Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Samoa has long been regarded as the birthplace of Polynesia, with a culture as alive today as it was 3,000 years ago.March 8, 2017
Pacific Island LivingMarch 8, 2017
Located in the heart of the South Pacific, Samoa has long been regarded as the birthplace of Polynesia, with a culture as alive today as it was 3,000 years ago.
At the heart of this culture lies respect and hospitality, and the Samoan people cannot wait to demonstrate this the Samoan Way.
Witness the creative expression of this tradition and join in the celebrations at a fiafia night, where delicious Samoan food, surf and turf style is served and the culture is celebrated through traditional song, dance and storytelling, as distinct and unique as the culture itself.
You can even take home a memento from the local markets, with handicrafts, fashion, jewellery and handmade artifacts made in Samoa.
Known by many as Mother Nature’s Playground, Samoa has an abundance of pristine beaches, lush gardens, majestic mountains, powerful blowholes and stunning seascapes, all in place waiting to be explored and enjoyed and offering a plethora of activities catering for all types of travellers.
But in order to truly appreciate the beauty of Samoa, you must tap in to the Samoan Way of living – to slow down and to faifai lemu which literally means ‘take it easy’.
Relaxation has been turned into an art form and travellers who visit Samoa soon rediscover the pleasure of simply watching the world go by.
Only then can we really appreciate the beauty of nature, the importance of family and why the Fa’a Samoa culture exists to protect these.
If you’re up for a family adventure, a couple’s escape, a spiritual or cultural experience or just a piece of paradise to get away from the hustle and bustle of life, Beautiful Samoa awaits.
Manoa Tours offer many different snorkeling destinations by boat on the South Coast. Snorkel in wonderful clear blue water, among a variety of reef fish and coral. Snorkeling is family friendly, all ages are welcome and beginner lessons are available.
Their favourite snorkeling spots on Upolu include Aganoa Black Sand Beach, The Aquarium, Coconuts Wall and Nuusafe’e Island.
They also offer guided hikes along Samoa’s lava cliffs as well as hiking up through the jungle to Lake Lanoto’o and Robert L. Stevenson’s memorial site. custom hikes also available.
Swimming with turtles and private surf lessons are on offer at Manoa as well. Transfers and pick up from all resorts on Upolu are available from this long term, well established tour business.
Sa’Moana Resort is located on the stunning South Coast of Upolu, about a 35-minute drive away from Faleolo International Airport.
The perfect place for keen surfers, Sa’Moana offers trips to the best surf breaks in Samoa. The owners are passionate about surfing and the history of surfing in Samoa. Lessons are available and with the resort being located on a gorgeous white sand beach with natural salt water swimming pools and bungalows suited to groups and families, it’s a great choice for a surfing holiday.
Scenic Tours offer a variety of tours on Upolu and to Savai’i. The Essence of Upolu six and a half hour tour begins with a drive through the north east of Upolu along the coast with local villages. Stopping at Plum Pudding Rock a viewpoint for photos, drive through mountains, plantations, rain forest to reach Sopo’aga Falls and Mini Botanical Garden, this site overlooks the falls as they plunge down into a gorge surrounded by jungle.
Samoa has great roads and beautiful mountain ranges, beaches and villages to explore.
A great way to do so is by hiring a scooter from MotoSamoa. With no gears, a low seat height and a step through design, their Scooters are comfortable for riders of all sizes and abilities.
The local lingo
Talofa! You’ll be hearing that many times when you visit Samoa. The national language of Samoa is Samoan, although English is used for business communications. English is widely spoken, especially in Apia, but it’s always helpful to know a few words of the local language.
The following Samoan phrases will probably be useful during your stay in Samoa. By adding a few Samoan words to your conversations, you will be sure to win smiles from the locals.
|That’s all right||‘Ua lelei||Oo-a-lelay|
|big / small||tele / la’ititi||teh-leh / lah ee-tee-tee|
|quick / slow||tope / gese toh-peh||lah ee-tee-tee|
|early / late||vave / tuai||vahveh / two-eye|
|near / far||latalata / mamao||lah-tah-lah-tah / mah-maow|
Getting between the Samoan Islands
The Samoa Shipping Corporation runs the passenger/vehicle ferry between the main islands of Upolu and Savai’i. The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu near the international airport, so if you are travelling from Apia, allow 45 minutes for the journey. The ferry departs from the Salelologa Wharf on Savai’i for the return journey. The trip takes just over one hour each way and it pays to arrive early at the wharf to purchase your tickets.
Check with your accommodation hosts or online at: www.samoashipping.com/domesticsailing_schedule.htm for sailing times. One way passenger fares are ST$6 for child 2–12 years and adults ST$12. Vehicle charges (depending on the size of the vehicle) are between ST$80 $110 each way. The full fare list is available here. Polynesian Airlines operates flights between Fagalii (Upolu) and Maota (Savai’i) every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. For schedule information and bookings visit Polynesian Airlines website.
To get to Manono Island, boats operate from the Manono-uta at the western end of Upolu, just down the road from Mulifanua Wharf. One way fares cost ST$1 for children and ST$3 for adults one way. The boats to Manono Island do not operate to a set timetable, but can be arranged on site at Manono-uta. If you wish to take a charter ferry, you will need to pay WS$25 one-way. If not, you can wait for other passengers and pay WS$3.
ANZ and Bank South Pacific are the two international banks found in Samoa. Both have branches at the international airport, in Apia and at Salelologa on Savai’i.
National Bank of Samoa and Samoa Commercial Bank provide services, currency exchange and ATMs. ATMs are located in and around Apia and on the island of Savai’i.
Travellers can use credit cards in the machines but you are required to have a PIN to withdraw cash.
Staying connected with family and friends, and maybe sharing a status update or photos of your Samoan stay on Facebook or Instagram is easy with eight broadband internet cafes to be found around Apia and one on the island of Savai’i.
Major hotels and resorts also offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres. WiFi is also available at many locations.
There are two main telecommunications providers in Samoa: Digicel and Bluesky Samoa. Both providers offer extensive coverage. Prepaid SIM cards are available at Faleolo International Airport and at outlets in Apia.
Taxis are abundant around the islands and offer their services at a very good rate. Taxis are not metered so it’s good to have an idea of what the journey will cost and agree on a price with the driver before setting off.
Catching the bus in Samoa
Another fun way to explore the islands – and get to know the locals – is to take a map and board a local bus. Samoa’s brightly coloured buses provide inexpensive transport for the locals, and an invaluable experience and memories for visitors.
In Apia, the bus terminals are located next to the food market in Fugalei and also opposite the flea market at Savalalo. On Savai’i, the bus terminal is at the market in Salelologa.
All buses are named with their destination, so ask the driver which bus you need to catch. Note that aside from the terminals, there are no designated bus stops, so you will need to wave down a bus (use your whole arm and keep your palm facing downwards) as it approaches.
The seats are wooden benches, and if the bus becomes full, the locals will opt to sit on each others’ lap, rather than stand in the aisles. This is a courtesy often offered to visitors as well, so don’t be offended or shy if someone offers you their lap. If the bus is heading into either Apia or Salelologa, the locals may carry their produce on board to the markets.
When you want to get off, simply pull the cord to ring the buzzer. You pay your fare as you leave the bus.
Tipping is not practised or expected in Samoa. However, if a guest wishes to leave a gift for good service then you are welcome to do so directly with the employee or the hotel reception.
Taumeasina Island Resort
Taumeasina Island Resort in Samoa was marketed as four and half star luxury, situated on its own private island when it opened last year and … seeing is believing.
We can happily confirm, this resort lives up to expectations.
We stayed in a family villa, comfortably sleeping six people, with a full kitchen, laundry, two bathrooms and three bedrooms.
The resort has two private beaches, a cascading resort pool, fine dining and casual restaurants, lobby bar, sunset bar overlooking the ocean, day spa and a number of venue options for wedding ceremonies and an outdoor kids’ play area.
Taumeasina has a winning formula when it comes to weddings, honeymoons and vow renewals, they have multiple packages available for the bride and groom covering everything from flowers to photographers.
Thinking outside of the box they also realise the importance of flexibility and can help design the day to suit every whim from the intimacy of an occasion to a sprawling family affair.
Choose from a barefoot beach wedding, a customary chapel ceremony at the Vasa wedding venue or tie the knot amongst the lush gardens.
The dedicated wedding coordinator will tend to every detail to make your destination wedding in Samoa the most seamless and unforgettable day and surpass your expectations.
Sheraton Samoa Beach
From small wedding ceremonies during sunset to an elaborate celebration with your loved ones until the stars light up the night sky, the options are endless at Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort.
This gorgeous recently refurbished resort has a range of venues available to create the dream backdrop of your enchanting Samoa wedding, from the lagoon bay and natural tropical gardens, to the poolside area or a more traditional venue, the Apolima Fale.
The Sheraton Samoa Beach Resort events team will turn a dream wedding into reality on the beautiful island of Samoa.
Share once in a lifetime memories with friends and family at a Samoan celebration, experience a tropical, paradise wedding from the idyllic location on Upolu Island.
Whether its intimate cocktails on a private pier overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a fairy tale dinner in a traditional fale, or a casual gathering in the lagoon, the Sheration Samoa Beach Resort make dreams come true.
Also offering an onsite spa where one can enjoy beautiful body treatments from start to finish, indulge and enjoy what is on offer.
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