In the central South Pacific, lies enchanting Samoa, officially known as Western Samoa. Time here ignores the clocks; instead, days follow the sun, tides, and millennia-old traditions known as Fa'a Samoa - the Samoan Way. Welcome to this proud nation spread out over two main islands, Savai'i and Upolu, and four smaller islands.
It is a land of staggering contrasts and natural beauty. Explore rocky volcanic mountains and exquisite sandy beaches with crystal clear water to lush rainforests and townships where welcoming locals squeeze you with their friendly embraces of handshakes and sincere hugs. It's a country with a little of everything, from swimming, sunbaking, lazy beachcombing to action and adventure.
Enjoy seaside sunset dining, the bars and clubs in Apia, and various resorts, from the budget to 5-star.
At the spectacular blowholes at Alofaaga sea, the water spouting meters in the air, and you may see locals throwing coconuts within. Head to a Sunday church service as the harmonies of the voices are divine and better than any TV Show. Divers and snorkellers are not left disappointed, try Palola Deep Marine Reserves, an incredible blue hole close to Apia that can be investigated at high tide. Samoa's islands are fringed with coral reefs, making it a perfect destination for safe snorkelling for all ages. See giant clams, vivid reef fish, corals, and other marine animals harmoniously working together.
To-Sua Ocean Trench is a world-famous natural formation of two giant holes joined by a lava tube and a spectacular dive for those more experienced. Mingle with the locals at the markets. Be at Apia Fish Market well before 11 am, and the Fugalei produce market in Apia has a superb selection of fresh local fruit and vegetables along with traditional Samoan cooked dishes and sweets. On Savai'i, the Salelologa market has the best selection of fresh produce and regular staples.
Samoa has many hiking options varying from the mild to extreme. Mt Vaea at 472m, has views over Apia (see the tomb of famous Scottish poet and author Robert Louis Stevenson) Lake Lanoto on Upolu (only accessible by foot) and climbing Mt Silsili (at 1858m this is a 2-3-day hike, experienced with a guide only) for example.
Travel one of the local brightly coloured buses, sit beside a waterfall, explore lava tubes and craters, and maybe meander through the Falealupo Canopy Walkway with its ancient Banyan trees, or relaxing night at a river retreat. Samoa undeniably has a wide range of temptations for every budget. Many resorts host weekly fiafia nights, which usually includes traditional Samoan dancing and food - it is worth checking out.
Situated so close to the equator, it has the typical distinct two seasons: Wet season between November and March, and Dry season from April to October. Humidity and temperatures stay high all year round, with temperatures hovering around the 28-30°C. If you are hiking, check the weather as the mountains can often be shrouded in a thick cloud, and a guide is highly recommended, for safety, and you'll learn so much more. Tropical storms are more prevalent in the Wet Season, which can disrupt some activities, however its also off-peak so you may get a bargain on your accommodation unless its Christmas.