Western Samoa is a volcanic land of lava fields and waterfalls, lush rainforests, towering cliffs, blowholes, soft, sandy beaches and great swells. Then there are the ties between Samoa and Australia and New Zealand that go way back (in 1962 Samoa became independent of New Zealand). Another reason why cheap flights to Samoa are in high demand is the political situation in Fiji, which has cast a shadow over relations with Australia in recent years. Whatever you fly to Samoa for, you can be sure that you'll receive a warm welcome from the Samoans.
The Independent State of Samoa consists of two islands, Upolu and Savaii, and seven other islands. Upolu has the capital (Apia), the international airport and most of Samoa's population. Savaii, an one-hour ferry ride away, is larger, more remote and consequently less developed.
If you are lucky enough to get to Cape Mulinuu on Savaii for sunset, you can rest assured that you'll be one of the last people in the world to see the sun set that day. Legend has it that this is also the place where the dead pass into the underworld.
Golfers and big-game fishermen will also enjoy a visit to Samoa. While beach fales and resorts are being rebuilt or restored on the south coast after last year's tsunami, the best way to help Samoans is by holidaying in their beautiful country.
Samoa has a Tropical climate. There are two seasons. The wet season runs from December to April when temperatures average 29 degrees. The dry season extends from May to November. Temperatures are slightly cooler, averaging 22 degrees. Cyclones are a risk between November and April.
When to fly to Samoa
May to October is high season. December to mid-January is also a busy period. This is school holiday time when Samoans return from Australia, New Zealand and the United States.
There's not really a low season on Samoa, but during the rainy season (with the exception of December to mid- January) there are not as many tourists.
Samoa insider information
Robert Louis Stevenson, the 19th-century novelist and poet, who wrote Treasure Island, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped, spent his final years on the Villa Vailima estate. The 314-acre site is now a museum. Stevenson was much loved by Samoans and called Tusitala, which means "Teller of Tales".
The Aleipata District on Upolu has the most wonderful beaches. The snorkelling, swimming and kayaking are great.
Tipping is not encouraged on Samoa, but there are custom fees to visit beaches and historical sites. Nude and topless swimming and sunbathing is prohibited. Visitors are expected to wear a lavalava (sarong) pants or shorts and teeshirt if visiting the village from the beach.
The Papase'ea Sliding Rocks in Seesee are about 5km outside of Apia. The entry fee to these natural waterslides is just a couple of dollars.
Surfing hot spots on Savaii are Lano, Ananoa Beach, Manase and Fagamalo. On Upolu, surf between Apia east and Cape Utumauu, or between Matautu and Matatufu.
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