In recent years, rumors have begun to spread about the existence of a small Polynesian nation in the South Pacific Ocean; a series of nine islands that lie halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii.
Defined by its iridescent seas, jade jungles and crystal waterfalls, rumors of this magical place are spreading like wildfire, and it’s unlikely it will keep its title of best kept secret in the Pacific for very long.
Though how do you know if Samoa is a country for you?
Even though it’s is a pretty safe bet in terms of an incredible vacation, what kind of travelers does it suit?
5 Types of Travelers Who Visit Samoa – Is This You?
#1 Nature Addicts
From lush rainforests to glistening beaches, nature addicts will fall head over heels in love with Samoa. While there are nine islands, you’ll find an abundance of natural wonders on the main two: Savaii and Upolu.
The nature on offer here is so rich and intense that there aren’t enough cliches to adequately describe it. If we were rating the creator on a scale out of 10, he / she would get a 15; that’s how off the scale Samoa’s nature is.
Samoa is paradise in every sense of the word; everything is pristine, from the white sand beaches, to the lush rain-forests, to the iridescent seas. You have sparkling lagoons where you can swim with turtles, swimming holes that have been formed out of extinct volcanoes, and rainforest canopies that lead past mighty waterfalls.
The green of the mountainous interior looks photo-shopped; but you’re staring at the real thing. Wild and untamed, the landscape looks almost Jurassic, but there are no wild beasts to interrupt the peace and tranquility.
Being one of the least developed nations in the South Pacific, nature in Samoa is dramatic, wild, untamed, and very raw. Even if you’re not nature enthusiast, Samoa will convert you; the majesty and sheer grandeur of its landscapes will leave you in awe.
Nature Based Things to do in Samoa
➤ Sopo’aga Waterfall: Early in the day is the best time to go, the morning light is soft bringing out the colours of the rainforest. You’ll also be looking directly into the sun later in the afternoon.
➤ Falealupo Canopy Walk: A swinging rope bridge that runs between a tower and a huge 230-year-old strangler fig tree. The platforms are within the forest canopy so the outlook is into the trees surrounding you. Climb directly down that tree or cross the swing bridge back again.
➤ Papase’ea sliding rock: Mother nature’s water slides, these naturally formed rock slides have been worn down by thousands of years of running water. If you decide not to take on the adrenaline slides then the rock pools at the base are still a worthwhile visit.
➤ Saleaula Lava Fields: The remains of 5 villages which were buried under a massive flow of lava after a 1905 volcanic eruption. You’ll find half buried churches, a virgin grave and lava mounds (imprints of tree etc) as you walk over this fascinating geological expanse.
➤ Alofa’aga Blowholes: Natural coastal spouts that send water high into the air as a result of the tide being forced into underground caves and lava tubes. The water has no-where to go but to come rushing out through gaps that formed from bubbles in the lava as it set.
#2 Water Babies
If you were born for the water, you were born to visit Samoa; surrounded by beautiful turquoise waters, Samoa is defined by its water activities; from kayaking, to swimming with turtles, taking a dip underneath waterfalls, and snorkeling among coral reefs.
Samoa is the perfect tropical destination; the temperature sits at a balmy 28 degrees all year round, and the water temperatures sit around the low 20’s, making it perfect for water activities every day of the year.
We recommend packing your own snorkel for Samoa; while rentals are available, you’ll probably find you’re in the water daily, as the clear waters have spectacular visibility. You’ll find colorful reefs and coral gardens home to an abundance of tropical fish.
Surfing in Samoa has become quite popular, and across the islands are quite a diverse range of wave breaks. The islands benefit from the same strong swells that hit Hawaii, so it may be a little dangerous for beginners. Regardless of your skill level, it’s best to surf with a local who knows the currents and reefs.
Water Based Things to do in Samoa
➤ To Sua Ocean Trench: A giant swimming hole which formed after two giant sinkholes joined via an ancient lava tube cave. It’s 30 meters deep, and you can climb down using a ladder. There are lush gardens here with cliff top walks, blowholes, sea arches, and rockpools.
➤ Aga Reeef Resort: This resort is the ideal base for water based activities; there is an onsite lagoon with excellent snorkelling; you might even spot a couple of resident turtles in the waters.
➤ Stevenson’s at Manase: A luxury resort on the big island of Savai’i with a secluded beach and reef. They have free kayaks and Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) if you’re staying with them; snorkelling gear is for hire.
➤ Best surfing: Hit up Lano and Ananoa Beach on southwest Savai’i, and Manase and Fagamalo in the north. There are now whole resorts set up specifically to cater to surfers across both Upolu and Savai’i.
#3 Early Risers
A picture speaks a thousand words.
#4 Beach Bums
Even if you’re not an active water baby, Samoa will appeal to those happy to just laze on the beach, perhaps with a coconut in hand, perhaps with a cocktail. And if you want to actually sleep at the beach, you can book into a beach fale (thatched-roofed beach huts).
Every time another beach comes into view in Samoa it seems even more picture perfect than the last, but the following would have to top the list. Think white sand, turquoise water, swaying palms – Samoan beaches are the very definition of a tropical paradise.
Lalomanu Beach might arguably be one of the best beaches on Upolu and it’s only a 10-minute drive away from Aga Reef Resort. The white coral sand, warm turquoise waters and views of the smaller islands located off the coast make this a must visit while you’re in Samoa.
Vavau Beach is another fantastic option; at the western end there is an almost enclosed swimming area contained by the shape of the beach and a small island just offshore. You won’t find any facilities, and it’s a bit of a detour, but it’s often secluded, and you’ll likely have the beach to yourself.
And then there’s Falealupo beach. You can stay in a beach fale here or just rent one for the day to save baking in the hot sun. The water is turquoise, warm and crystal clear for swimming or snorkelling and the long white coral sand beach lined with palm trees is absolutely stunning.
#5 The Culture Obsessed
Fa’a Samoa, or the Samoan way, is the 3000-year-old culture of the Samoan people. It puts village, family and church at the centre of everything they do, and their traditions have changed very little over time.
This is one of the most authentic Polynesian societies, so those who travel for culturally immersive experiences will be in their element in Samoa. They have held strong to their traditional way of life despite a Western governance in the 19th and 20th centuries.
As you move around the island, you’ll see this traditional culture play out in everyday life. Passing through villages, you’re ‘more likely to see someone juggling fire than a house with walls’, and you quickly notice that everyday life in this island paradise is much as it always has been.
In Apia, the tourism board runs the Samoa Cultural Village where you can spend a few hours understanding a culture that has been relatively unchanged by tourism and technology. They give an insight into Fa’a Samoa and help visitors understand and engage with the culture.
We were immersed in traditional song and dance, shared in the ava, learned to weave our lunch plates, saw the final stage of a traditional tattoo being applied, learned that cooking is men’s work, saw the makings of the umu, traditional carving, making tapas cloth and finally tried some delicious traditional foods.
Moral of the story: Samoa is a destination suited to absolutely everyone. There are many more personality types I could add to this list; the adventurous traveler, the photographer, the foodie, the history buff.
It’s a great destination for couples, for families, for solo travelers – Samoa is for everyone! So what are you waiting for?!
Use this 7 day itinerary for help planning your trip.
THESE BOOKS WILL INSPIRE YOU TO TRAVEL! ↓