Best Things to See in Samoa, South Pacific
Talofa lava! A honeymoon surprise to Samoa!
Two weeks in Samoa was planned by Ian as a honeymoon surprise for me. Having spent four weeks in a motorhome road tripping the east coast of Australia, a bit of R&R was needed. Arriving at Sydney airport to find out that you’re not flying back to the UK, but to Samoa, was the best surprise ever (apart from the surprise wedding in a ‘fairy tale’ Castle in Slovakia of course!). We flew from Sydney airport to Apia, Samoa (Upolu island) with Virgin Australia. We found Virgin Australia to be a ‘no-frills’ airline – snacks and drinks to be purchased during the flight, not the usual Virgin flights we’ve been on before. Getting to Samoa is super easy – it’s 3½ hours from Auckland and 5 hours from Sydney and Melbourne.
Samoa is comprised of around ten islands (depending who you read) with Upolu and Savai’i being the two larger islands. Samoa has two seasons – the wet season runs from November to April and the dry season is from May to October. The average temperatures in Samoa are between 24° – 30°C. Samoa is nowhere near as commercialised as Fiji, so you still get to experience it as the Samoans do, which is why Ian chose Samoa for the honeymoon destination. When you step off the plane, you immediately notice the tropical heat and the ‘lush green vegetation’ – well you would if it wasn’t 05.30 in the morning 😉
Here are our ‘must-see’ when visiting Samoa:
Visit Samoa’s many cascading waterfalls
There is an abundance of beautiful waterfalls situated around the island. With a few of the waterfalls, you may have to pay entrance fees as these are located at the end of people’s gardens (that’s right…the end of a garden!). Wouldn’t you love a water feature like that at the end of your garden? The entrance fees range from $5-10 (Tala is the local currency). We recommend hiring a car for the day to find the waterfalls and be warned that the signs for some of the waterfalls are fairly small! A few times we had to brake hard and reverse, as we almost drove past the signs. Sopoaga and Falefa waterfalls are $5 and Fuipisia is $10. Papapapai-uta and Togitogiga waterfalls are free to visit. The most popular spots are Togitogiga and Sopoaga Falls.
To Sua Ocean Trench
For an unforgettable and unique experience, visit To Sua Ocean Trench. To Sua Ocean Trench translates to ‘big hole’ and is on the main south coast road, located in Lotofaga village. It’s a giant swimming hole, 30m deep and can be accessed by concrete steps and a wooden ladder down to a wooden platform. For the adventurers, you can dive off the platform if the water levels are high enough. The water is crystal clear with tropical fish swimming around your feet. The area offers cliff top views, lush green gardens, blowholes and rock pools. There are also many fales dotted around the area for you to relax and take in the views or to shelter from any sudden rain fall.
The area opens every day from 7am-6pm, entrance fees are $15 for adults and $6 for children.
Tip: Recommend bringing water shoes. You can leave your belongings on the platform or by the rock ledge at the top of the ladder. For the ladies, cover up once you’re out of the swimming hole.
Vavau beach is on the south east of the island and part of Lotofaga village. You can walk to Vavau beach from the Seabreeze Resort along the coast in around 20 minutes. If you access the beach from the road, you may have to pay an entrance fee since the area is owned by the Lotofaga village. Vavau beach was popular with the locals on weekends but during the week was almost empty with just an occasional fisherman/woman to be found shopping for dinner 😉 We walked from Seabreeze Resort and did not bump into anyone the entire time we were there. Deserted sandy beach, turquoise waters, so tranquil … picture perfect!
Piula Cave Pool
The Piula Cave Pool is on the east coast road located in Lufilufi village. It’s a natural freshwater pool, popular with tourists and locals. The cave pool was formed from an old lava tube. When you swim inside the main cave, there is a submerged tunnel leading to a smaller cave. The water is blue-green, crystal clear, filled with little fish… great for a refreshing swim and for dipping your toes in! There are changing rooms, fales and toilets on site. There’s also a small entrance fee to swim in the cave pool.
Shop till you drop in Apia Markets
Apia is Samoa’s capital, only 40km from the airport. Wander around the colourful Fugalei market, selling fresh tropical fruits and sample some of Samoa’s favourite bites. A 10 minute walk from the food market is the flea market – the perfect place to find those souvenirs from hand crafted wood carvings, lavalavas (sarongs) to beautiful handmade jewellery. Whilst browsing the stalls, why not pick up a cold niu (drinking coconut) to help combat the heat.
Robert Louis Stevenson Museum
Visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum which will give you an insight into the author’s life and family and what brought him to Samoa. The famous author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped was known to the Samoans as Tusitala (Teller of Tales). After the 40 minute guided tour, take a stroll around the botanical gardens and the rainforest trails surrounding the house.
Tip: Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes and a bottle of water.
The white sandy beach of Lalomanu is located on the south-eastern tip of Upolu and is known to be one of Samoa’s most pristine beaches. The lagoon is a protected marine reserve, home to many tropical fish. So don’t forget to bring your snorkelling gear or you’ll miss out. The beach is so beautiful, you’ll be tempted to stay a night or two in a open beach fale.
Spotting turtles on Namu’a Island
For those looking for a quiet hideaway, take a 10 minute boat ride from Mutiatele (the east coast of Upolu) to the island of Namu’a. Namu’a has beachfront fales to lounge around all day with views of Upolu. The beach is perfect for just relaxing and soaking up all that sunshine, kayaking and swimming with green turtles. We highly recommended a day trip to Namu’a island.
Tip: Remember to take your snorkelling gear and swim near the coral edge of the reef to spot the turtles.
Have you visited the islands in the South Pacific? Which islands would you recommend for our next trip?
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