If you are looking for a beach vacation on a tropical white sandy beach, overhung with coconut palms, then this is your island! Or should I say ….. islands. Upolu is the main island where Apia, the capital, is located. Savaii, the larger island is quite a different experience, and not to be missed. There are several much smaller islands dotted along the coast.
While you will want to spend much of your time on one of the glorious beaches, there is much more to do in Samoa. Below is a suggested itinerary for a week. You would be best to hire a car for sightseeing. You will want to take time each day to relax around a pool, or at a beach. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many wonderful, open air restaurants and RELAX!
Day 1 – Arriving at Faleolo Airport, you will instantly feel the heat! Consistently around 26-27 degrees Celsius, night temperatures dramatically below below 23 degrees. It is about a 45 minute drive into Apia. You will immediately start to relax, with your first experience of colorful villas and crystal clear turquoise water stretching to the white foam of the reef. Once you have settled in, it is a good time for a brief wander around the town, or sampling a Vailima beer, around the pool. Inquire which night the Fiafia is held. There are usually only one or two nights weekly when hotels put these on, so you need to plan in advance.
Day 2 – Morning – Explore Apia, including the markets. There are two markets – the Beach Rd Market on the waterfront near the Tusitala (Kitano) Hotel is for
- tapa cloth
- carved wooden goods including the traditional kava bowl
- jewelery made from shell, coconut husk and seeds
You will find that generally they do not bargain. Ask if they will give you a cheaper price for two and they will involuntarily reply that their boss is not here today so they can not do this. It is worth walking down to Marketi Fou the fruit market, where you can wander amongst the locals as they do their normal daily shopping. Samoa does not have tropical fruits such as pineapples and mangos year round. They have two three week seasons annually. Bananas and oranges are always available, with other fruits such as passionfruit, guavas and vi fruit at different times.
Afternoon – If you are keen to snorkel, Pololo Deep is on the edge of town and the only beach near Apia. You will find it best at mid to low tide.
Day 3- Morning- Visit Vailima, home of Robert Louis Stevenson, on Cross Island Road. He was Samoa's much loved Tusitala – "teller of tales", and lived here for the last few years of his life. You can look through the wonderful colonial house which has been restored, and do the 40 minute walk to the top of Mt Vaea, Stevenson's final resting place, with magnificent views over Apia.
Afternoon – After lunch it is a good time to take a forty minute coastal drive out to Piula for a cooling swim in the freshwater natural pool, which flows into a cave. Situated in the grounds of a beautifully renovated church, you can enjoy the pool, looking out to sea over the narrow rock wall, that separates the two. The pool closes at 4. o'clock, when the local women bring the washing from the boys church boarding school down, and the fish come out from their hiding places.
Day 4 – All Day – Hire a car and drive over the hill, through the rainforest.Have a look at the Bahai temple at the top of the hill, then go and down to Coconuts Resort where you could have morning tea or lunch. Leaving Coconuts, follow the coast road back to Apia, via the many villas and beaches.If you have time to detour to Togitogi Falls, they are beautiful.Or you may like to come back via Papasea – Sliding Rocks. Best when there has been a lot of rain.
Day 5 – Morning – Take the car ferry to Savaii. There are many accommodation options from beach fales at Stevensons or Janes, Savaii Lagoon ….. a middle option or Le Logoto for a more luxurious experience.
Afternoon – Only 2 kilometers along the road is Satoalepai village – where you can swim with turtles. This is a very beautiful place, and while the turtles are in captivity, they have a big pool, and are well cared for. They are very friendly, and it was a highlight of my trip.
Day 6 – All Day – Drive around Savaii – Plan to stop at
- Saleaula Lava Fields – an amazing insight into the effects of the eruptions of Mt Matavanu between 1905 and 1911.
- Alofaaga Blowholes – You will need to check the tides as you will want as near to full tide as possible for the best viewing of the blowholes.These are some of the best you will see anywhere in the world! You will pay $ 5WS each which includes a local guide.
- Carry on to Vaisala Hotel via villas, and beaches. This is the best option for a meal, unless you take a picnic basket.
- Stop at the ruins of the village destroyed by Cyclone Ofa.
NOTE: You will want to allow plenty of time for photo stops. This is a very photogenic country, and Savaii has some wonderful spots for photographers to indulge their hobby!
Day 7- All Day – Experience a night in a beach fale. This could be on Savaii, or after taking the ferry back to Upolu, around the coast where you have several choices of beach fales. If basic is not for you, you may prefer upmarket Seabreeze Resort at Paradise Cove, with excellent snorkelling and probably the best view of live coral on the island.
Day 8 – To Airport