Samoa Travel Guide
Located out in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean roughly halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii, Samoa is a tropical paradise which has long been a favourite of holidaymakers from Australia and New Zealand.
From dream beaches to a traditional culture which endures to this day, you’ll find plenty of attractions that will make your vacation here a memorable one.
Currency: Samoa Talas
Languages: Samoan, English
What To Do
While you could wander the towns and villages of Samoa to take in life as it exists today, paying a visit to the Samoa Cultural Village is a quicker way to get a sense of the traditions of this Polynesian island.
Here, you’ll be shown how locals have carved wood, weaved, and created all the things needed in their daily lives for centuries. Afterwards, a show involving dancing and music will be put on for you and the other guests, as well as a traditional lunch (which is cooked in an in-earth oven) and kava drinking ceremony.
Next, check out the digs of a famous Scottish expat by touring the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum. A poet and author known in travel circles for the quote, “There is no foreign land; it is only the traveller who is foreign”, he was the writer of books Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
It was in this stately manor where Mr Stevenson spent the last years of his life, surrounded by a paradisaical landscape and locals who held him in high esteem.
A guided tour will take you through the lovely grounds of this old and beautiful house, ending at the site where the talented writer was laid to rest following his death in 1894.
While Samoa has its fair share of culture for such a small set of islands, it punches well above its weight when it comes to the natural attractions it boasts. Start by exploring the To Sua Ocean Trench.
A lava tube which filled up with ocean water after a massive eruption aeons ago, this 98-foot deep pool is crystal clear, warm, and is surrounded by lush tropical greenery. Access fees are charged to maintain the integrity of the ladders and platforms, as well as to ensure its long-term sustainability: at about $15 USD for adults and $6 USD for children over the age of 7 (those under are free), it is worth every penny.
Afu Aau Waterfall should be next on your sightseeing list, as this beautiful spot has the stereotypical good looks one assumes such a natural attraction should have.
The water here is refreshing, making a dip here the perfect way to cool off on a hot day in Samoa. Don’t forget your reef shoes, though, as the bottom has plenty of rough and sharp rocks.
As with most other Polynesian islands, Samoa has plenty of paradise beaches on which you can veg out until all the accumulated stress everyday life places on us melt away.
Start by spending an afternoon on the sands of Lalomanu Beach. With perfectly white sand, crystal clear blue water, leaning palms, and bungalows located just steps away from it all, this is a spot you should not miss during your visit.
With an amazing beach accessible off the beach, those looking to do more than just suntan can slap on fins, a mask, and a snorkel, and go exploring in an environment which can resemble a life-sized aquarium.
Tafa Tafa Beach is another spot worth your time on a visit to Samoa. Here, you’ll find many of the same qualities Lalomanu has, but this place is also well-known for its beachcombing. At low tide, locals will go looking for washed up shells. Join them, and you might find a special specimen during your wanders.
Finally, Lefaga Beach is not a place you can access for free – the owners charge tourists 20 Tala per car and 5 Tala per person. What you’ll get in return are surroundings which best any other beach on the island.
Lofty palms, amazing water, and blindingly white sand will give photographers plenty of material to work with. Just be sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks, as there are no concessions, and reef shoes, as the rocks just offshore can be rough on unprotected feet.
What to Eat
Begin your morning on Samoa with some Koko Araisa. Made by combining Samoan cocoa with white rice and coconut milk, it is a decadent breakfast treat local kids beg their mothers to make on a near-daily basis. Some cooks throw orange zest for added flavour, so if you are looking for a delicious start to your day, ask around where this dish can be had.
At lunch or dinner, seek out some Oka. A raw fish salad treated with lime juice, onions, and chilli peppers and served with coconut milk, eating this will give you a mix of sensations and flavours you won’t soon forget.
Palusami is another must-have dish while in Samoa. Made with taro leaves cooked in coconut milk along with corned beef, it is a tasty meal you won’t find outside of Polynesia, so have it while you are there.