For an island getaway away from the crowds, discover the romantic paradise that is Samoa. A place of crystalline lagoons, breezy vibes and sunkissed beaches, this tropical gem really is the stuff of daydreams.
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This is a tale of traditions, where culture cuts as deep as the tribal tattoos that induct Samoan boys into manhood. Deep in the South Pacific sits Samoa, where you’ll arrive in the colourful chaos of the capital of Apia. Begin this adventure at the Samoan Tourism Association Cultural Village where you’ll not only learn about the ancient customs of this land, but also have the opportunity to witness a tattoo ceremony where a young boy’s skin is pierced with a sharp tool to mark his journey to becoming a man. Outside this cultural hub sits modern Samoa, a cacophony of crazy public buses painted in all the colours of the rainbow.
Named after Sa, which means sacred and Moa, which means centre, there’s plenty of soft adventure to be had on this ancient land of rainforests, reefs and waterfalls. Visit Lalomanu beach – named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 must-see beaches in the world – and sleep like a Samoan in a beachfront fale. You’ll find these basic bungalows on Namua Island too, about 10 minutes by tinnie (the boat, not the beer) from Upolu, where it’s just you, the waves and a mosquito net. Forget windows or walls, the adventure is all about embracing Mother Nature. You’ll eat like a local too, feasting on fresh mahi mahi, lobster in coconut milk (fresh from the trees, of course) and sweet papaya.
Head out to Savaii Island, about an hour by ferry from Upolu, and meet the self-described ‘coconut man’ who throws coconuts into ocean blowholes, which are fired out into the air like canonballs.
Back on the main island, and for the ultimate in cool, tumble down the Papase’ea Sliding Rocks into crisp rock pools below, or brave the steep To-Sua Ocean Trench into the cave pool below. Yes, tradition cuts deep in Samoa, and so does adventure. For more information on Samoa, visit the Samoa Tourism website here. Related article: Pacific Island Getaways: Cook Islands