Things to do in Samoa
Discover the Samoan Way
These 10 islands are the heart of Polynesia, both culturally and geographically, and at the heart of any Samoan adventure is Fa’a Samoa—“The Samoan Way”. It’s this celebration of powerful natural beauty and authentic, traditional society that draws us back again and again. Stunning land and seascapes create different versions of paradise, from clifftop views to coral reefs, cloud forests and waterfalls, or cool lagoons and volcanic ridges. So whether you’re looking to catch a wave or immerse yourself in local culture, Samoa is the perfect destination for you!
Picture endless white sand, azure waves and palms swaying to and fro in the tropical breeze. Samoa’s islands are blessed with beautiful beaches like Lalomanu. Set up in a prime spot to people-watch and catch some rays, or dive into in crystal-clear waters with year-round temperatures sitting around 25°C. Lalomanu is also a protected marine reserve, so you’ll be sharing the waves with brightly-coloured fish and perhaps even an endangered green turtle (particularly if you head closer to Namua Island). For something a little different try Mu Pagoa Waterfalls—in a rare sight, water cascades down from Samoa’s largest river straight into the sea. Framed by black sand and tall palms, this is a postcard-perfect wonder not to be missed.
If you’re looking for some action on the water, Samoa has the activity for you. The game-fishing here is among the world’s best. There are plenty of fishing charters to be hired and the waters are a playground for monsters like marlin, wahoo, mahi mahi and yellowfin tuna. Fish from the beach for a laidback pace, or join a local fishing trip for a more authentic experience! If you’d rather catch waves than fish, surf the epic swells just beyond Samoa’s reefs. These waves are powerful and not for beginners. Talk to the locals before you take to the water—they’ll let you know where the reefs and rips are.
Rather be underwater? We don’t blame you! Below the tideline are some of the most beautiful coral reefs and exquisite marine life you’ll ever encounter. There are a host of dive spots and boats to take you out, but for an unforgettable experience head north from the airport to Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. This natural aquarium is perfect for diving and snorkeling, surrounded by barrier reefs and brimming with exotic marine life. Or if you like your dives with a dose of adrenaline, no Samoan adventure is complete without a visit to To Sua Ocean Trench, the iconic blue hole surrounded by lush vegetation on Uplou’s south coast. There are actually 2 giant holes joined by an ancient lava tube, though only one of them is filled with water. This magical aquamarine pool is 30-metres deep, accessed by a nerve-wracking narrow ladder and platform and filled via tunnels from the sea. Nearby are tidal pools and sea arches, and the clifftop gardens offer stunning views of the surrounding coastline and volcanic ridges.
The coast may be world-class, but Samoa has so much more to offer! An affordable and eco-friendly way to catch a more intimate view of life inland is to hire a bicycle. Roads are sealed and smooth except for the occasional pothole, and you get to be your own guide, stopping off at pools and waterfalls whenever you need a break (don’t forget to ask for permission from the village first). There are plenty of roadside fruit stalls and family-owned markets along the way. If you’re looking for a more sociable venture, join a cycling tour. They’re packed with activities and lead by local knowledge, but perhaps the best part of this option is that all your bags are transferred for you! The heart of Fa’a Samoa is hospitality, so any village along the way will welcome you with smiles and open arms. Just don’t forget to show respect for local customs while you’re there. One unmissable experience is the Samoa Cultural Village in Apia: a free, family-friendly introduction to Samoan culture led by passionate and locals.
Samoa might wear salt and sand on its collective sleeve, but heart of the islands is green, where emerald rainforests thrive in the tropical climate and rich volcanic soil. Discover paradise as you hike through the lush foliage or explore volcanic craters and lava tubes. Get up-close-and-personal with the wildlife and see if you can spot Samoa’s national bird, the endangered tooth-billed pigeon. Or see it all from a bird’s-eye-view at the treetop canopy walk in Falealupo Rainforest Preserve, a precarious hanging bridge strung 40-metres above the ground, amidst the glossy leaves and thick, twisted trunks of ancient banyan trees. Take to the canopy at sunset for an even more spectacular view and an experience you won’t forget.
Scale it back to bliss level when you’ve had your fill of adventure with some traditional Samoan healing and massaging. The islands are abundant with therapeutic plants and herbs, and the knowledge of their use has been passed on through the taulasea (traditional healers) to become a valuable spa resource. Relax and unwind with body wraps, facials and traditional massages using fresh, locally-sourced beauty remedies like nonu, papaya, cocounut oil and organic honey. Many resorts also offer personalised yoga classes, Zumba or Fiafia nights with traditional umu feasts and beautiful siva dancing.
Samoa is stunning and if you give yourself the chance to take in the incredible variety of activities and experiences available, you will love what the South Pacific islands have to offer.