Samoa: Highlights of Upolu and Savai'i
Monday, June 4, 2018
by Samantha Robinson
I would just like to start by saying I visited Samoa a week after Cyclone Gita hit which caused terrible flooding and damages.
However, the Samoan people are so inspiring, everyone had already worked so hard to clean up and build their lives back up. The kindness and generosity of these people made Samoa one of my top 5 countries and would recommend anyone to visit this beautiful country.
Now to get into the stuff you came here for, where you should go.
Dave Parker Eco Lodge
This lodge is a little further away from Apia, about an hour from the airport by taxi, but is worth the journey. The view from the top of that hill is breath-taking both in the mornings and the evenings. It is a very peaceful environment with a small pool and games room. What I will mention is if you are eating your evening meal here make sure you order early, they do not always stock everything on their menu so just give them a little heads up. On the other hand, they get major credit from me for the free shuttle they run into Apia centre every day leaving at 8 am and heading back at 4 pm. Best of both worlds, sightsee and shop during the day with relaxing evenings away from the city.
Papase’ea Sliding Rocks
This gem costs just $5 per adult for an untimed entry. Most people I saw stayed up to an hour, however, I stayed for a fun spent 4 hours. Make sure you wear clothes you don’t mind getting ruined as you may slide over a rough patch of rock.
Su Accommodation Apia
If you would rather spend your evenings closer to the hustle and bustle of Apia Su Accommodation is reasonably priced and very comfortable. The staff are friendly and willing to help where they can. And always a plus for me, there is a kettle and fridge in your room with complimentary tea, coffee and sugar. Also, note that there is A/C available that works very well.
I personally feel when visiting other countries it is always nice to go to the markets, you can find all sorts of hidden treasures and keepsakes. There are 3 main markets in Apia and they all stock very similar crafts. If Samoa is the only country you are stopping in while in the South Pacific then, by all means, get yourself a souvenir, but if like me you plan to go to either Vanuatu or Tonga I would advise you get your goods there instead (the quality is much higher in these two countries).
Satuiatua Beach Fales
Beautiful traditional fales located directly on the beach, modest location but a great spot for the sunset which you can’t see around the whole island. The water here is very clear and has plenty of fish but the current is quite strong so might not be ideal if you are travelling with young children. The menu has a good variety, again you will need to pre-order but worth the little effort as dinner was rather tasty and filling.
Again only $5 per adult entry fee. You can get a bus to the road entrance and walk to the blowholes (around 1 km) or if you are in a taxi they can drive you all the way. If you are tossing up your options I would recommend taking a taxi as the locals are a bit more fearless than the average visitor and will grab a coconut to throw into one of the holes, trust me you don’t want to be standing close by but it is quite a sight watching them soar back out.
Can you guess how much it costs per adult? Yep $5. These falls are unlike any other that I have ever splashed about in. There is one bigger waterfall and then a series of smaller falls leading down like a river, if you don’t mind a bit of bouldering then you can go from pool to pool exploring your way down.
The Savaiian Hotel
The incredibly friendly staff will learn your name quicker than it takes to make a piece of toast. There is a cosy pool overlooking the water with sun loungers, to top the main meals are very sizeable and delicious.
Tailua Beach Fales
The host at Tailua is an incredible woman who will go out of her way to help you, it was raining a lot when I stayed so she would bring me cups of tea straight to my fale and make sure I was comfortable throughout the day. As is common with most of the fales in Samoa your room price also includes your evening meal, but what I loved here was the welcome fresh coconut.
Sale’aula Lava fields
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how much the entry fee is but in case you’ve skimmed up to this point, it is $5 per adult to get in. This is the location to see both the LMS church and Virgin’s grave. If you have a keen interest in photography this is definitely not a spot to be missed.
Le Vasa Resort
I cannot rave enough about this resort. The mix of the tranquil and green atmosphere with the attentive staff made my stay here perfect. As a full-time traveller, I, of course, booked the cheapest room but you would never have known as it was so spacious. The attention to detail at Le Vasa is commendable, along with the kettle, tea, coffee and sugar, they provided milk. Included in the collection of towels for my every need, there was a towel just for removing makeup.
Together with the poolside service and regular checks to see if we needed anything, there were great daily drink offers, and no need to wear that annoying watch because the staff will kindly come and tell you personally when happy hour starts. Finally, I don’t know where their chef was from, but he can cook a steak! Truly divine food.
This is not an exhaustive list of places to go, there are a lot of other attractions that I would have loved to have seen but due to the timing of when I went, they were not accessible.
If in doubt of whether to go to Samoa, just do it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.