Welcome to Samoa
Polynesia at its most authentic
Samoa is certainly a South Pacific island gem with a warm, friendly culture and breathtaking scenery. This tiny island nation is made up of 12 islands and just four of those are inhabited. The two main islands are called Upolu and Savai’i and are surrounded by several smaller islands including Manono and Apolima. As a visitor, you’ll most likely arrive into Upolu which is where the international airport is located and it’s home to Samoa’s capital city called Apia.
There’s a lot to see and do in Samoa or you can simply relax and do nothing. Spectacular snorkelling and diving spots are dotted around the islands and there’s so much more beyond the reefs. You may have heard of Samoa’s To-Sua Ocean Trench, an azure blue hole in the sea accessible by a rather steep ladder that leads down to a wooden platform. The hole is actually two holes joined by ancient lava tube caves. You can swim with turtles in the local lagoons, head out deep sea fishing or stay on land and explore the local village (don’t miss the sounds of a Samoan church choir), visit local markets bustling with trade, trek rainforests and swim in waterfalls. For an adventure you’ll love the Falease’ela River Walk that comes complete with countless waterfall jumps that get bigger the further you go – you’re guaranteed fun and saturation!
Samoa is also home to the Alofaaga blowholes, a rocky coastline where the seawater forces itself through holes and rises high in the air. Don’t stand close if you see locals lobbing in coconuts because they get shot up in the air and what goes up must come down!
For something truly unique, visit the Saleaula Lava Fields formed when Mount Matavanu erupted between 1905 and 1911. It destroyed five entire villages but not one single person died. There are remains of a church that had the lava flow straight through it.
Foodies will be salivating over bountiful seafood straight from the ocean, freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, and incredible flavours created in umu cooking (ground oven).
Samoa’s history spans thousands of years and continues to influence and shape Samoan life today. The people are welcoming and very proud of their traditions for good reason. It’s about community, care and generosity that extends beyond their nation’s boundaries to visitors from the world over.
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At a glance
This tiny archipelago of volcanic islands (some of which are still active including its largest island Savai’i) has a long and truly fascinating history that spans more than 3,000 years. According to mythology and legends, Samoans are descendants from the gods and heavens to inhabit these islands. In reality, the Polynesian ancestors made their way across the Pacific in ocean-faring canoes and were guided by the stars. What luck to land in the paradise islands of Samoa.
Samoans saw European whalers and traders in the 1700s and Reverend John Williams arrived – seeing Christianity impact greatly Samoan life. For many Samoans, Fa’a Samoa (Samoan culture) and Christianity became inextricably connected. Race forward a hundred years and more, Samoa became an independent State and celebrates each June.
Many people remember the devastating Tsunami of 2009 but great tragedy also catalysed attention from the world on this island paradise. Recovery was swift but the experience has left a mark on locals. Samoan government instigated training and extensive signage to help locals and tourists alike to be prepared should another Tsunami ever eventuate.
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