Samoa is somewhere I frequent often. I struggle to sit on a beach and do nothing for days on end so in addition to dropping and flopping Samoa offers many other things to do. As this is a collaboration of many trips I am just going to talk about my favourites. So, in no particular order meet Samoa!
This is the island you will fly into so it’s a good place to start and I’m going to take you clockwise around the island.
I think having a car in Samoa is a must as it’s the easiest and most cost-effective way to see the island. It will give you the freedom to go to a new spot each day.
About Halfway between Faleolo Airport and the capital Apia you will find Malua Turtle Feeding pond. There is no charge to come here and see/feed the turtles. On your way you will see many road-side stalls selling pawpaw so I suggest you buy some and stop at the pond where the turtles will come right up to you to get a snack! Be careful. The rocks are slippery and my husband ended up in the drink!
Head a couple of minutes past Apia Town and you will come to Palolo Deep Marine Reserve. It is literally a coral reef only 5 minutes from the harbour so for a cheap and easy snorkel experience stop here at mid tide and see what you can find. The coral here doesn’t have much colour but you will find almost all varieties of fish and I have even come across a baby reef shark. Pricing is around $5-10 for entry and you can pay a little extra to borrow a snorkel and mask. Be sure to take reef shoes with you or hire fins as it’s not a sandy beach it is rock and coral.
Continue for another 25 minutes and you will come to Piula Cave Pool. This is a fresh water cave pool underneath a cliff sporting a large Methodist church. This is a great stop on a hot day as the fresh water is much cooler than the sea and is a good way to rinse off if you have been swimming nearby at the sea! If you are brave enough head to the back of the cave. Dive down about two metres and you will see light at the end of the tunnel. Follow it (it’s only about 2 metres in length) and you will come up in another smaller cave pool. Don’t worry you don’t have to come back that way. You can just walk about 50 metres around the corner from the main cave pool =)
The drive across the island from Piula Cave Pool heading to the South side of the island is very scenic as you are passing by hordes of untouched rainforest. Once you hit the south side you hang a left so the ocean is now on your right and it is only around 50 minutes in total to get to Lalomanu Beach a popular, sandy beach which is always a great stop for some lunch and a quick swim. If you want a deserted beach experience I highly suggest going a further 10 minutes. You will see on your right a small island which is less than 1 km from the mainland.
This is Namua Island and you want to go there! It’s a short dinghy ride (5 minutes) and if you go when the tide is coming in you will no doubt sea many turtles swimming by. Enjoy the blissful peace of what feels like a deserted beach or take a hike up the island. This is worth the trip and the cost is around $10 for parking and $50 per person for the trip across and use of a beach fale. There is also a rustic shower block on the island and if you want a BBQ lunch you can pay extra for this also =)
Turn back around and follow the coast so the ocean is on your left side. In around 20 minutes you will come across To Sua Ocean trench. With wild ocean one way and then a calm swimming hole 30 metres down the other the scenery here is impressive and perfect for a picnic lunch or afternoon tea and swim. The cost is approximately $15 per person.
Yet another good spot for a meal and swim is Sinalei Resort and Spa. This is an adult only property so visitors must be over 12 years of age. Now if I haven’t booked you in to stay here I still recommend you pop by for a meal at their beautiful Waterfront Restaurant. The food is decent, reasonably priced and the best part is after lunch you can then bomb off their pier in to the ocean trench. They have built their pier out to the trench so it seems rude not to do 1 or 2 bombs.
Another great fresh water swimming hole is Togitogiga Waterfall. There is no cost to enter as it’s part of the national park. It’s in-between Sinalei and To Sua so if you want to rinse all that salt water off this is a tropical paradise and there is also the option for more bombs between levels of the waterfall.
As you can tell there are swimming spots all over Samoa and they are all worth a visit but the last highlight I’m going to mention on Upolu is Papaseea sliding rock.
When I look at the photos of this it looks super dangerous so do be careful if you decide to give it a whirl. This one’s a bit harder to find as it’s not off the main road so you’ll have to ask me for better directions but the way to get there is to head from Apia town towards the airport. You’ll come across a ridiculously large church … you’ll know it when you see it. Turn left here and head up the hills. On the left-hand side as, you start the incline you will start to see signage. Follow these because my directions are turn left then right and they may or may not be correct lol. When you finally make it (my bad directions will probably get you lost) you will have to head down a billion stairs … it’s probably around 150 so this outing is not for the faint-hearted. You will then need to follow suit of the locals. Be sure to slide only where they are sliding and keep your head tucked in! The cost is around $5 per person to enter.
Savaii is accessed from Upolu by ferry. The terminal is a 5-minute drive from Faleolo Airport so it is possible to arrive into Samoa and then ferry over to Savaii same day.
There is a beautiful lagoon at Lusia’s Lagoon Chalets which you should probably swim in, Manase Beach (this islands most popular beach), a treetop canopy walk and more turtles to swim with however, I’m only going to go over my two favourite things to see here.
1 – Saleaula Lava Fields put our Rangi to shame. The flow of lava stretches out in a solid block to the sea and it is incredible to see the way it flowed through the village and the skeletons of the church it destroyed still standing.
It costs a small fee (approx. $5 per person) and a woman from the local village will escort you around. You can’t really get lost but it’s nice to be able to contribute to the locals.
2 – My other favourite thing to do on Savaii is visit the Alofaaga Blow holes. You must visit at the right time so the blowholes are in full force. If you get it right they are spectacular! Entry is around $10 per person and you can walk at your leisure around the holes so be very careful not to fall in. You may be approached by an elderly man who will try and charge you 10 Tala for an empty basket of coconut husks. Pay him. You heard me right … pay him! A childish act but he will show you how to toss your empty coconut husks into a hole just as it’s about to blow your husk will fly back up in the air and you’ll get drenched. It’s great fun for adults and children alike. But if you are bringing your children here be sure to hold onto them!
Enjoy! That is Samoa in a nutshell. There are some gaps so come in and see me for a chat as I’d love to tell you more!
Samoa through the eyes of Cat Parker (09 522 3414, firstname.lastname@example.org)