Seeking an epic cultural exchange? Book a trip to Samoa, where the water activities are endless, the waterfalls are breathtaking, the caves are evocative, the cuisine is to-die-for and the people are fascinating. With such a small number of tourists arriving each year, the sense of community and the authenticity of each visit is something hard to find in many other South Pacific destinations.
Samoans are known as ‘The Happy People of Polynesia’, and have kept much of their traditional way of life or Fa’a Samoa, which means Samoan Way. Samoa offers visitors an eclectic choice of natural, historical, non-traditional and exciting experiences.
- Capital: Apia
- International Airport: Faleolo, on the island of Upolu
- Language: Samoan (English is widely spoken)
- Currency: Tala ($)
- Popular Areas: Upolu, Savai’i
- Prime Minister: Susuga Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi
- Religion: Christian (majority)
Location and Geography
Located in the Pacific Ocean between Fiji and French Polynesia, Samoa is made up of 2 main islands, Upolu and Savai’i. Home to Samoa’s capital, Upolu sits along the Apolima Strait and flaunts a lovely tropical climate as well as stunning volcanic mountains (some reaching an imposing height of 1,100-metres!). Known as Samoa’s ‘big island’, Savai’i gifts travellers and residents with elaborate rainforest, evocative cliff faces, imposing waterfalls and volcanic cones.
Reaching Samoa from Australia is very easy with direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane, taking just over 5 hours. Once there, the islands are easy to navigate, the capital Apia is just 40-minutes from the international airport and there are ferries and domestic flights connecting the islands if you want to explore further afield.
What to do in Samoa
For a small island, visitors can find a wide range of activities to get involved in during their stay in Samoa. Water activities abound, from swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving to kayaking and less traditional “water activities” like jumping into waterfalls or gliding down a natural waterslide!
Outdoor enthusiasts love visiting Samoa to take in the almost-untouched surrounds. Afu Aau Falls, also known as Olemoe Falls, one of Samoa’s most beautiful waterfalls, is jaw-droppingly beautiful and guests can dive into the tropical pools at the base for a quick way to cool off on a hot day. This unbelievable site is located on south-eastern Savai’i, which can be reached by a ferry from Upolu Island. If you’re touring around Savai’i, another worthwhile stop that will leave you astonished is the Alofaaga Blowholes, using the force of nature to spout water hundreds of feet into the air.
Caves carve their way throughout all of Samoa’s islands, and some are believed to be pathways to the underworld that spirits travel along. Combine a cave visit with a swim at Upolu’s Sauniatu Waterfall, a free visit for locals and tourists alike looking to enjoy the piercing blue water and a cool dip.
Literature lovers and history gurus will enjoy a visit to the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which was the home of the renowned author (“Treasure Island”, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”) for the last 4 years of his life. Samoans remember him and his time in their land very fondly, and often there are traditional performers on the grounds to sing or dance for visitors. Even for those who aren’t a huge fan of his work, it’s a fascinating stop and worth a visit.