17 April 2012
Australasia specialist Nicola Michael recounts here recent trip to Samoa.
Well, I'm just back from Samoa and I have to say, what a fantastic place with great people. Samoa is not your usual luxury Pacific destination. Having travelled to its richer neighbours in French Polynesia - Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahiti etc, you definitely get a different feel from these Islands.
Although there are not many luxury hotels, this isn't a destination to overlook. It has a wealth of culture, heritage, rustic and rural scenery. From the rainforest covered mountain peaks and vast valleys with waterfalls (which are great for walkers) to the trademark white sands of the pacific protected by the fringing coral reefs.
Life is very relaxed here and traditional village life is very much alive. This is a destination for people that want to see something different and experience local life (not for someone looking for a luxury beach break!).
Samoa is made up of 10 islands - some inhabited, others with only nature's wildlife present. The two main islands that people visit are Upolu and Savaii.
The later is the one for the beaches and apparently the best weather (say the locals), although Upolu has no shortage of great beaches, the best being on the south side of the Island. The capital Apia is a city thriving with local markets where you can pick up some local handicraft souvenirs.
I spent four nights on Upolu and three nights on Savaii. I would recommend hiring a car if you want to see everything, as the Islands are quite big and hotels are spread out giving the feeling of space and privacy!
Although there are no direct routes to Samoa, it's a great side extension to a trip to Australia or New Zealand, or even from the states via Hawaii.
The best time to visit is during the dry winter season - between May and October.
Upolu - Robert Louis Stevenson's museum and hike (Mountain Vaea where he was laid to rest), Fugalei food Market and Savalalo Flea Market, To Sua Trench (cave pool not to be missed - take a picnic!)
Savaii - Taga Blow Holes, Afu Aau Waterfall, Saleaula Lava Fields, swimming with turtles at Saleapaga Village (not in the sea).
Snorkelling/Diving - The coral life is amazing here, even for non divers. You see fish swimming around your feet not long after stepping into the reefs - amazing!
Coconuts Beach Club Resort & Spa, Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa, Seabreeze Resort, Le Lagoto Resort and Tanoa Tusitala Hotel
For people that want to experience more low-key beach hut/fales - Savaii Lagoon Resort & Le Vasa Resort are great!
Inspired? Call us on 0845 643 6547 to start planning your own Samoan adventure.