also a great place for spotting turtles in their natural environment.
Beautiful beaches and natural features, a proud cultural heritage and friendly, welcoming people combine to make Samoa an idyllic destination for a family holiday. Ask your Hoot Holidays consultant for details.
- Posted in Samoa