When most people think of a tropical island holiday, the names Fiji, Bali or Hawaii are often tossed around. There are so many other hidden gems in the South Pacific, however, including beautiful Samoa. With its tropical islands, crystal clear water, coral reefs, waterfalls, lush jungle, blowholes and ocean trenches, it truly is an island paradise. If it hasn’t been on your list before, we’re sure it will be after reading our guide to Samoa and seeing what this island paradise has to offer!
A quick guide to Samoa: Where to eat, stay and play
Located roughly a six hour flight from Australia’s east coast, Samoa is an easily accessible holiday destination, particularly for Australians and New Zealanders. Popular with couples, honeymooners, friends and families, it has something for everyone. With an array of different accommodation options available catering to all budgets, choose to stay in a 5-star resort, hotel, beachside bungalow, overwater bungalow, or even a tree house (yes you heard us – you can stay in a tree house!).
STAY & EAT
Sinalei Reef Resort and Spa
Located on the southern coast of Upolu Island and not too far from Apia and its international airport, the locally owned 4-star Sinalei Reef Resort & Spa has been voted as Samoa’s #1 stylish, luxury resort, making it a special place for couples and older families (with children over 12). Its location makes it easy to explore all that Upolu Island has to offer, including the To Sua Ocean Trench, Lalomanu Beach, Sopoaga Falls, just to name a few.
With 29 villas dotted throughout 33 acres of lush tropical vegetation on a sheltered lagoon, it’s perfect for snorkelling, swimming, paddle boarding and just relaxing under the palm trees with a coconut or cocktail in hand. It also has a wonderful day spa in a little fale perched right next to the lagoon, so you can relax and be pampered while listening to the sound of the south pacific ocean.
By far, Sinalei serves the best food that we tasted in Samoa. It’s fresh, local and oh so tasty. If you like fresh fish then their ‘Oka’ is a must (marinated, raw, yellow fin tuna, coconut cream, tomato and cucumber, served on a bed of taro). We ate it almost every day that we were there, even as a snack. Their famed overwater restaurant, Ava I Toga, is one of the most romantic dining experiences we have ever experienced. After walking down a lantern-lit, palm tree-lined path, we dined under the stars while listening to local Samoan musicians play, the sand beneath our feet. They also offer a Fia Fia night, with traditional Samoan cuisine, fire twirling, singing and dancing. Sinalei also make the best cocktails on the island – their coconut mojito is to die for!
Le Lagoto Resort & Spa
This boutique resort is located on the island of Savai’i on a secluded white sand beach, fringed by coconut palms and crystal clear water. With 10 Samoan style bungalows and two family rooms, an infinity pool and restaurant, Le Lagato Resort & Spa is the perfect place to escape the world for a quieter stay and is one of the best sunset locations we’ve seen in Samoa. Vailili Restaurant serves fresh and delicious local food and also offers a local Fia Fia night.
Lupe Sina Treesort
The south pacific’s only treehouse resort, Lupe Sina Treesort has to be seen to be believed. It looks like something out of a fairytale or a Disney movie, like a kid’s treehouse, but on a much bigger scale. This treehouse, built into the root system of a giant Banyan Tree, is actually a full resort room. It contains two bedrooms, a living room, kitchenette, bathroom with shower and toilet and a balcony to admire the view. There is a second treehouse built around an Ava Tree, which is smaller but still just as impressive. With views down towards the coast and out across the reef, you could happily stay here for days.
To Sua Ocean Trench
To Sua Ocean Trench would have to be what Samoa is most famous for. It’s possibly the world’s most magical swimming hole. If you’re planning a trip to Samoa, this is one place you cannot miss. It is one of the most beautiful sights we’ve ever laid eyes on; a sparkling turquoise water hole surrounded by tropical gardens hanging from the bordering cliffs. The only way to access the swimming hole is via a steep ladder but it’s well worth the decent. We visited when it was raining and overcast, which seemed to make it feel even more magical and the water temperature was divine! To Sua is found on beautiful, tropical grounds and there are fales located on top of the cliff looking out over the ocean, so make sure you take a walk around while you’re there. The photos really do speak for themselves.
The world famous Lalomanu Beach is a stunning stretch of sparkling white sand beach, dotted with fales, resorts and restaurants. Its turquoise lagoon is breathtaking. With coral, starfish and hundreds of fish just meters from the shore, you could easily spend a whole day here like we did, snorkelling, eating, laying in hammocks under palm trees, sipping on cocktails and just simply relaxing. We visited on an overcast and cloudy day and the place was still magical.
An easy stop on the side of the road will afford you a breathtaking view of the stunning Sopoaga Falls. A short walk through beautifully manicured gardens full of native plants and trees leads you to viewing area to see the thundering falls surrounded by tropical jungle. It is one of Samoa’s most well-known and stunning waterfalls – a must see while you are here.
Afu Aau Waterfalls
Located on the Island of Savaii is Afu Aau waterfall, a small waterfall which plunges from the rainforest above into a picturesque pool below, which is perfect for swimming. Smaller falls can be found downstream and there is a beautiful walk from the top falls to the car park. You will find locals and tourists swimming in this serene location.
Located on a palm-fringed section of coastline, the Alofaaga Blowholes are a sight to be seen. Lava flows have created a series of tubes connecting the cliff top with the ocean below. Water from the ocean and waves is pushed up through the blowholes, propelling water hundreds of feet into the air. It’s a pretty spectacular sight. The locals throw coconut husks into the blowholes to show you just how high the water can shoot out. There are some cute little fales along this section of coastline too, perfect for relaxing and photo opportunities.
Did we mention that Samoa has some of the best sunsets and sunrises you’ve ever laid eyes on? We’ll leave you with one more photo to inspire you to book that trip!
And there you have it – our guide to Samoa!
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Have you been to Samoa or is it now on your list? Let us know in the comments below.