Imagine, you wake up under a roof made out of palm tree leaves. You can hear the waves breaking over the reef. Open your eyes, inhale through your nose and smell the odor of the sea. Get up and walk down the stairs to the beach. A few meters to go and you will be in the warm Pacific Ocean. You turn around and look along the coastline and think – this must be paradise. Talofa Lava – Welcome to Samoa.
Nearly every morning in Samoa started like this. The Samoan islands are located in the heart of Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. Actually, from Europe, Samoa is only a convenient 40-hour flight away. So what the hell made me travelling to this place? The search for the “end of the world feeling”, die astonishing beaches, the hospitality or the cuisine? Honestly, I do not really know my answer. But what is clear, my time in Samoa is clear and I will come back one day.
“SAMOA?I Have never heard of it…”
After I returned from my trip, most people were telling me this sentence. Therefore, I want to give you some insights.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Samoa was colonized by the German Empire. Until today, some remains of this short period is visible. 1962 Samoa became independent and the people are really proud of their nation. The village life is still present the “Matai” takes care of his family and its interests.
A Matai, is the chief of a family. He mediates conflicts and represents the family. However, he is also liable for a misdemeanor of his family. The village meeting is hold by the Matais of the families. Together, they elect a village chief for lifetime. They can even pass small village laws in this gathering. For example, in Manase on Savai’i, dogs were banned ( Stray dogs are a serious issue on the islands).
The village life dominates the everyday life of the people. This tradition and communal way of thinking gives the visitors a very special feeling, even a feeling of affiliation. Although, the life is so different to our, the experience can be very refreshing and giving. Until today, I have contact to people from Samoa, who made my time unforgettable.
After I visited Fiji, the Cook Islands and Tonga, Samoa is my secret favorite. In the following, I want to explain you why. There are beautiful beaches on every of the mentioned islands. Also every island offers unique cultural experiences. In some countries, the culture can be felt more intensely in others less. In my opinion, this correlates with the development of tourism.
What makes Samoa my favorite, are the fale (Traditional and affordable accommodation right on the beach), great friendly and peace loving people, waterfalls, beaches and other natural spectacles and obviously the hospitality and Polynesian cuisine. If you prefer a holiday with Spa programs and jet skis, Samoa may not be the ideal destination for you and I would suggest the Fijis or the Cooks. In terms of going out, Fiji and Samoa has more to offer too. But honestly, is there anything better than standing on the beach around a campfire and dancing together with Samoans to traditional music.
My journey through samoa
My journey began in the Samoan capital Apia and the main island U’polu. If you are a good bargainer, you will be rewarded with some souvenirs on the lively market. After two nights in Apia, we moved on and took the ferry to Savai’i.
Savai’i is the largest islands, but not as developed as U’polu. It attracts visitors with one of most beautiful beaches of the world, lava fields, waterfalls and high volcanos. After four days on Savai’i we travelled back to U’polu and went to Lalomanu beach in the South East of the island. Seven years ago, one of the greatest catastrophes occurred in this part of the island when a tsunami destroyed nearly all of the infrastructure. In total I stayed 12 days on the Islands and I recommend you to spend at least 1,5 weeks there.
ANDRES travel tips:
- Direct flights from Auckland, Sydney, Fiji and Honululu
- Try “Oka” – raw fish in lemon juice and coconut milk
- Vailima Beer
- Take your time and adapt to island time
- On U’polo:
- Apia Markedt
- Lalomanu Beach
- Namu’a Island
- Vavau Beach
- Stay here: Faofao Beach Fale
- To Sua Ocean Trench
- Ofa waterfall
- On Savai’i:
- Two nights in Fagamalo
- Two nights in Joeland Beach Fales
- Around-the-island Tour to the lava fields, Aganoa Beach, Afu-A-Au waterfalls Alofaaga Blowholes and sunsets in Satuaitua Beach Fales
The following map, gives you and overview about our journey.