Samoa reopens: it’s time to start planning for a unique island escape

Samoa’s beautiful shores are safe, secluded and only a six-hour flight from Sydney, and with borders reopening in August/September, it’s time to start planning this once-in-a-lifetime trip to the beautiful island nation.

With its crystal clear turquoise waters, lush rainforest trails, and pristine reefs with marine life and rich culture, a Samoan holiday will fulfil all your desires for an experience-rich holiday filled with genuine human connection and unique experiences.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect destination for a cultural experience, or simply to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty, we’ve handpicked the top activities in Samoa for you to enjoy.

Relax and rejuvenate

Amoa Resort

Nestled in a relaxing seaside village on the big island of Savai’i, Amoa Resort allows you to bask in the tranquillity of Samoa through their intimate bungalows and villas, including 15 newly built garden rooms. Featuring a pool and the spectacular ocean practically on its doorstep, Amoa is the ultimate destination for those wanting to lounge the days away in the sun.

Offering three types of self-contained accommodations, you can opt for some poolside living or large deluxe bungalows for a bit more privacy. Amoa ofers nothing short of a culinary adventure, boasting the freshest seafood and sweetest fruit, all locally grown in surrounding areas, helping to support the local farmers.

The resort’s restaurant menu has been co-designed by award winning chef Joe Lam of Scalinis Restaurant Apia, offering an experience guaranteed to tantalise the taste buds. Visitors have the opportunity to learn from the best of the best, with Amoa’s Samoan cooking classes – bound to be a unique and enriching experience.

Return to Paradise Resort

Awarded the 2021 Traveller’s Choice Award by Tripadvisor, Return to Paradise Resort was named after the 1953 film and is guaranteed to transport you to Hollywood glamour. Alongside their additional new villas, the resort’s beach is nothing short of a spectacular beauty, catching the eye of Hollywood location scouts that deemed it the perfect setting for the 50s film, which has been beautifully preserved more than 67 years later.

Located on the main island of Upolu, the resort is 100 per cent locally owned and operated, boasting over 60 villas where guests can relish in the natural beauty of Samoa with the stunning coral reefs, lagoons and forest canopies that surround the resort. You can embark on an adventure kayaking, reef fishing and or experiencing a waterfall tour.

For some ‘me-time’, enjoy an afternoon at the Paradise Day Spa or indulge in the freshest locally caught seafood at the Paradise Kitchen, Cabana Cafe or Rock Pool Bar. Wine and dine while sitting back to watch the Return to Paradise movie, while you experience the famous beach right at your door-step.

Engage in rich cultural experiences such as:

Samoa Cultural Village, Upolu

For those looking to experience the authentic culture of Samoa and gain insight into their cultural traditions, then the Samoa Cultural Village is one you can’t miss. The village offers a range of activities including tapa making, traditional tattooing or ‘tatau’, cultural artefact carving, the preparation of the “umu” or earth oven, and so much more. Take the time to learn something new and even bring home a range of exquisite and original souvenirs. Located in the heart of Apia, head to the Samoa Cultural Village to experience the ‘Fa’a Samoa’, or ‘Samoan way of life’, for yourself.

Live like a local: Take a ride on Samoa’s iconic colourful busses

Rest your feet and take in the stunning beauty of the island on Samoa’s unique public buses. You can board the colourful buses at main terminals – located in Apia behind the produce market in Fugalei and behind the market at Savalalo.

For those staying on Savai’i the terminal is located at the market and main wharf in Salelologa. Make sure to wave to the bus as it approaches, as the buses do have a schedule, however are known to run on ‘island time’. In fact, it’s not unheard of for them to wait for passengers at supermarkets while they’re shopping.
Immerse yourself in Samoa’s heart-warming hospitality and live like a local on Samoa’s one-of-a-kind transportation.

Shop til you drop at the local markets:

Experience the heart of Samoan culture – food – across their abundant local markets, giving you the opportunity to truly connect with the community and the intricacies of daily life.

Open daily, the Fugalei market offers a wide selection of fresh local fruit, vegetables and traditional Samoan cooked dishes and sweets. Try some of the exotic tropical fruit, an icy cold drinking coconut (niu) or the local chocolate drink, koko Samoa.

If you’re on the hunt for something booming with culture and connectivity, the Waterfront Night Markets are a must visit. Located at the Samoa Tourism Fale and Cultural Village grounds in Apia the last Friday of each month, the market features an array of delicious food as well as supports local organic growers and producers.

Get out and about in the natural wonders:

Take a dip in the Piula Cave Pool

This beautiful crystal clear freshwater spring pool and cave originated from an old lava tube. On a hot day, the cool water is perfect for a refreshing dip. This spot is one of the top natural experiences in Samoa and can’t be beaten. Take a picnic and make a day of it

Jump into 30m deep swimming holes

Samoa is widely known for its breath-taking and Insta-worthy swimming holes. The To-Sua Ocean Trench is a unique spot to visit for any traveller, said to be one of the world’s most spectacular natural swimming pools. The 30-metre deep swimming hole is surrounded by spectacular gardens and located on the picturesque coastline of the south coast of Upolu.

Revel in the beauty of Samoa’s Volcanos

Samoa’s volcanic activity has left behind many fascinating landforms, particularly on Savai’i, which has huge lava tubes and spectacularly rugged coastlines of black volcanic rock to explore. Upolu has a number of volcanic peaks too, notably the water-filled, bush-clad crater Lake Lanoto’o. The last three eruptions on this island are estimated to be a few hundred to thousand years ago.

Eat your way through the island:

Dinner and a show at Vailili Restaurant, Savai’i

No trip to the Pacific Islands would be complete without attending a cultural show. You can head to the Le Lagoto Resort on a Thursday evening to enjoy a themed buffet and traditional Fiafa show. A culturally enriching experience, Fiafa nights are fllled with food, dancing, song and the visually-spectacular knife-fire dance. With a selection of traditional Samoan dishes on offer and a magnificent performance from a local village’s Fiafa group, it’s sure to be a night you’ll never forget. Most resorts host their own Fiafa shows during the week, and at Vailili Restaurant outside guests are also welcome. Be sure to reserve your spot so you don’t miss out! They also offer a Polynesian BBQ on Sundays and happy hour at their poolside bar from 4pm to 6pm daily.

Soak up the stunning views at Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge Restaurant & Bar, Savai’i

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to dine on top of the ocean? The Va-i-moana Seaside Lodge Restaurant & Bar offers just that. With stunning views across the water, authentic Samoan delicacies and friendly staff, this is the one-stop-shop for a guaranteed good time. Head here in the evening to sip a cocktail on the deck as you watch the gorgeous pinks and oranges of the sunset illuminate the sky.

Share an authentic Samoan experience with a Umu

If you’re planning a trip to Samoa, trying a dish prepared in a Umu is essential. Synonymous with ‘community’, the Umu is an above ground “earth oven” made up of hot volcanic stones that has been used for thousands of years throughout Samoa.

Samoa Tourism Authority’s Fasitau Ula explains: “Fire woods are piled on earth with rocks on top until the rocks are red hot. Prepared food will then be spread on hot rocks and covered with leaves for about an hour”.

Any food can be cooked in the umu. Traditional ones are taro (root-like potatoes), palusami (coconut cream in young taro leaves), fresh fish (normally wrapped in banana or breadfruit leaves and coconut leaves), fresh free-range pigs, fresh free-range chickens etcetera.”

A feast ft for a crowd, Umu is infused with the natural smoky richness of the ‘earth oven’, while the quintessential tropical ingredient of fresh coconut helps to mellow out the favour. If you’re lucky, you may even be invited to experience this tradition in a Samoan village, however many hotels also offer Umu buffet nights.