Soaking Up Sun in Samoa

Formation of a sea side trench on the south coast of the island of Upolu, Samoa.

The heart of Polynesian culture, Samoa is a tropical paradise. With a 3000 year-old way of life, the beloved islands of the South Pacific are a worldwide vacation destination. Made up of ten very different environmental islands, the friendly people and gorgeous land and sea make for a beautiful country. 

What to Do

With its inland waterfalls, trenches, and waterholes, lush jungle trails and scenery, lagoons filled with marine life, and beautiful mountain landscapes, Samoa offers a wealth of activities for every visitor.

If you are interested in Samoan art, crafts, and museums, there are plenty of places for you. On the island of Upolu, the Museum of Samoa contains a striking collection of artifacts and historical images pertaining to Samoa’s rich living culture and its dynamic history. On Apia, the Samoa Cultural Village offers an insight into Samoa’s culture and traditions.

One place to visit is the iconic To Sua Ocean Trench, a formation of two giant holes joined via a lava tube cave. The main hole has a 30m deep swimming hole that is accessible by a ladder. The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks are also a wonderful place to explore. The sliding rocks are divided into two slides, one for kids and one for adults. This fun activity is used for swimming and sliding.

What to Eat

There are plenty of exotic and delicious foods for you to try when you visit Samoa. The traditional dishes include chicken (moa), pork, fish (i’a), and coconut cream as well as breadfruit (ulu) and taro (talo). One local favorite is oka, a dish with raw fish marinated in coconut cream, lemon juice, chili, and onions. Delicious local fruits include mangoes, pineapples, bananas, star fruit, and papayas. Fish is also widely popular and the freshly caught tuna, octopus, snapper, crayfish, and palolo are always abundant. If you want to go out, there are plenty of nightclubs and bars to choose from. There is also a large selection of cafes, restaurants, and snack bars all across the islands.

Where to Shop

If you want to shop in Samoa, your best bet is hitting the local and flea markets to get authentic Samoan souvenirs. One of the best places on the islands is Apia’s Flea Market on Beach Road. Open Monday through Saturday, this colorful area sells everything from Samoan clothing to crafts. The Samoan people take great pride in their handiwork and the fine mats, bags, and baskets are the beautifully made. Many tourists take home the intricate carved ‘ava (kava) bowls that are used for the ceremonial kava drinking.

If you’re wanting to buy local produce or fish, there are two places that you have to hit. The first is a lively market called Maketi Fou. It houses fresh, local produce, traditional dishes and sweets, and freshly brewed koko Samoa (a local chocolate drink). The second is the Fish Market where you will find moray eels, yellow fin tuna, and octopus.

Where to Stay

Like the islands themselves, the hotels in Samoa are beautiful and inviting. You can stay in a hotel, specialty lodge, or Bed & Breakfast/Inn that come in a variety of styles from romantic and luxurious to quaint and family-friendly. Happy travels!

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