5 Reasons why you should go to Upolu, Samoa
March 16, 2019
by Gisele Braga
If you go to Samoa, you will fall in love with the people, the paradise environment, the strong culture and traditions. Discovering Samoan way of life is a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Perfect Pacific Destination
Samoa is located between New Zealand and Hawaii, just in the heart of the Pacific Ocean consisting of 10 islands including Upolu and Savaii, the two largest islands. Apia is the capital of Upolu with a population of around 37,000.
Samoa is the perfect destination for travellers seeking a getaway for relaxation or adventure in a natural beauty environment and warm weather with an average temperature of 25-30 degrees combining with the Polynesian traditional culture.
Samoa with its own unique natural environment has plenty to offer: waterfalls, national parks, lagoons, plantations, caves and most beautiful beaches along the coastline. The clear blue water surrounding the reefs is home to a lush marine life of more than 900 species of tropical colourful fish and a variety of corals perfect for snorkelling and diving.
The famous natural attraction is the To Sua Ocean Trench. A big hole of 30m deep natural saltwater was formed during an ancient lava eruption which slipped the land away creating two holes. One of the holes is connected to the ocean by a cave and filled with saltwater forming a beautiful natural swimming pool surrounded by rocks and tropical green plants.
Samoa is a destination for waterfall lovers, you can find plenty of falls inside the island of Upolu. You can appreciate the view of the 55-metre-high Fuipisia Falls or go swimming at Togitogiga Waterfall. If you look for a deep turquoise spring water and swimming surrounded colourful fishes, Piula Cave Pool in Northeast Coast is the best place to go.
The sandy beaches and the warm water are perfect for a variety of water activities including snorkelling, diving, kayaking, swimming with turtles, fishing and paddle boarding. In some areas, you can go surfing, however, it is recommended to have strong experience and be very careful from unpredictable currents and the waves breaking onto the reefs. You can do other activities such as cycling and trekking through rainforests in National Parks. Along the coastline, there are many traditional fales where you can rest and take a break from the sun while enjoying the breeze.
Samoans are environmentally friendly reducing the usage of plastic materials as much as they can so they use their traditional way of living such as making plates or bags for plantation by using only coconut leaves. Samoans look after their green environment really well. There is no rubbish around so in everywhere you go, Samoa is to be appreciated by its beautiful tropical garden with different species of plants, flowers and trees.
What I most love about Samoa is how Samoans are. They live a simple life and are so happy living together. They have strong family values, traditions and culture which are very important to me. It is beautiful to see a family with so much love and respect for each other.
Samoans are extremely lovely, friendly and welcome, however, it is very important visitors to follow their rules respecting and asking permission to access and enter the villages. They are more than happy to show their culture, their nature and how they live. Samoans have a lovely way to wave to us and say “Talofa” which means hello/welcome and they expect us to wave back as well.
The family villages are right on the roadside so if you are driving in Samoa, you can watch the Samoan way of life closely. Family meetings happen in traditional open fales which are houses with no walls. You can see them watching TV, chatting or relaxing in fales. During the day, they are playing sports, working in the garden, the kids are running freely as well as their chickens, pigs and dogs. It is just a relaxing way of living.
The Rich Local Culture And Traditions
Samoan way Fa’a Samoa”
Discover “Fa’a Samoa”. the Samoan way, by visiting the Samoan Cultural Village in Apia to experience how Samoans live in their villages. Watching them preparing food for cooking in umu oven, an earth oven used to cook traditional food in special events. Also, see plenty of traditional arts and crafts, woodcarving, painting and discover how they make it.
For Fa’a Samoa, the respect for the “matai” or chief from each village is very important. The chief makes the decision for what is best for his community. The aga or extended family including grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces live and work together in the same village and are always sharing and helping each other. Samoans have strong beliefs and faith through Christianity. Sundays are their special day to attend church with their families.
Another wonderful way to experience Samoan culture is going to Fiafia Night. Samoans offer a cultural demonstration showing their history through slap dance, singing, drumming and fire display. The event is offered in many resorts with buffet a la carte so you can also enjoy your night with traditional Samoan food.
Tatau is a traditional body art using handmade tools such as wood or tusks. Mainly both men and women have tattoos and the most common place covered with tatau is the upper legs.
Samoan is the national language, however, English is considered a second language. Samoans are extremely proud of their culture so if you show interest in learning their language, they are more than happy to teach you. Samoan language is so sweet and some words easy to learn. Some of the most important words:
Talofa – Hello!
Fa’amolemole – Please!
Fa’afetai – Thank you1
Tofa – Goodbye!
Toe Feiloai – See you later!
Traditional Samoan Cuisine
Sundays are the special days to celebrate with family and cook traditional meals using umu oven. Samoan dishes are healthy and so tasty with its own unique flavour. A variety of vegetables, seafood and tropical fruits are found in Samoa.
The traditional Samoan food is cooked mainly with root vegetables. Taro is a very popular vegetable cooked in Samoa, it is known as tapioca in most tropical countries. Taro can be cooked, baked, fried like chips and even mixed with coconut milk, seafood and different types of meat. The most popular taro dish is Palusami made with coconut cream and onion, wrapped in taro leaves and baked in the umu oven.
Coconut is the second popular traditional food in Samoa. If you are a coconut lover like me, you are in the right place. Samoans use coconut for almost everything and the coconut is absolutely organic and tasty. It is used for cooking, for drinks and for personal use. Faausi is a traditional dessert made with homemade coconut bread and coconut caramel sauce, delicious!
Samoa offers plenty of tropical fruits from their own plantation including bananas, papayas, star fruits and pineapples.
Many different types of Seafood are also found in Samoa such as crayfish, tuna, snapper, octopus and many others. The traditional fish dish is called Samoan Oka, a raw fish dish that is mixed with coconut cream, lemon, chilli, cucumber and onions. Another most popular one is Poke which is made with raw tuna, soy sauce and onions, really tasty!
Samoa is a place not to be missed. If you have been or you are still going to Samoa, I am more than happy to hear from you.